Meditation is an age-old practice where someone focuses on a particular object or thought to gain greater clarity and become more calm and peaceful.
Under normal circumstances we all face stress, anxiety, and pain. During exceptional times all of this accelerates. Many people are turning to meditation as a method to regain psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular control of their lives. With no side effects, meditation is becoming a primary solution to resolve much of the pent-up emotion. It is practiced all over the world and across many cultures.
With easy access to electronic devices and online processes, meditation mindfulness applications are springing up. There are successful ways to establish this app and perhaps you have been considering this possibility. Through this article you will see why this technique has become so popular and how you can develop your own app. We will discuss the cost, how to make it profitable, and how to avoid pitfalls.
There are actually nine types of meditations. The important factor is to find the best method for your needs. Here we will be discussing a mindfulness meditation. This is one of the oldest and most elemental types and can be accomplished without a formal teacher and is easily practiced on one’s own.
Exactly how were Meditation Apps Founded
Today we no longer use maps; we have GPS in our vehicles and phones. Most of our communication is handled in texts, through email, and as attachments. Wind-up alarm clocks are a thing of the past. We educate ourselves and our children through devices. In short, we live in the digital age.
It seems counterintuitive that to reduce theaddiction to social media and instant everything, we would turn to an app to divert our attention from isolation and stress. Yet, here it is.
The other side of the coin is the fact that since we find most of our information and entertainment through applications on desktop or mobile devices, why not? Using the most effective delivery system makes perfect sense.
Moving from a niche market, meditation apps have become popular to deal with the unprecedented isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact many app producers are partnering with local governments to help populations. Some initially offered free services to front-line service industries like medical personnel.
These programs are bridging the gap between professional recommendations to relieve anxiety and stress and the ability to enact effective measures to achieve that goal. It is find to say “go meditate” but if you have no idea where to begin, it is an almost useless recommendation. That is where the app comes in. Usually conducted by a narrator or coach it will guide you through the process. Some are accompanied by quiet or soothing music.
We have put together a detailed step to step guide on how you can build your mindfulness App.
Most of the apps help the user focus their attention on their body. Usually they start with breathing exercises and consciously following the inhale and exhale of each breath including feeling the abdomen expand and contract. Some have the user count the breaths. Frequently the participant is asked to simply “be present” without worrying about accomplishing anything. Some are merely reminders without guidance and simply signal the start and end of a session. Seemingly the most effective approaches are using visualization and imagination to enhance relaxation and freeing thoughts.
For the most part, applications recommend daily sessions of about 10 minutes each, sitting comfortably in a quite place. One suggests that it be the same time each day and in the same location. While most only use the coach’s voice, some have sounds incorporated into the app including nature sounds, soft music or white noise. Those that do not add sound to the background suggest tuning your hearing to the sounds that surround you. Again, there are options about whether to keep your eyes open or closed, some let you have the option and others make suggestions. Integrating wearables to create the virtual world has proven more successful. As you can tell, you can create your own combination for the experience you want to create.
It would seem that there may be opportunities to involve some tangible elements such as meditation balls or some repetitive motion (Tibetan wheel) to increase the effectiveness of the technique.
Evaluating the effectiveness of these mindful meditation apps is difficult. However, with the increasing number of apps available combined with downloadable music or sounds, the general idea seems to be viable and offers opportunities for improvement and increased market share.
As part of any business strategy it is important to recognize your competition and how to stand out in the crowd.
Special Qualities –You need to decide what will be different about your app than the others already in the market place. This is currently called a unique value proposition (UVP). It is not just a logo or slogan, it shows how your product solves the problem better or faster than the competition. If your app is no better than others, you need to develop some strengths. Look at how your competitors have succeeded, what they have done correctly and where they missed the mark. Then look at your own app and see its bests and worst qualities and how you will do better.
Search Out Competition –If it is a public company, you will be able to get a lot of information about their financial status. Look at their ads to find special offers and distinctive features. Look at comments especially from social media. Knowing what you are up against is one of the best ways to develop your own plan.
Marketing –Understanding their strategies including influencers and in-store sales will help you find loopholes that you can fill. See who and how they are targeting and if there is a segment being overlooked that is just perfect for you or where you can outshine the others.
Talk –Talk to people about what they expect out of the product and whether they are satisfied. Arrange for a meeting with an advisor in the industry, or in general, for ideas about how you can improve the app or unrealized markets or strategies. Attend expos and marketing conferences. Trade shows are great places to pick up brochures and to talk with their sales force.
Once you have this information, don’t stop. Good business practices means always having an eye open for the players and new enterprises.
