My thanks to Quentin Zervaas for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Streaks, his excellent app for iPhone and Apple Watch. Streaks is a to-do list that helps you form good habits. The point is to motivate you to tackle the things you want to do: anything from daily exercise goals, learning a new language, taking your vitamins, or quitting smoking. Anything.

It’s a brilliant design, both visually and conceptually. I’ve tried a few apps like this over the years, and what kills most of them is friction. If it takes too many fiddly steps to mark off the things you do, you stop using the app. Streaks makes it incredibly simple to mark things done. For anything activity-related, you don’t have to do anything at all — it just tracks information from HealthKit (with your permission, of course) automatically. And in terms of the visual design, Streaks is both highly distinctive and very iOS-y — it doesn’t look like a stock iOS app, but it very much looks and feels like a good native iOS app. That’s a combination that takes a great eye to pull off.

And it is truly one of the best uses of Apple Watch I’ve seen in a third-party app. The complication is beautifully simple (and I’m happy to say, beautifully monochromatic, even on my beloved Utility watch face), the app launches fast (by Apple Watch standards), and then you just tap to mark something done and that’s it. One tap on the complication to launch the app, one more tap on the task/item.

I only accept sponsorships for products or services that I’m proud to support. But Streaks is so good that I want to go out of my way to draw attention to it. I’m not praising it with superlatives because it’s my sponsor; I’m doing so because it’s superlatively good. If you have any sort of interest in an app to help reinforce daily habits (or an interest in good UI design), go check it out.

Friday, 3 June 2016