Today, our lives have become hectic and dependent on digital gadgets. We’re continually available on phones and email, which means most of us to end up taking our work home with us. This can lead to stress, lack of sleep, and even insomnia in many cases and a general lack of attention to mental health.
When life gets fast and too much to handle, it’s important to remember why we created technology – to make it easier. To get into a zen-like mental state, you need to peel away from your stress and meditate to ward off chaotic thoughts.
Thankfully, you can now work with a mobile as well to get yourself to a mindful state with the help of calming apps. While it’s not possible to head out into green pastures and sit under a banyan tree, you can still make use of technology to give you a similar experience of serenity and mindfulness.
An app like Headspace or Oak allows you to listen to calm music, podcast discussions, and so much more. If you’re planning on building a meditation app, there are a few things you’d need to implement. Keep calm and read on to get what you want –
Why are meditation apps like Headspace popular?
Apps such as Headspace allow us to marry our love for technology with our passion for mental peace. As of today, WHO estimates that 1 in 4 people suffer from some sort of mental illness, and this is expected to grow. An app like Headspace can play a significant role in calming people down, and this is why they’ve been able to taste success. Positioned as a “monk in your pocket,” Headspace was founded by a Buddhist monk. Well, sort of.
Andy Puddicombe from the UK, traveled to India to study Buddhism as he felt unhappy inside about his life’s purpose. After spending a decade with the monks, he returned and created Headspace with the idea of allowing people to enjoy better mental health, with a little help from their smartphones.
Everything about the app exudes calmness from the smooth transition to the colors to the push notifications. With the idea to help the restless millennial and Gen-Z generations find some semblance of inner peace, Headspace has been successful in convincing people to take a few minutes every day or week for the benefit of their mental health.
Headspace has also led to the creation of other similar apps like Oak and Calm, and they, too, have features that promote mental health and happiness, among others.
How to build an app like Headspace?
To be able to build an app on the scale of Headspace, it will require a lot of time and resources, but you can start with the basics for now.
What are some must-have features you can make use of? That’s the first and most important question you’ve to put forth before you head forward and create it. Here’s an essential list of features you could consider –
Countdown Timer – This is the basis of the meditation app. You could place a countdown timer for any session a user wants. It helps them set their timer to 5, 10, or 30-minute sessions where they can meditate after which, and a little alarm wakes them up.
Calming Sounds and Music – This is another essential aspect that helps improve the overall experience of using the app. You can integrate sounds of nature, birds, and the ocean to give the app a much pleasant and calming experience. These sounds make it simpler to meditate and facilitates a better time for the user.
Discovery List – A feature that offers an outline of different “meditative practices” as well as exciting sessions on mindfulness is a great way to begin. It would be smart to work with a Discovery option, where customers can listen to newer podcasts and access the content repository.
Push Notifications – This allows you to stay connected with users by always keeping them informed and engaged. You can send reminders to begin meditation, introduce new features or content, and more, directly through notifications, without having them to open the app.
User Experience –
From a UX perspective – transition effects, colors, and overall look and feel need to calm the viewer’s mind. Colors can go a long way in achieving this, with pastel colors the best bet in such scenarios. Light greens, blues, and pinks can calm the mind, and we’ve explored the design elements further down in this article.
Overall, UX must focus on gamification and encouragement. The app must be easy to navigate, and as you add more features, you must have a short introductory video as well. For now, the most basic UX features can include quotes during the transition, more comfortable navigating options, illustrations that bring a smile to the user’s face, and some soothing sound-effects/music.
What are some top features of meditation apps like Headspace?
To successfully build an app such as Headspace, you’ll need to craft a user experience that will slowly introduce the customer to the product before you talk about other features.
Introducing the app is a crucial aspect if you’d like them to stay on-board and interact over the long term. As meditation grows in popularity, more people would download the app, and the first impression must be positive. You can follow the steps mentioned while creating a short, 1-2 minute onboarding video:
- Don’t talk about all of the features in one go. The onboarding process must highlight features that you feel are important, and users can discover the rest on their own.
- Just introduce the app, what it does, and how they can navigate its many parts.
- If you’re planning to mimic Headspace, you can use a similar one-minute animated video option to introduce the features to the general audience.
From a design perspective, as mentioned before, you can use calming pastel colors. Bright colors trigger excitement and other moods in the brain, and that’s why you must opt for options like green, blue, brown, or purple. Most of them are earthy colors, and you can take a leaf out of Headspace’s app for this.
Apps like Headspace and Calm make use of the pink and purple well, and you need to ensure that the design isn’t too cluttered. Keep it minimal, introduce cute or funny illustrations, and you’re set.
If you’re planning on having video elements in your app, you must ensure they are dull and smooth. Users must be impressed with the style of animations you’re using, and they need to be used functionally rather than just to fill the gaps. You can have calming fade-in effects with the sounds of nature, for example, if you’re planning on displaying quotes.
