Thoughts Behind Time Breakdowns

by Kevin Holesh

101. That’s 1 hour and 41 minutes.

The big minute count has been a part of Moment since day one. I want the focus to be on how much you’ve used your phone today. Staying conscious of one simple statistic about your phone use.

How do I improve my One Big Number today?

I made it One Big Number because it looks sexy on a screen. I was inspired by Nicholas Felton and (embarassingly) all of the dashboard mockups on Dribbble. It is the prettiest way to design that stat, but it certainly isn’t the most useful.

I used to have a number of people write in each day asking for a breakdown into hours and minutes. My arrogant response was “If the number is too big to do the math in your head, you’re probably on your phone way too much.”

Then I did some calculating and it turns on the average time people spend on their phone each day is 101 minutes. I thought to myself, “Hm. What is 101 minutes in hours? Subtract 60 and… Oh. I should be doing this math for people in the app. I can’t even do it in my head for the average!”

Seeing “1 hour and 41 minutes” has a much bigger impact than “101 minutes.” It helps you realize what else you could have done with hours of your time. It puts things in perspective, especially as that number goes up. “300 minutes” doesn’t seem that bad, but “5 hours”… Woah!

On a half-baked whim, I changed the label underneath the big number to break down the hours/minutes when you were over 90 minutes.

I knew I needed something better.

Try #1

1 hour 41 min

My first obvious step was to break down the big number into the hour and minutes part, and label them appropriately. This didn’t quite fit into my One Big Number idea and there was too much focus on the “hour” and “min.”

Try #2

1 hour 41 min, with bigger numbers

I tried making the units smaller, so the focus was on the numbers. This was close to making the final cut, but it is too wordy. It made my precious One Big Number too small.

Try #3

1:41

How about I make it look like a clock? A digital clock, like the one your your iPhone’s lock screen, shows hours and minutes perfectly.

This looked great, but what led me to try this was ultimately its own downfall: This just looks too much like a clock.

Plus is the “1” and hour, or a minute. Is it 1 minute and 41 seconds?

Try #4

1:41:12

I tried to make it clear that the “1” was the hour slot, followed by minutes and seconds. For the most part, Moment is accurate to the second, but I’ve chosen not to show that data. The exact # of seconds you use your phone isn’t important.

And this one looked too much like a stopwatch.

Try #5

1h 41m

I went back to my first try and abbreviated the hour/minute unit labels to “h” and “m.” This saved me 7 characters (including the spaces between “1” and “hour.”)

But again, there wasn’t enough focus on your actual numbers.

Try #6

1h 41m, with bigger numbers

So I made the unit labels smaller. This is actually the solution I went with for a while, but something about the lowercase letters bugged me.

Bingo!

1H 41M, with bigger numbers

I bumped up the case for the “H” and “M” and it’s perfect. You can easily glance and see the 1 and 41 sticking out. It also works in the list of your past days.

1 hour and 41 minutes. Whew, that’s a lot of time spent with this glowing rectangle.

Overall, it took me a few revisions and a couple hours, but I’m happy with the outcome. I’m using this time breakdown everywhere in the app: the main screen, the timeline, the Today widget, and the Apple Watch app.


Edge Case Note: I keep the minutes place there, even if you have an even amount of hours, like 60 minutes or “1H.” If I don’t display that as “1H 0M,” your muscle memory and experience might see a short “1H” and just “1M.” The hours are always the leftmost number, and minutes are to the right of that.

I didn’t do the same if you’re under an hour, say “35M.” I want that number to appear smaller, and shaving the hours off the front makes that to happen.

Moment on Your Apple watch

by Kevin Holesh

Showing a quick overview of how much time you've spent on your phone today

Moment for the Apple Watch is an extremely simple way to see how much time you've spent on your phone today without, you guessed it, picking up your phone. Install the watch app to see a quick one-screen glance at your stats, including how many times you've picked up your phone.

With Moment Family

Glance on your Apple Watch with a quick view of your family and your stats for today

Moment for Apple Watch really shines when you're using Moment Family. You can instantly see how you and the rest of your family are doing today. You can see who has gone over their daily limit and who is getting close.

Choose to steal a quick glance or you can open the watch app to break down each family member.

Each family member will get an icon that matches who they are in real life. You'll see yourself as the adult mother or father. If you have a son named Jack, his icon will be a small boy. The icon will change color based on how much time Jack has spent on his iPhone today. Green means he's well below his daily limit. Yellow means he's getting close to his limit, and red means he's gone over. In this case, Jack is red because he's well over his daily limit. Tisk tisk!

I hope Moment on the Apple Watch app is a time saver for you. There's nothing more counter productive than picking up your phone to see how many times you've picked up your phone today.

The Single Habit Change That Helped Me the Most

by Kevin Holesh

I've been using Moment for a year now, a couple months before I made it available in the App Store. I've learned a ton in that year, but one thing sticks out.

