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Show HN: Streak.ly tracks what you do daily and I'd love feedback on the concept
54 points by kylebragger 1726 days ago | 48 comments
I've been working on a side project called Streak.ly with a friend of mine for the past month or so; it's intended to help keep you motivated to do otherwise mundane daily tasks (like do 10 pushups, read for an hour, etc.) by letting you log "streaks" — consecutive days in a row of doing something.

It's in private alpha/beta/gamma/whatever right now (has some rough edges to clean up), but is more or less functionally complete and pretty stable.

I'm a big fan of the Seinfeld calendar, and have seen other services which do similar things but were unsatisfying to use, either from an aesthetic or functional perspective. Streak.ly is designed to be simple, good-looking, fast, fun, (and hopefully addictive). (FWIW, it's also a place to experiment with user stickiness stuff I can potentially roll back in to Forrst.)

There are also some in-progress social/game/motivational features I plan to roll out in the next few weeks that hopefully contribute to the enjoyment factor of the app.

Streak.ly uses Twitter for authentication, and I've set up a URL to let HN folks in early: http://streak.ly/auth/twitter/start?secret=showhn

I'd love any and all feedback and/or criticism you may have.

Thanks!




For a simple webapp like this, please don't make me get a twitter account/sign in to use.

Generate a unique URL for me to use, or hash my email address or something like that. Reduce friction, I want to be able to use this with 1 click.

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really? creating a twitter account takes about 15 seconds. if you're not one of the 150 million people with a Twitter account, then why not just be patient? i'm sure kyle will get around to supporting other login methods eventually.

i believe you're genuinely trying to be helpful with your suggestions, but comments like this reminds me of the vocal 0.1% of users who exercise troublesome preferences like disabling javascript, or installing ad-blocking plugins that break half the web, (which is fine!), but then complain that their (pathological) preferences prohibit them from enjoying the experience (which is not so helpful).

feedback like, "i can't be bothered to log in to give you feedback because i don't like your login" isn't great feedback. it might even be viewed as a sign to you that you're not the intended user. yet.

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I wasn't aware not having a Twitter account was considered pathological in our Web 2.0 world.

Why do I need to sign up for a microblogging platform to use a completely unrelated calendar app???

Anyway, my comments about reducing friction aren't based on my own preferences, they're based on dozens of multivariate split tests I have conducted across many thousand unique visitors.

Every single time, forcing the user to sign up, login, enter their email or anything of the sort before getting to use the site SIGNIFICANTLY decreases engagement, time on site, conversions, and pretty much every other metric you should care about.

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The "signup friction" argument's a straw men; no sane startup seeks to add friction to the signup process. the bogus (implied) assertion in the comment is that requiring a Twitter account to use a new web app in beta is overly restrictive / cumbersome.

The only way that would make sense is if beta testers don't have Twitter accounts, since OAuthing with an existing account reduces friction. Twitter's been around for four years and seems fairly well established among early adopters like HN readers, so counting on a critical mass of beta testers to have Twitter accounts hardly seems a stretch, even if those users aren't very active tweeters.

i for one was very glad not to need to enter an email address, pick a login name, etc; the oauth process handled that for me. ymmv

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I think the suggestion was to not require a form of authentication (email or twitter) first. Instead, let the potential user "test drive" the app and then when they are a little invested prompt for a signup of some kind.

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One-click registrations are really an innovative way to get people to sign up and try something. Normally you have to fill out an arduous form and decipher captchas. Services like facebook connect, twitter and Open ID Connect are much better from an UX standpoint(imho).

I was also pleasantly surprised when my login information was handled automatically as well.

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> "i can't be bothered to log in to give you feedback because i don't like your login"

Eh? I wanted to try this product out, but I don't have a Twitter account. In fact, I deleted it a few months ago. Now I have to create a new account just to use a (admittedly sorely needed) Seinfeld calendar? No thanks, I'll just use Vim and a text file.

I realize Streak.ly is a free application, so I have no right to complain. What bothered me about your comment was the assumption that everyone on the Internet should have a Twitter account.

> "i'm sure kyle will get around to supporting other login methods eventually."

I bet he will. But by the time he has a simpler login set up, people would have forgotten about Streak.ly altogether. The average Internet user (read: me) is a fickle being.

