eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

Yes, I have been working as a programmer for about 20 years. Most of my experience is with Java web + mobile technologies, Ruby, and PHP, but I have done projects in other languages/technology stacks as well.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

The most challenging aspect for me was giving myself permission to identify with the target app user to get to the core of why someone would want to use such an app. In fact, I developed this app specifically for myself and for my own needs, and as a result I think the functionality, privacy, and ease of use resonated with a lot of like-minded people. With mental health issues carrying a lot of stigma, there were some internal hurdles that I struggled with being public about my involvement with this app.

Jon Stavis is a web and mobile developer who originally started eMoods in 2010 as a hobby app for his own personal use. The app became popular with users, and in 2017 he redesigned it and started work on expanding it to get in the hands of more people. Jon still does some development contracting, and in his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife and two young boys, doing woodworking and simple construction, running, walking in nature, and occasionally taking swims in freezing water.

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

My favorite app is any one that respects my time, limited attention span, and privacy. If I open an app and the first thing I see is a login/registration screen, I usually say “no thanks, next”. I believe that apps should give away a good amount of their functionality for free, and not ask for
any personal information or store your data on their servers or require a login.

Some specific apps that come to mind are "BikeGPS”, which was the only decent GPS fitness tracker I could find that does not require a login, the Wim Hof Method app which lets me track some wellness practices I do, Signal Private Messenger, and some various moon phase and cultural calendar apps - I’m kind of obsessed with dates and cycles of nature.

How long have you been working on this app?

I started eMoods as a hobby app in 2010 and left it in that state until 2017. I added some upgrade/patron features in 2017 and also did a full redesign.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

The target user of this app is part of a very marginalized community. Mental health unfortunately carries a lot of stigma and treatment comes far too often with involuntary hospitalization and medication, and there can sometimes be very little informed consent between practitioner and patient.

When making this app, honoring this hard truth was at the front of my mind. Privacy is incredibly important, as well as transparency of where people’s data is stored and making people feel confident that they are in full control of sharing that data.

It was also important to make this app easy to use and distraction free- the users of this app have enough on their plates already and I wanted to make sure they could get benefit from the app without adding stress of having to figure out how to use it.

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

I created this app for me as I myself was the target user, so the priorities that I focused on were those that would make me comfortable and eager to use such an app.

Firstly, privacy. This app is a personal mental health journal that stores people’s intimate thoughts, symptoms, and other mental health data. I wanted to make sure that during every step of the way, people were aware of where their data was being stored and that they were in full control over when it got shared.

I also wanted this app to be easy to use and distraction free. A great design book that I’ve been influenced by is “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug, which states that people lose attention in a website/piece of software if they can’t figure it out in a matter of seconds. In my experience this is so true, and I wanted to carry this to the app design. There are no distractions, and this hyper-focused app does exactly what the people using it need it to do with the minimal number of clicks possible. You can open the app, get out within seconds, and move on with your day.

I also obsessed over listening to users. I take every customer support email seriously and listen to all concerns and suggestions. Some of my favorite added features have originated as user suggestions. I respond to every email that the app gets and I’ve become close friends with a number of app users. I hope to build some sort of forum or community in the future.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

There is already a fledgling web version of eMoods called Insights that is completely separate from the app in the app store. I’m working on making Insights HIPAA compliant and it will be marketed towards medical practices. Insights pulls in external data from numerous places - weather APIs, sunrise/sunset schedules, moon phases-and correlates this data with the self-reported data that people are tracking in the app. Basic machine learning can help users spot patterns of how they are feeling based on what is going on with the outside world or other factors such as their sleep or medications. I hope to expand this machine-learning capability and make the predictions a bit more sophisticated.

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

You can contact me by email: [email protected] - Hearing feedback and suggestions from users is great!
Follow me on Instagram: (https://www.instagram.com/jonstavis/) and Twitter: (https://twitter.com/jonstavis).
You can follow eMoods on:
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/emoodtracker
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/emoodtracker
- Blog: https://emoodtracker.com/blog/
- Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/t9s8f6
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emoodswellness

eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker

About App:

Your privacy matters! eMoods never stores ANY of your data in the cloud or connects to any APIs. No data ever leaves your phone without your explicit action.

Managing your mood just became easier and more effective! eMoods is a private and easy-to-use mood tracker and diary for journaling, graphing, reporting, and managing symptoms related to Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, and other mood disorders. Start tracking, notice your triggers, and take control of your mood and other symptoms!

eMoods is a mood charting journal perfect for logging Bipolar I, Bipolar II, or any general kind of mood tracking!

eMoods allows you to track medication changes so that you can safely make adjustments, titrations or medication tapers with the help of your doctor and learn about what works and what doesn't. These insights can be used for titrating up to a new medication or for assistance in coming off a medication.

eMoods allows you to send a monthly PDF report to your doctor.

eMoods is a free mood tracker app that lets you easily chart your daily highs and lows/depressed and elevated moods, sleep, medications, and other symptoms related to common mood disorders like Bipolar/Manic Depressive illness.

Email a printable PDF report at the end of each month to your doctor or caregiver to help you identify triggers or other events that could lead to an episode or relapse. View in-app graphs and printable charts to track trends and visualize your symptoms and triggers in between appointments.

eMoods now includes a dark color theme and a colorblind-friendly color scheme.

Mood journaling as part of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other treatments for bipolar, depression, and other mood and anxiety disorders. Use this app with your doctor.

This app is for charting daily extremes of moods and other symptoms and does not log multiple moods and other symptoms per day.

All features from version 1 of this app remain free. Patronage is strictly optional.

Categories: Health & Fitness

Date: April 29, 2021

Developer: Jon Stavis

About developer: Jon Stavis is a web and mobile developer who originally started eMoods in 20 ... Read more

Website: https://emoodtracker.com/

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App URL in iTunes
App URL in Google Play

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