Continued from Part 1 As App Creators, we believe in keeping our tools sharp and exercising our creative passion for solving real world problems with Mobile Apps. So with our...
“Getting your habits in check can change lives. Getting the right balance between those that you should do more of, and those you should do less of is crucial – while maintaining good habits for the long term can be difficult in our busy, saturated lives.”
As an entrepreneur with a hectic schedule, it can be really difficult to spend enough time on the little things that can have a big impact. Just eating healthily, getting exercise, sleeping properly and cutting down on vices like Alcohol or Coffee can have a huge productivity boost and improve creativity and mood. Being a big fan of Quantified Self (I love Nike+ – especially my fuel band and apps like Sleep Cycle & Cardiio) I was confidant that with the right App I’d be able to make big changes to my overall set of behaviors, so I started the search.
Firstly, I discovered that this is a pretty well served market – there are a lot of great solutions out there, from social habit trackers like Lift, to a plethora of streak-based habit Apps. The former use social pressures as a way to incentivise good habits, with the community supporting and encouraging each other to keep up the good work. The latter rest on the ‘streak’ theory of habit setting, which goes along the lines of “If I can do this three days in a row, then I’m more likely to do the fourth and fifth days to create a long running streak”.
Digging a bit deeper, however, I realised that there was a large amount of feedback on these apps which went along these lines:
- I want to do a habit more than once a day, and the App doesn’t let me set this
- The interface is too complicated
- I want to do this daily, but only during the weekdays
The fundamental problem here, is the complexity of balancing the flexibility of setting a plethora of parameters for all the different ways that people run their lives with the simplicity required for a usable App.
Realising that, personally, I needed an App that would be extremely simple to use, and that I didn’t want to spend a bunch of time configuring a plethora of options – we decided to set about creating frictionless Habit tracker, and thus Zince was born!
The solution we envisaged was based on the common behaviour that when we start a new habit, we’re pretty good at getting started, but keeping it going is where the challenge lies. So we created Zince to learn from the early stages of setting a new habit, and then prompt you when you’re not keeping up. Supported by our unique AI engine then, Zince can learn the following:
- Which days of the week do I do this?
- How often do I do this?
- What time of day do I do this?
- When should I do it next?
Using this information, Zince can get you going with two simple gestures:
- Pull to create a new habit
- Tap the circle every time you do it
Zince will then do the heavy lifting, start learning your behaviour and supporting you in the future with friendly and timely prompts.
Realising that I also have bad habits, and just in general would like to track certain things in life, we then added the ability to choose different profiles for a habit – so you can select between Do More, Track This and Do Less. Each habit is supported by a detailed screen which shows the log of all times you’ve done this habit. You can also add notes to each log, in order to support looking back on behaviours to identify the cues and triggers that influence me. This information will become more and more useful over time, and we’re already investigating ways to use this information in the AI engine to help provide you with great insights.
Zince is now available on the AppStore as a free download, allowing you to manage up to 3 habits. A simple In-App Purchase allows you to unlock more habits depending on your needs. This is our minimum viable product (MVP), and we’ll be learning from our users on how to improve it for future versions. Some ideas we already have for future versions:
- Simple trend graphs to show if I’m doing something more / less than I used to
- Search – for those with a large number of habits, checking in to the right habit would be easier with a quick search
- Social sharing – to share my progress with friends, and get their support and encouragement
- iCloud backup / sync
- iPad version to provide more detailed insights – using iCloud to sync with the iPhone version
- Location based habits – so the AI engine can learn where you do something, as well as when.
- To delete a habit log, swipe to the right over the log on the habit’s detail screen. To change the time associated with the log, tap on the log and choose the data & time for when you did the activity.
- Add information to your habit logs by tapping the pencil icon and giving a short description. This can be really helpful for reviewing your progress in the future.
- Zince assigns random colors to your new habits. You can change individual colors by tapping the color palette icon in the habit’s detail screen – keep tapping until you find a color you like! You can also randomly reset multiple colors by shaking your iPhone while looking at the habit table. All the colors for the current group of habits will be randomly chosen. Keep shaking till you find a combination you like!
- Zince understands the difference between things you want to do more of, and things you want to do less – or things you’re just interested in tracking how often you do them. You can check or change your setting for each habit on the habit’s detail screen. Zince will then sort your habits into relevant groups which you can select from the left-hand group menu.
Getting the most out of Zince
- Zince makes it really easy to create new habits, just pull down to create a new one and give it a name. Sometimes we just need to remember something, or know how long it has been zince something happened – use the “Track This” group to create habits for these activities. For example:
- “Lent my iPod Touch to my sister”
- “Remember to buy milk on the way home”
- “Got sunburnt”
- The more habits you track, the more you’ll remember to do your good habits. By using Zince regularly, the visual prompt of seeing your good habits there waiting for you can be enough to encourage you to do them again!
- Tracking Habits on the Go (chronicle.com)