Lumosity

Please tell us about your mobile solution or application, and help us understand what makes it noteworthy or exceptional.: 

Lumosity’s mobile apps offers a user experience that makes it convenient and fun for users to challenge and train their brain from anywhere and at any time. We have been iterating and testing our mobile experience since the beginning of the Apple iTunes App Store and have since found the right balance of mobile specific features and universal design principles. When we redesigned our mobile apps from the ground up in 2013, we incorporated these findings into creating an effective and pleasing user experience. The goal of the new mobile experience is to merge science with thoughtful design to encourage healthy habit formation by providing users with guidance, motivation and measurement during each session. To redesign the mobile experience, the Lumosity team gathered user feedback, conducted multiple rounds of testing, and refined the product through iterative design. The new apps allow users to tackle their workouts in pieces throughout the day. Whether on their commute to work, while waiting at the doctors office, or in line at the grocery store, the mobile design supports these brief interactions by providing shorter games and mid-workout guidance. In addition, unique device capabilities were designed specifically for one-handed interaction. For example, the app remains in portrait mode at all times and game buttons are pinned to the bottom of the screen near your thumb. This allows users to play in contexts when they may only have one hand free because they might be holding on to a bus handrail or a purse with their other. Lastly, the apps incorporate design decisions that allow the main content to shine, featuring clear visual hierarchy/layout, liberal use of whitespace, and bright/vivid colors to focus attention. These playful animations are used to enhance users' understanding of the main content and to add delight to their experience. These user experience design changes have driven the Lumosity mobile apps to boost mobile engagement 250% over the previous version, reach No. 1 in the Education category of the Apple iTunes App Store in nearly 40 countries, reach 25 million downloads overall, and be featured in the App Store in the U.S. and U.K.

What can others learn from how you conceived of and designed your mobile solution or application?: 

When Lumosity.com launched in 2007, it was one of the first research-based, scientifically designed consumer products to provide the tools and technology to challenge your brain. As our user base began to grow, we quickly recognized the need to expand onto mobile platforms and provide a convenient and fun solution for our users to challenge and train their brain from anywhere and at any time. Today, as a leading online brain training program, mobile is an integral part of our offering. Our mobile design and conception strategy centered around optimizing the mobile experience for games that excel on this platform instead of trying to force a web based game to work on mobile. One important lesson we learned was to design for the platform first. Through an iterative design process, we were able to recreate the web experience on mobile without forcing functionality or compromising design. For example, one of the tougher mobile decisions involved having fewer games on mobile. Some of the games available on the website version do not translate to mobile, including field of view attention games (e.g. Birdwatching and Eagle Eye), and verbal fluency word games that require a keyboard (e.g. Word Bubbles). We consider mobile and web games to be separate tasks because the input methods are different, which impacts game play. Instead of trying to force a web based game to work on mobile, we focused on optimizing the mobile experience for games that excel on this platform. In addition, a great deal of work is put in to ensure that Lumosity’s games are fun, but they are also based on a combination of common neuropsychological and cognitive tasks, many of which have been used in research for decades, as well as new tasks designed by our in-house science team. While we rely on science to guide our design principles, the platform and user experience ultimately dictate what can and cannot be done. Our strategy has proved to be successful and our mobile app has been extremely popular – it’s been downloaded over 25 million times in the last three years. We believe this shows a lot of user interest in our mobile product and we continue to invest heavily in mobile and are planning on expanding to additional platforms.

Please describe how the concept for your mobile solution or application came about, and what research, information, inspiration, etc. informed it.: 

Lumosity’s mobile design is based on neuroscience, user feedback, and our database of game plays. Lumosity’s games are based on a combination of common neuropsychological and cognitive tasks, many of which have been used in research for decades, as well as new tasks designed by our in-house science team. In 2012, we redesigned our iPhone app from the ground up. We spent a great deal of time conducting user testing - more user testing than we had ever done in the past. We talked to users about our design decisions and the way we did it. We got to see what they were excited about and what they missed about the old app, and tried to be responsive to everything we learned from them. Having these open, candid conversations with users gave us invaluable feedback that helped refine the concept and design of our product. These user experience design changes resulted in a 250% increase in mobile engagement over the previous version, Lumosity Mobile reaching No. 1 in the Education category of the Apple iTunes App Store in nearly 40 countries, 25 million downloads overall, and featured spots in the U.S. Apple iTunes App Store in 2013.

How does your mobile solution or application take advantage of the unique device capabilities, contexts of use, modes of use, and other factors to create a new and valuable experience or utility?: 

When building the Lumosity apps, we focused on design decisions that allow the main content to shine, featuring clear visual hierarchy/layout, our bright Lumosity color palette, and liberal use of white space. Additionally, we incorporated playful animations to enhance our users' understanding of the main content and to add delight to their experience. We also focus on ensuring that our apps allow users to tackle their workouts in pieces throughout the day. Whether on their commute to work, while waiting at the doctors office, or in line at the grocery store, the mobile design supports these brief interactions by providing shorter games and mid-workout guidance. In addition, unique device capabilities were designed specifically for one-handed interaction. For example, the app remains in portrait mode at all times and game buttons are pinned to the bottom of the screen near your thumb. This allows users to play in contexts when they may only have one hand free because they might be holding on to a bus handrail or a purse with their other. Closely aligning design decisions with our broader goals has helped us maintain a balance of mobile specific features and universal brand principles.

In what ways has your mobile solution or application benefited the lives and/or work of its users in ways that weren’t previously possible?: 

Lumosity is like a gym for your brain, and provides the tools and technology to challenge core cognitive abilities. Our mobile apps offer a user experience that makes it convenient and fun for users to challenge and train their brain from anywhere and at any time. Users can track their game performance over time, identify trends, compare themselves to others, and learn more about themselves. The goal of our product experience is to create the best and most accessible brain training experience for our users.

If applicable, how did you adapt your solution or application to differing platforms?: 

Lumosity is currently available on the web, iPhone and iPad, and designing a consumer product that creates a seamless user experience across these platforms can be challenging. One important lesson we learned was to design for the platform first.

How might your mobile solution or application serve as inspiration or a starting point for future innovations for mobile platforms?: 

The goal of our mobile experience is to merge science with thoughtful design to encourage healthy habit formation by providing users with guidance, motivation and measurement during each session. Lumosity also allows users to track their activity over time, identify trends in their performance, and compare themselves to others. We will be adding new platforms and features in the coming year that will enhance a user’s experience and provide them with more insights about themselves. However, our ultimate goal is to continue to create the best, most accessible brain training experience for our users.

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