Cole Johnson
digital designer

Modus

A task-management, habit tracker hybrid aimed at stifling procrastination.

CATEGORY

Personal Project

YEAR

2016-2017

PRODUCT

iOS Application

ROLE

Designer, Assistant Developer

Sometimes tasks are more then just a check off a list. Larger tasks take time. Some tasks are ongoing. Some you'll do over and over. Some you don't want to do at all. How can we make big tasks less daunting, aid in time delegation between projects, and keep users focused (and even motivated)?

Starting With a Solution  -  Streak Score System  -  Reminders

Starting With a Solution
I originally got the idea from Modus when trying to find a way to make progress on multiple projects on a daily basis. Outside of school, I have a limited amount of time to pursue other projects. I find often that unless I'm working on something on a semi-daily basis, it gets forgotten about. My solution for this way working on tasks for a set amount of time. I dubbed these timed work sessions as sprints.

The title of the task followed by the time I'll focus on it for.

I would list tasks I need to spend time on that day, assign each task an allotment of time, and begin a timer. Once I finished a single task, I'd take a small break; three to five minutes. I might check my phone or reply to a text. Once I finished a full cycle (hit all the tasks in my list), I'd take a longer break; grab coffee or walk outside. Depending on the time I had available or the demand for work, I might go though another cycle. This interval-guided method of working proved effective for me, and I started thinking of how I might carry this system into a online setting. Below is a user process taken from a five day design sprint done on Modus.

Streak Score System
I knew Modus had to have an incentive system that rewarded continued task completion. A point system would reward users for consistency in task completion. These "points" would be displayed as a score that could rise and fall based on performance. I also knew first time users would have a period of adjustment; overcommitting time to tasks and honing in on realistic goals. Giving users a "starting score" would get them off to a good start.

Reminding at the Right Time
Notifications are sensitive things to trigger. Too much and you'll frustrate the user, too little and they'll forget their commitments. Every morning at a set time, Modus will tell you how much time you've committed in tasks for that day. This reminder can help users plan their as they brush their teeth. Modus will also implement calendar syncing and look for chunks of time in your schedule. Smart notifications will remind you of your tasks when you have unscheduled time in your day. Modus will track the times of day you usually work on tasks to make better suggestions.

Building the Beta
As part of a Swift development class, a stripped down version of Modus was made to get a sense for the level of functionality and basic user flow. I worked with fellow HCC student Colum Cross and gained a lot from the hacked together weekend project. We learned how to streamline the task creation process making a form not feel like a form. We saw the value in feedback when you completed a task, and the satisfaction of seeing your progress in measurable time.