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Global strategy helps Aussie app break new ground

Technology

EMBRACING a truly global business approach is helping an innovative to-do list app break into the potentially lucrative Chinese market.

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Streaks is an iPhone productivity app that allows the user to compose a list of tasks and build good habits developed in South Australia by Quentin Zervaas and Isaac Forman.

It was launched last year and was soon translated into more than 20 languages including Chinese, French and Russian.

Many apps are focused on the US market – the world’s biggest – and fail to capitalise on global potential.

But Streaks has not only been translated to appeal to more potential users but even has two Chinese versions to cater for Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.

Zervaas said having the app in traditional and simplified Chinese text allowed it to first gain a foothold in Hong Kong, which was a logical path into China.

“The biggest market is obviously the United States and in that sense most people focus on English and by doing that you miss out on a lot of opportunities,” he said.

“If you combine the US market with every other one, especially the Chinese market, then there are so many people out there. Obviously international apps reach more of the market.”

Streaks is an Apple exclusive app and syncs with the data from the iPhone Health app to help deliver accurate physiological calculations such as the number of steps you take in a walk or the amount of distance covered while running.

Last month it was among 10 Apple Design Award winners. The awards celebrate the ingenuity and design of the best iPhone apps out of the hundreds of thousands that are made each year.

It has had more than 400,000 downloads worldwide and 15,000 downloads in China – a 2000 per cent increase since it was named an Apple Design Award winner on June 13.

“I'm especially pleased with how it's started to gain traction in China, and expect sales to increase in the next 12 months as we'll soon have more flexibility with per-country pricing in the App Store,” Zervaas said.

“One of the struggles that we have had so far is the price but there will be new pricing options for China later this year.”

Streaks can be customised to manage up to six different regular tasks such as going for a run, going to the gym, learning a new language, reading a book or walking the dog.

Each slot is interchangeable and some tasks can be modified to register on specific days only.

Zervaas said being limited to a small number of tasks instead of a long list was a big reason for Streaks’ success.

“The effect that has is avoiding an overload. There are so many things you can add to a list that it gets overwhelming. If you can knock a couple things off in the morning then that might help motivate you to finish the other three or four tasks,” he said.

“I heard the technique of not breaking the chain or streak was an effective way to develop good habits and it led to the idea of building the app.

“Combining all the six tasks and keeping a streak motivates you to finish each task every day.”

Every time you complete a task your streak is extended but if you break the chain, it will reset to zero.

Zervaas said new features would be added to the app in the coming months to make it a more effective reminding tool as well.

“iOS 10 is coming out later this year and we want to look at reinforcing the habit side of things,” he said.

“One example is at the moment when you use the app you take your medicine and tick it off once a day. But people sometimes need to take medicine two to three times a day. Hopefully the app would soon be able to let you tick it off multiple times.”

Streaks is available for both the iPhone and Apple Watch and sells for USD $3.99 and AUD $5.99

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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