Chroma Experience


Mindfulness in the user experience

Through yoga hype and meditation apps, the practice of mindful awareness is becoming more and more widespread. You can say that the term mindfulness has become very popular at the moment. Especially in a time when we are confronted with unlimited information, this is not surprising. Scrolling through the timelines of our social media apps in every free minute, or being distracted from our actual work by notifications and video calls in the home office, is probably part of everyday life for most people.

So mindfulness is something we think about or something we may even already practice. But what about in digital product development? Can we benefit from the insights of mindful awareness to create better products? Let's take a look.

Hemd, Kaffee, Pflanze als geringe Ablenkung neben dem Handy für Achtsamkeit

What does it mean to be mindful?

The term mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism. If you now think that you can only practice it while sitting in lotus position in front of a Buddha statue, you are wrong. Mindfulness means not much more than intentionally paying attention to what is happening in and around us in the present moment. The important thing is that we only observe and refrain from judging what we perceive in any way.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness is moment-to-moment present, non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by being attentive.

Focusing on the small details that surround us is the basis of the practice. However, it becomes more difficult with the second part, namely not to name, judge, reject or hold on to these details. Both components of mindfulness, however, can be trained wonderfully.

Overcoming prejudices

Observing without prejudice can be a key to getting to know the users of a digital product more closely. It often happens that we apply our own experiences and assumptions when thinking about the problems of others. But if we manage to listen to users without prejudice and with an open mind, and avoid applying our own standards to what is said, it is possible for us to develop sustainable solutions that better address the user's problems.

Empathy is the key

Mindfulness teaches us not only how to observe without prejudice, but also empathy and compassion along with it. It is these qualities that can help us in user testing and interviews to put aside our own prejudices and develop a more open and appreciative attitude towards others. This allows UX researchers and designers to focus on the information gained and interpret it in the users' best interest.
If we take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, we also have the chance to question them in a continuous process and to acknowledge that there are problems. Problems with users, with products, the workplace or the environment. With this insight, we can now start to be more empathetic and develop a mindset to do things better. In product development, we can use empathy to check how our ideas affect ourselves, society, the environment, and the future.
If we as UX designers are not truly open and value-free, we have a hard time building trust and relationships. Because it is precisely these that we need in order to conduct meaningful interviews and design successful products on this basis. Designers and developers will also have a hard time working together successfully and sustainably if they are not able to communicate effectively with each other, acknowledge each other's perspectives, and practice patience.
In addition to focusing on others in a non-judgmental way and developing empathy towards them, we must not forget to keep ourselves in mind as well. We should take time to question our motivations, communicate our personal problems, and make sure we stay in good mental and physical health. Because every relationship we have is, an extension of ourselves.
Empathy skills are therefore a prerequisite for a self-reflective mindset, a deeper understanding of others, and therefore the key to a successful user experience.

Keeping the focus

As mentioned earlier, focusing on what's there right now is the elemental component of mindfulness. Keeping track of the various design phases, user testing, and analysis across many iterations is often difficult. Mindfulness training can help us in the UX process focus on the aspects of our work that are important right now, but without losing sight of the overall goal.
We can also apply this understanding of focus in user testing. When users navigate through digital applications, this is mainly driven by intuition and evolutionary frameworks. For UX designers, it is important to recognize when a user's attention breaks off and how we can prevent this circumstance. Focusing on important interaction elements that lead the user to the goal without distraction can be a solution. This is where we can apply the principles of mindfulness, allowing the user to stay focused in order to complete their task.

Learning to let go

The secret to good design is knowing what to leave out. If we apply mindfulness principles to design, we can more easily free ourselves from features, specific design elements, desired outcomes, and problem solving. Distancing ourselves from the outcome gives us the opportunity to design excellent things. In yoga, there is the principle of "non-attachment." It is the idea of doing the best that is possible and what you think is right, but not seeing the outcome as the key to happiness. So when there is less at stake, we can be more creative and open to new aspects.
The need for perfection also often gets in the way of good results, because perfectionism is all about ego. If our satisfaction depends on avoiding shame and guilt when we create a less than perfect solution, we harm ourselves and stand in the way of innovation. Mindfulness practice can help us let go of this entitlement and focus on the important tasks at hand.


The products we design are not separate from ourselves. Our experiences and inner attitude contribute to how we work and interact with others. To design better products, we need to put people at the center. In the sense of "user-centered design", it is not enough to think only about the users; we must also include ourselves in this creative process. So it's a holistic approach that incorporates internal and external factors to drive innovation and make UX work more sustainable for designers and society. Mindfulness and empathy can be a valuable help to us in this process.