Two weeks ago I introduced my idea for a journaling app called What if and the Android version of Journey, the journaling app I had just started using. The idea behind this is to help organize my thoughts, goal-plan, improve my memory, grow my brain and challenge myself.
Now it’s been almost a month since I began journaling daily and I have to say I’m hooked! I use it to comment on daily events, plans or goals I have, who I’ve chatted with, how I’m feeling, movies I’ve seen and though some days the entries are short, mostly they are not.
Fellow Canadian Adam J Kurtz, interviewed here by my favourite podcaster Debbie Millman, developed a paper journal which he feels has been very successful to help “get your thoughts out of you”, to mull over ideas, and think things through. This is great and I know a lot of people use such a diary, however I think a journaling app (done well) has greater potential in a number of ways:
- you can append photos,
- you can access it anywhere (because most of us have our phones with us, at the ready!) and at anytime (even offline),
- you can set daily reminders, especially helpful to get you in the daily habit
- there is the possibility of inspirational quotes if you can’t think of what to write,
- there are search keys and tags to help you find entries or specific thoughts and to organize over time.
Augment with technology
One of the benefits of technology is that, in the right context and usage, it can AUGMENT us. As Peter Smart describes in this video about the Future of the Web, machines have the potential for becoming more personal and more emotional and if they could understand us better they could AUGMENT us, improve us, not rule us.
SO my dream (!) is to tailor a journaling app which understands us and challenges us, so we could feel better, derive more meaning from our lives and do more! One of the necessary qualities of the app is that the user experience early peaks in the journaling process to foster more engagement. Also if there was a daily rating that could flag a positive “day” or entry so that instead of supplying an arbitrary inspirational quote, you would “revisit” your own positive experiences to help get you through tougher days.
As well, another important component of the app is that it should have a journey-driven design…which incorporates the idea that sometimes you might start your entry on your mobile (because its convenient, you can do it offline, from anywhere) but then you might want to follow-up on your tablet or computer because you want to expand the idea or the goals, or you feel more comfortable rereading or revisiting other days on a bigger screen, for example, or you want to add a quote or tag a link to something.
Pain points on the Journey app
One of the pain points I’ve encountered with the Journey app so far is that although I can move between the mobile app and the icloud version on my ipad or computer (journey-driven design), my tags are only visible on the mobile version. So if I want to search for something or select a tag I have to do it on the phone.
Another pain point is that if i need inspiration, it is not that obvious where to find the inspirational quote on Journey; sometimes it appears and sometimes not!
So as with anything worthwhile…I will persevere with my journaling and figuring out the right UX for a good app and if you have any input or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to comment!