Digital Wonderlab has been first class in working with us from the outset - from the scope phase onwards, it’s been a true partnership: they have been diligent in the process, adding strategic value all the way. They have gone above and beyond in helping us get ready to deliver our new app to the world.
The brand story
Established in 2016 by founders Jamie Watkins and Gelong Thubten, Samten is a meditation and mindfulness app that is grounded in Buddhist beliefs, supporting beginners and experts alike with accessible and relatable guidance into meditation practice, helping to establish positive mindfulness as part of daily routines.
“Samten” is the Tibetan word that refers to meditations or meditative state, a place the organisation hopes many people will aspire to include in their everyday life to work in harmony alongside kindness and empathy to ourselves, each other, and the world at large.
For Samten, meditation is a journey: one that should be embarked on at the right pace for everyone. Its dedicated service encourages users globally to work towards personal progression, with a program that serves as the perfect antidote to hectic modern lifestyles.
With over 70 million working days lost each year due to mental health problems in the U.K. alone, costing employers more than £2.4bn per year, it was time to bring a solution to provide self-help enabling people to develop their own mental health and wellbeing plans to cope with the world around them.
Samten needed to find the right digital partner to relaunch its meditation app solution to market, delivering an enhanced version that would build on key learnings from a disappointing first iteration and provide a better user experience.
With bold ambitions, Samten recognised the importance of a clear digital roadmap to ensure future success: one that would help the business to realise its ambitions to grow at scale at a time when mindfulness was in high demand globally with the plethora of mental health challenges the world is facing. Solid foundations needed to be laid for an innovative long-term commercial proposition, enabling Samten to look ahead to the future possibilities with confidence.
Success criteria built in from the very outset included enhancing the user experience on both iOS and Android phone app, so it was bug free, elegantly designed, and intuitive for people to engage with. It is intended to compete and outpace some of the competitors on the market.
Importantly the existing users need to seamlessly transition into the new app with ease, as ultimately, we are aiming to ensure future investment and scaling of the app is predetermined and will form part of the Samten ecosystem.
Taking our time to explore the existing Samten app with the team and beneficiaries of current and potential unaccustomed users, we embarked on the scoping phase and quickly realised that there was a myriad of issues from an experience standpoint that needed to be overcome - from navigation to content accessibility, the original Samten app, which broke with conventional wisdom, simply wasn’t connecting with audiences in a meaningful way.
Throughout the discovery, wireframe and solution design process, our focus was on the meditation journey that users would embark upon - making it as seamless and supportive as possible, with beautifully crafted technology that flows naturally for practitioners. A simple and effective visual redesign of the app by Inspiretec in Cardiff provided the basis for what would become version two of the app, brought to life by Digital Wonderlab.
“It makes all the difference in the world to work with a partner company who really understands your needs, and that of the audience; Nathan and the Digital Wonderlab team have done a terrific job of grabbing hold of this project and bringing a creative vision to life. What we have now is ‘night and day’ compared to the first iteration of the Samten app: it’s completely revitalised our core meditation content and made it accessible and engaging to a far wider audience.”
Simon Delve - CEO, Samten
UX and UI is fundamental to the success of the new Samten app. We took the time to explore and understand user needs and their meditation motivations to deliver a digital solution that supports individual journeys towards deep mindfulness practice.
There are a few key features which were fundamental in the creation and building of the app to ensure it would perform well from the start:
- Engaging and elegantly designed native app, available for mobiles
- Users access and sign up vis open ID or email
- Onboarding process for users to ensure they get the most from the experience
- Access to freemium and premium content, and progress through session based on video introductions
- Personal progression support through encouragement via prompts, reminders, notifications, and insights to aid practice
- Availability to a catalogue of sessions based on categories and ability levels
- Ability to access content online and offline through downloaded audio sessions
- An admin area to manage app and user information
Our approach to the build of the application entailed a repurposing of the data base structure, where enhanced tables were needed to support the new native app and the API services alongside the auth server. It has been deployed through Azure using a series of iterations where we took time to “test and learn” with key users around their experiences of each section through on-going feedback and new releases.
“Working with Digital Wonderlab has been a breath of fresh air. They listened and worked with us to develop version 2, offering ideas along the way. The work that they have done on the UI and functionality is second to none. The values of Samten and Digital Wonderlab are very much aligned in wanting to help and make a significant difference in people’s lives. Digital Wonderlab are not just a partner, they are a trusted part of our team.
John Jepson - Sales Director, Samten
The enhanced, user friendly app is a sizeable digital transformation and leap forward for Samten and its users - with plans in the pipeline for the app to evolve into a web accessible platform soon.
It is a core part of Samten’s wider tech ecosystem, directly supporting the business’ future ambition to build a global compassionate community, one breath at a time, and help corporate organisations by offering its meditation expertise as a wellbeing benefit to their employees. The longer-term scope, vision, and future possibilities for the enhanced app - which will benefit from further growth and enrichment - well and truly meets the scale of Samten’s big ambitions for the future: to deliver authentic meditation and mindfulness content globally.
Digital Wonderlab is proudly invested in Samten’s future success, both as a long-standing business partner and with our Chief Wondermaker Nathan, serving as CTO for the business, providing strategic and collaborative guidance and senior support.
For hosting provision and data infrastructure, Microsoft Azure was chosen as a platform due to its ability to quickly scale to suit demand on the system and the ability to automate tasks and services.
The website was built using Umbraco CMS which gave Samten a feature rich and easy to maintain website to support the app.
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