Making productivity fun, by gamifying progress and leveraging social accountability.
Setting ambitious goals is something humans have been doing for millenniums. We find it easy to set goals for ourselves, but only rarely achieve them. Research suggests only 8% of people achieve the goal they set out to.
The inability to meet goals can be traced back to various different factors and might sound like an all too familiar story. Lack of preparation, unattainable expectations, unrealistic timelines, powerful distractions, or simply life getting in the way; these can all impede goal completion.
As this is such a prominent challenge, humans have also devised techniques and strategies to tackle it. These strategies have varying levels of success from individual to individual, and as technology improves and our habits shift, new techniques could be developed and improve the goal-achieving process.
Research Insights & User Pain Points
When someone wants to set a goal for themselves, it often starts off as an ambition. Something that they might desire, but don’t know how to achieve or don’t have enough motivation to formally start working on them. It takes a lot to turn a desired objective into a formal goal. In fact, less than 3% of Americans formally write down goals for themselves, even though it makes you 42% more likely to achieve them.
Another challenge we identified was for people to turn their goals into actionable actions. The goal-setter might know what they want to get to, but struggle to figure out a roadmap for how to get there. This is particularly important as research shows you are 33% more likely to achieve your goal if you create an action plan for it.
The next pain point we identified was the inability to see progress, especially at the start of the process. The initial motivation to start working on a goal is a huge catalyst at the start, but can also erode quite quickly. That is especially the case if the goal-setter is not able to see immediate progress as a result of their efforts. A lot of goals are lost at this point, and seeing progress has been identified as crucial in turning that initial spur of motivation into long-term discipline. Research has shown that 59% of people who visualize their goals feel confident about achieving them, compared to 31% of those who didn’t visualize them.
For our user research, we decided to mostly focus on young professionals and early careers, given our team’s background and social circle. We surveyed around 15 people and our main takeaway was that people generally try to create a plan for how to achieve their goals. Another interesting idea that crept up multiple times was using social levers to maintain accountability and discipline.
The goal of our product is to address all the pain points we identified in our user research, and help young professionals create and maintain good habits. Here is how we plan to tackle this opportunity:
- Habits: a user is able to create a goal for themselves, in which they specify how much of and how often they want to do something, as well as whether they want to be reminded of them or not. Users can also easily log whenever they complete their tasks or want to skip them. This will support users in creating a plan for them to achieve their goals, committing to it, and illustrating meaningful progress against said goals over time.
- Statistics: users can look into their progress and behavior across their journey, with a dashboard including various metrics. This will include the number of habits achieved or skipped over given time periods, productivity streaks, a calendar view to look back on their past progress, and other insights (e.g. user exceeds calorie goal every Wednesday and Saturday). With this we hope to support users in developing and finetuning their goals, to maximize their chances of achieving them.
- Social Sharing: users can follow members of their circle to which the status of their goals will be visible (users can also toggle their goals between public and private), as well as make posts to a feed to share updates and learnings from their progress. Users will also be able to start group goals with other members, in which their individual progress contributes to the overall group status. We hope to use a form of visual representation to motivate users to contribute to their group’s status (e.g. a group garden with individual plants for each member). This will leverage the social accountability aspect that we identified in our user research, and create a healthy encouragement and accountability circle for users to achieve their goals.
Lofi & Hifi Mockups
Iterative Design Learnings
After we showcased our prototype to the users, we learned that the prospective users were very responsive to our product. A lot of them mentioned giving more encouragement and positive reinforcement for each habit and that is something we are looking to implement in the future. They also mentioned giving more options in terms of customising and classifying their habits.
We will be working to design, implement and get more feedback on these ideas, and hope to continue to get more feedback.
Where is it hosted?
The app is not submitted to any platforms yet. We have provided an executable file or a link to the Expo file where users can download and install it on their phones. We would publish the app on Google Play Store in the future.
What is your tech stack?
The tech stack used is Expo, a framework to build React Native Apps, and Firebase for backend, database, and storage. Firebase’s Email/Password authentication is implemented for user authentication. The Facebook and Google authentication would be implemented in a future release. Firebase Firestore is used for databases and Firebase Storage for storing assets like images. For creating UI, mostly React Native Paper is used.
What was the hardest part of development?
Since the dev team is entirely new to React Native, everyone needed to learn from scratch and the time taken to develop and fix bugs was very long.
Does your app have any scaling issues?
As of now, we have completed the MVP, which only takes care of the healthy habits of an individual, but in future releases, we would implement creating habits for a group of users and also share habit status with others. From a technical viewpoint, we could not see any scaling issues that we can’t overcome.
What are some key takeaways?
The key takeaways are learning React Native, Expo framework, Firebase as a development package and most importantly collaborating and developing as a team.
Although our journey in Co.Lab is coming to an end, CoHabit is far from done. We’ve been able to implement the basic functionality necessary to get started, but there is still a lot to be done.
The statistics dashboard and social aspects of the product are still left to be implemented, given their complexity. Our team has taken some time to get familiar with React Native but now that we are more comfortable with it, we hope to ramp up development.
Another big step we are looking to get to is to launch our platform on the Play Store, and potentially look at developing an iOS optimised version.
Product Manager Learnings:
Jerome Ah Ching
Co.Lab was a stimulating experience for me, through which I learned a lot about collaboration, prioritization, and balancing responsibilities. It was interesting working with 4 other teammates from ideation to execution, drawing a roadmap from a cloud of ideas, and managing a team to ensure the delivery of said roadmap.
Sreekanth Jagadeesan Vazhappully
- I learned to collaborate with a team performing upon agile principles.
- I also learned to patiently research for new documentation and solutions for bugs.
- Finally, I learned to manage time and to prioritize product features to finish an MVP to publish.
Co.Lab has definitely taught me the value of open communication with my team. As a developer, it is important to be transparent about what features are feasible for our Minimum Viable product and yet still try to push yourself to learn new things.
Furthermore, working in a cross-functional team full of product managers, designers and other developers has been a new experience for me and taught me how a real-life team would function. I feel like it prepared me for future development opportunities in my career.
I’ve learned that communication is the highest priority in terms of developing any application with a team. The second highest priority is making sure to be able to have a deeper understanding the specific framework you choose.