30 issues


#1

This is part ‘first impressions’ post, part a summary of all the grievances, that I ranted to the support about.
I had some very strong feelings about many of the design decisions and they asked me to write it into a post on the forum, so that they could have some input from other users.
Now a lot of my issues are probably non-issues for experienced users, who would probably say ‘No, you have to go to panel 3, submenu 5, underpoint 9 and remove the tick. Duh!’ (actually, please tell me then), but a lot of my issues relate to lack of documentation and the general non-obviousness of the system. The tone of this is a bit harsh (I had this saved as Beeminder-bitching on my harddrive). I’m very frustrated, that I need a system like this in the first place (and I absolutely do) and that I’m kind of stuck with this piece… and I don’t think anything else is obviously better.

1
About the goal options hidden in Dashboard view:
Why would anyone click on a graph and expect to go somewhere.
I mean, someone who is curious (or who is desperately searching for options for a goal), maybe.
And when they do, they get immediately annoyed, because they have no clear idea where they are.
Maybe they really liked where they have been. Having in their short term memory loaded the whole overview of
everything and idly clicking things, suddenly being teleported without warning dazed and confused to god-knows-where.
(never underestimate, how much people idly click on things)
I think, labeled buttons are just plain better for important things like that.

2
I also don’t understand why there is a link from the “Gallery” to the “Dashboard”, but not vice-versa.

3
Or what exactly the difference is. “Gallery” is meant to be a pretty overview and “Dashboard” to be useful?

4
Why does the Gallery have the goal description next to the goal name, but the Dashboard has not.
And why isn’t it pretty. The first goals made by an user will not have short descriptions, but rather the
full ‘contract’ (fine print can only be discovered after a goal is set and going to “mystery land/click the picture”).
This is what one of my goals looks like in that view:
accountability: This is for sho…
Not pretty at all (or useful for that matter).
The only way, that this windows an look pretty is with no descriptions at all, I think.

5
Besides the description for the description is problematic: This can be more verbose and will be visible on your goal page.
But there is no element on the website, that is called “goal page” (did you mean Gallery, what is going on here?).

6
And why can goals have no spaces? “woldDomination” doesn’t look nearly as motiviating as
"World Domination".

7
And why are my goals in ALLCAPS in the Dashboard and in small letters only in my Gallery.
This makes using camelcase (which I would want to use, bcs. no two-word goals) impossible, making
both goal lists harder to read.

8
And in the “Dashboard” view there should be a bit more space between the content of the Goal column and the Deadline column. And between the tick and an overly long comment, that ends with “…”.

9
Why use non-descriptive names like Dashboard and Gallery,
instead of “data entry and goal creation” and “pretty and utterly useless goal overview, that adds no value”?
So that people know immediately where to go.

10
To get to “Dashboard” you have to click you own username? That’s not obvious.
I’m not sure it’s sensible.

11
When hovering other a goal in dashboard, I see the following nonsense:
blue.bmndr.com/username/goalname is in the top lane…
(why on earth would a user want to see a URL here?)
And I know the ‘lane’-part refers to this whole weird road metaphor thing (a non-intuitive way to talk
about graphs). I never see anything recognisable as ‘bricks’ in my graph, or lanes for that matter (and
what are the weird yellow diagonal lines below the middle line (or lane (or whatever))).
Either commit to the metaphor and make the graph look really stupid or use normal graph-describing
language, like ‘You are above the line/on tope of the line/below/on top of the line.’, that is immediately obvious.
Or make a Youtube video where you show a graph, and point at each thing in succession saying ‘this is what we
refer to as a lane, this is a brick…’.

12
No way to change my username, which I picked unwisely as a random ugly String (they changed it for me on request, which is nice, but not having to deal with support is always better)

13
Why is there no way to find out, if my goal is a ‘do less’,‘do more’, etc. The goal type is very important information, and I’m supposed to just remember that?

