Headspace's Privacy Review

July 23, 2018
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For most, smartphones have become an essential extension of the human body—we don't go anywhere without one. They give us the ability to communicate, navigate, and evaluate anything we want in an instant. But when you rely on any one thing too much, it becomes potent.

Reports bring to light the impact smartphones can have on our health: stress, addiction, and distraction. Smartphones are not the sole cause of these things, but they can contribute to it. Some people attempt a detox, go gray, or get rid of their phone altogether. But there is another solution, and ironically it is delivered right through your smartphone. It's called Headspace.

Headspace is a healthcare application that delivers mindful meditation to help people reduce stress and improve focus. But because some people are skeptical of meditation and self-improvement apps, trust and credibility are essential to Headspace's success. This is something Headspace takes seriously in all parts of their service including the way they deliver their privacy policy to their users.

Why this is really good UX:

  • Misdirection, a dark pattern, is a method commonly used to gain user consent without the user being fully aware of what they are agreeing too. This often looks like “By proceeding, you agree to our Terms & Conditions” with the Terms & Conditions conveniently hidden from view. But as users become more aware of privacy protection online, this method risks a product's trustworthiness and credibility—a risk Headspace does not take. Instead, Headspace brings their privacy policy to the fore to make it explicit and to obtain clear consent. Consistent with their brand, it shows Headspace puts the user's interests before their own.
  • The consent flow uses progressive disclosure—one question per screen—to help maintain the user's attention by reducing clutter, confusion, and cognitive workload. And like any good design, the interface provides feedback on where the user is (location) and what's to come (future status) with the progress indicator at the top.
  • Headspace conserves their brand image throughout the flow with UX writing and their trademark illustrations. References to meditation are made with phrases like “peace of mind,” the copy is to the point, the CTAs are unambiguous for clarity, and the graphics provide supporting visuals to the copy for a well-rounded experience.

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