The idea for Movodoro came about when our team realised two things:
- We enjoy using the Pomodoro Technique.
- We sit too much and for too long.
We wanted to build something that helps us work in effective intervals while also giving us a motivating way to track how much we sit, stand, and move during a workday.
To track when we’re working and in what posture, we need data. Since detecting whether someone is working or resting is not something that can be automated, we built a small timer UI for measuring work intervals and rest intervals.
As for gathering data on sitting, standing, and moving, some of our first ideas were to use the motion data gathered by our smartphones and smartwatches. We’re still planning to try that out, but we started by adding a simple UI alongside the timer for manually selecting a posture for each work and rest interval.
With the data gathering part done, we went on to create visualisations of your past work and rest intervals as timelines, grouped by days and weeks. We also added some basic stats, such as what the ratio of your work time to rest time is.
Working on stats also also gave us ideas about how to use Movodoro as a team. To support this we’re working on adding leaderboards and a stat comparison UI for teams.
Everyone hates passwords. We didn’t want Movodoro to be yet another service you have to manage an account for, so we decided try out an alternative authentication technique: signing in by email.
The way it works is you enter your email address on our front page, we email you a link, you click that link, and you’re in. If it’s your first time signing in with that email address, we’ll create you an account.
To build Movodoro, we took the opportunity to try out various fresh technologies on top of our good old friend, Ruby on Rails:
- React for the front-end.
- CSS Flexbox for positioning elements.
- CSS Viewport Units for creating automatically scaling layouts.
- Automated deployments to Heroku.
- Honeybadger for exception management.
- Swift for the OS X app.
Yep, you read that right: we created an OS X app! It’s a little menubar app that renders a part of our web UI. We’re working on getting it distributable in the next few weeks.