14
At first I thought, that was what the colors were for, bcs. not having that information being obvious seemed inconceivable to me. It’s hard to find out, what the colors are for. I did. And I already forgot again.

15
Also I want icons. The goals could look so pretty. Why are there no icons? (Imagine having these next to your goals)

16
The documentation for Newbees had me struggling badly, because I did not
know, that the do-less category was a Premium feature. It does not tell
you that, in the document (something, that would not be known by a
newbee). I kind of just guessed that at some point and decided to have a
look at the “Premium” link at the top of the page. I wrote to the support, and they
basically said ‘good catch’. But it’s still in the documentation. What is wrong with them?
(I don’t think I’m even the first one to run afoul of that issue, think I read someone else saying
that in the forum)
see here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/newbees/

17
No way to decide when your new day starts and no sane default value.
(Who goes to bed at midnight?)
This really tripped me up when entering report data at 0:40 being counted for the ‘next’ day.

18
I would like to change the hexagon next to my ‘Name’ into a different
hexagon. Maybe have some choice in the hexagonic department, to make the
site feel more like home? Or do the number of the dots somehow reflect my
exact premium status (if so, I haven’t noticed and found it nowhere documented)?
It’s not terribly important, but seeing an icon like that sets up the expectation, that you can customize
it, like in Steam or even in bloody Windows 8. It’s a really bad sign, if Windows 8 does something better
than you.

19
Clicking the hexagonic icon in the top right and having the menu expand is all right.
But to shrink it again, I would expect to be able to click on anything else, not
necessarily the icon again. This is annoying, because it doesn’t feel
right to continue to use the dashboard, with the ‘thing’ hanging out. The space
feels jammed. Writing this down and seeing how silly that sounds, I
already don’t care anymore, but it did affect me, on like a subconscious
level.

20
No way to have your own custom order in the goal list. They swoosh them around with every action you take,
disorienting you. I implemented that by adding numbers in front of each goal. Then at least I could
click the alphabetical order button twice to see my goals in the order I want to see them.
If you don’t want to implement that. Fine. Just give me the option to always start the Dasboard
in alphabetical order.
I DON’T GIVE A FUCK, WHAT YOU THINK IS IMPORTANT FOR ME TO SEE FIRST.
I WANT MY THINGS TO BE, WHERE THEY ALWAYS ARE. LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.

21
Apparently when you change a comment for a data entry and then click ‘update’, it reloads the
graph. It should detect first, if any data was actually changed. I think it’s not necessary to
even click ‘update’, when just changing a comment, but that’s far from clear.

22
Enough space for medium sized goal names to be fully shown in the
dashboard view. “12_evening-protocol” should not have to be abbreviated. There is so much
unused whitespace on the Dashboard even with half a screen of a 1080p monitor.
Seeing tons of data at once on one screen is essential for a QS app.
Same for comments.

23
What does this line mean exactly?
‘goal-name’ limit +11.25 safe for 4 days, 12:43:36 or pay $5
Nothing is documented. Nothing is ever explained.

24
I want to do some simple goals, like measuring my bodyfat. The goal
is successful (according to my intuition), if I lower it by a few predetermined percentage points till the end
of the year. I want to measure it weekly on every Sunday, bcs. any intervals shorter than
that would be stupid. But I get stupid derail prompts all the time,
during the week. So just get fed up and delete the thing and add impossible
values just to shut it up, so it doesn’t bother me in the interim before deletion.
Also, I don’t consider myself derailing on a goal, when I’m like maybe
a few kg lighter than I ought to be (for a weight-gain goal) temporarily,
so I don’t really know how to set this up. I’m thinking like a system,
where I pay a twelth of say 100 Dollars into a pot and if I haven’t met
my goal at the end of the year, I don’t get it back (or just a part of it, depending
on how close I got). I know, this is not how Beeminder is supposed to work.
But I don’t know how it’s suppossed to work in these cases either.
They say, do-less is a good category for ‘body-fat-percentage’ or ‘weight-loss’,
but they don’t actually tell you how to implement them in any sane way. Where is
the documentation. I need some worked examples for this or I’ll just give up on certain goals
and really only use it for ‘inputs’ instead of ‘outputs’, which is sad.

