UX solution: Calm app offline use

I’m going to nerd out for a bit, because I recently dove into goal mapping, and figured I’d apply it to my UX hiccup in using the Calm app. This is a followup to that original grumble.

How do I, as a designer, measure the effectiveness of my design work? Well, one way is to perform task analysis using goal mapping, which involves answering a series of multiple choice questions and evaluating how good the answers are. (Here I’m referring to the questions proposed by William Hudson, captured from one of the IDF lessons on Web Usability). His questions are as follows:

  1. How do users know their goal is attainable?

  2. How do users know what to do?

  3. How will users know they’ve done the right thing?

  4. How will users know they’ve attained their goal?

Possible answers, in order of worst to best:

Implicit Expectation: Other products or sites, real world experience (think of implicit memories based on experience)
Explicit Expectation: Previous personal experiences, external evidence like instructions
Indirect Match: Text or images on the screen, but not what the users expect
Direct Match: Text or images on the screen which do exactly what the user expects <— this is the kind of answer we, as designers, are looking to give as much as possible.

According to Hudson, the flow of goal accomplishment looks like this, where questions 2 and 3 are repeated for any necessary sub-tasks needing to be completed in accomplishing the parent goal.

The flow of goal accomplishment.

The flow of goal accomplishment.

So, let’s look at the goal I’d like to accomplish. Can I download the daily meditations for offline listening? Hudson's questions then become:

  1. How do I know I can download a daily meditation for offline use?

  2. How do I know what to do? (What is on the screen indicating to me what it is I can do?)

  3. How will I know I’ve done the right thing? (What feedback will the system give me?)

  4. How will I know I’ve downloaded a meditation for offline use?

Based on the current app, I’ve answered whether or not I can download a session by categorizing my experience as Implicit Expectation: I figured I could accomplish this goal because I’d seen the ability of other mobile audio apps to download podcasts, songs, or audio clips for offline use.

Here is the current session screen:

The Daily Calm audio clip with no Download feature.

The Daily Calm audio clip with no Download feature.

Do you see a way to download this clip for offline use?

Over the last several weeks, I’ve used the app more, and I am of course learning it. I’m getting to know what I can download and where those downloads are available for later use. Each category of sessions in the main nav — Sleep, Meditate, Music, and Masterclass — has its own “Available Offline” subnav item that is positioned all the way to the right as shown in my previous post’s video (where I horizontally scroll to the right). So, I’m realizing that I’m in a subset of users that is, at present, more interested in the daily 10-minute meditations that are located only on the Home screen. These are the ones I want to have available to me for offline listening, and currently there is no functionality that allows me to do that.

In order to implement this functionality, and improve my answer to be a Direct Match, there needs to be a clear indicator that the download function exists and is usable. It also needs to provide feedback. The following is a screenshot of my proposed adjustments to the UI. For a full interactive experience, play with my InVision prototype.

A potential solution, adding a Download feature to a Daily Calm audio clip.

A potential solution, adding a Download feature to a Daily Calm audio clip.

I’ve moved the settings icon to the top left, the favorites to the left of the clip controls, and added an icon indicating offline download to the right. When this icon is tapped, it turns blue (to indicate the clip has been downloaded) with a helper alert that tells me where to manage my downloads, and when tapped again, it toggles to white (to undo the download). I've also included an improvement to the Profile area where I can manage my archived downloads.

At this point, however, the next best thing would be to test this possible solution with other users, and observe how they complete this task. But for the sake of this small exercise, it was simply enough for me to write about the process. :)