Take A Breath

Take A Breath

A Research Based Application Design


I was tasked with conceptualizing and designing a persuasive technology project through research of literature and user needs analysis, as well as applying theories of persuasion. I created Take a Breath, a program to improve health by reducing stress through guided breathing exercises.

Team: Solo class project.

Role: Research, design, & user testing. Created own personas, scenarios, sitemap, and wireframe.

Timeline: 5 Weeks

Tools: Justinmind, Adobe XD, Google Slides

The Process


Research in Existing Literature

I searched through recent literature and other health publications to justify the design of this application. A key finding was that guided breathing has been shown to reduce the body’s stress response, which can help improve other aspects of health such as blood pressure and immune system function. Heart rate is also associated with stress response and is easy to measure with wearable technology or the phone directly, so I decided to use that as part of the stress measurement.

Competitive and Comparative Analysis

I evaluated similar applications which were available in the Apple App Store.

User Survey and Interviews

I surveyed friends and family about key questions of interest related to behavior change mobile applications and had follow up interview style discussion with a few users. The users who provided feedback ranged from 23 years old to 65 years old and many of them had previously used some sort of health-related mobile app. Through user interviews I found there was a preference for mobile applications over desktop programs.

Multiple users identified goals, rewards, and notifications being key to them successfully utilizing the app and changing their behavior. Notifications and reminders were mentioned by most users; however they also emphasized the importance of being able to customize the notifications. Users emphasized disliking generic messages that come too frequently.

Some users also identified the desire for tracking data and providing results over time. They wanted to be able to see what days they had done sessions, as well as track their progress over time, such as by showing the change in heart rate or self-reported stress levels.

            A notable factor that prevents users from performing new behaviors is a lack of time. Many respondents also said they tend to forget to do the new unfamiliar behaviors due to busy schedules and lack of routine.


Prioritization of Features

board 2

Additional features to be included are variable rewards in the form of messages and badges, progression of complexity, personalized goal setting and tracking, and individualized push notifications and reminders. This will create just in time triggers which are most likely to engage the users.

User Elaborated and Full Task Analysis

Prototyping and User Testing


I created wireframes and then prototypes of a few key screens and functions of this app. With the help of Fogg’s Behavior Model, I determined that personalization, progression, and rewards were key aspects to increase user’s motivation, ability, and the effectiveness of the triggers.

First Iteration

Initial User Test

I performed informal usability tests with multiple users. I encouraged concurrent think aloud as they performed the task and the retrospectively probed by asking follow up questions. These results were taken in to consideration in the iterative design process and the prototypes were then adjusted according to the feedback. A key feedback was they wanted more information on their progress on the home screen and felt added stress seeing the information about other users.

Second Iteration

Removed descriptive input on pre and post session screen.

Third Iteration

Went back to lower fidelity wire-framing to focus on flows and processes and take the focus off of visual design for the next round of user testing. New Home page featuring more progress tracking and social integration and only keeping personal progress information on homepage.