25
Since the ‘description’ is utterly useless and so unasthetic, that I leave it blank,
I of course want more space in the fine-print. A goal is a contract between
your present self and your future self. The future self usually needs
convincing to keep to that contract with its past self, which it will most
likely not recognize as a legitimate authority. Therefore the contract
must eloquently lay out the reasoning, why it is advantageous to
honor the contract and for more complicated routine-building goals,
which steps are to be taken exactly as vague contracts are more
easily ignored or opportunistically misinterpreted.
AND YOU GIVE ME AN 80 PIXEL BOX FOR THIS, THAT FITS 35 CHARACTER PER LINE?!!

26
American date format only. You couldn’t imagine how confusing and harsh to read,
that is for people living in non-American countries.

27
They tell you when a CC-charge did not go through, but don’t give you any more
information, like an error code or a more specific ‘request denied’ message or anything more specific.
Maybe that’s fine in America, where everyone can be expected to
have multiple Credit Cards (or it’s at least much more common), but many
non-Americans only have one, and if a derailment-payment doesn’t go through,
then that is an issue that needs to be fixed with that Credit Card company.
Referring to a more explicit error could speed up the process.
And until it isn’t resolved, the whole service is pretty much useless, as I cannot use/edit
a goal anymore, that isn’t paying them.

28
Even if you want to adhere to the insane implied policy, that comments should not exceed
a length of 10 characters before abbreviation, external apps (like Complice) of course
use longer comments. Whenever you see abbreviation dots, it’s bad design.

29
Goals should (to quote Baumeister) represent ‘clear, bright lines’. If you have to tinker
around with them all the time, just to make them work the way you expect them to using trial and error,
and need a month throwing different things against the wall, just to see what you could work with,
then that is definitely not that. This tinkering to get it right through iteration encourages touching
and manipulating your goals, instead of setting them once and have them mean something.
Or not getting immediate feedback on your actions, bcs. the graph apparently needs 15 seconds
to update the entry of one datapoint (yeah right, I’m waiting for this).
This all encourages weaseling out.

30
Often I derailed on some of my goals in a very real manner, but I couldn’t take the promise
I made seriously, because, well the ‘other side of the bargain’ was also far from what I expected.


#2

You point to a lot of important problems that show there’s a lot of room for improvement conceptually and design-wise with beeminder. With that said - and not necessarily to defend the status quo, but to explain it partially - I think most of the things you described are due to the fact that beeminder has a history. And what we’re seeing here is the tendency of the beeminder folks to try to get it right for everyone (new, old and weird) accumulating over time.

This historicity is hard, maybe impossible, to overcome on a general basis. If you have to update/upgrade/change everything to an intelligible state for the here and now, it’s easy to see how hard such a task is and even more so with increasing complexity of whatever thing you’d like to update.

Nonetheless all of those things have to be taken into consideration and thought about on a pragmatic level as well as on a more philosophical one. I’d say that many of your grievances have to be taken VERY seriously and fixes for them have to be implemented ASAP. But as soon as possible might still mean tomorrow, next month or even next year.


#3

I wouldn’t want to be @dreev after reading this post :slight_smile: :heart:


#4

On the issues mentioned in the original post, a small comment

Well one can argue that Beeminder is not meant to be used for goals that have a single data point per week due to the whole concept of a 7-days horizon. What you can do is either change the notification settings for the goal or set a lower bar giving you 2-3 weeks of buffer.

Specifically for bodyfat and weight I would also argue over beeminding on a daily basis but using trends not the actual measurements.

By the way, while agreeing on most of the points raised, Beeminder is still one of my daily-used tools that I could not live without at this point. :slight_smile:


#5

It looks like roughly half of your issues have to do with non-intuitiveness/lack of documentation, another third or so with the (still relatively) new design, and the remainder are also really useful feedback. Here’s some other threads related to those topics where you might want to join the discussion:

What should be offered for newbee documentation?
Feedback related to the new design plus several others with “new design” in the subject.

