Designed to combat anxiety and help you clear your mind, Pause is part game, part digital lava lamp. As players slowly drag their finger across the screen, a blob of animated ink grows. Drag too quickly, however, and its progress ceases.
The design of the game is beautifully simple: Nothing flashes or pops up on the screen—it’s all about slow, fluid movements.
The new app was invented by UX designer Peng Cheng as a way to deal with his own stress. Cheng, who practices tai chi, wanted to develop an app that mimicked the languid, deliberate gestures of the martial art. Initially, he struggled to find a meaningful way to incorporate those gestures into an app. “Every one of us can move our finger slowly and gently around a smartphone screen but there’s no meaning to it,” he told WIRED.
Eventually, though, he came up with Pause, which has enough structure to keep your attention, but is free-form enough to let you relax your mind. “You can just move your finger randomly as long as it’s slow and continuous, and gentle,” Cheng explained. “The user doesn’t have think about, how do I move it?”