Development (HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JS, jQuery), Personas, Wireframing, Mockups, A/B Testing, User Research, Design Principles, Market Research, User Testing
Unwind is a mediation plus stress reducing website, which helps college students, particular Ithaca college students to reduce their stress with the help of calm music and guided meditation, as well as breathing circle, which helps you regulate your breathing patterns and help you breathe deeply. Meditation has been shown to help people stress less, focus more and sleep better. Unwind is meditation made simple, it helps you relax within a few minutes a day. With a bit more clarity of mind and stress-free state, what couldn’t you do?
Relaxing music which is one of the features of our website has also proven to make us feel peaceful and helps in the production of serotonin to relieve our stress and relieve physical pain. That's not all, music has a huge impact on our brain, and relaxing music does actually make us feel better. For example, there is a well-known theory, although it’s not yet empirically proven about the good that a frequency of 528 Hz can do to our body. These frequencies are known as the Solfeggio frequencies, originally used in Gregorian chants. Whether it’s healing or not, what we do know is that music is capable of making changes in our mind and body. Solfeggio frequencies can help you balance your energy and keep your body, mind, and spirit in harmony.
One of the reasons why we have used the breathing circle is because we want people to understand the importance of every single breath and how deep breathing could help us alleviates stress, improve confidence, and help maintain normal blood circulation. Breathing is free and effortless and with the ambient nature sound in the background, we could deceive our brains into thinking about being in a natural place which is quite rare in this advanced and urbanized world where people don't have time to go in nature and embrace it. Through this website, it’s easy to lose yourself in the pseudo-natural environment for some time. We also use very soothing pictures on our website to accompany the feel of our stress-reducing platform.
On the top of this all, we have also implemented a random positive quote generator, which strives to motivate and inspire the users. According to an article on the Lifehack, “Daily inspirations remind you that you are not alone.”, it will help the users to feel that they are not alone who are struggling with this, but there are many others out with the similar or worse problems. Daily positive quotes also act as a reminder for what we want to chaise in our lives and how to do it; they are a push for something you really strive to achieve in life. We want our users to keep on moving on in life with a positive attitude, even when the times are rough.
One of the reasons why we thought of making something like this is because we both are perfectionists and want everything to be perfect. If by chance something doesn't work out the way we intended we feel very stressed and dysfunctional. Moreover, we stress a lot about menial situations such as coursework in college, future internships, today’s meal, or it could be something really small, but unfortunately, it’s in our nerves to be a little concerned and over-think every situation. Through this website, we were able to reduce stress ourselves as we did find ourselves using this site while doing our homework. For us this has been the most happening and exciting as we created something that could help us and other people around the campus, if they feel the same as us, or for their recreational purposes.
Furthermore, the Bootstrap also provide us consistency throughout our website which gives it a similar look on each page, as it helps the user to feel they are on the same site. It really enhances the user experience on our website as it connects everything to one another, even though the pages might have different content.
For the evaluation of this website, we did a focus group, which included people from around the Ithaca College campus. We showed them this website and asked them how they felt while using it and is it good enough to reduce their stress and anxiety. Our participants varied in the ways through which they relax and their sources for stress reduction. We clearly told them what our website intends to do and what our goals were while creating this website.
Most of our participants liked the idea of what we have created and would love to use it regularly. As we were showing them the website they kept of saying how relaxing and claiming this whole experience is. Our participants found our website visually pleasing, which is one of the things we intended and we are successful with that. Because of the soothing visuals, we are able to at least set the calm and serene mood through for our users, which induces the positivity and tranquillity within them. This is a thing one of our participants pointed out while interacting with our website, and this made us as developers feel extremely good about our website.
Our participants liked the Unwind page as they went through the different music tracks, three of them pointed out the music suited whatever the image was used for that and the different tracks gave them a different vibe. Their reactions with each soundtrack and guided meditation changed accordingly, which was interesting to notice. We were pleased by the fact that they pointed out the imagery and the music relatedness, which we really strived to achieve with our own experience, and we can see that it gives the same feel to our intended users. Many of our users like the sound used for the breath page as it is subtle and complements the breathing activity. Five of our participants really like the idea of the positive pop-up, as quotes help us stay motivated and inspire us at the same time. They are a great way to activate an emotional pulse in our hearts and minds when we are in a distressing situation. The right quote can help us to see light at the end of the tunnel, and give us that extra burst of hope and courage to persevere, one of our participants said this.
Indeed, our website was able to get a lot of positive feedback from our participants but there are still some of the participants who gave negative and constructive feedback, which would really help us iterate this website in the future and make it usable for most of the potential users out there. One of the things that the fact that the colors of the content in the toggle menu remains the same when scrolled down, which makes our participates view the content of the menu hard to read on the Unwind page, as they are white in color just like the background, it would be better to change the color of the menu background, but I don't really know how to change it at this point. Four of our participants pointed out the yellow color on the menu links when hovered over should be altered as it blends in with the white overlay in the background, it is something even we think is a major problem for the people who are visually impaired. A lot of work could be done to improve our menu to be honest, as we ourselves are not very satisfied with it, but for the sake of less noisy layout, we thought of implementing it.
Many of our participants don't really know how to use there netID to log into the site, as our log-in form is not working at this moment and we would love to make it work in the future when we gain some knowledge of database systems. Our website would become a lot more usable. This is major thing missing from our website as we need the netId to be able to use the mood tracker. We were able to see the frustrations on people’s faces as they tried to use the log-in form, which is in non-workable condition right now.
"Want To Be More Productive? Listen To The Sounds Of Nature”. Fast Company, July, 2015. Sneed, Annie.
“5 Reasons Why We Should Practice Deep Breathing”, Mind Body Green, Scarbro, Denise
“Why Nature Sounds Help You Relax, According to Science”, health.com, April 05, 2017, MacMillan, Amanda
11 Aug 2014, “The power of pictures. How we can use images to promote and communicate science”, BMC, Balm, James.
“7 Essential Ways That Inspirational Quotes Can Literally Change Your Day …and Your Life!”, Lifehack, Belmont, Judy.
“What are the Solfeggio frequencies?”, Attuned Vibrations