Soulvana App Case Study

For a quick overview of our case study, please download our slide deck.

TEAM MEMBERS: Marybeth Daigle, Jessica D’Amico, Lori Dyer, Amber Spencer

PROJECT OVERVIEW: We had three weeks to choose a cause, execute a high-fidelity clickable prototype, and code one to three responsive webpages through FE development.

PROBLEM: Users curious about alternative healing and personal wellness need a safe place to diagnose their health and explore a variety of healing spiritual practices without criticism or skepticism. Many don’t know where to begin or where to find trusted resources.

SOLUTION: Soulvana is an app that recognizes the imbalances in a user’s energy and translates that data into a visual interpretation of a user’s energetic map. Aura photography is a visual experiment and controversial. It has been around since the 70’s with the invention of the Kirlian Camera which detected electrical input by touching plates and then producing an image using color to interpret those readings. While phone cameras are limited and can’t currently detect electromagnetic waves, phones CAN provide a baseline of your health with biofeedback such as your heart rate, respiration, muscle activity and temperature. That data is already utilized by other health apps, and it’s not unrealistic that the data could be visually interpreted and represented in the form of an aura. Aura photography is also a popular spiritual trend.

With Soulvana, users receive a visual interpretation of the their aura and then are provided with a variety of personalized recommended treatments and practices that work to improve mental health, overall wellness, and spiritual healing. They can learn about and choose from a variety of suggestions which include guided meditations, positive affirmations, tarot readings, and crystal starter packs. Users do not have to have any previous experience with alternative healing to get started. Soulvana makes it very easy and provides expert guidance and recommendations created for both the curious novice and the advanced practitioner.

  • Visual Interpretation Aura Readings
  • Personalized Spiritual Practice Recommendations and Treatments
  • Guided Instruction Videos/Blogs/Podcasts
  • Beginner Boxes or Monthly Subscription Boxes
  • Path to Improve Mental Health, Overall Wellness, and Spiritual Healing
  • Safe Community to Explore Alternative Rituals

OUTCOMES: Users have the ability to explore a variety of spiritual practices in a judgement free space. With guidance from the Soulvana app, users gain education, community, enlightenment, a broader world view, and a deeper level of self awareness and understanding leading to overall wellbeing.

The beginning of this project began with the group pitching ideas. What could people really use right now? What frustrates users? What would benefit users? A few ideas ranged from mentorship, paying it forward, cultural preservation, to addiction recovery… and then…

A conversation about faith and spiritual practices sparked an idea. How might we design an app that encompassed a variety of beliefs by offering education and community with respect, open mindedness, and guidance?

We began our research with a survey and then interviews.

SURVEY QUESTIONS:

  1. How spiritual would you consider yourself to be right now?
  2. Which of the options below best describe you (choose as many as you wish)

3. Are you interested in becoming more spiritual or furthering your spiritual journey?

4. Why do you think people turn to spirituality? Choose as many options as you like.

5. Which of the following spiritual practices might you be interested in learning a bit more about?

6. What goals might you like to achieve with your spirituality? Select as many as you like.

7. How might you potentially like to learn more about spirituality? Select as many options as you like.

8. What might stop you from investigating your spirituality further? Select as many options as you like.

9. In the future, how would you like to be, spiritually?

SURVEY SAYS:

Of the 90 people who took our survey:

Spiritual Practices People Are Interested In

69.9% meditation

43.8% yoga

28.8 Crystals

21.9 Chakras

32.9 Tarot

Why Do People Turn to Spirituality

58% to improve mental health

32.2% have broader world view

27.6% Feel enlightenment

How WouldYou Like to Receive Information Over Spirituality

Over 69% read articles or books

31% read blogs

32% videos

32% in person

In the future, where would you like your status to be with your spirituality?

56% interested in expanding spirituality.

23.3% would like to strengthen current practice.

10.5% would like to be significantly more spiritual.

22.1% would like to learn more about other practices.

What prevents people from taking spiritual journey further?

