It is estimated that the value of the meditation market is about $2 billion, double of that in, 2017, $1 Billion. In 2018, consumers spent $32 million on Mindfulness Apps like Calm and Headspace. In 2019, the top 10 meditation apps grew revenues to $195 million.
The d/Deaf are often forgotten and overlooked when it comes to problems faced by a minority disability group. Meditation apps are great for the hearing, although, what about individuals that are deaf? How do they hear if they cannot hear? What types of accommodations are there for them?
What it does
The PeaceTree Meditation App is designed for individuals that are d/Deaf and hard of hearing. It uses ASL to guide individuals through meditation, in addition to providing visual, sensory, and light cues for users to know when to breathe, listen, and relax, practicing mindfulness. Transcripts are provided, in addition to a set of hands that signs in ASL and guides individuals through meditation.
Users create an account to access the app, and have the resources to start their ASL Guided Meditation. The app will ask how the user is feeling, and will user the user's response to make recommendations. Users will also see a list of upcoming guided meditation sessions to choose from as well. The app will track the user progress, charting daily, weekly, monthly, and annual progress.
The ASL guided meditation features an interpreter signing and saying the instructions. A transcription is also provided on the screen. Another option users have is the use of sensory cues, instructions will appear on the screen, and the user will then close their eyes, and let the dimming of the light, and the brightness of the light guide their breathing. There is also an option to view a visual cue, such as a picture expanding and deflating to focus on breathing.
Live classes are also another option as well.
How we built it
We talked to a few friends in the d/Deaf community to understand challenges they face on a regular basis, and those in meditation, specifically, a meditation application. Miro was used to create the user profiles, user stories, and a place to store our research and findings. It was also a place to keep our original sketches of our prototype. After finishing the paper sketches, we moved to Figma to create our mobile app mock up and MVP.
Challenges we ran into
We had originally wanted to create a video with a person signing and speaking, so that users could see the ASL sign and read the person's lips. We then decided to use just the hands, with text on the bottom. Having animations could also signal breathing in and out as well. Figuring out how to communicate without sounds was a learning curve for us, as it was something that we hadn't considered ourselves, and was really fascinating to learn about how we could meet the needs of the community.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Researching and learning about the challenges that d/Deaf community members face. Using the information to create a solution to help community members to relax and feel refreshed. Researching and using miro to create user profiles and designing a product that is both beautiful, calming and functional.
What we learned
We learned about the experiences of people in the d/Deaf and hard of hearing community, and the many challenges that they face, that we take for granted. We had never thought that deaf people would have a hard time concentrating (Concentration fatigue) and straining to listen to a guided meditation. Now we understand why there is a need for apps like ours, and hope that there are more accommodations made for people in the d/Deaf community.
What's next for PeaceTree Meditation
Building out PeaceTree Meditation into a full fledged app, testing it, and adding in features that users like and find useful. Rolling out the product organically through influencers and word of mouth, and expansion across the USA.