I'm planning a program (not sure if it will run on smartphones or just PC ) to keep track of user defined task and it's progress.

I want it to be less bossy, but still give the proper incentive to improve.

Here's the mock version.

Main app:

main app

Pop-up messages


The placeholder image will be a line-chart with the task data, very simple. Eye-candy!

I'm not happy with the need to provide the gerund of the task when creating a task, but it will be needed in the pop-ups windows to better display. I suppose someone could use the program in a different form, like Task: Clean Room, which would need a Gerund of cleaning room, , so I can't just add -ing in the end of the input, and word-processing is kind hard to do. Also, it could be used with Do x thing 1 week, which would need to add a drop-down to select the time-frame(day, week, month)

I would like some ideas on how to make the Progress tab give more ideas where to improve, if it sees that you are failing too much, or not increasing the daily goal for too long. The first popup (good) will happen every week, the second (bad) will happen every task you miss. I'm not sure if that's good or bad form. I don't want the program to be too bossy to the user.

Anyway, my question is how can I suggest the user to improve and not be a jerk at the same time

Side question: Is my text-fields Ok? Is there any feature I should add/remove?

  • 2
    This feels like a good candidate for a more human approach in messaging. Your personal trainer doesn't offer to "decrement" your goals if you miss them, she tries to encourage you to push yourself. If you do reduce your target, at least use more human terminology. I'd look at Duolingo for inspiration.
    – Kit Grose
    Aug 27, 2015 at 23:52
  • 2
    One thing I would consider waiting until they miss the goal X times to prompt them to change, some people just have an off day.
    – DasBeasto
    Aug 28, 2015 at 0:42
  • Yes, I agree with kit, really not sure about the word increment. Many native speakers even wouldn't quite know its meaning I would imagine. Aug 28, 2015 at 13:49
  • another problem you have in the second wireframe (progress) is confused the interface with the edit controls. Keep these under an edit icon. Also remove unsuccessful days; have successful % only eg i.imgur.com/q1EwjsE.png edit: I am a personal trainer and its a big no-no to dwell on anything unsuccessful
    – colmcq
    Aug 28, 2015 at 14:24
  • Get rid of personal pronouns ('I see'). Increment, decrement, and excrement have no place here. You can't fix a user's attitude, just give her a neutral impartial tool. Aug 29, 2015 at 9:50

1 Answer 1


You should make it easy for the user to cheat.

"I see you didn't run 2 km yesterday. Do you want to delete this task and completely forget about it?"

Too often messages to the user sound like they are nagging or chastising them. An app should be written as a friendly helper, not a disciplinarian. If a user doesn't want to do a task, nagging will mean they won't run your app. So, give them the ability to remove the problem completely. After all, they need not run your app (or they can lie to it about the task being completed).

  • Nice idea. Can you elaborate on your answer a little. How and when would you include these cheats? Would you push the user first?
    – Mayo
    Aug 28, 2015 at 13:18
  • 1
    It's a little reverse psychology. Rather than nagging the user, give them a guilt trip. It would be used every time they broke their promise to themselves. After all, who is going to see these tasks aside from the user? Aug 28, 2015 at 13:47
  • I should have been clearer. I meant in your answer. It would be useful to elaborate there and give a fuller description.
    – Mayo
    Aug 28, 2015 at 13:49
  • I'm not sure if letting the user cheat every time is good... Yeah the user may have the freedom to just set when he wants to cheat, but this encourages him not to press the red button. If he wants a perfect score (always going up) he will always cheat, and he will be cheating himself. Aug 28, 2015 at 14:04
  • 1
    @Mayo: OK, I'll try. Aug 28, 2015 at 18:27

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