Let there be Daylight

Today we are launching Daylight, a simple app that tells you about daylight changes and notifies you when the days are getting longer.

Winter can be tough. Scraping ice off your car, chronically over-caffeinating to stay warm or longing for the sun. Far up north, the sun only comes out for a few hours a day, and some places it even disappears for a couple of months. Today marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. This day has personal significance to me, both because I was born on this date, but also because this is the day it is starting to get brighter again. The lack of daylight can have drastic effects on mood and energy levels, and celebrating longer days is a great way to stay positive throughout the winter.

How it came to be

We thought of this idea a couple of years ago. We kept checking our local weather forecasts, scrolling down to the bottom of the page and eyeing that little box containing sunrise and sunset information to keep track of daylight changes. It wasn’t the smoothest experience, but we still found ourselves smiling over the few extra minutes of sun the new day brought us. To this day it is still one of the first things I check in the morning throughout the winter.

While we wanted to improve this experience, it wasn’t prioritized amongst the other ideas we wanted to work on. But a couple of weeks ago, we finally picked it up.

A day after posting my initial Slack message in our #ideas channel, Colin had already built a first version of the Android app. Before I had even posted the proposed minimum viable product specifications, August had already built a functioning first version of the web app. A day later, Elvis had the first build of the iPhone app ready. Later, more people pitched in and helped.

After a couple of design iterations, a few rounds of copywriting and continuous development work across 3 platforms, we’ve landed here. A small app with two views and daily push messages notifying you of positive daylight changes. Daylight is your friend through the dark winter times, encouraging you to make full use of the light you’ve got.

The app simply tells you when the sun rises and sets and if you have more or less minutes of daylight that day. The daylight phase is visualized through dynamic color schemes and the position of the sun paired with the current time. You don’t even have to open Daylight every day, as it sends you a notification in the morning, at sunrise, providing you with the information you need.

What’s next

Only having started on this project a couple of weeks ago, we still have ways to go before it is exactly where we want it. We haven’t had time to thoroughly test or polish it, and we are still waiting for Apple to review our iPhone app. As we usually work on bigger, more long-term projects, releasing something this early (and even before it’s completely finished) is a fun exercise for us. Keep an eye out for more of this kind of projects from Bakken & Bæck going forward!

You can grab Daylight for Android today or use the web app on your device of choice, for free. Follow us on Twitter to get notified when the iPhone app is available. Oh, and Daylight is open source (Android and iOS).

Brighter times ahead!