"More than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health has gotten worse during the period of lockdown restrictions" (Mind National Survey, 2020)
UOVO stemmed from a personal interest in Mindfulness, after experiencing stress and uncertainty during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Mindfulness (as defined on the NHS website) is “paying attention to what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment, [in order to] help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better”. Such an awareness can be useful in getting us to notice signs of stress, anxiety or depression earlier, and deal with them more effectively.
The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been multi-faceted, with Mind highlighting above the negative impact it has had on people’s mental health and wellbeing. It has also led to unprecedented changes in regards to social connectivity and ways of working, all arguably with more reliance on technology, and therefore more screen time. The effects of this are not only limited to the physical, but also to increased levels of stress and loneliness, and lower levels of motivation.
With the collective above in mind, I wanted to design a way for people to disconnect from their devices through mindful practice, thereby allowing them to take stock of and monitor their own stress levels better in extraordinary times.
UOVO represents over a year’s worth of design research and development. My research began by delving into the science of stress, and how it affects people on a daily basis. From there, I conducted a survey of 53 international participants from a variety of backgrounds, questioning them on their understanding of the importance of mental health and wellbeing, their stressors, and their stress coping mechanisms. This allowed me to see that there were three key unmet needs that needed to be addressed: Stress Awareness, Stress Prevention, and Stress Reduction.
The results of the survey allowed me to inform six personas, which were then whittled down to three to address target markets. From these, I began my concept creation, drawing on the persona themes of any subsequent product needing to be tangible, grounded in the physical world, portable, and readily accessible at all times.
UOVO is a mindful companion for those who are struggling with their stress levels and are put off by the screen-based Mindfulness offerings available. UOVO is tactile, and enables people to access Mindfulness in a playful and intuitive way by using light and touch to guide meditation and breathing exercises.
UOVO has three key features that are designed to help both those that are new to Mindfulness as well as those who are more advanced in their practise:
"It’s something which helps you to be present and focus on what you're doing. Focus on your body, touch, maybe your breath. It's an alternative to engaging through a digital medium, or doing something through a screen. Essentially to help you de-stress and aid meditation, whatever that means to you."
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