Point-by-point responses, with issues I personally agree with in bold. [I’m not on the development team, just a long-time user with too much free time.]

1) Clicking on graph to get to goal page is non-intuitive
(“Goal page” is the place where you go when you click on the graph.) Even several months into the new design, I still sometimes click on the goal name when I’m trying to get to the graph, and I’m always annoyed to have it toggle to description again. The behavior I’d expect is for clicking the graph to enlarge it (with fancy zooming, once that’s implemented) and for clicking the goal name to go to the goal page.

2) Link from gallery to dashboard but not vice versa
I’m guessing the rationale was to keep the dashboard “clean” looking, but there’s no reason this couldn’t be another line at the bottom. That’s a more standard “toggle layout” setup. (It also could then be removed from the dropdown, which is a weird place for that link. The options could then be new goal, account, payments, reminders, log out. This makes it clearer that each is a type of settings page.)

Unrelated: I see there’s a link to archived goals from both now. Thanks for fixing that!

  1. Unclear purpose of the Gallery
    I don’t use the gallery much (if at all) these days, but it used to be the primary point of contact before the dashboard was invented. I expect there are some users who still prefer it, but that might be a good topic for exploration.

4a) Dashboard doesn’t show descriptions
These are available by clicking the goal name, but that’s pretty non-intuitive (see #1). There’s been a lot of discussion around this and this is the result so far. There’s probably still room for improvement.

4b) Gallery isn’t pretty
Agreed! The biggest place this probably matters (given that most users probably primarily use the dashboard) is on the “featured” page, which uses the same layout but doesn’t even show a description. Nothing about that page is particularly engaging.

5) Description for description is unclear
As above, “goal page” is the page where you go if you click on the graph. I agree with the point though, particularly since only a certain number of characters will be visible - that information should be provided so people can choose well. For @David: If you’re unhappy with the description you chose, you can edit it by going to the goal page and clicking it at the top, between the URL and the graph image.

  1. Goal names can’t have spaces
    This is because they also set the URL for the goal page. Underscores or hyphens are an alternative.

7) Goal names in caps on dashboard, in lowercase in gallery
There’s been a lot of discussion about capitalization in the new design, and this is one of several cases where the resolution seems to be “users will adapt their behavior” - but there’s no documentation to get them through that process.

8a) More space needed between goal name and deadline in dashboard view
I think this is due to space restrictions in mobile view, and is ultimately another case where users are expected to adapt.

8b) More space needed between checkmark and end of foreshortened comment

  1. Dashboard and Gallery are non-descriptive terms
    Closely related to #3.

10) Clicking username to get to dashboard is non-intuitive.
I always have to think about this for a half-second. The layout of the top bar makes my brain assume the username and dropdown icon are connected and that clicking either will drop down the menu.

11) Goal image on the dashboard has legacy hovertext that’s confusing
The text here uses terminology from the language of “lanes” that’s confusing (and soon to be phased out). It’s also overly dense and mostly duplicated on the dashboard itself. Possible alternate suggestion: “click to go to goal page” (see #1)

  1. No way to change username
    This is slightly annoying but not uncommon as sites go. @David, Beeminder has a much more involved support team (as it seems you’ve found already) than pretty much any other site I use, and I consider that a feature. So generally I’m not bothered by anything that helps users find out how awesome it is to interact with a friendly person on the other side of the screen. It’d be good to be clear about the fact it can’t be changed at account creation, though.

  2. No way to find out what goal type is after creation.
    @David, Can you give a bit more information about what your use case is? Generally I don’t have trouble remembering what I wanted to achieve with a goal.

14) Meaning of colors is unclear.
This is a big issue that’s been discussed before, and I know it’s one of @dreev’s goals to revamp these in the relatively near future.

