1.1.2 — Activity Feeds & Streaks

1.1.2 — Activity Feeds & Streaks


We’ve just released a new update to our Lift app which makes for more compelling activity feeds and gives progress summaries which do a better job of highlighting accomplishments like streaks. Download it from the App Store.

With each release, we also include release notes explaining the thinking behind the update. Those are below.

Every Lift habit is supported by a community of people who are trying to achieve the same habit. The idea is that like-minded people can provide inspiration, motivation, accountability, and, often, key pieces of advice.

Our inspiration for support communities comes from the real world. Team In Training, Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, and religion all have examples of giant behavior change brought on by serious social support. Can we package that into the Lift App in a way that’s fun, generalizable to any goal, and travels around in your pocket?

Let me use AA as an example, because it’s not quite what Lift is about, but is extreme enough to be a fun conversation point.

Lift recently celebrated having helped floss one million teeth. You may find the idea of a virtual Non-flossers Anonymous for the 88% of people who don’t floss daily humorous (I do). It’s over the top support for a trivial habit. But it’s working.

At the start of Lift, a friend of mine (I mean that literally, not as a euphemism) invited me to visit her AA group. Two things stood out, the trauma of alcoholics hitting rock bottom and the joy of being in a room of positive support. Clearly, Lift isn’t about trauma. So many of our early users are super successful people who want to be even more successful. There’s nothing about guilt, shame, or rock bottom in the pitch we make.

But the second half, the feeling that together we can achieve anything, is very much in our mission. If we could apply that to flossing, exercise, reading, meditation, and all of the other 30,000 habits that people have created on Lift, then we’d be making an enormous impact on the world.

Let me circle back to how this relates to our most recent product changes.

Previously, the support community we were providing was a collection of all people, friend and stranger alike, who had taken a step toward the same habit as you that day. In practice, the activity feeds were kind of dull—just a lot of strangers without any context.

The switch in the feeds today is that we’re showing you people you know (through Facebook & Twitter) and people who have left notes. The people you know are there for true accountability and motivation. The people leaving notes are there for information sharing (for example, in the Slow-carb diet habit, the notes are an endless stream of inspiration for what to eat).

We’re also starting on something which I called progress summaries above. This is the first step toward something big.

As of this release, every check-in has a summary of progress showing either the total number of check-ins or the total number of days in a streak. We’ve had this in our beta builds for awhile and it’s great to be able to be reminded of what we’re accomplishing.

But this tiny step is something we can and will expand on. An obvious direction would be to start acknowledging non-daily streaks. That’s a common (and reasonable) request from Lifters. Another direction would be to start challenging progress toward progressive milestones. We did this in a very early version of Lift and loved the effect.

See you in the habits,

Tony & the Lift Team