At the beginning, I was spending 2 hours on my iPhone each day. I used it for work, but most of that time was scrolling through Twitter and checking email obsessively. The last thing I'd see before I drifted off to sleep was Tweetbot and the first thing I'd see when I woke up in the morning was my iPhone waiting for me on my nightstand, singing the siren song of distraction.

My iPhone was the bookends of my day. I'd spend 20 minutes drifting off in the glow of my phone screen, and I'd spend the first 30 minutes of my day waking up to the same light.

Your Alarm Clock Is an Excuse

My phone used to be my alarm clock. That's why I needed it right next to me. I'd set my alarm for 7:30 AM knowing full well that I didn't need to be up until 8. I'd pad my daily wake up call because I knew I'd be spending the first 30 minutes of my day catching up on what happened while I was asleep. My morning rounds were Twitter, email, and my RSS reader. Drowsy-eyed scrolling for half an hour.

There's one thing that works better than my phone as an alarm clock. It's an actual alarm clock. I bought mine at Ikea for $5.99 and I'm not tempted to stare at it for 45 minutes each day. It's actually rather boring.

No iPhones in the Bedroom

I now enforce a ban on screens in our bedroom. I don't allow me or my wife to use our phones right before bed. Our bedroom is for sleeping, cuddling with our dogs, and reading books on our Kindles. Our bedroom is our sleep sanctuary.

Right now, I'm down to about an hour on my phone each day. Most of that is spent working on Moment. Ironic, isn't it?

The single biggest change I made to my daily routine was leaving my iPhone on the kitchen table while I slept. I'm no longer tempted to pick up my phone and check my email first thing in the morning. I still spend a couple minutes each morning checking Twitter, but it's while I'm enjoying a cup of tea and watching the rising sun's rays engulf our kitchen. Tweetbot is the equivalent of my dad's morning newspaper and I'm okay with that. I'm happy to not be beginning and ending each day on my phone before I even get out of bed.

I Want to Use My Phone a Little Bit Less

by Kevin Holesh

I want to make one thing clear. Moment isn't about saying your iPhone is evil, and that you should completely stop using it and go live in the woods. It's not about determining whether you're "addicted" to your phone or not.

My iPhone is amazing. It allows me to keep in touch with my friends, check a restaurant's reviews, or find my way to that restaurant. I can instantly check to see if I got a reply to an important email or post a witty tweet from the bathroom at Wendy's. I make my living making apps for the iPhone. Now that I have one, I can't imagine living my life without my iPhone.

But that doesn't mean my relationship with my iPhone is perfect. Too often, I fall into the trap of staring at the glowing 4.7 inch screen in my hands. I built Moment for myself first.

Yin and Yang

Moment is about finding balance in your life. Connected versus disconnected. On versus off. The real world versus the digital world.

Moment is a tool to help you use your phone a little bit less. I've answered thousands of emails from people using Moment, and not a single person has actually wanted to increase the time they spend on their phone each day. It's always about going the other way, towards spending more time engaged in the world around them instead of getting sucked into their phone screen.

It's exhilarating to be always connected, to know that the extent of human knowledge is a simple Google search away. But the fear of missing out on something if you don't check Instagram right now is exhausting. You should have connected time and you should also be conscious of how much you're using your phone during times where you should be disconnected, like after your kids are home from school and they're begging you to go outside and play tag. Your email can wait.

Why Apple Made a Watch

by Kevin Holesh

Wired's piece on the secret history of the Apple Watch:

Along the way, the Apple team landed upon the Watch’s raison d’être. It came down to this: Your phone is ruining your life. Like the rest of us, Ive, Lynch, Dye, and everyone at Apple are subject to the tyranny of the buzz—the constant checking, the long list of nagging notifications. “We’re so connected, kind of ever-presently, with technology now,” Lynch says. “People are carrying their phones with them and looking at the screen so much.” They’ve glared down their noses at those who bury themselves in their phones at the dinner table and then absentmindedly thrust hands into their own pockets at every ding or buzz.

Even Apple employees aren't immune to the pull of the phone in their pocket.

The article later goes on to partly blame Apple for creating this problem, which I don't think is fair. The iPhone makes it incredibly easy to access whatever I want, wherever I am, but that's not why I check my phone 50 times a day. I check it because I get a notification from Twitter, or a Facebook wall post, or a text message from my family. I check it because I'm bored and want to mindlessly scroll through something to "catch up on news."

The iPhone is just the hardware. The addictive part is the apps I have installed.

Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest employ offices full of very smart designers whose only goal is to get you to engage with their app just a little bit more. If you check your Pinterest feed 20% more, the company can increase their revenue by 20% by serving more ads. The more you're checking your Facebook news feed, the more ads you'll see and the more money Facebook will make. Your eyeballs and attention are how these apps and companies make all of their money.

There are entire books written about how to improve an app's design and sink the hook in deeper. These designers are much better at their jobs than I am at resisting the psychological tricks they use. I can't help but pick up my phone for that little dopamine hit I get from checking my Twitter feed.

That's why I'm hooked on my iPhone and I think the Apple Watch will help push me in the right direction.

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