  1. Suggestion: Icons for goals

16) Documentation for Newbees is out of date
Specifically: It’s pre-new design and pre-Beemium, and refers to lots of concepts that are planned for phasing out soon. I’d say it’s still better than nothing, but not by much. Also, the blog post is hard to even find! (It’s buried in the FAQ, which are pretty obtuse as it is.)

  1. Start of day issues
    I’d argue that midnight is a reasonable default - lots of folks go to bed before then, and it is the standard division between days in nearly every context. @david, if you’d like to change the setting for an individual goal, it’s on the goal page under the “settings” tab. If you want to change all goals at once, that’s accessible under the account dropdown menu, under “reminders.”

18) No way to customize icon by username.
I’d just assumed this was a customizable image and that I’d never gotten around to it! Yes, if there’s going to be an image at all, it should be customizable. Otherwise, just make the name the dropdown (see #10).

19) Dropdown menu does not collapse when user clicks outside menu

20a) No UI for goal order customization.
This is in the works, but I’m not sure how high of a priority it is. In the meantime there’s something that can be done with tagging, but it’s all manual at this point and I can never remember how to do it. Maybe someone else will jump in and explain.

20b) Settings for goal sort order don’t stick
I believe this is a known bug.

21a) Changing a comment in data reloads graph unnecessarily

21b) Clicking “update” seems unnecessary when only changing comment
Personally I prefer having clear confirmation of when data has or has not been updated.

22a) Showing more data in the dashboard would be preferable
Much of this is available via the goal page, but there’s work to be done still in making the goal page itself more intuitive/accessible.

22b) Lots of unused white space in dashboard
I think this is at least partially restricted by mobile design.

  1. Deadline/pledge text on dashboard is unclear
    I can’t think of a clear way to improve this, but it’s definitely another case of “documentation needed.”

24a) Weekly datapoints are difficult to implement
One way to do this would be to give yourself a week of buffer and always maintain that. That takes a bit of finesse, which is another case of “documentation needed.”

24b) Temporary points of “not on track” aren’t really "derailing"
This is a fundamental philosophical conflict, I’m afraid! Beeminder is about keeping on track every single day of the journey to a goal. That’s one of the reasons weight, bodyfat, and other “outcome” measures are tricky to beemind (another case of "documentation needed) - they’re things you don’t have direct control over. For “outcome” goals, in some cases something like stickK is a better option. There’s a lot of discussion on this topic on the forums under the “akrasia” topic, as well as on the blog.

25) More space for fine print
I can’t think of a good reason for this not to be an auto-scaling box that displays everything, especially because there’s no other display for fine print (a separate issue related to the redesign which has been discussed a fair bit).

26) Can’t display dates in any format other than American

27) Credit card errors are unclear/non-descriptive.
If it doesn’t make sense to put this info in the error itself, perhaps in a followup email?

  1. Dashboard display implies limit on comment length
    I haven’t run into an actual limit so far, but it’s true that I have to go to the goal page to see the longer comments.

29a) The learning period on Beeminder encourages tinkering with goals vs. set-and-forget
To some extent this is by design. But I’d agree that little about the site makes clear that there will be a learning curve and that tinkering (subject to the akrasia horizon) is expected behavior. Another call for more documentation.

29b) Graphs take forever to load.
A known bug. See this thread for more info on known bugs, and particularly the linked comment if you’re encountering slow-loading graphs.

30) When user experience isn’t as expected, commitments don’t feel real and derailments are frustrating.
@David, I hope that support has helped make this right for you in whatever form that looks like! Your point is absolutely crucial.


#6

I’m also a long-time user, not on the dev team.

People who cared about naming their goals in a sensible way (not as URL fragments) were really unhappy when it didn’t work this way. @David is one of these people, as indicated by items 6 and 7.

The existing behavior is a compromise that I don’t think anyone really likes, but no one completely hates either.

