Encouraging people to live an intentional life and build better habits

About this project

I joined DieHappy because I was intrigued by the vision of building an app to help people live a more intentional life. I wanted to understand how people form good habits and build on them. I wanted to design tools to help people balance work productivity with family and personal goals.

Skills used
  • User experience design
  • User research
  • Visual design

The goal at DieHappy was to help people think about their lives and make intentional plans in areas outside of their career.

The problem

I joined DieHappy because I was really interested in the founder’s vision of building products to help people live a more intentional and fulfilling life. During my time at DieHappy, we explored a few different problems:

  • how people can live more intentional lives by making plans and injecting spontaneity outside of their career,
  • how people remember and celebrate more meaningful moments by journaling,
  • and how people share their memories and adventures with those closest to them.

Part of the challenge for this venture was building a brand that instilled confidence and finding ways to make it sustainable as a business without disrespecting our customers.

The process

Over the course of four months, I talked with somewhere between 20 and 30 people in the target market (34-55 year old professionals with families) about how they balance their work and personal life. The product manager and I created a basic framework and story map that we began designing prototypes around.

I created basic mockups in Sketch and played around with visual styles, eventually iterating over hundreds of screen variations as I refined both the concept and visual design. I built a clickable mobile prototype in Invision that we used in further discovery and usability tests. As we learned what worked and what didn't, we refined prototypes to explore new concepts and solidify the best solutions.

A three-step plan

The basic framework for DieHappy laid out a three-step process to help people be more productive in their personal lives. First, people need to think about and make plans for the aspects of their lives they want to improve. Then, they need to act on those plans. Finally, they should evaluate the results and act upon them. We called the three steps: Plan, Do, Relive.

Make plans

Making changes starts with making plans, but sometimes you may not know what you want to do. I designed DieHappy to help:

  • Get curated suggestions of things to do for different aspects of your life;
  • Quickly capture your own ideas as they occur, with as much or as little detail as you need;
  • Easily see plans you've made or ideas you've saved for later, and;
  • Export your plans to the systems you already use, like calendars or reminders.

Do things

Once you've made plans, my aim was to help you succeed by staying out of your way. I proposed that the app should:

  • Not nag you about completing your plans or leave you guilty about unfulfilled goals;
  • Create moments from your plans by easily adding photos and stories afterward, and;
  • Create moments on the fly (for serendipitous events) by letting you import photos directly from your Photo Roll using the iOS sharing extension.

Relive them

The ultimate reward for using DieHappy is creating meaningful moments to relive. I designed moments in DieHappy:

  • To be saved with all the details intact, like photos, stories, who was there, where the moment took place, and more;
  • To be shared, either privately with just your closest friends and family, or publicly, with fine-grained control over what details you share, and;
  • To inspire you to do them again, by letting you quickly make new plans based on favorite past moments.

Lessons learned

  • Most successful mobile apps solve one problem really well. Trying to do too much within the limited attention apps get can quickly paralyze users and make your app over-complicated.
  • Apps can help people create good habits, but building truly good habits (rather than addictive ones) relies on intrinsic motivation as well.
  • The quicker your app can help a user solve a real problem, the more likely they are to "stick" and use your app more than once.
  • Start building an audience for your app before you launch. Write, share, and speak about the problems you're solving. Recruit people who are passionate about the problem, learn from them, and help them with your app.