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it's not just signing-in using twitter, from a general public's perspective, it's being unclear about how the service will interact with twitter. will you service start tweeting my streaks ("50 days without sex!"), will it start inviting my friends to join? will start inserting self-promotional tweets? maybe it can't but will the public at-large understand that? and do i want twitter to know when i'm signing into your service?

honestly, i'd prefer to have my own sign-in for your service and i think many other people would, too.

comments like yours remind me of the 0.1% of lazy programmers who would rather tell users that they're pathological than spend the day it would take to implement and test a simple user registration and sign-in system for people who would prefer that over using twitter sign-in. i, personally, will not be a customer of your service because of your customer service! :-)

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Actually, I'd like to provide a counter view point because this is really how I view it: but I actually prefer it if you had the "login with FB or Twitter or Google" because to me, I absolute get annoyed by having to sign up for yet another service. Another username, email, password, to remember == annoying for me.

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That isn't really so annoying though - use the same username you do everywhere else, use the same password (click supergenpass so it doesn't matter if the site gets hacked) and make your browser remember it.

Because there sure as shit isn't any way I will just give some random website my google account - they get a dummy email forward, just like everybody else.

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Same username? That's assuming it's still available. If it isn't ? Then you have to remember a one-off username. Also, I do not use the same password for all web sites. That's the most basic security FAIL. If someone figures out your password, then all your accounts are compromised. This is the worst security advice ever. I'm sorry - but you know this is true.

Yes - I also do the dummy email forward. I agree about not giving random sites your google account. So create a dummy google account.

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Very good point. I've got plans to add "use it now, sign up later" stuff in, it's just not made it into production yet.

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Yep, needing to use Twitter account for login is a major minus. Maybe I am too old-fashioned, but if I click on Sign-In and it automatically logs me in, this is more of "WTF has just happened and where did it get my login credentials?" rather than "Ohhh, very cooooool, dude. Just saved 5 seconds and not needed to press 20 (twenty!!) keys. Awesome.".

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This is actually refreshing to hear; I'm usually used to seeing the exact opposite - "what do you mean another account?!?". I wonder if adding an interstitial page with something to the effect of "you're signing up with Twitter FYI" would be a decent intermediary step.

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Good idea, Kyle. I don't mind Twitter or Facebook OAuth logins for non-sensitive consumer apps (sensitive = apps dealing with financial info, dating sites, health, etc.). Just tell me upfront that you're using the service, and I'll be happy that I don't need to create a new account.

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Great point. I'm going to make it a top priority.

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Thats because those people haven't reduced the friction to create an account yet - I have it down to about 20 seconds and making the browser remember the password means it is actually faster from then on.

If you absolutely must, then use OpenId. It is was pretty much made for that (and it works with twitter, facebook, gmail, your mom, etc).

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Here's my somewhat similar homebrew GTD system: http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/6109/progressb.png

You see time spent (in minutes) coding (+) and anything else done at the computer (-) taken from RescueTime, along with basic efficiency score and stuff done / to be done for my main project (game) and everything else (misc). Coloring is manual, blue = "worked well", red = "could have done better".

The file sits on the desktop and is the place where I keep my general to-do lists, so it is always open. Works well for me.

Note: censored some "misc" stuff, so don't think I normally work 4 hours a day :)

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This is really, really cool.

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Clickable: http://streak.ly/auth/twitter/start?secret=showhn

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I really do like the idea of positively "completing" a task every day. Outliers-wise 10,000 hours is a lot, the sooner I get started the better.

The only thing I'd add, besides the request for OpenID love, is that the FAQ needs to put "we won't spam your twitter" higher up - that's what I wanted to know _immediately_ after signing in for the first time(the serious faux pas being "My streakficiency is blahblah, what's yours?").

Besides that, just one detail: the FAQ(which is great, btw) wasn't in the first-login "we're very beta" notice at the top, which would have been easier to find.

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nice looking but pretty limited for the moment. Honestly think most people who use tools like this will be looking for simplicity in their lives...and so convincing them to add another tool to their daily tools list is going very difficult considering all it can currently do (i realise it's alpha mind)

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Thank you, and totally makes sense. Hopefully there is a nice middle ground where this could fit. My theory is also that if I can a) show value to enough folks that they start to realize, "hey, this is pretty useful and I can probably manage to use it 5 mins a day" and then b) get them to invite small groups of friends, the upcoming features in that vein will create a stickiness in those groups. Probably obvious to most but makes sense in my head at least.

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Nice and simple! I like it!

