Exploring the Calm App: A UX Review

Join us on this journey as we explore the Calm app's features, usability, and overall impact on users.
Luke Hawkins
July 11, 2023


In today's fast-paced world, finding moments of tranquility and relaxation has become essential for many individuals. Calm, a popular meditation and sleep app, aims to provide users with a peaceful escape from daily stresses. In this blog post, we will delve into the user experience (UX) of the Calm app, examining its strengths and areas that could be improved. Join us on this journey as we explore the app's features, usability, and overall impact on users.

Lack of Free-to-Use Features

One of the first things we noticed about Calm is its shift away from providing free-to-use features. This change can be frustrating for new users who want to assess the app's value before committing to a subscription. It's puzzling because, as a content provider, Calm could benefit from offering a taste of what they have to offer. Numerous negative reviews citing the lack of free content indicate that users share this sentiment. While Calm may have data supporting their paywall strategy, it's essential to prioritise both profitability and a positive user experience.

Usability Issues

Moving on to usability, we encountered a few noteworthy issues within the Calm app. For instance, the lack of specific feedback when setting a password can confuse users, as they might not understand why their password is not accepted. Clear and concise error messages would significantly enhance the overall user experience. Additionally, minor UI inconsistencies, such as overlapping text in the terms checkbox, could be addressed to improve the app's polish. Implementing better monitoring systems might help prevent such simple mistakes and create a smoother user flow.

Positive Aspects - Stats and Gamification

On a positive note, Calm incorporates stats and gamification elements, which add an interesting twist to the user experience. Gamification can be a powerful tool for engagement, and it keeps users actively involved with the app until they experience its true value. This approach is particularly crucial for Calm, as regular engagement is key to reaping the benefits of mindfulness practices. By leveraging stats and gamification, Calm encourages users to maintain a long-term relationship with the app and maximise its positive impacts on their well-being.

'How Are You Feeling?' Modal

Let's delve into the intriguing "How are you feeling?" modal within the Calm app. The use of inbuilt emojis mimics the way people express emotions on instant messengers, making it easy for users to select the appropriate emotion. However, the modal requires multiple clicks to proceed, which could be streamlined for a smoother user flow. Nonetheless, the option to update or modify the input on the Home Screen adds flexibility and ensures users can refine their selection as needed.

Onboarding Process

Calm's onboarding process deserves commendation for its simplicity and user-friendly approach. It consists of only a few easy steps, allowing users to get started effortlessly. The questions asked during onboarding are relevant and serve a clear purpose, explaining why certain information is required. The empathetic language used in posing these questions creates a comforting atmosphere, inviting users to open up about their needs and preferences. Although the absence of an "all of the above" option might limit some users, it encourages more specific responses for better content curation.

Irrelevant Content Images

Unfortunately, we found that many of the content images in Calm lacked relevance and failed to provide informative previews. Thumbnails play a crucial role in attracting users to specific content, and the current images might not effectively convey what users can expect. While creating numerous relevant thumbnails might be a time-consuming task with little immediate return on investment, alternative approaches such as using tags or icons could improve the user experience and engagement.

Content Segmentation

One of Calm's standout features is its effective content segmentation. With a vast library of content, the app intelligently curates and delivers relevant materials to users. This approach combats choice paralysis and content fatigue, ensuring personalised and valuable experiences. The specificity of answers provided during onboarding, differentiating between similar feelings like stress and anxiety, contributes to the app's ability to offer a tailored experience. By segmenting content into easily navigable categories, such as guided meditations and sleep stories, Calm empowers users to explore and select content that resonates with their needs.

Digital Empathy

Lastly, Calm excels in creating a sense of "digital empathy" for its users. Through its onboarding process and tailored content, Calm fosters a personalised experience that makes users feel understood and supported. By addressing users' unique needs and preferences, the app helps create a more meaningful and impactful journey toward calmness and relaxation.


In conclusion, the Calm app offers users a tranquil sanctuary in a chaotic world. While there are areas for improvement, such as the lack of free-to-use features and minor usability issues, Calm shines in its onboarding process, content segmentation, and ability to create a sense of digital empathy. As technology continues to intersect with mental well-being, Calm strives to provide a holistic and immersive experience for its users. By leveraging user feedback and focusing on enhancing the overall UX, Calm can further solidify its position as a go-to app for mindfulness and serenity.

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