Creating a design manifesto for Mindfulness Everywhere

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Detailed Documentation
Articles
Mindfulness Everywhere is a creative studio working at the intersection of design, technology, and meditation. They are best known for Buddhify, a meditation app designed to fit into a busy modern lifestyle, but are also the producers of Kara, Sleepfulness and Meditation Now.
Overview
The Designing Mindfulness project started with the question: ‘What if we took the principles and practices of mindfulness and wellbeing and built them into absolutely everything?’ While mindfulness is being applied in the mainstream, and the benefits of meditation are more evident that ever before, it is apparent that the impact of even the most popular meditation apps will be minimal, relative to the landscape of consumer technology.

In this project, Mindfulness Everywhere looked to define a design philosophy which could not only be used in their own products, but could have a wider significance, beyond digital products which are explicitly about wellbeing.

Embedding ourselves within the Mindfulness Everywhere studio, we worked with them to produce the manifesto Designing Mindfulness. We supplemented the studio's existing knowledge and insight with product case studies, expert interviews, and literature reviews, before synthesising key insights into a series of principles and communicative concepts.
"A really nice quote about how we are such great people, and do really amazing useful work, a quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
Rohan Gunatillake, Director, Mindfulness Everywhere
Process
With the common rhetoric of the ‘digital detox’ and ‘switching off’, there is an assumption that mindfulness and technology are mutually exclusive. Challenging this assumption, this project built a manifesto for designing technology which takes care of the people who use it.

Embedding ourselves within the Mindfulness Everywhere team, we tapped into their extensive knowledge and experience of the mindfulness and technology industries. Using this as a basis, we engaged with relevant literature, and interviewed relevant industry experts. Building on this we conducted case studies on a range of well known digital products, identifying their mindful (or not-so-mindful) characteristics, and building an understanding of how various elements across graphic design, search algorithms, notification structures, UX, UI, and service models can influence a user’s state of mind.

Synthesising our learnings, we generated a series of principles for designing technology that looks after the people that use it. While these were ‘design principles’, we recognised that design is impacted by several external factors, and therefore the principles speak to not only design processes, but also a company’s culture and mission. Accompanying these principles, we developed a series of design concepts, to illustrate and communicate what these principles might look like in practice. The full list of these can be seen on the Designing Mindfulness website.
IMPACT
Since delivering this work, the Mindfulness Everywhere team have incorporated the Designing Mindfulness Principles into their company culture, and used them in their releases of digital products, including their redesign of Buddhify. They have been invited to write and speak about them internationally, and have built out a consultancy offering around mindful design.
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