Habitlab: digital framework for habit formation

Context: part of the Habitlab startup for behaviour change

Duration: November 2015 – July 2016

Contribution: lead developer, working in collaboration with Christina Lauer, Marc Emil Domar, and 15 junior professionals

Technologies: Swift, Javascript

Honour: qualified for the Thinkubator think-tank and incubator, 10 startups, 7% acceptance rate


Habitlab was a startup aimed at helping people, organizations, and the healthcare sector use healthy habits as a catalyst for positive change.

Habitlab was an iOS application to help people build, manage, and maintain healthy habits, in other words, “make them stick.” The app helped its users discover a smart, sticky and social way to building good habits. A habit consisted of: scheduling a time, inspiring friends, overviewing progress, doing a simple activity and advancing levels. Each habit was organized into programs tailored for increasing levels of difficulty, levels with increasing time spans in weeks, and loops with one single, well-defined action. The user was notified before each loop.

Habitlab implemented 4 types of habits: unplugging, reading, running and reconnecting. Loops of all types of habits shared the same habit formation structure: trigger, action and reward. For some activity habits, such as reading and running, the user could send thoughts to a close group of friends. In the image, the user is halfway with the unplug program and may feel energized, happy or just smart. The unplug habit disallowed intentional leave from the app. Here the user is invited to unplug for one hour in the morning. The user could stay up to date with the progress of the closest friends. Sometimes inspired, sometimes inspiring, the users met in a social feed with rich content, love and commenting options through a follow > approve model.

The business logic of Habitlab was managed through a server framework for habit management.


Contribution: head of development

  • Developed the habit management framework as an event system and a web service.
  • Developed templates for asynchronous events to be run recursively, at once or scheduled.
  • Integrated external services for authentication, emails, and push notifications.
  • Integrated key metrics in the products through a combination of five analytics tools.
  • Exposed the web service through a restful API to be consumed by the Habitlab apps.
  • Released new versions by continuous deployment, through an automatic pipeline with build, test, and deploy new changes in the version control repository to the target servers.
  • Developed features for scheduling programs, habit progress monitoring, and social activities for 4 custom programs for running, reading, unplugging, and reconnecting with friends, based on the designs.
  • Developed a rich feed for social activities with images, text, reactions, comments, achievements, and motivations, based on the designs.
  • Released the application in the App Store in three months and then maintained a sub-week release cadence for new features and quality improvements. Then improved the app by releasing new features regularly, at a cadence close to the time it took Apple to review the changes (3-5 days).
  • Developed a prototype responsive web application for managing habits by following custom designs, de-prioritized once we focused on the mobile application.

Technology: Swift + Node

Client

  • Platform: iOS.
  • Environment: Xcode.
  • Language: Swift.
  • Storage: Amazon Web Services.
  • Analytics: Google, Heap, Segment, Intercom, Mixpanel.
  • Design: Invision.
  • Social: Facebook.

Server

  • Platform: iOS.
  • Environment: Visual Studio Code.
  • Languages: Javascript, JSON.
  • Frameworks: Node.js, Sails.js, React.js.
  • Storage: MongoDB, Amazon Web Services.
  • Analytics: Google, Heap, Segment, Intercom, Mixpanel.
  • Social: Facebook.

Honour: qualification for nordic incubator

Habitlab qualified to Thinkubator: a think-tank and incubator for high potential startups, organized at Dare2mansion Singularity University Nordic in Copenhagen. Our batch had 10 startups and a 7% acceptance rate to enter the program.