Looks like you've already given some thought to iPhone support. I might also suggest adding fullscreen mode once the app is added to the home screen: http://building-iphone-apps.labs.oreilly.com/ch03.html#ch03_...

The "new thing" text input could use some CSS for smaller screens too.

Apologies if you already knew all this...

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Also, it'd be good if I could edit the text of each entry after it's been going. Just in case I dont't like the wording or something.

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My first feedback - I don't intent to give your my twitter account, so if you want me (or pretty much anybody) to review your site and you are dead set against using the standard create a user that works pretty well (because we now have ways around all the problems) use OpenID.

tldr; use openID, nobody is going to want to share their twitter account with the world.

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This app looks rad, I've been using [calendar about nothing](http://calendaraboutnothing.com/) for my opensource hacking needs and the seinfeld calendar way of being motivated definitely works for me, I saw some of the teasers on forrst and am eager to give it a try; keep up the awesomeness!

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Thanks so much :) Looking forward to hearing your feedback.

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heya Kyle,

This is great. Just signed up. I am familiar with the Seinfeld calendar. (Though not because I've seen it on the show, but it was explained to me in some other geek GTD blog/system/something.)

I have an idea for a visual aid that might appear in two places on your site for folks who might not know the basic idea behind the Seinfeld calendar, and for those who do know it, but might want to an incentive on their Streakly page:

A visual of a calendar week with a streak (or 2, or 3) through it.

This would appear on the front page, and in another form, on an individual's Streakly page.

I realize you probably already something similar to this already sketched out (along with many other features). So as you were, take your time!

I respect the MVP process :D

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Glad to hear it!

There are indeed plans for a more visual display of your completed days. The cool thing is that it's built in such a way that gives us a ton of cool data to play with. Just a matter of displaying it well.

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Just signed up. I'm probably gonna try and use it for working out. :)

First thing I noticed was that there are only 3 "reminder times", but I'm sure that would change in the future.

And being able to set different "reminder times" to different things would be cool.

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feedback re: the reminder portion of the app - would be nice if:

1. i could get the notice as a tweet (DM) instead of an email. since you're using oauth, i'm betting you're facile w/the twitter api.

2. you offered a fuller range of hours for the reminder. the first task i added to streak.ly was, "cook breakfast", but 10am was the earliest reminder i could pick in the list, which is too late for me ;)

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Thanks very much for the feedback;

1. is a great idea and I'll definitely consider it (it does have the advantage of probably showing up as an SMS, too)

2. yep, I had a hunch the list was too short but wanted to try it out. I wonder if there's a happy medium between an 0-23 type list and what exists now.

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Re. 1: yup, I'd prefer that. A DM would pop up on my iphone via notifo, while email gets lost among other emails, and I check them once per hour only anyway.

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I'm really enjoying the app the whole 5 minutes I've been using it. I'll use it for a week and see what kind of results I get.

For the record, I do realize that results will vary according to the type of person that uses the application. I'm a serial procrastinator, so maybe it'll be worth something for your Customer Development process.

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There shouldn't be a need for the page to postback when adding/deleting/completing items. A necessity for a site like this is for it to be faster and more convenient than anything else. My notepad++ session is more practical than this in a lot of ways, just because of the speed.

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Yep, 100%. Have not added any AJAX goodness yet.

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This is good stuff, let me know when the API rolls out because I think these kinds of apps are better when they are on a handheld device because you can do a lot more stuff when you can carry the reminders in your pocket wherever you go.

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Check out Joe's Goals. http://www.joesgoals.com/

What's your edge?

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nice idea. i'm sure you know about http://www.freshapps.com/streaks/ already. wonder if there's an integration point, there, where you could leverage their app with your data.

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yea, I really dig what they're doing but wanted something web-based. Streak.ly's got an API coming soon; would be awesome to integrate somehow.

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Great idea. A similar inspiration to Jason at www.HabitMix.com I think.

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Another solid web app from the Bragger-Matic. Keep it up Kyle!

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Question: What's the Seinfeld calendar?

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It's a productivity method named after Jerry Seinfeld. I first heard about it from this lifehacker post: http://lifehacker.com/281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-se...

Basically you decide to do or practice something every day. If you forget or otherwise fail to keep up, you mark it in red on your calendar. Goal is to try to see how long you can go without a red mark. And get things done in the process.

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You're wrong. The inverse is correct and is the driving force behind the idea...

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."

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Coming soon to Streak.ly... Serial killers

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I just completed "Kill Someone" 14 days in a row on Streak.ly

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