I think the existing users who really want to see descriptions in the dashboard would be just fine with clicking on the goal name going to the goal page, as long as there were some other reasonable way to toggle the dashboard to show the description. I won’t comment on the behavior for new users as it’s been discussed to death, other than that this new user obviously expected both that clicking on the goal name would go to the goal page and that the goal name would be allowed to have spaces and would preserve capital and lowercase letters.

That doesn’t really make sense. It’s easy for a website to detect if you’re on mobile and adapt (and most of the ones I visit do these days).

Yes please, this will never be intuitive and has been reported before. Should be a very easy fix.

It is customizable. I think the explanation of how to do it got lost in the redesign though. I believe it uses Gravatar.

I agree with @gretchen on 21b, but 21a still annoys me.


#7

Thank you for all the replies and clearing some things up.

I’m used to many of these behaviours now and think Beeminder is a very valuable part of my ‘setup’. But the discovery process was long and arduous and I felt like I had to work against the UI more, than it helped me.

@gretchen
I replied to your documentation thread

@gretchen
@kenoubi

  1. Why not a button with ‘goal page’ for each goal. Buttons and labels are neat, clear and obvious for new users (and old users). It also gives the ‘goal page’ a name. (I know by now, that it is called ‘goal page’, but I’ve only learned that implicitly and by guessing what ‘goal page’ could refer to in other parts of the UI (hmmm… maybe it means the ‘dashboard’, that’s where all the goals are or hey it could be the ‘gallery’, since that’s also where goals are, both are pages after all, ohh but from the context it seems, that it might mean the ‘mystery-graph-click land’, which doesn’t really pattern match as ‘page’, because it looks more like a ‘menu’ )
    (Clicking on a goal is about just as bad as clicking on a graph, both are non-obvious actions, that take you somewhere unexpected )

@gretchen
4a) I know they did, but abbreviated only, so of no use. (They did fix at least, that if you have no description for a goal, that it doesn’t show you a blank String).

6,7) It feels silly to think of ‘working capitalisation as a feature, so you can implement Camelcase’ as a feature. But by telling you first, that you can’t use spaces, it implies, that you’re supposed to do that. I guess you could use dashes and underscores for everything, but consider that not everybody is comfortable using these (especially non-programmers on non-US keyboards (I’m sure Beeminder has two of these)). Also that looks ugly.

  1. I know. I love the support, too. They’re cool. But that was my first issue (I think) and at that point I didn’t know the support, yet and really didn’t want to deal with that, bcs. dealing with support (outside of Beeminder) is usually a pain.
    The average contact with support per long-term user should be very close to zero. Else it’s broken.

  2. The difference between ‘whittle down’ and ‘do less’ and ‘lose weight’ is sometimes too subtle for me, so that I don’t really remember. (Did I want to whittle down my bodyfat?) (Was I ok with wasting some time and whittling down on that?) (What’s the difference of ‘doing less’ of wasted time or whittling down on that, anyway?)

  3. I skimmed over the link and decided to give up on knowing. Whatever they mean, there is no reason not to tell the user in a kind of legend at the bottom of the dashboard.

// make less harsh
16) Ahh, so there was a redesign. So why didn’t they mark all these old posts with a huge disclaimer in red font on top and made them unfindable by search engine and unclickable by links in the UI, then? And then write new proper documentation. Throwing out new features without the correct documentation is just… I’m not sure this even qualifies as a design Antipattern, because nobody could be expected to be so insane.

  1. Ok, it’s a reasonable default. Do you mean I can change the start of the day for each goal under ‘deadline’? So when I enter data on the next day, it will be still counted for the previous day for that goal if I set my deadline to 2am?

21b) That would be fine too, if the updating of the graph would take less than half a second. Alas, it does not.

22b) Interesting, but why optimise for mobile, when nobody in their right mind would think to do set up goals in mobile and there is an Android app for data entry (don’t know about iOs).

