UX Awards

The Premier Awards for Exceptional Digital Experience

An App to Teach Kids Mindfulness in the Digital Age Details

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An evidence-based app that helps kids relax, focus and concentrate, increasing creativity and self-esteem.



The Catherine Mayer Foundation enlisted UpTop in 2016 to fulfill the vision and direction of the L.A.U.G.H.® App including the UX design, illustration, animation and development. The app combines visual art (drawing), music and breathing to create calming and positive energies for kids of all ages. It features lengthier scenes that oppose the short bursts of activity commonly used in children’s apps, challenging the UpTop team to think differently about basic design principles and best practices.

The app has recently completed testing with Seattle Children’s Research Institute under the direction of Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development. The team at Children’s conducted formative research to support the app’s development and tested a variety of approaches, measuring effects on physiological markers of relaxation and concentration. Results show significant cognitive engagement in users, as well as increased focus and concentration.



Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:

Many mindfulness apps claim they are based in science, but in reality few actually are. The design of The L.A.U.G.H. App is backed by a study done by the Seattle Children's Hospital. This app is forward-thinking because it's an evidence-based app backed by formative research and testing that was used throughout the design process to produce desired results. Results show significant cognitive engagement in users, as well as increased focus and concentration.

Additionally, this project is unique and forward-thinking because we were challenged to stop and rethink our natural design inclinations. For example, we would try to make it easier for users to get to certain parts of the app. But we were kept in check by the feedback we received from the client that this process is not about making it easy for a user to jump to a specific activity, but rather allow them to go through the “Guided Experience”, as proven by the evidence-based findings. We had to remind ourselves that the app is unlike most apps and philosophically goes against many of the traditional UX design and marketing principles that we would use to encourage user engagement.

“As designers, we were challenged to unlearn a lot of the techniques that we’ve been practicing for years, which made this project unique and interesting,” said Michael Woo, Lead UX Designer.

Also, a version of the L.A.U.G.H. App for Adults is underway for the iPad. Although the target audience is different, the fundamental goal is the same.



Submitted By: UpTop

Client Name: The Catherine Mayer Foundation

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