When we set out to create the 100Plus experience, we knew we wanted to do 2 things well:
First was to gather, analyze, understand and score behavior data and then make it “human” for consumers to be able to benefit from it; and
second was to become great at getting users to complete small, healthy actions, and then serve them immediate feedback about how those actions affected their daily lives and long-term health.
Simple, right? We knew what we wanted the product to do and how we wanted it to make users feel, but we did not know exactly how to achieve our goals. We’re also big believers in the Lean Startup concept of experimentation and are inspired by the ideas and methods of people like our friends Janice, Kate and Jason at LUXr.
So instead of attempting to spend months and months building a “final” product, we decided to create a couple of “app experiments” to help us quickly learn what might work for us, what definitely wouldn’t, and some new things we had not even thought of yet.
In March 2012, we showed up at South by Southwest with 100Proof, our first of these experiments that cheekily calculated how your drinking shortens or even lengthens your lifespan based on CDC data and other studies. The app was a success, with over 7,000 users just over the weekend. The results were punchy and the buzz (in both senses of the word) was awesome.
Our team built and put out 100Proof for public consumption in about 4 weeks and learned a ton in the process: how to make questions fun to answer, how to analyze and model lots of behavior data and how to build something fast (but keep it pretty). We also got to take a team field trip to Austin, which was a nice added benefit.
The nice thing about building small and fast was that we didn’t even worry about solving the the other side of our equation, namely how to get people to do little healthy things. That’s when we decided to come out with something new, pun sadly intended.
Outside, our second app experiment, is currently available in the App Store, and started from the seemingly simple question of “How do we get people to do small, healthy actions?” Within that, there were many challenges and questions: What things are people most likely to want to do? Can we create enough content to make the experience continually fresh and interesting for users? What feedback can we give users to make them feel good about accomplishing these “missions”? How can we get users to tell us that they accomplished a given mission? And most of all, how can we do all of this in an abundantly fun and engaging way?
With Outside, we’ve already learned a lot, and will continue baking lessons learned into the official 100Plus app (stay tuned…). So download the app, get healthy, get inspired and get outside. And please give us your feedback along the way!