Right now this is second to Headspace. It is not as structured and appeals to customers who already meditate. Its color scheme is tones of blue and uses many natural images. For individuals who find it difficult to sleep or have problems with anxiety, this seems to be their go-to app. The sleep stories are professionally prepared and narrated for a smooth authoritative feel. They focus on mindfulness with a good music selection to attract those who are looking for self improvement or to increase focus. They offer a downloadable calendar that gives short inspirational directives or notice of episodes in their series.
Probably the best known meditation app at this time. It has a wide advertising campaign. Appealing to the beginner it has an introductory course as well as specific apps for insomnia, personal development, and others. They offer incentives like a free month with an annual subscription or a week free for a monthly sign up as well as student and family plans. Generously they offer a free year of their premium service for anyone who lost their job due to the COVID-19 crisis. This strategy allows them tobe generous and still be attractive to others. It is also available through Apple stores.
Formerly known as “Stop, Breathe & Think,” MyLife targets personal feelings and then leads you to guided meditations, or videos for yoga, or acupressure, and progressive relaxation. It emphasizes thinking outside oneself and empathy for others. Geared for children ages 10 and up as well as adults, this is downloadable to iPhones, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android and is made available without charge for teachers. It does not accommodate desktop or AppleTV. It also allows you to track your progress on a daily basis. The programs have different lengths, instructors, and themes with bilingual available.
Concentrating on the inability to sleep or sleep properly, this app promotes its 4-7-8 method as a simple yet effective method to fall asleep within one minute or to de-stress during times of anxiety. With a “personal” mindfulness coach, this program also offers inspirational messages. Emphasizing its ability to help during the COVID pandemic, it includes dealing with loneliness, grief, and panic attacks. It works through music, nature sounds, guided meditations and inspirational messages. Its alarm clock function will let you start the day with this app. Synchronized on the phone, tablet or computer, it is available at the App Store.
A prototype is a practice model of a product. In the world of software development, fidelity is the term used for the amount of detail in each version of an application. It can also be called a navigation concept.
•Low-fidelity –This is the first stage and is a storyboard of screens to be sure the client and the programmer both envision the same final product.
•Medium-fidelity –Moving on with additional detail, this will test the ability for users to navigate through the screens.
•High-fidelity –This is the most detailed yet in relation to UI and UX.
Keep in mind that each stage is used as a springboard to the next but none are fully functional as yet. They give the programmer and the client to refine and improve the application through feedback of test groups.
In the long run, prototypes help discover flaws and to resolve any conflicts between concept and final product. It can help eliminate redundancies and streamline the overall program. They help develop the best product possible before going full tilt into programming. Most importantly, they also provide better insight into the full cost of the development.
4.The difference between launching a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP)
A minimum viable product is the bare bones, but usable, version of your app unlike a prototype. It is a test to see if the public will respond and will be something thatwill catch on. A minimum lovable product is similar but focuses more on the emotional response of the users. MLP usually has a more developed UI and UX.
Both of these versions are early releases just beyond the prototype stage.
With MVP you want to see if the product is what you expect, or validation of your idea. It is frequently a quick release before all the testing is complete. You likely don’t fully know your target market but release it to see who is interested. The programming can be changedon the run if necessary.
With MLP you are targeting a specific group and want to provide a viable answer to their quandary. Your release is based on your understanding of the target market with the idea that you can increase or improve it to provide specific solutions. There are other apps or products out there that fill the customers’ needs, but you feel yours is better or an improved version. You have probably invested more time and money than in a MVP release.
Keeping everything in perspective, the ultimate goal is to make money. A basic return on investment (ROI) is to turn a profit for the work expended, no matter the industry or field. It means you are successful. When writing any app or running any business a ROI lets you reap the benefits of your expertise. Spending money (and time) on lost causes is the best way to run out of your own and investors’ money.
Money is important because it means your company or business will continue in operation providing employment for others. Money means having some control over your life and providing for those dependent on you. It also means having the ability to give back to the community through charities and important causes.
Turning a profit is not a bad thing; it is great! When designing any app or product, all of the development and final product needs to keep the vision of how best to price the app. As you probably know there are a number of methods like selling advertising, a free download but with charges for add-ons, subscriptions, free download but offering premium services at an additional cost. You need to investigate all the options and then select the best version for your application.
6.Important tips to keep in mind while developing your app.
In developing any type of an app, there are a number of factors to remember.
