I'm working on a mobile app and deciding about whether to change the name of the button from play to start. This controls the circle as shown below.

At the moment it's play and stop but do you think start and play sounds better. What would the best use of language be and do you think these buttons work well together?


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Have you asked some active meditators about this?

I don't have any hard research on this (and I practice meditation), but Start implies there's a Stop or Finish, a finite end to a meditation session.

Play is often more oriented to the consumption of content. I 'play' a song, and I listen passively (or dance). It's opposite is often pause.

Start or Begin implies more participation on behalf of the user. I'm starting on a journey (the meditation session itself).

Does your app use cycles of mindfulness with pauses in between? In that case Play / Pause may be more appropriate.

  • Thanks for the answer, there's no pauses so I guess I'll just use Start and Stop. – Ned Bayne-Powell Nov 5 '17 at 21:21

Since the user will be starting an activity, i.e., the meditation, it is definitely start and stop. Play is associated with music and media where the end activity is actually playing some sort of media. Everything in your app is an extension of the end action you'd like the user to perform.

Assuming it's play, here's the users internal subconscious dialogue. I see play, what am I playing? This thing? Why? To start meditating?

Compare this to: Start. What am I starting? Meditation? Ok, Start.

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