Tell us about BreakFree! BreakFree is a revolutionary app that helps users maintain a controlled digital lifestyle. It monitors phone and app usage and tracks how addicted user are to their phones and apps by giving the user an addiction score. Broadly the addiction score is divided into three zones, green, yellow and red. We ask the user to try to be in the green zone. We’ve tried to make this a fun app by introducing a character called Sato who gives out tips based on usage. We also provide a lot of analysis on phone usage via graphs and stats.
To make this a complete de-addiction package, we have also provided tools for our users to help them reduce their phone dependency. Tools include disabling sounds, disabling the internet, auto rejecting phone calls, prompting every 10 minutes of continuous phone usage, etc.
How is BreakFree different from similar apps? While researching anti-addiction methods we found that this is a two-step process, first is to make the candidate realize his addiction and next is to wean him off by methods and tools. We have found our competition focused on only one of these two, either the analysis/insights part, which highlights the addiction levels or the tools piece, which helps users be away from their phones. For BreakFree, we wanted to include this entire process and so we decided to design both the steps into the app.
Also, most of our competitors have a very analytical feel in their apps, focusing mainly on graphs and charts. We, from the beginning wanted to make this a fun app.
What went into the design and UI? We were looking for an image that symbolized breaking free and initially settled on the image of a breaking chain for the icon. We also got the icon created on the same blue background with a chain breaking in the center. Later during the creation of the promo image, we came across this jumping lady, which we though would look great on the icon. So we cut/paste the lady from the promo image onto the blue background of the icon and it just looked a lot better.
The UI was designed one screen at a time. The dashboard initially just had an addiction score, and after taking feedback from friends and family we decided to add a human element to it. Thus the idea of Sato was born. I asked my sister, who happens to be an artist, to sketch out some images of Buddha boys, once we decided on what Sato should look like, we hired a freelancer to create vector images of the sketches.
What did you learn during the process and went right & wrong with the release? We have been very happy with results delivered by freelancers. The whole concept of freelance work is very informal, and you usually tend to try out more than one freelancer since the price is quite cheap. This is not the case with elance.com. The process is formalized. Once you have awarded the contract you need to kind off make sure that it works out. However, certain things can only be done on elance like the heavy-duty artwork, IOS development, etc.
A lot of things luckily went right for us. We were one of the first phone ‘de-addiction’ apps to hit the market, and I’d say we launched the app at the right time, when people are seeing the importance of detaching themselves from their phones. Our design of gamifying the entire process of ‘de-addiction’ has also been a big plus for us.
The biggest thing that went wrong I feel was that we missed a few important components while designing the app. The most important being the viral component. We realized after the launch that to survive in the Play Store and App Store, there has to be a viral component baked into the app. We will definitely keep this in mind while designing our next app.
Who created BreakFree? Since we are a small team of two people we wear multiple hats during the project. Mrigaen Kapadia is the Founder and also happens to be the Android developer. Nupur Kapadia is the Co-Founder. Mrigaen and Nupur have designed the app together. The artwork, marketing and translations have been outsourced.What were you doing prior to creating BreakFree? Both, Nupur and me, come from a Computer Science background. We both also happen to married to each other. We were working with the French consulting firm Capgemini prior to starting Mobifolio, the parent company that launched BreakFree. What other apps do you use or which apps inspire you? Mrigaen plays a lot of games on his phone, and currently he is awestruck by Hitman Go. A very different take on the hugely popular Hitman game franchise. The lengths to which the developers have gone to fine-tune the details is just mind blowing. Since we need to be connected 24/7 we love the features offered by K-9 mail and both of us get a lot of work done because of this app. We also use Andlytics a lot. This app is basically a substitute to the Google Developer’s Console on the phone.
For BreakFree, we’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the Nike Fuel Band app and Runtastic.
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