Visual Design –Depending on the atmosphere you are trying to create, color plays a primary goal. For a meditation app, you probably would want to stick with pastels or calming colors like blue or green. If you are developing another type of app that requires excitement or competition, go with vibrant colors, especially red. Also be sure to keep all the fonts, buttons and labels consistent with each other. Keep the segments in manageable bites for the ease of the user, but if you have to constantly change screens or reload, it will become annoying. Basically it is a balancing act to keep things simple yet interesting and pertinent to your subject matter.
Onboarding –If you are building an app for a little known product or procedure, you will need to make the log-in and onboarding cleaver and interesting enough to pursue. Tutorials are best if they are interactive. Showing a fast version of the program can frustrate and lose a novice. It should be informative but not overwhelming. Research reports that an introduction of between 60 and 90 seconds is optimum. Log-ons may need to have options like through email or a social media account. Treat the user like an intelligent being rather than a robot. Designing is, unfortunately, an ongoing process. When you get feedback from users, be sure to listen to what they want.
Sign Up –Most users, tech savvy or not, are used to multiple methods of sign on. That includes email, and social media. The sign on is just a gateway and should be as simple as possible. The sign-in screen should be easily identifiable and in an expected location. In other words, the simpler you make it, the better the user will like it.
User Profiles –To avoid irritating your new user at the outset, build the user profile to get only the information essential to the app. However, the user does need easy access to history on their last meditation session(s), progress and subscription plan status. It is also nice if you cancustomize it to the specifics of the user.
Recommendations –Headspace and Calm both have machine learning that allows artificial intelligence to learn which meditations the user is downloading and then recommend other similar sites. If programmed correctly it can suggest by theme or narrator or even a mood shift. As an example, leaving an awful meeting but then getting yourself perked up for another one…change in attitude.
Trackers and Statistics –Similar to recommendations this process will provide a method to follow progress. This is very useful in identifying patterns and showing progress. For people who are, for instance, tracking their sleep patterns, it can show whether the app is helping them go to sleep quicker. If the user applies a little effort to journal progress, it can be extremely beneficial.
Push Notifications –Probably one of the most used features is the reminders section. Less intrusive than an alarm, these can still help especially the newer user develop the best pattern for them to use on a daily basis. Of course, the best option would be for a customized notification to allow for some specific times but others that are less rigid or even optional. Using at least a single reminder or push notification has shown that to be an encouragement to stay with the program. Setting too frequent reminders can be an annoyance so it may take some trial and error to find the right times and pattern.
Settings and Support –Just like with any type of application or program, the user needs to be able to change passwords, adjust reminders, and adjust their accounts. Support can come in two different capacities. Not every user is going to be tech savvy and they will need technical support to navigate some of the features. The other side is providing a professional, somewhat like a personal trainer, to help guide or overcome hurdles. Both of these are important to older adults who simply prefer working with a live person than with a dictionary provided by a Help menu. You could also offera chat box option for those who don’t mind electronic responses.
Payments and Admin Panel –Let’s face it, you are doing this for the money or at least enough money to keep the app going. That means you will need to decide what to charge for and how much. It also means you need to determine what payment forms you will take like credit cards or PayPal, etc. You will also need the proper programming to accept those payment securely. To keep your customers interested you will need to keep adding or changing the program material. That may mean different voices or sounds, rename categories, etc. In order to make those changes, you will need an Admin Panel.
The bare bones of building a mobile app is the number of platforms, design requirements, and complexity. Simple apps run about $80,000 and those with multiple features will go for about $250,000. Expect the time to delivery from a few weeks for something simple or around three to nine months for something complicated. That is based on everything going smoothly. You may find it less expensive with some programmers but be cautious. Sometimes the initial cost is not the final cost after add ons, changes, upgrades, etc.
Costs include the developers, server price, and maintenance and support. Most personnel costs are billed by the hour and the time will depend on whether it is an iOS, Android, or server side.
You can find programmers all over the world and the prices range from the highest in North America to the least expensive in India, with Eastern Europe somewhere in between.
If you are still interested in creating an app, for meditation or other purposes, the basic questions to ponder are:
•Financial –Do you have a realistic plan to create and maintain a revenue stream? Can you recoup the initial investment in a reasonable amount of time and will the app generate enough ongoing income to sustain it over a period of time?
•Technical –Can this app really be made? If so, are you the person, or can you find the staff, to actually complete the project? What are the obstacles creating and implementing the app?
•Competition –If someone is already doing this, how many versions are there available right now? A glutted market will be no place to launch a new app. What are the ways you can differentiate your product from the rest? If your plan is to just improve upon existing apps, what will be the legal implications including accusations of plagiarism or copyright infringement?
These are only a few of the questions you should be considering as you exercise your entrepreneurial spirit into the wonderful world of apps.