Mindful Powers™ is like a super power for kids when they feel like their brain is overloaded!

The Ask

With a deep history of creating content for the youth market, Smashing wanted to create a digital experience for kids that helped to tackle some startling trends we were seeing: childhood anxiety is on the rise and the tools kids need to cope aren’t readily available. This leads to complex issues within kids in which they have difficulty self-regulating emotions, especially difficult emotions, like anger, stress, or anxiety.
Jessica Barnes, Creative Director, and Anna Ho, Associate Director of Strategy, sought to create a digital experience that addressed these complex challenges. As Smashing’s leading experts in the youth, healthcare, and education markets, they sought a skills-based methodology that was not only based on science, but put kids in the driver’s seat. Mindfulness, the ability to be aware of what’s happening with one’s emotions at any given time without getting carried away by them, became the basis for a mobile application that would act as a superpower for kids when they felt like their brain was overloaded.

“After it calms down, it calms you down.”

STEM school student

The Actualization

The concept for Mindful Powers centered around the hypothesis that kids would feel calm after smoothing and soothing a central character, named Flibbertigibbet, in conjunction with voice-guided mindfulness stories. Kids begin their mindfulness journey with Mindful Play – a series of progressive voice-guided stories that teaches them how to master the power of mindfulness. Before each story kids sooth their Flibbertigibbet, who is in an agitated state, with the touch of their finger. This sensory-based repetitive interaction triggers the body’s rest and digest response, helping kids relax and regain focus. In addition to Mindful Play, we created Focus Time – a Flibbertigibbet-led self-set timer that helps kids set mental parameters around a given task by applying designated focus time until the task is completed.
To validate that a mindfulness approach for kids was a much-needed tool, we tested prototypes with kids in the target age-range of 7-12 year olds with on-site and at-home user testing. Taking it a step further, we demonstrated the prototype with 26 kids in 3rd and 4th grade at a Seattle-based STEM school. Along with validation from both kids and their parents during user testing, it was also imperative to us that we consult outside experts in the health and behavioral sciences field.
Throughout the development of Mindful Powers, we worked closely with our consulting partner, Dr. Roger Vilardaga, a clinical psychology and Assistant Professor at Duke University. As a leading practitioner of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which shares numerous commonalities with mindfulness, Dr. Vilardaga substantiated that “Mindful Powers is not a cookie cutter approach to mindfulness. Based on contextual behavioral science and inspired by an approach to therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, it recognizes that mindfulness is a skill and technique that can be learned in small bits that are gradually presented and trained. Mindfulness is an important life skill that everyone ought to have.”

“It’s incredible how different their energy is before and after.”

Parent of 7 & 9-year-old

“I would tell my friends that this app is a way to help you calm down through tough days, when you’re frustrated.”

Child tester
The Accolades

Services

  • Value Proposition Definition and Validation
  • Business strategy
  • Character development
  • Script writing
  • Concept Testing
  • Expert Interviews
  • Kid and Parent Surveys
  • In-Lab Play Testing
  • Classroom Observation
  • In-Home User Testing
  • Focus Groups
  • Research
  • Motivational UX
  • User Experience Design
  • User Interface Design
  • Animation
  • Agile Software Development
  • iOS Development
  • Apple technologies utilized: Gyro & Accelerometer, iCloud, Haptic Feedback, IAP, Local Notifications, and Metal
  • Android Development
  • Quality Assurance

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