  1. Thank you. That’s literally the first time I hear, how I could potentially do that.

  2. Yes, I meant in the follow-up email. In the end, they didn’t have more info than basically that. But if I don’t know, they don’t know more, I will think they might be holding back on me. So if they know nothing further, they should say that in the follow-up email (but that one was automated, I think, so that might have been part of the issue).

@apolyton
It’s not even that I mind so much that I cannot do these things (easily, without doing something, that Gretchen just mentioned and I already forgot). It’s that I’m being lead to believe by the ‘lose weight’ goal type, that it’s a good idea to use it for measuring bodyfat. And nobody measures their bodyfat daily (well, maybe precompetition bodybuilders, but they wouldn’t need reminders for that) or weighs themselves daily for that matter, because that would be silly. So I make these kinds of goals, they don’t work as I expect them to and I give up on them in disgust. The net-effect is that I probably do less for these things, than before having discovered Beeminder, bcs. now I have the excuse, that Beeminder is broken and it’s their fault.

Apparently some assumptions ran away with me there, because
I just reread the description again for ‘lose weight’ more carefully:
"Weigh yourself every day. Also works for bodyfat percent, waist size, or similar."
Well, I guess they tell you, that they are insane. I must have overlooked that. I’m thinking now, about using these goals and adding the Sunday data point to each other day of the week. But that just feels so stupid, as I cannot set datapoints in advance, and I think, if do them each week for the past, I’ll automatically derail before.


#8

Weighing yourself every day. Great idea for very small birds. Waste of time for humans.


#9

While I won’t claim anything about the sanity of doing so (and don’t keep a weight goal on beeminder myself), there are plenty of people who do weigh themselves every day. There’s some evidence to suggest that doing so is correlated with less weight regain after losing weight, and at least in the US, that means it’s a very common suggestion for anyone who’s looking to lose weight in the first place.


#10

Regarding 17: Deadline vs date entered is a bit of a fuzzy issue, best explained with a few examples. All these assume manual data entry (not an integration with another service):

Example 1: You have a graph that isn’t about to derail - it’s “safe” for a few days.
Enter data whenever you want, and make sure you’ve selected the correct date when entering it. (If the correct date is not available from the dashboard, you can use the advanced data entry form on the goal page.)

Example 2: Sometime before the deadline, you notice that the goal is about to derail.
Enter data before the deadline, being sure that the correct date is selected. For instance, if it’s the 21st and you have a 2am deadline, you have until 2am on the 22nd to enter data, but you would assign “21” as the day. (There is a known bug around whether “today” shows correctly or not.) If something goes wrong with the data entry, you have until the deadline to correct it.

Example 3: Sometime after the deadline, you notice the goal has derailed.
You can still enter backdated data at this point - for instance, if you simply forgot to enter a datapoint - but it won’t reverse the derailment. To do that, you’ll need to respond to the “legit check” email and explain the situation.

Shorter version: If you’re not about to derail, it’s less critical when you enter data. If you are about to derail, you must enter a datapoint for the day before the deadline arrives.


#11

@gretchen
Thank you for explaining. That helps a lot and was very clear. I don’t think I would have figured that out on my own. Now I hope I can remember it.

The behavior of the Android app is so, that the date picker always selects the next day after midnight, which also made the confusion worse.

I think ending the day at midnight by default is still a bad idea, as few people who enter data at say 3 am would expect this to count towards the next day. People do often (by default, even) end their day before midnight, but rarely start it before 5am.

I guess weighing daily is more common than I thought and I just couldn’t have imagined that for myself. I’d still would really want a weekly/monthly goal-type, which I falsely assumed the ‘weight-gain’/‘weight-loss’ goals to be.


#12

Well, for what it’s worth, I do measure weight and fat daily :slight_smile: and beemind both the measured values and their trends (using the Hacker’s Diet formula). Daily measurement has helped my learn more about how my body functions and responds (or doesn’t) to what I am doing terms of activities, food, sleep, travel, etc.


