Apps that Inspire: Reflectly

App’s are the lifeblood here at Indiespring and if we’re not making apps we are definitely using them in our lives. Sometimes we just like to say how great an app is, how it is built, its cool features and the problems it solves. Reflectly is one such app that has come to our attention and we just wanted to give our thoughts on how it is inspiring us and the apps we make.

Reflectly is a journal utilizing artificial intelligence to help you structure and reflect upon your daily thoughts and problems. Your personal mental health companion.

The above description was taken directly from the Reflectly website (https://reflectly.app/) and highlights the primary function of the Reflectly app as being a means of reflecting on your day and aiding your mental health via the medium of an app based journal. In the following case study I aim to review the app on both its functionality and usability as well as how closely it adheres to its primary function as a mental health/journal app.

The Review

Reflectly was recommended to me by one of the indiespring development team, not because of its function but because it has become somewhat of a poster app for a cross platform development toolkit that was used to build it called Flutter.

To provide context, this was one of many apps the team suggested but in order to provide an objective and constructive review of the app I selected Reflectly because it appealed to me personally as something that could complement apps such as Headspace which I already use regularly.

When you first open the app you are immediately dropped into the onboarding process which asks what your name is (it actually asks what your friends call you, so depending on which friend I asked, I got a variety of… different answers) and then what your favourite colour is (which changes the theme of the app).   

Design and Build Quality

So far so good. I’m currently using an iPhone 6S and despite its age, the whole process is smooth, streamlined and beautifully animated. Each step of the process, and pretty much every button tap is accompanied by a clever little animation. Some are subtle, such as the logo blinking happily to itself, while others really help add to the flow of the whole process such as how the background colour changes from the centre out when selecting the theme. These subtle transitions in the app make the user experience a really immersive one and goes to show the power that these cross platform development tools have now. Gone are the days that to have a great looking app you needed to build natively. Throughout my usage of the app I have been extremely impressed with the UI and clever ways the developers have used the app to keep the user engaged with its purpose.

Push notifications are well documented to increase user interaction so when you try and opt out of  push notifications in Reflectly you are presented with a friendly message saying you are 88% more likely to get better results if you allow them. Considering the primary function of the app is to be used as a daily journal and from previous experience with Headspace notifications, it makes sense that this would be the case and I felt myself genuinely pausing and deliberating despite my natural aversion to them which I was impressed by.

Interacting With Reflectly

Reflectly then sets you up with your first journal entry, a multi-stage process where you select from a few preset icons what your mood was for the day and how happy you were. The steps are in keeping with the process used during on-boarding, trying to capture what may have been a rather complex emotional journey during the day and these insights are used to provide your happiness graph, which is arguably the most powerful feature the app has for tracking your mental health.

Once you have selected your mood and feeling, the journal entry is created. At this stage that’s all you need to do but the option is there to add more details and use the app as an actual journal rather than just a mood log.

When adding in your daily journal, Reflectly adds in a random question about your personality and personal preferences. I can see that some may find this a little invasive but I think it’s actually a great idea, especially if you’re serious about reviewing your previous entries again in future and not just recording them for posterity, as it will help you identify certain moods and feelings. 

And that’s it, there’s a nice little search function to help locate your previous journal entries but other than that, the app is quite minimalistic.

Final Thoughts

On the design side Reflectly is beautiful and is easily one of the best apps I’ve ever used. Everything looks and feels great and it’s a pleasure to use. The onboarding process could easily be a 10 out of 10. The app itself is quite basic. The usability and look & feel has obviously been the driving force behind the app as it’s very user friendly. This is even more impressive taking into account the cross platform tools used to create the app.

Reflectly is a good, high quality app and their business model is obviously working well for them as they have well over half a million users and a 4.4 star rating on the app store after over 5000 reviews which is very impressive. Reflectly is almost certainly working for a lot of people out there, and since their goal is better mental health, I wish them all the best of luck.