Building a design manifesto based on the principles of mindfulness
Design Principles and Manifesto
This 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 becoming much more mainstream and the benefits of meditation are more evident than ever before, it is apparent that the positive impact of even the most popular meditation apps will be minimal, relative to the massive scale of attention-demanding consumer-facing technology.
In this project, Mindfulness Everywhere wanted to define a design philosophy that could not only be used in their own digital products, but that could also be applied elsewhere by others in the design of all kinds of digital products and services.
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 they have also produced a range of other products such as Kara, Sleepfulness and Meditation Now.
Embedding ourselves within the Mindfulness Everywhere team, we tapped into their extensive knowledge and experience of mindfulness and mindfulness in tech. Using this as a base, we reviewed relevant literature and interviewed industry experts. We also conducted case studies into a range of well known digital products to identify their mindful (or not-so-mindful) characteristics, whilst gaining an understanding of how various design elements such as notification structures, UX and UI approaches, search algorithms, and service models influence a person's state of mind.
Synthesising our learnings we generated a series of principles for ‘designing technology that respects the attention of the people who use it’. While these were ‘design principles’, we recognised that design is impacted by several external factors and therefore the principles speak not only to design processes, but also a company’s culture and mission. The principles included things like:
Accompanying these principles, we developed a series of concepts to demonstrate what these concepts might look like if they were put into practice.
The full list of these principles can be seen on the Designing Mindfulness website.
A New Way Of Doing
The Mindfulness Everywhere team have incorporated the Designing Mindfulness principles into their culture and design approaches, using them to guide the design of their digital products, including an overhaul of Buddhify in 2017.
Developing Company Culture
The manifesto has not only shaped Mindfulness Everywhere’s internal culture, but has also helped them develop a their reputation as thought leaders — they have been invited to write (e.g. Design.blog and The Guardian) and speak internationally (e.g. Purpose 2016 and Creative Mornings) on the principles.
Everything that Andthen do has the hallmark of quality. From their thinking, to their research methods and the way they communicate with us, it is of a level you wouldn’t expect of team of their size... and that comes down to the quality of their talent.
Founder and Director, Mindfulness Everywhere