#13

Hi @dreev, @bee

Just thought I’d balance @David’s post: a new beeminder myself (6 weeks and counting), I absolutely love Beeminder so far. I guess people who love it don’t necessarily say it, so there’s a sampling bias towards posts like the first in this thread [although “30 issues” still seems quite an outlier].

Thanks for the great work and the services you’re providing: you kick ass!


#14

@David, about the rationale behind daily weighing, you might enjoy this section on extracting signal from noisy data by increasing sampling frequency and applying smoothing, taken from The Hacker’s Diet – a book quite appreciated in the quantified-self community. It makes for an interesting read.


#15

I’ve lost and kept off 50 pounds with daily weighing on Beeminder, and I am
a human not a bird.


#16

All right, all right. It’s a thing. (Sorry for calling you guys birds)
I just don’t think, tracking metrics that change very slowly on a daily basis should be the default
(value of time > value of information, in my opinion).
Weekly should be (instead of being doable only via weird workaround).

@adamwolf
Do you think, you wouldn’t have lost 50 pounds, if you had entered the data only weekly or was this like an essential daily recomittment ritual for you, that set the tone for each day?


#17

(Can’t tell if it’s a bug or intended and undocumented behaviour, again)
When you already have a buffer of 7 and set your Max Buffer to 3 days.
It doesn’t automatically cut your buffer down to 3 (which is contradictory to the text ‘Automatically trim safety buffer’, this contradiction makes me immediately doubt, that the feature works at all, which is not fun).
I mean, I guess it makes sense, that a user might want to keep their accumulated buffer and if he still doesn’t, he would use the ‘retroratchet’ then, but I think this should be more obvious.
Also if he doesn’t want that, can the buffer only shrink now, or can it still grow to ‘10’ from the current ‘7’?

‘retroratchet’
(just the word, not the functionality. And that you read it so often in the documentation without the word ‘buffer’ to give it an immediate context. And that it’s capitalised in the Q, but not in the A part of the FAQ
I’d find any of these words better and clearer: shrink/kill/destroy/reduce/cut/slash/burn)
It makes a very simple concept seem intimidating for no (at least to me) apparent reason.
I guess it sounds cool.


#18

@David, you should really read the link @jucor gave. The short version is that your average weight over some period of time is what you really care about (in fact, is probably a better definition of what it means to weigh X pounds than “I stepped on my scale and it said X”), and weighing daily makes that measurement much less noisy. In other words, if you only weigh weekly, and that weekly measurement randomly happens to be lower or higher than a normal day for that week, you’ll be inappropriately motivated to try less hard or try harder respectively (assuming that losing weight is your goal) in the week to come.


#19

David, if I was able to eat right and exercise right by having goals in the future, I wouldn’t have any need for Beeminder. This is so very crucial and important to my Beeminder experience, I need to restate it a few times.

For weight loss, I’d wake up in the morning, weigh myself, and I’d know exactly how I could act. I know how to lose weight. Eat less, exercise more, eat healthier food. I’ve known this since elementary school. On the other hand, like many people (who also know this), I struggled with my weight. For me, daily weighings were transformative. Beeminder was the other half.

Beeminder makes it so each of my long-term goals has a goal value today. When I have long-term goals, I often push the work to Future Me. By having a daily goal, every day, this dramatically reduces how much work I can push off to Future Me. To me, this is the essence of what Beeminder is.


#20

31) Behavior of “automatically trim” is unexpected/not clearly described
The automatic trimming happens overnight, so it won’t happen immediately but should show up the next day. If you find it doesn’t, that’s a bug that support should know about. I ran into the same issue and was confused too, so I’d argue the explanatory text needs to be better.

  1. “Retroratchet” is an intimidating term not clearly tied to the word "buffer"
    This, like much of the terminology, might be another item worth reconsidering as part of “Project Yellow Brick Halfplane” (the colors/road “lanes” revamp). Personally I’m not convinced it’s worth changing the terminology, as that would most likely just create more confusion, but tying it more clearly to buffer in the (future) documentation might be important.