We first started working on Better Every Time last July, we were firm on a handful of things:
- One goal at a time to focus effort
- The journey metaphor is paramount
- Progress fuels progress
- Zero tap check-ins
- iPhone only
With version 2 out today, it’s a good moment to reflect on what we did end up changing when we started work on version two a year later.
We really thought people should do just one goal at a time. We expected some pushback from people who use a lot of software, but it came from all quarters. And almost everyone we followed up with said that three was a good number. We came to agree.
Making multiple journeys work meant giving up a signature feature of version 1: checking in just by opening the app. Now people have to tap the journey to update. It works, and we’ve made it really efficient, but it’s always a little sad to let go of things you’re fond of.
Robot Factory Boogaloo
Building a personal, metaphoric journey is still the core interaction. We expanded this by adding a whole new theme, Robot Factory Boogaloo. Progress is tracked through the timeline of a big project in a robot factory. Instead of moving up a mountain, check-ins drive time forward, playing through metaphors of building up and becoming.
Where Jon Yurechko had done the original branding, app chrome, and mountain theme artwork, we brought in Tyler Dale for the new theme to start building out the stylistic world of Better Every Time. Tyler managed to extend the range without feeling apart from the original. We also extended the richness of a single theme by adding a few small animations, an easter egg, and even signposts that can be moved around.
At the suggestion of Sam Dal Monte, we added the mountain to the view out the window of the robot factory to make it clear that the journeys that happen in both places happen in the same universe. We hope to add new themes that continue to extend and fill the range of possible metaphors through which people can see changes in themselves.
Stuff for sale
Version one was totally free. Every so often we would put a price on it to see what happened, but that was all. The new theme was always envisioned as an in-app purchase, but we wrestled somewhat with the decision to charge for multiple journeys. In the end it was most important to keep the price of entry free, and charge only where the experience grows past what we offered in version 1.
We’re very proud of Better Every Time. It embodies a lot of our philosophy and values, so in that way it is a passion project. But we think it has value beyond us, and that it can become a self-supporting product. That will happen as we find time and resources, and more great artists to work with. Here’s to the journey so far.