Forest Productivity App: Product Review

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I’m writing this review for two reasons.

First, I loved this app and it becomes a part of my daily habits.

Second, I believe that the best way to keep your knowledge and to improve your skills is through reflection.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Forest is an app which aims to make you more productive and to make the best from your time by helping you stay away from your smartphone and stay focused on your work. It uses the Pomodoro Technique for time management, The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named pomodoro.

The app makes an analogy of forest where the time you spend using the app is invested in planting a tree and by spending more time using the app these trees build you productivity forest. When spending more time caring for your tree “Spending time using the app” you will be rewarded with a great tree “Being productive at whatever you do”.

The app designers made a great use of gamification techniques by converting the experience of work and time management into a seductive game by offering rewards and using of gamification elements.

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Let’s talk about what I liked about the app and what areas needs and improvements.

What I liked:

  • The home screen is very simple towards the goal. The user is introduced with a timer to specify the time he wants to count down. They motivated the user to specify a longer time by providing better trees and better reward for longer times. Once tapped on “Plant” it starts counting down.

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  • Today’s smartphones are distracting us more and more, we check emails and social media sites regularly which make us distracted from our tasks. The design team at Forest handled distractions in a great way. Your tree will be killed if you use any app on your smartphone. Not harming the user freedom they offer a white list to choose apps if opened will not kill your tree.

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  • Using gamification techniques by rewarding users with coins when planting a tree, offering a stuff for buying and competing with other users. All of these motivates the user and encourages him for more keeping him using the app.

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  • Tracking the progress through “My Forest” offers the user with a engaging statistical data identifying the number of hours spent productively this week, allow using tags to distinguish between categories and offering a visual view of you forest makes the user motivated and engaged.

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  • The Reflective Design as Don Norman described it “Reflection design is about long term relations, about the feeling of satisfaction produced by owning, displaying and using the product” . The Forest team made a great example of that by the value created by using the product. The value could be that you become productive and that made your life better but more than that when you spend virtual coins on the app you are planting real trees in the world making the world a better place.

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Area to Improve:

  • Adding widgets to add to screen is a good suggestion which will make it easier to set a timer and work. It will save the user some time and also it will remind the user to use Forest.
  • Also, Reminding the user to use the app is an essential part of its success. I recommend encouraging users to use the app through personalized notifications with messages telling the user for example “1 Hour to break the last week record .. Use Forest now ?”.

Finally, Thanks to Forest team offering such a great experience for its users allowing us to be more productive in our life.

Thanks for reading.