When we thought about helping drive behavior change, our hypothesis was that friends encouraging each other would be more effective and fun than automated reminders. For example, here are daily notifications from a habit app I used in the past:

I didn't find that useful... So... instead of sending automated reminder notifications, we decided to send notifications on two occasions:

  1. "update notification" when your friend update their habits, we let you know
  2. "coaching notification" when your friend hasn't updated their habits in 3 days, you get a reminder to encourage them.  Here's a "coaching notification":

The "coaching" notification has received some positive feedback from users... but the numbers don't lie.

  • We sent ~50 coaching notifications yesterday
  • 0 chat messages and habit updates were sent in the 20 minutes after we sent the notifications.

Getting notifications right is very hard. I helped design many as a notifications product manager for Google Maps.  but 0/50 is not where you want to start. Was our hypothesis wrong? Do people not want to encourage others? Or is it something else...

Wrong tools. Messaging someone to ask them why they didn't do something is awkward.
Wrong people. The right accountability buddies are not using the app with one other.

So starting tomorrow, we're sunsetting the notification, and going to try other outlets for accountability, like:

  • Make it more fun: Challenges (Shared Habits) — launched V1!
  • Make it easier: Connect habits & chat, more visualizations to understand overall success

We're trying to build something light, useful and fun — and your feedback helps us get there. Thanks for the feedback, please keep sending it our way. You can download the app on iOS here and Android here.