I’ve been journaling for the last 6 years and it has been life-changing.
I keep getting DMs on how to get started, so I pinged one of my iOS wizard friends to brainstorm. We outlined the problem statement as “newbies get overwhelmed while starting journaling”. Our aim was to create a frictionless experience (we are both fans of minimalism).
There were two things we spent a lot of time on:
What happens when someone opens our app? We wanted to invoke a soothing feeling to stand out and make users open our app daily. So we added a HDR video and welcoming music that played on loop until you click on the only button available “start writing”. We tested this experience on users by launching an alpha version via TestFlight until we got this response.
Dude first view looks and feels very calming 😍
Next, we focused on how would the user journey look like? We curated a list of prompts, but they weren’t tested in a linear way. To run experiments on prompts, we added a position column and a status column in our database. The first prompt had position value of 10, second 20, and so on. If you have programmed in BASIC, you know the logic already. This is so that you can insert another prompt between 1 and 2 by having its position value as 15. Marking status as inactive would correlate to removing that prompt (read soft delete). The client maintains the last position value it has received. While fetching more data, active prompts with position value greater than last seen are returned in increasing position order. We put out a beta version on a wider scale. Here are a couple of feedbacks we received:
Okay so i did 2 days so far - the questions were really basic, which help to easily enter the app answer and leave and feel like mission was accomplished but im not sure the questions i had so far (are they the same for everyone?) are what I would expect for journaling. Maybe its just me but I would be more keen into journaling about my current life not from things in the past… does it make sense? Im excited though to see what eill be tomorrow’s question and how it will develop (Which motivates me to keep going back and using the app!) maybe a push notification to remind me to open the app everyday would be useful!
This helped us improve prompts. We also implemented push notifications which would trigger every morning. To go one step further, we showed a “1” unread counter as the app badge to nudge folks to complete their daily entry.
I’m on day 3. The first day I thought I didn’t really put to much into answering the question, same for the second day. But today the question brought back a beautiful memory of my grandpa and I found myself trying not to write an entire book 😂😂 it’s starting to make sense to me and I find this app very enjoyable. I look forward to using it for as long as I can. Thank you!
So yeah, this was the behind-the-scenes. Once we got our first paid customer, that was enough validation for us to go ahead and launch on PH as well. The actual launch didn’t go well though. We couldn’t make it to the home page in the first few hours, which meant that we got significantly lesser traffic than expected. We’ll do better next time.
Until We Meet Again…