How we built our Quantified Self Chatbot with Instant 4.0
We put in Instant’s biggest update today, with a Chatbot Coach!
The Quantified Self space has being growing well since the past two years. We had started building Instant as a dashboard to let people track their daily activities automatically. We managed to track phone/app usage, places, fitness, travel and sleep seamlessly in the background. But…
That was not enough for a Quantified Self
Tracking data automatically was great. It didn’t require effort from the user. But what was affect was the data producing?
We realised that data isn’t enough, we need more to understand and learn from it. About six months back we introduced weekly reports. We used graphs and story-telling techniques to add context to the user’s data apart from making it interesting.
Putting data into perspective was a great experience for many users. It actually provided them with actionable insights.
We also went on to bring back our daily reports as a notification, which are now shareable.
Then came Instant Coach
Chatbots are great for a conversational user experience. The best part is they can have pseudo-human like characteristics. This led us to building our Instant ‘Coach’. Apart from interacting with the user for querying data for a certain day, week or a month it also passively monitors the user data to provide trends and correlations. With all this data I realised how excess phone usage affects my sleep or how my walking affects my sleep. So Instant Coach keeps me informed and motivated to form healthy habits.
Why did we build a native Chatbot within the app?
With Messenger and other mobile apps opening up to Chatbots, it was tempting to build a quick chat experience leveraging these platforms.
Privacy is a major part of our Mission. User’s should own their data, rather than it being accessible by a platform that we don’t have control over. Also the native Chatbot allowed us to keep the user’s data only on his/her smartphone. Although it did take some time building the interface for it. (And coding it twice in Obj-C and Java)
Browsing through Instagram and Facebook I found that many of our users were sharing screenshots of their data graphs. We made a one-click sharing experience to allow users to share their weekly reports as an image on social networks.
Sharing keeps us motivated to improve ourselves in a big way. I have gotten great feedback from sharing my daily reports on social networks so far.
Yesterday’s summary- 📱2.5 hours phone time, 🚗 45 mins travelling, 🚶32 mins walking, 😴 8.5 hours sleeping, 🏠10.2 hours at home
Our mission remains the same- To help people live healthier and more productive lives with personal analytics. Instant now tracks the user’s day automatically and adds value to it using reports and the Chatbot Coach. We are now exploring ways to build a more connected social experience and also to integrate with more wearables and IoTs within Instant.
Instant is available on the App Store and on Google Play. For more information you can visit: http://instantapp.today
Also you can learn more about self-tracking on the Emberify Blog.