BeGreat: Using Simplicity to Enhance Efficacy

Since working with Bixly, the BeGreat app has pivoted to a new concept, however version one of the app is still a wonderful example of how a simple idea done well can maximize efficacy. Both the philosophy behind this self-help app and the philosophy of the project execution itself aligned behind a simple, and off-quoted ideal: do a few things well instead of doing everything poorly.

The Idea Behind the App

The BeGreat app was originally intended to be a self-help app that tracked just four habits and one major task each week. The idea for the app came from Mark Twain’s famous quote: Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. Users are asked to identify the one thing they really need to do, but are avoiding. Users are then asked to track only four habits. The app was designed to work around two common pitfalls of human nature: first that we are actually more motivated by avoiding pain than by receiving rewards and second that we have a tendency to lack focus, spinning our wheels, and even distracting ourselves with less important things.

By “swallowing the frog”, users gain a sense of accomplishment. Whatever else you accomplish that day is just icing, since you’ve already baked the cake! Limiting users to four habits, means they are forced to choose what their focus really should be, without constantly adding to the list until we become overwhelmed!

Aligning Design to the Philosophy

As with many mobile app concepts, this one also had a ton of really cool features that we could build, but didn’t need to build in version one. Much like the philosophy behind the app itself, we needed to keep the feature list focused. Another aspect of the app was determining how flexible or restrictive it should be for the user experience. The app is trying to go against some of the weaker parts of human nature to drive better behavioral outcomes, but that also means there’s going to be a bit of resistance on the user end. What if they want to edit their goals? We determined they should be able to do that. Not everyone will be able to determine their laser focus from the first try. What if they want to add more goals? We decided against adding that feature. The point was to force users to be selective about what they should focus on.

Therefore the design of the app needed to facilitate this. Users needed to buy into the underlying philosophy behind the app to use it effectively. So, in this case it was important to have a setup wizard when a user first downloads the app. Even though the app was very simple and only did a few things, the wizard was about educating the user about why the app works the way it does. Second, the design needed to be as frictionless as possible for the user. The whole point is to be effective and consistent with the few habits that will drive the biggest change in our lives. Interacting with the app itself should not be among the difficult habits the user needs to develop.

While the owner of the app has decided to take the app in a new direction now, Bixly is still proud of version one of this app that we created for our client. If you have an app that is more than just a service, we can get behind you to understand your holistic vision. Sometimes these are these types of ideas are the hardest to translate effectively into software, but our team is very experienced in exactly this process. Don’t hesitate to set up your first consultation meeting today!

Originally published at on September 17, 2020.




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Bixly Inc.

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