Mindfulness Students Become Tech Testers
mindfulness app for teachers

In last week’s blog post  we talked about the creation and development of the Inner Strength app and this week we’ll do a little bit of a deeper dive into that process. There are a lot of things to be aware of when undertaking a project like this – functionality, need/value, accessibility, and if it’s actually useful to the target population. Since our app is being developed for teens, we thought, “Well, what better way to test this process than authentically with the very students who would be using it? At the same time, we could provide a learning opportunity and job skills training for teens as mobile app beta testers.” 17 student interns from two high schools thoroughly tested the app and gave us a lot of valuable feedback. 

Here’s where it gets interesting. From the consumer standpoint, we see an app, we open it, we use its contents and then we close it. From a developer’s standpoint, however, there are so many steps to get from point A to point B that a consumer doesn’t think about. Further, there are so many steps that a developer has to consciously think about in order for the consumer to even want to go from point A to point B. 

For example, here are some of the questions that Lina Blanchet, Mobile App Content Designer, developed for the welcome and login screens alone:

-Is the experience welcoming and inviting?

-Are the colors appealing?

– Are the images appealing?

– Did you find it easy to create an account?

Food for thought, right? And if you’re like me, then you might find yourself thinking about the apps on your own phone and musing, “That welcome screen is inviting” or “Huh, creating an account for that game was stupid and had too many steps, so I never bothered to finish signing up.”

Even questions as seemingly simple as “Do you like the font?” actually turned out to be more in depth than one would expect.

Responses ranged from simple: “Yes.” …to mildly humorous: “Yeah, it’s the right size.” …to surprising: “It’s legible but feels robotic.” Those are the kinds of elements that must be considered when trying to make a project like this appealing, usable, attractive and user-friendly.

There was one more thing we realized we needed to know, though, and that was if the testing process actually made an impact on our teen interns (all of whom had completed the core 12 week Inner Strength School Program). I will leave you this week with what one student who had to say about his experience:

“Testing the Inner Strength Mindfulness App was one of the best experiences in my life. I got hands-on experience in testing an app, which will be very useful later on. The app itself is also helpful to me as a person. I have struggled with my own mental health for years. So, I can say that just testing the app improved my overall mood and motivation as I’ve never seen before. I genuinely believe this app will grow into a great tool for teens and adults alike to use to make themselves better.”

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