In July 2020, Levy completed our UX Project with Smiling Mind. On this project Levy embarked on a 9 week journey to learn the fundamentals of User Experience design while working on a live client project.
Smiling Mind is a 100% not-for-profit that has a vision to help every mind to thrive. Smiling Mind delivers the benefits of mindfulness and meditation to both children and adults via a free app, face-to-face workshops, primary school curriculums and other resources that can be used by both teachers and employers.
This brief focuses on the mobile app “ Mind the Bump ,” developed by Smiling Mind to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of individuals and couples in preparation for having a baby and becoming a parent. This app was originally launched in 2015 and has developed a following, however its potential is limited by the outdated user experience. Students were to conduct research into the target audience for Mind the Bump and design an improved user experience for the Mind the Bump app, focusing on 2 key components of the experience. Students should focus on the app navigation and the ‘My Timeline’ feature.
During the first 2 weeks, our team of 9 students met with our mentor Jason Crane to get to know each other and gain shared understanding of the Harness project program and the UX project brief.
Coming from many different backgrounds (graphic design, marketing and communications, finance and others), we were all excited to kick-off the learning journey, so the energy was pumping despite most of us having had a long day of work / study before jumping on to Zoom. I felt reassured that I was not the only one feeling the imposter syndrome for not having any prior knowledge or experience about design thinking and user experience, and that everyone also felt the theory delivered on the Interaction Design Foundation was interesting, but also quite overwhelming to finish! We reviewed the current Smiling Mind website and Mind the Bump app and came up with interview questions and interview plan for the stakeholder meeting the next week.
To immerse in our client’s problem space and start framing the opportunity, we conducted a stakeholder meeting with Smiling Mind’s Product Designer Aaron Blakemore. Having a real client briefing, the UX project was a great experience that set Harness Project’s program apart – we were able to probe for the problem space that Mind the Bump initially set out to solve, current product pain points, target audience, constraints, etc that gave us a much better understanding of the brief.
I conducted 6 one-hour interviews with friends – new mums between 30 – 36 years old living in Australia – to understand their pain points. From these interviews I understood that working pregnant mums want to be physically & mentally healthy for their babies’ development, and they believed meditation can help, but the majority struggled to build a habit. The reasons were because of busy schedules, and that ‘formal’ meditations were difficult for beginners. I created affinity mapping of the interviews and created 3 personas with accompanying customer journeys, of which I focused on Emily, a working pregnant mum for my design process. During week 5, we had another touchpoint with Aaron where we shared the synthesis of insights and early ideation ideas from all 9 students.
From week 6 we started the ideation workshops on Zoom and Miro starting with Brainwriting, dot voting, sketching ideas and presenting them to the group. It was one of the most interesting sessions so far, I thoroughly enjoyed the great energy and creativity. I drew sketches of the key functionalities, tested with 6 users and reiterated on them for 3 rounds before developing the high-fidelity prototype on Figma and a voice control prototype on Voiceflow. This approach gave me the freedom to test out many ideas in the most rapid and easy manner before moving on to high-fidelity
With the insights from user testing, I proposed 10 UX recommendations to Aaron. The preparation was intense – I was asking for feedback from Jason and practicing the presentation over and over until I got the key points by heart. The feedback from Aaron and Jason were overwhelmingly positive – hitting the nail on the head on a lot of findings, delivering the prototype walk through through the eyes of the persona as if it was a story, referencing the tension points discussed in the previous stakeholder meetings. It was very satisfying to complete my first project for a client in such a successful manner.
The project opened doors for me to start a career in UX: introduced me to Design Thinking and UX methodologies and gave me access to mentors like Jason and contributed to me landing a UX architect full time role at Newscorp. Moreover, it built my self-confidence that I would be able to pick up a real project quickly when employed.
I could have Googled or done a boot camp that teaches the theories, but the ability to work on a real project with a real client, and practice soft skills that are absolutely essential – stakeholder engagement, project management and presentation of ideas – is irreplaceable. I highly recommend the course especially for those who lack project experience with a real client in their portfolio.
At the conclusion of the project, Levy was assessed for the skills she demonstrated during the 9 week project. These were certified and co-signed by Harness Projects and Smiling Mind to acknowledge the great work she achieved on the project. Levy went on to land a UX Architect role at Newscorp.
Follow Levy’s footsteps and check out our Upskiller UX Course