I have no idea why I get so passionate about disliking this app. I know it’s loved by many, but every time I try to use it I get frustrated and angry instead of peaceful and centered. And this is one-time thing after which I just gave up. I’ve tried using it dozens of times because I feel like I should enjoy it. But each time I end up closing the app, having not done any meditation, and feeling even more frustrated than before.
Okay, let’s dive in. First of all, I was an early user. I loved it when it started. The interface made sense, and it served as a great introduction to meditation. I would just repeat the 10-day course and after subscribing I mostly used the sleeping meditations. I love Andie’s voice, so every time I did install it and used the sleeping meditation, it immediately brought me to a peaceful sleep. But not anymore…
My goals for using the app
Let’s look at my (few) goals when I use the app:
– Deepen my meditation practice.
– Just have peaceful meditations.
– My ideal duration is around 30 minutes.
– Aid in falling asleep.
First, the home page bombards me with suggestions. I fail to understand why I would want meditation suggestions when the app designers have no idea what I’m seeking. Additionally, the layout of the suggestions in a timeline format makes no sense to me. I simply want to relax, so why complicate things with four different, very short, options?
The app seems to be emulating the feel of Instagram: short, intense, and somewhat invasive videos. However, I don’t believe that 5-minute meditations are effective. It leaves me feeling unsatisfied, always wanting more and searching for something better. It keeps me in a perpetual state of trying to “find” something without actually providing the calm and serenity I desire.
Moreover, I struggle to find what I’m looking for. While the meditation titles may sound distinct, they are often very similar. This wouldn’t be an issue if the content accurately reflected the titles. The app feels cluttered, and I have to click on each meditation or soundscape to determine if I like the voice, subject, or music. Just make it possible to sample.
When I click on a meditation, I expect to find information and options before starting. Ideally, I would appreciate being able to hear a sample of the audio before buffering a 45-minute audio file. However, the screen with the information is only accessible once the meditation has started, forcing me to interrupt the speaker to check the details or make changes to the duration or voice. This annoys me.
The downsides of using it Offline
Naturally, when I want to meditate, I prefer not to be disturbed. So, I put my phone in offline mode. But what happens? A significant portion of the app stops working. I can start a meditation, but it abruptly stops halfway through because I forgot to download it. Additionally, one of the features I genuinely appreciate is the ability to track my meditation time. Unfortunately, this tracking does not work when I’m offline.
Calm and relaxing
Or not… The speed of the beginning of some of the meditations is way too fast. I’m trying to relax, please calm down. Helloandwelcometoanotherexcersize. Also, when you’ve finished a meditation, they end the meditation in a loud way. Can’t I just fucking enjoy the moment without you telling me to open my eyes and get on with my day? This is especially frustrating when I use a general meditation to fall asleep. Thankfully, the sleep meditations don’t have an explicit ending and let you sleep.
For these reasons, I think Headspace has become a whole lot of nothing.
Of course, it’s impossible for an app to cater to everyone, so I shouldn’t solely blame them. I’m just disappointed and frustrated when an app or tool tries to do too much and loses sight of its intended goals (at least, what I believe its goals should be). Maybe I’m completely mistaken about the app’s objectives in the first place, or perhaps I’m simply not the target audience. I don’t know. Sorry, Headspace, but I hope you can improve or manage expectations better so that users know what to expect when using the app.
Why do I talk about User Experience on my website? Is there a goal in writing these articles? I don’t know. Maybe I have a secret desire to build something better or just share my frustration with the world. In the future I’ll also try to share some great apps I love and why.