Streaks was recognised as a top-of-the-line app when it won the Apple Design Award in 2016, and its minimalistic design has won over many fans since. The app’s official tagline is “The to-do list that helps you form good habits”, but it can help users to really rethink the way they approach big tasks.
The brainchild of Isaac Forman and Quentin Zervaas, who recently contributed to Techly‘s Guest Post Series , Streaks motivates users to make good choices often, rather than reprimand them for veering off course. Techly chatted to Quentin to see what makes an award-winning app tick.
What makes Streaks more unique than any other program or app currently available? What inspired you to set up Streaks?
The unique thing about Streaks is its simplicity. It focuses on its core task, which is to help users form habits and new behaviours. The app sets boundaries in terms of how many tasks you can create. While some users don’t like this, it really is what makes the app so effective.
There were two main reasons how Streaks came about: firstly, I was writing a book but really struggling to finish it off. I knew that if I worked on it every single day – even if I wrote a sentence or two – I’d eventually finish the book. The second reason is that there were a handful of things I needed to do every single day at work. Not a long list, but nonetheless I wanted a simple way to track them.
What drives the Streaks team to encourage healthy and productive lifestyles?
The key to Streaks has been dogfooding. In other words: we use the app ourselves all the time. This helps us know what’s important for the app, but it also reinforces to us how effective Streaks is.
What’s been the biggest challenge for getting Streaks off the ground?
Any independent app developer will tell you that the most difficult part of the app is getting the word out when it was complete. Having a solid product is only part of the equation: you still need to tell people about it. We were lucky enough to get traction on sites such as Hacker News, ProductHunt and a number of other well-known tech blogs.
What’s next in store for Streaks?
We’re working on a major new update that amongst other things, allows users to create “negative tasks”. These are habits you want to break instead of form. So the biggest use-case here is for quitting smoking. We’ve already had a lot of feedback from people who have used Streaks to quit smoking, and we’ve learned from this accordingly. There are many other apps on the market for quitting smoking, but none of them have tackled it quite like the next version of Streaks will.
What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve received about the app? (other than the Apple award)
The best feedback is when we hear about how using Streaks has changed peoples’ lives. It’s extremely satisfying to know that we’ve helped people, whether it’s for quitting smoking, exercising more, remembering to take their medication. I’m currently on a six-month streak of learning French, and I’ve received similar feedback from other users too.