27.8% said they did not have the money

48.1% said they did not have the time

26.6% said they did not know where to start

27.8% said they were self conscious

32.9% were suspicious

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. Do you believe in God or a Higher Power? Tell me about your current beliefs. Have they changed over time?
  2. Do you consider yourself spiritual? What is spirituality to you? What inspires you spiritually?
  3. Are you satisfied with your current state of spirituality? Would you like to expand it?
  4. Do you combine spiritual practices, inspirations, techniques currently? Example: Catholic mass and Buddhist meditation
  5. Are you interested in knowing more about alternative spirituality, for example ancient spiritual wisdom, meditation, activating your psychic abilities, chakras, etc..? Anything specifically?
  6. Do you feel overwhelmed by the books, methods, religions, practices, information out there?
  7. Do you have friends you reach out to speak about spirituality? Do you wish you did?
  8. What resources do you currently use to nurture your spirituality, peace of mind, intuition?
  9. Would you like more resources to expand your consciousness, have more peace of mind, and find a better understanding of the greater reality we exist within?
  10. Do you currently have a spiritual practice? A schedule? What time of day, where, etc?
Bethany’s Protopersona
Blake’s Protopersona

Before designing anything, we needed to understand user motivations, so we started with our user interviews. We wanted to know what motivates our users and how we might be able to solve any frustrations they had. Our interviews included people devout to their faith who were curious about other spiritual practices but were concerned that they would be criticized for looking into unconventional practices to skeptics wary of religion. Some weren’t quite sure what they believed but were open to possibilities, and some liked the idea of blending spiritual practices with the understanding they didn’t have all of the answers.

We found golden nuggets of wisdom in these interviews and pulled them as our key takeaways. Spirituality and faith can be confronting for some, even illogical. The majority felt that spiritual practice increased their mental well-being, brought unity and belonging, and a deeper understanding of themselves.

Key Insights from Interviews
Affinity Map

As we brainstormed, we remembered our protopersona, Bethany. What does she think and feel? What does she see and hear? What might she say and do? We pulled data from our User Interview Insights to create an Affinity Map.

We categorized similar ideas from user interviews into clusters. We broke them into the following categories:

  • Self Awareness
  • Interests and Practices
  • Exercises
  • Skeptical of Spirituality
  • Wishes
  • Mentorship
  • Defying Mainstream
  • Complication of Spirituality
  • Personal History

These are the themes we chose to focus on as we brainstormed on designing an app that could help users in their spiritual practice.

Empathy Map

We needed to have a deeper understanding of the type of user who would benefit from our app and how we could prioritize their needs, so we focused on our protopersona, Bethany. We were inspired by the insights from our user interviews.

We envisioned Bethany was someone raised Catholic and was devoted to her faith. She regularly prays, reads her Bible, and goes to mass. She is very aware of her mental health. She visits a therapist, seeks mentorship and scours the internet to investigate new topics she become interested in. She loves learning and is curious about other spiritual opportunities she sees her friends participating in, but she has a nagging guilt about her interest, afraid that would imply she has doubt in the religion that has brought her comfort and understanding. She feels she is missing something and wants to have a better understanding of herself and the world around her. She is searching for a safe place to explore spiritual practices to add to her more comfortable and accepted religious practices.

Bethany’s User Scenario

In order to continue understanding a user’s barriers and motivations, we created a storyline, a user scenario, for Bethany. She is a middle aged divorced woman who works as a nurse. She has become increasingly burnt out during the Covid epidemic and wants to improve her wellness by incorporating new unconventional practices into her routine. Unsure where to begin and not confident she wants to share this desire with her friend circle, she browses apps from the comfort of her own home. She finds Soulvana.

In the end, Bethany decides she wants to delve into additional methods for spiritual healing. She uses the Soulvana app to scan her body and get a reading of her Chakra. The app provides her with suggested treatments including meditations, affirmations, crystals and more. She decides to test out the crystal starter pack and truly feels like her new practice benefits her wellness.

Value Proposition Canvas

We searched for ways to provide value by researching our user’s pains:

  • They feel like something is missing.
  • They don’t know where to get started.
  • They feel overwhelmed.

Our user is searching for solutions.

  • They want to find peace.
  • They want to find clarity.
  • They want to explore many different things.

Soulvana provides a repo of information and provides social connection. The information is provided in a judgement free zone, is easy to find and supplied by genuine partners. Providing self assessments and reminders helps users track their progress.

