Review: Way of Life6th Dec, 2013
A solid habit-tracking app that's feeling a little old.
The general consensus is that smartphones are purely distractions. That unless we remain thoroughly diligent with them, we actually manage to accomplish less. On the whole that’s probably true, but it doesn’t discount the fact that they can be used to accomplish a great deal. Way of Life is an app that wants to do that by tracking things that are good and bad for you. Let’s explore.
Way of Life is more or less a habit-tracking app. These can be anything from exercise and eat my vegetables, to “write an app review”. There are a lot of suggested entries for your “journal” - which holds all of these “habits” - but you can enter ones yourself. When you enter a new habit, you name it and indicate if it’s good or bad for you. This additional information is how Way of Life stands out. Most apps want you to focus on what’s good for you, but here you can track when you don’t do things that are bad for you. For example, it may be more useful for you to know when you aren’t stressed as opposed to when you are.
To log a habit, you simply tap it on the main menu and indicate if you did that thing or not. If doing the thing is marked as good for you, the yes option will be green, but if it’s bad for you the yes button will be red. The connotation of each habit carries through here, which is nice. You may also choose to skip a habit that day, which will mark it as neither positive or negative for you. This is useful if your goal is to exercise 3 days a week and you simply skip the days you don’t. There’s also an option to add notes when you log a habit. This is particularly useful on days you skip a habit as you can remember why you chose to skip it.
As you enter this information, Way of Life will build informative charts for you showing the ratio of good vs bad for what ever habit you wish to view. You can also display a trend line to get a better idea of how you’re performing. If you want to take this data elsewhere and graph it in something more complex the app will allow you to export your journal info as a CSV file or an Excel spreadesheet.
It’s not without its faults, of course. The app hasn’t been updated in over a year and is still styled for pre-iOS 7. As a result, it certainly seems uglier than most apps these days. But mostly it just feels busy when looking at it. It would definitely benefit from a redesign in the newer style.
The other major downside is that the free version limits you to tracking only three habits. A $4.99 in-app purchase will remove the limit and eliminate ads. While the app does seem to be genuinely useful, a full year without updates is not very promising of continued development which may make the $4.99 a much bigger deal.
Still, it’s a very solid habit-tracking app. It’s similar to Lift, except it doesn’t try to build a community around your habit-forming and it includes additional context for your habits. I’m planning on keeping it on my phone simply to see if any updates come its way. With a little confidence that it’s still being worked on and a solid design update, $4.99 seems about right for this app. In the meantime, I can’t say I’ll be using it.
Way of Life: 2/5 piles of poo