This app was developed based on original features from the original Edit service proposition. While the original Edit proposition explores a holistic approach to building healthier habits over time, the Edit app is a live test of smaller features conceptualised earlier.
In the original Edit proposition, there was an underlying idea of helping people build new and purposeful rituals while tracking the effect of those new rituals to help shift their behavior. These were what we referred to as ‘edits’. This live app is a simple test of the impact of ritual design on behavior change. While we proved the impact of ritual design through high-touch prototypes, it was essential to test this mechanism’s validity for change when left up to people’s daily whims.
The Edit app, in its current form, simply curates a list of ‘edits’ for people to try when craving a cigarette. Each individual can try different edits and indicate when they do it and how well it works. As users find edits that work for them, they can add them to their daily routine and effectively create rituals that help cope with different cravings that arise throughout the day.
Our initial experiments and prototypes focused on explicitly testing the concept of ritual design and its impact on changing behavior. We engaged two users over two weeks using a combination of other tools (such as WhatsApp) to create the effect of a service that allows you to form new rituals to reduce cigarette intake. By mimicking a chatbot that helped users form new daily rituals and track the impact, we were able to reduce the amount each user smoked by 63-84%.
While the above experiments proved successful, we were very aware of the impact of another person acting as the chatbot. Ultimately, there is a variable around accountability that wouldn’t play as much of a factor in a purely digital-driven solution. With that in mind, we created the Edit App to test the impact of ritual design on new habit formation in a less controlled environment.
The Edit App allows users to freely plan and design daily rituals, similar to the ones we suggested in our manual experiments. While a chatbot wasn’t developed due to cost and time, we did pull through all the possible “edits” that we curated in the manual experiments.
What is Edit?
With the ability to track the cigarettes you smoke and over 75 curated replacement activities, you’ll have the tools you need to build new routines that don’t involve smoking. Edit takes proven approaches for developing healthier habits and makes them simple to do with an app that smoothly fits into your daily life.
Track your progress
Edit makes tracking cigarettes easy so you can see your progress over time and start to make positive changes in your habits. Tracking every time you have a cigarette or vape is a proven method for reducing how much you smoke.
Try new things
What can you do instead of smoking? Edit suggests positive actions for you to try instead of smoking cigarettes. With over 100 suggestions in “Your Stack” you’ll have plenty of new things to try.
Build a New Routine
Once you start to figure out what works for you, you can set reminders that will help you slowly build a routine that has less cigarettes in it. Reducing how much you smoke requires you to make small changes to your daily routine so you can edit out cigarettes.
What we’ve learnt
Engagement is a barrier
While the mechanism of designing new rituals for one’s self is valuable for changing behavior, how you engage an individual with that process is critical to the success of the service. When left with a curated list of possible new rituals to form and some basic tracking features, users didn’t remain engaged over a long enough period to see a change in behavior.
Incentive drives engagement
While this is not novel learning for anyone in the digital services world, it is worth restating. When we analysed the Edit App’s different features that were restricting engagement, we realised that there were not enough variable rewards for using the app. It relied far too heavily on a user’s self-motivation to reduce their daily cigarette intake. This is a clear design challenge for the future of the app.
Usage context is critical
One of the main differences between our manual experiments (which were very successful) and the Edit App is the ability to provide context to the user. When manually interacting with users through a fake chatbot, we were able to explain why a particular new ritual would impact their smoking habit. There was no such context with the Edit App, perhaps leaving users feeling lost.
Track the Right Thing
The Edit App promotes the tracking of smoked cigarettes so users can see their progress over time, which is a worthy feature in theory. In reality, we found users would much prefer to track their cravings through the app and immediately have curated replacement activities to help fight those cravings.
Developing a deeper AI driven understanding of yourself to influence your decisions and optimise for your happiness and prosperity.
How much control? And control over what?
Perhaps the most interesting discussion to come out of all of the Edit work is the idea of agency, and over what people actually want agency.We set out on this journey with the underlying goal of giving people agency over their behaviour and, in turn, agency over their wellbeing.
What we believe today is different than when we started. It’s worth exploring whether people actually want total control over their health or if they just want to benefit from what comes with being healthier. Does a smoker honestly want complete agency over their quitting journey, or do they want a third party (such as Edit) to force them to quit, so they can get on with their life free from the controlling addiction? This brings up the question of the role of technology in helping people to increase their overall wellbeing, which unfortunately is a highly complex system.
For example, does a smoker want technology to take over the responsibility of quitting so that they can have complete agency over their fitness routine, something that was once controlled and constrained by their smoking addiction?
We believe it’s far too assumptive and generic to design things to give complete agency. The reality is that total agency over everything that has to do with your wellbeing can increase stress rather than reduce it. Finding the balance between user control and technology control continues to be the struggle we face as services get smarter, and humans get more demanding.
Other services developed
Hold is an app that gives people the personal space to let out whatever is on their mind and relax knowing that it is stored safely. It helps people give structure to their internal dialogue making self reflection become more effective.