Just wanted to chime in with some fairly disorganized thoughts about my Beeminder experience.
I was initially captivated by the allure of Beeminder as a new system that might finally tap into the immediate time horizon / consequences mechanism I lack given high-moderate ADHD. It worked for a good 3-4 months and was scrupulous about data entry. Yet even when things were going well, I found myself stubbing my toe against the user experience.
The mobile app UX is very poor especially in contrast to what mobile apps are capable of in 2023. It is not well designed around the goal of as quickly as possible letting me see what’s due and entering that data.
Even the main website could be so much better in terms of visually communicating deadlines, progress etc. The thumbnail graphs don’t really explain much (some simple numbers around completion % or # of derails or latest streak post last derail, etc. would be more useful), especially for longer running goals. There’s also no clear way to see the reporting at a global level? Total number of derails, total $ paid in penalties, best performing goals, etc. I can only imagine there are ways to instill encouragement and motivation, especially for an app that’s animated by a pretty punishing mechanism.
When it comes to the escalating penalties, they make sense in theory but for indefinite goals, they’re just too dangerous given the vagaries of life. There’s also something distinctly discouraging by the ratchet upwards since it feels like an unredeemable failure (rather than some price finding mechanism for what will motivate me). If, for example, I could dig myself out of a hole and auto reduce the penalty with a certain kind of streak, I’d be excited about that. I got to the point where I am unwilling to risk more than $10 for every goal and now I have to remember to de-escalate the penalty by one rung one week at a time until I get back to my target. I don’t understand why the akrasia 7 day gap needs to be applied to everything.
On the topic of setting breaks, why can’t I set a global break for all the beeminders? As someone who has ADHD, I might forget to set a break and given the 7 day gap, I’m then screwed across a dozen or so more goals, so I then have to communicate and overload support (who have been consistently fantastic) for multiple days in a row.
Finally, for an app that I’m guessing selects to some degree for more ADHD users, the lack of native calendar support for creating events/reminders is baffling. The sheer number of times I completed a goal but then in a moment of absentmindedness forgot to enter it and then have to bug support definitely detracts from the experience.
In summary, it’s a really interesting concept with a really passionate and active community and great support, but the execution on the application / UX is disappointing.