Calm App Strategy

Calm is simple, well-done, and has the potential to stand out.

The Calm app is one of the top 5 downloaded meditation apps, yet they offer the fewest features. Calm has 5-star user ratings with 12,000 reviews on App Store and 50,000 reviews on Google Play. Based on user research, secondary studies, and product evaluation, I identified 5 actionable recommendations.

“Retention is the one metric that matters for sustainable growth,” according to Amplitude. When Calm introduced their “mindfulness reminder” feature, they 3x’d their daily user retention. By adopting my 5 onboarding and habit-building feature suggestions, Calm could double that initial increase and stand out in mindfulness/meditation app industry.

I spent two weeks conducting user and market research.

As a UX strategist , I focused on creating an actionable roadmap for Calm’s product designers. I utilized pen, paper, sharpie, Neilson’s Heuristics, User Onboard case studies, heuristic reviews, secondary user psychology research, in-depth user interviews, competitive and comparative analyses, and personas. 

I conducted 7 in-depth interviews. I learned that meditation is a long-term relationship and a journey for most people. They say it’s “game-changing” and recommend it to friends and loved ones. Yet most meditators struggle to maintain the habit. A deeper understanding of the target audience and habit-building psychology research enabled me to make final feature selections.

Calm needs to retain users. Meditators want to build a habit.

I did a lot of secondary research for this project to further understand meditator motivations and struggles, and the psychology behind habit building. I dug into psychology publications, product retention research, web app onboarding breakdowns, habit building models, and some interactive meditation options. The Netflix and Headspace onboarding breakdowns were insightful.

With the fewest features, Calm can expand and stand out.

Psychology Today listed these 5 as the top meditation apps. I selected these 15 features based on common user goals: create an account, start a challenge series, start a meditation session, and set a meditation reminder. With the fewest features offered, Calm can easily expand and stand out.

Elevate was reviewed for its excellence in enjoyable skill-development. I reviewed Facebook’s habit-building functions such as notification hooks and community building. Habit Bull is a top-rated habit building app that provides a range of personalization options for user goals and reminders. I also analyzed Netflix’s user personalization and onboarding functions.

The app had a nearly perfect usability score.

Calm received a nearly perfect usability score. I reviewed the home, profile, and meditations screens. i considered common user tasks including: create an account, start a challenge series, start a meditation session, and set a meditation reminder. I found a few opportunities for growth in their current terminology, consistency, and navigation functions.

“Meditation” is the only term used on the homepage and is replaced with “mindfulness” and “sessions” on the profile screen, which could be confusing for newcomers. Also, if you start a mediation from the meditations screen but decide to try a different one, you will be kicked out of the entire section and sent back to the homepage. These suggestions are low-hanging fruit but would provide some easy wins for app improvement.

I enjoy meditation too: “Develop Clarity with Mindfulness.”

It’s 5 a.m. and your alarm goes off. You walk through the morning routine and work to be in the moment. While preparing breakfast or getting dressed, your mind wanders to past conversations, upcoming events or projects for the day… sound familiar?

Finding clarity amid the noise can be challenging. Social media and 0ur pocket computers provide constant connection. The myriad of distractions forces us to be present or get lost in the waves.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”