I mentioned Dish Out in my introduction post and I am very happy to have found this forum to share this project, learning and thought-process. I feel very small compared to the knowledge gathered on QS.com but I think my experience is still worth sharing.
The initial idea
Initially, the idea was to create a todo list mobile application for couples that would gamify chores around 12 categories (Household, Vehicles, Going Out, Shopping, Groceries, Intimacy, etc.) with a system of points and badges (based on tasks difficulty, motivation and completion deadline), and also with virtual gifts that couples could send to each other when completing tasks. In my mind, I had this Stats/Dashboards section on the app where couple would be able to see their performance on each category to compare who’s doing what in the house and get challenged on this mini leaderboard format.
If you want to know more about how we started, we’ve done a Slideshare presentation here.
Our idea was to create a product that would improve couples’ performance at doing chores and ultimately improve the relationship happiness. Big challenge!
Progressively, the relationship between performance and happiness appeared to be much more complex than what we thought and some findings made us pivot the product core concept. I’ll come back to this in further down.
Discovering Quantified Self
I started doing some research and discovered the notion of ‘Quantified Self’ which I was intuitively familiar with without knowing it had a name and was a movement with thought-leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs, events, etc. We saw it as an opportunity and started drawing some parallels and extend the concept to ‘Quantified Relationships’. We wrote a blog post about this here where we started listing down real life inputs that we would need to capture and translate digitally in order to quantify relationships:
• Material affection: gifts, messages given/received.
• Physical affection: kisses, cuddles, sexual relationship frequency.
• Verbal affection: Number of times you say I love you, thank you.
• Interactions: service, favour, time spent in specific activity for the other person
What we then did is to run a survey amongst 500 couples to validate a few hypothesis and get some feedback. We realized a few things:
- Unbalance in a couple regarding chores doesn’t necessarily translate into less happiness. For instance, in some scenarios where someone does most of the chores provide, high ratings can be observed in terms of relationship happiness
- Additionally, there are things that couples don’t want to improve. Imperfection is an important component of a relationship, and trying to scientifically fix these may lead to some user needs gaps
- There’s some lack of affection (material and immaterial) that couples mentioned which are something that they would like to see improvements on
- Couples are interested in getting more things done together
- Couples tend to be happier when each person specializes in a chore category and is independent running chores.
But the most important thing we discovered is that every couple is unique and we needed to be open-minded in our product philosophy. Some couples may use Dish Out to improve on daily chores (buy the milk), others on specific tasks (plan holidays) and other on ‘greater’ challenges (lose 10kg by May).
We realized that we had to pivot and move the concept to something open-ended, reciprocal and less restricted. As an extent, our marketing and messaging has to evolve accordingly.
As a result, we’ve tweaked the initial concept and are developing a simplified beta version that will give 3 options to couples:
- If I do that, what will you do in return for me?
- If you do that, what do you want me to do in return?
- If you do that, I will do that, deal?
From a product development perspective, we’re doing small steps. I feel it’s easy to get QS wrong or fall in love with certain ideas or features. We’re seeing QS as a meta-feature, something that goes underneath real users needs. There’s a lot of things we have in mind to extend the experience and capture inputs, we’re thinking of sensors, wearable for couples.
I’ll keep you posted here, I understand QS is a very complex and broad discussion so I thank in advance for your feedback, comments and interest.
You can opt-in in our microsite to receive updates!