To create a specific mood, try to tap into designers who are known for their minimalistic, simple illustrations because, in this case, less is more.
You will be able to catch a proper wave and also help users enjoy an after-effect from the meditation sessions with the help of the right animations.
In today’s data-driven world, personalization is vital. It is essential if you’re creating an app like Headspace that you personalize it for the user to enjoy –
- Tailor their Experience –
While people come to the app for different reasons, it’s essential that they can see some value in it. By tailoring their experience based on their activity – whether they spend five minutes to an hour a day, you’ll be able to provide them with some personalized features. Figure out what they enjoy when they’re on the app, and you’ll be able to retain as well as engage them over the long term.
Everybody loves a reward system, and it’s a great way to keep things interesting. You can help users traverse a path of self-realization by giving them points and badges for their performances. Incentivizing their visits means they keep returning, and Headspace does this well by allowing users to track their daily performance on the app. This can also help you create a loyalty program and, thus, smartly weave these users into a paid subscription as well.
- Familiar Sights and Sounds –
Using calming sounds like the ocean, breeze, jungle sounds to personalize the experience for the user. Depending on what seems they prefer, you can offer them with packages they can use while meditating. This can also be extended to visual effects, with nature-inspired imagery and pictures used to enhance the whole meditating experience for the user.
Familiar sights and sounds give the user a more enjoyable experience, and they’ll look forward to visiting the app on a more regular basis. You can also use voice actors who have soothing voices to read out some of the material or content or have podcasts narrated by life coaches and other purveyors of serenity – like monks.
As a user discovers the app and arrives regularly, you need to have a section where you’re beta-testing or even introducing newer features. This will give them more reasons to fall in love with the app, and you can provide them with access to these features on the side. Free trials or discounted subscriptions are two of the options you can consider as rewards for users to discover more about the app.
Even when they’re not on the app, you need to keep them engaged and interested. You can have reminders every day before their scheduled session to prep them before they enter. You could also push them for a 5 to the 10-minute session to take their minds off work.
Notifications about new packs and subscription reminders can be done via push notifications. Discounts and giveaways can also encourage users to keep coming back. Also, motivational quotes and congratulatory notes about their progress are other ways to use push notifications well. Make sure that these notifications are in line with the overall design aesthetic discussed earlier!
You need to factor in the time it takes to create the app as well. From onboarding or recording the sounds, to actually coding all of the integrations, it will take time to get off the ground. Typically, an app like Headspace with all its functionality would take a few months, but a simpler version could take around 3 to 6 months to build, so factor that when you begin.
So, now you know the top features that you will need while developing an app like Headspace. We’re now going to dive into what will be the cost and timeline of building a meditation app.
Time and Cost to Build a Meditation App
Based on all the features listed above, our development team prepared a rough estimate of the time to develop. The idea here is to have a general ballpark of the potential cost to build a meditation app:
Now that we’ve covered how much developing a meditation app is going to cost you let’s dive into the next most crucial aspect.
How to Earn Money with your Meditation App?
Parts of this article already covered different scenarios and ideas on how you could potentially make money with an app like this. However, we decided to flesh it out a little bit more and list down all the possible options –
While this method is frankly quite outdated and may act as a point of friction for potential users, a lot of apps still tend to use this monetization model.
Arguably, this happens to be tried, tested, and one of the most successful monetization models. The idea is to give your users complete access to all features, as long as they pay for them on a monthly or yearly basis. This model is best for companies looking to maintain a steady cash-flow and profitability. E.g., Headspace subscription charges are $12.99/month and $94.99/year, while their competitor Calm and Welzen charge $59.99/year.
By implementing in-app purchases, you give your users unfiltered access to specific gated content. This can be moderately priced at $3 to $4 per purchase on top of your subscription model.
Ads happen to be the cash-cow for almost every successful app out there. This monetization model allows you to leave your app free on the marketplace, which in turn acts as a catalyst towards user acquisition.
Tips from the Development Team
Based on our experience over the last decade on building apps for Android and iOS, our development team compiled a series of tools that could be useful for all aspects of your project.
Staying mindful and enjoying life is the best way to live, and building an app to help you do so is a great idea. Work with the tools you have and continuously improvise – you’ll eventually get there!
Make sure you calculate everything required to create such an app well beforehand because it will help you understand your limitations and budget over the long term. From a development perspective, it is not very complicated or expensive and has proved to be one of the most profitable ventures for a lot of companies. Statista reports that the market for the meditation space is estimated to be around $ 1.21 billion, and it is predicted to be worth $2 billion by 2022.
Enjoy building it, including some unique features, and you’ll be well on your way to getting plenty of interested customers on-board. Get in touch with us for the rapid prototyping of your app development idea. We are well equipped to help you with your app development needs, and share an estimation in terms of costs and timelines within 24 hours.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea, and let’s build something together.