2014 UK Mobile & App Design Awards

GoalStormer.com [DRAFT]





Project Overview

For many of us, working on achieving our ambitions gets lost in the day to day; pushed back to a spare hour in the evening or lunchtime, or forever postponed.

GoalStormer is a webapp that helps people define long and short term goals, break them down into steps, build momentum and support one another in achieving what matters. GoalStormer is for individuals with ambitions and businesses that help people achieve important things. The GoalStormer story is one of taking complex processes and considering UX principles to make the complicated appear less daunting.


Critical Action Limited


Keith Shering, Critical Action Ltd - Commission, Design, Code

Project Brief

In our Information Strategy consulting business, we love helping people achieve things they didn't think they could do; but this is a people-intensive process, collecting and managing a lot of information over time. We want to systemise our knowledge and processes to get them out to more people.

We also knew that this would be a powerful but potentially complex product. We would need to adopt a more user-centric approach to developing GoalStormer than our more usual functional/technical design approach. We knew we'd be learning more about user experience, not just user requirements.

We wanted a system that would help our business, our clients and their customers:
-Figure out peoples' goals in life and turn them from huge challenges into simpler steps.
-Keep more than just an ever-growing to-do list or habit forming reminders, instead recognising that goals that really matter often take time; months or years even.
-Maintain momentum as time goes on; keeping the desire burning after the initial burst of energy.
-Get through the down days by knowing "I'm not alone"; and letting me support others when they're finding things tough.
-Share experiences and knowledge with groups of like-minded people.

We didn't find exactly what we wanted, so we thought "be courageous!" and set ourselves a goal: Create a new business around goals; considering UX equally with functionality, to build the GoalStormer webapp. The Beta is the start of the story - will you join us?

Project Need

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" - (attr. Mahatma Ghandi)

Small changes add up. The belief driving the creation and development of GoalStormer is that it is increasingly difficult for us to stay focused long-term on things that matter to us in information-rich, always-on, instant-gratification societies, where we can often feel like we live in a "world of one". Where does the time go!? We need help to hit the small targets to hit our big goals.

What are we trying to do differently on this GoalStormer journey?:
-Simplicity - support medium to long-term achievement without being project management.
-Gamification - use "Momentum" to make keeping going a bit more like a game - it decays over time, but increases when you do good things like set goals, achieve steps, or support others. Your momentum also goes up when others support you!
-Apply UX Design: As a predominantly technical, analytical and process business, we wanted to make a reasonably complex business platform feel like an accessible consumer product.
-Provide Tools for Businesses: templates and groups for business users to "trade value" with their customers.
-Innovate in Context: for businesses, provide a platform for helping their customers to follow steps to achieve outcomes - replacing manual email & Excel operation, perhaps.
-Go on a continuous design journey: GoalStormer is in Beta just now; we want to develop it with our early adopters to deliver the tools and experience that people really want.

User Experience

This is the start of us building business offerings from a user experience point of view. So, we identified a few core philosophies, based on key user questions:
-Balance the focus on "what next?" with "where am I going?". We need to keep chipping away at our goals, but we still need vision - to constantly be reminded of the incentive for chipping away!
-Build a responsive webapp where the main user controls are the same on PC and mobile device, but PC gives a broad overview ("give me the big picture - where am I?") and mobile gives a more targeted presentation ("just let me do what I need to do").
-Hint at the breadth of information available but keep enough white-space to avoid overwhelming - hence splitting information across panes. Colour is used to group related functions and information.
-Interfaces where screens are swiped up or across look lovely and clean, but we wanted to avoid "out of sight is out of mind" - so unselected panes "peek" out showing just enough to remind/tease/cajole the user. For example, when you are looking at detailed steps, you can still see the goals you're aiming for.
-Have "clear summaries and discoverable detail" - try to minimise initial presentation to summary and priority, with click-through for actions and details.

Project Marketing

Our vision is for as many people as possible to benefit from GoalStormer, so the standard user account is free, with future options such as support through advertising sales. Sustainable monetisation is achieved through building GoalStormer as a platform for businesses to use to engage their own customers/staff.

The current Beta programme is about working with our early adopters - designing with businesses, customers and users. We know how the theory and the consulting works face-to-face, but for true market success on the web, we believe we need to give people the value and tools they want and a user experience that makes GoalStormer fit into their lives, not vice-versa.

Businesses can use GoalStormer to create template goals, resources and groups of users, in order to sell or trade their knowledge with customers. Business reporting tools show how templates are being used, which groups are popular, and support user management.

A large organisation might use GoalStormer to help with staff performance management. A charity might have a fundraising template and group for a big event. A coach may want to set goals with the people she is mentoring to achieve life or business goals. A sports club might want to finish higher up the table next season by sharing the work involved in a goal. An individual might want to lose weight, stop smoking, save up for a car, etc.

GoalStormer will market to successive niches to reach these customers.

Project Privacy

GoalStormer allows users to set their goals to be private or public, and their user account can be public or private, findable or not findable. These few, simple settings give quite powerful control over who sees what.

Furthermore, users can "support" one another, a bit like following on Twitter, so update messages can be controlled.

For pro users and businesses, messages can be sent to just group members (membership of groups can be managed too). Similarly, resources are shared with these controlled groups.

It's easy to get started with GoalStormer, with a private goal or two, so why not get started before going public with your ambitions!

This category recognises applications that aid and facilitate productivity such as notes, diaries, word processors, schedulers, data entry and spreadsheet apps.
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