Value Proposition Canvas

In reaching our hypothesis statement, we revisited our problem statement.

PROBLEM: Users curious about alternative healing and personal wellness need a safe place to diagnose their health and explore a variety of healing spiritual practices without criticism or skepticism. Many don’t know where to begin or where to find trusted resources.

We began brainstorming a solution to this problem. What might we do to provide a safe and reliable resource for users interested in alternative healing?

Our Hypothesis Statement

We had an idea, but how are we going to make a business out of it? We used a Business Model Canvas to deliberate on how we could make revenue while also providing value to users. We could provide free readings, a podcast, a blog, a community forum, instruction videos, etc. While the majority of content would be available for free, users could subscribe to additional content with a subscription, purchase both digital and physical books from an available library, purchase pre-packaged boxes based of their interests (ie. crystals, meditation beads, essential oils), subscribe to monthly artisan boxes or pay for in person mentorship and tutorials.

While our app is unique in providing an aura scan, we searched through indirect competitors who offered similar content over wellness practices such as meditation, breathwork, affirmations, and spiritual awakening. These are the results to our Competitor Analysis.

Users were frustrated by paywalls that limited content. Monthly subscriptions were too pricey for redundant content.

Users appreciated brief content that ranged from basics to advanced.

Users wanted beautiful interface, simple instruction, intuitive applications, the ability to set their own goals, and broad options.

Users want community.

Users want trusted resources.

Users became overwhelmed and frustrated by apps that tried to cover all of the topics with content that overloaded the user.

As we brainstormed on what our app could offer, we let our imaginations run wild as we listed our “I Like, I wish, What If?”

We put it all out there…. what would we like to see or wish the app could be? What if there were no limits? What could we dream up? We liked the idea of a beautiful interface with happiness assessments, video libraries, meditations and accurate information. We wished to see personalized suggestions, a community forum, progress tracking, and access to mentorship. Our app really took shape when we thought of the “What If’s….” What if we had an interactive body map? What if we could include virtual reality? What if we could provide beginner kits to users who didn’t know where to start and what to purchase? What if the app could measure your vibrations to have a baseline assessment of your wellness?

I Like, I Wish, What If

To help us focus on which features we wanted to design, we used a Feature Prioritization Matrix to sort out what features we should focus on that would have the highest impact on users.

Feature Prioritization Matrix

Prototyping how the app would feel and function began with wireframe sketches and evolved into a more finished look with tested UI and flow. We tested and iterated as the project evolved, gathering feedback from users and applying it to our style.

Paper Prototype Sketches

We began brainstorming what this app could look like. We each sketched out a few screens of how we thought the app could function and blended them. After onboarding instructions, users would be led to scan their aura. Depending on the results of the aura reading, a personalized recommendation list of various practices would be supplied. Users could view or read about varying practices and opt to go even further into their journey by purchasing premade themed boxes. They even have the option to subscribe to a monthly box.

You can view our LoFi sketched prototype here.

Once we reviewed our sketches, we planned the structure of the design. We nailed down a user flow of how users would navigate through our app.

User Flow For Soulvana
Sitemap for Soulvana App

We tasked users with two challenges:

  1. Onboard by signing up and creating an account
  2. Scan your body and browse suggested options

LOFI RESULTS:

User A

  • Should include “x” or back arrow options
  • Thorough/easy to understand instructions
  • Label the instructions part to say “Instructions” so people will be more attentive to reading it
  • Break up 3, 2, 1 countdown into different slides
  • Suggested to make this part really cool since it’s one of the most interactive features on our app

User B

  • It’s not clear what to do on the first, opening screen
  • After the scan screen there needs to be either a button or automatic push to show results
  • Should we have a results screen?
  • I want to click on topics in the bottom nav
  • I want to click on shop in the bottom nav
  • I clicked a meditation, went through that and then got stuck!! Broken end! Need to be able to easily get back to recommendations without having to do another body scan.

User C

  • Slight confusion on how to submit and approve body scan.
  • Successfully completed tasks easily

User D

  • Well laid out

We spent time collecting imagery, typography, and colors that inspired us. We pulled from our InVision moodboard for inspiration as we designed our app. The logo includes the Lotus flower, which is recognized in many cultures as a symbol of new beginnings and enlightenment. We are all searching for meaning. Soulvana represents a blissful enlightenment and awakening, the opening and revelation of one’s deeper true self… one’s soul.

The petals each represent one of the following primary aura colors.

  • Red - Root or Base Chakra — Passion and Grounding
  • Orange — Sacral Chakra — Relationships
  • Yellow — Solar Plexus Chakra — Inner Happiness and Balance of Self
  • Green — Heart Chakra — Love
  • Blue — Throat Chakra — Communication
  • Indigo — Third Eye Chakra — In Tune With Higher Self
  • Purple — Crown Chakra — Intuition — Highest Level
Logo and Type
Color Schemes
Iconography
MidFi Screens

Now that we had knocked out our style guide, we started playing with the color and graphics in our MidFi prototype. You can view our MidFi prototype here.

MidFi Body Scan

MIDFI RESULTS:

User A

  • Some of the buttons are not super-effective, he had to click a few times to get them to work, so make the button clickable area bigger or at least consistent
  • He actually wanted to be able to click on all content visible on the screen, for example, all dreams, all products etc so for the hi-fi, make a page for everything
  • Overall positive, nothing really broken and seemed to make sense.
  • Time for hi-fi!!!

User B

  • Shop icon looks like a cart icon
  • In the recommendations, in the shopping area for starter packs, make it obvious it is for shopping. (note: use the word shopping) in there.
  • Want to click on everything
  • I got lost and want the recommended activities on my home page (note: let’s change ‘trending’ to ‘recommended activities’
  • Keep naming convention the same in all areas for recommended activities as they are different in the profile and content etc.
  • Let’s get real images etc.
  • Crystal starter pack page have a back button!

User C

Sign Up Feedback:

  • Easy
  • Makes sense
  • Loves the coaching screens and design
  • Body Scan & Suggestions Feedback:
  • Loves body scan
  • Loves concept and design layout — she likes that it’s visually calming and not overwhelming at all
  • Loves “Browse By Topic” feature
  • The more personalized things are, the better the app. Loves that it’s curated to the user
  • Overall feedback — very positive, easy user experience, excited for this app and concept

At this point in design, we began our A/B testing with UI, giving users the option to vote as to which layouts they preferred.

A. Onboarding Prior to Registering
B. Registering Before Onboarding

We learned users prefer to onboard prior to filling out registration to educate themselves more about the app features before providing personal information.

A/B Testing Body Scan

Users preferred a neutral background for the body scan imagery.

Iterations made between LoFi, MidFi and HiFi
Added HiFi Screen for Body Scan Results

You can view our HiFi prototype here.

Now that we had the app finalized, we needed to create our responsive website. The website will provide information on the app and provide a place to download the app.

Sitemap for Soulvana Website

Our responsive website can be found here.

Soulvana Home Page
About Soulvana
About Us
Analytics Report
Heatmap

We realize Soulvana is a futuristic app waiting on the technology to catch up to the idea. We covered a lot in the short amount of time we had to create an app. We would love to extend the UI library, fine tune transitions between frames, and expand content in the features.

We would love to see how an Apple Watch could utilize the scanning capabilities and provide feedback and tracking for users. Alerts could be an additional benefit to users when they needed a mental wellness check in or when their watch scanned and read poor energy fields. Another aspect we would love to add would be a gamification element that encouraged users to stay engaged.

--

--

--

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Design exercise: Investment portfolio

Top Graphic Design Software For Mac

Designifying a brand site

KYVE Stimulated Testnet

Digital Divide Design Sprint — Analyzing research to find learnings

Pendo Guides: How to Create Guides in Pendo and at What Cost [Alternatives Included]

Pendo Tooltips Guide

What is a Hydrophobic Coating?

Why seeing design like a puzzle can change the way you work

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Focal Point Design

Focal Point Design

More from Medium

Health application — Case Study

Case Study — WhatsApp Business for Local Shops

Case Study : Report Management in Citrix SDWAN Orchestrator Portal

UX Case: WeResearch website