Update to the List Goal User Interface

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - November 27th, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday festivities don’t kickoff around here until 5 p.m. so my morning has consisted of:

  • Finishing up a book I’ve been reading
  • Compiling your feedback from yesterday and updating the List Goal interface

First, lets review your feedback and then I’ll show you the updated version of List Goal.

I compiled all of your comments and then noodled over them for a few hours trying to identify the points of consensus. Then I compared them against my original objective for the app.

There were three takeaways:

1. Two Number Rule: The interface MUST be kept extremely clean. I set a new rule that the primary user interface must never have more than two numbers displayed on it at one time.

This forces minimalism which encourages focus.

2. The BIG Number: The primary purpose of List Goal is to help you grow your email list by setting a growth goal and then constantly reminding you of that goal. 

With that in mind, the goal number has to be prominently displayed on the screen. It has to be the big number (not total list size or daily subscriber count).

3. Daily Growth: Your feedback was nearly unanimous on this point. You want to know your daily progress. BUT you want to see your progress displayed in a way that is encouraging rather than discouraging.

To accomplish this the pretty little progress bar is being canned.

In place of the progress bar the actual number of new subscribers for the current 24 hour period will be shown. Full mockup is below.

4. Overall Progress: You were all in favor of being able to easily see the overall progress towards your goal.

The tricky part with this metric is that it can easily become discouraging in the beginning, especially if you set an aggressive goal (ie. grow from 100 subs to 10,000 subs in 3 months).

With this in mind I’ve created two new features that I think you’ll like.

One is a no brainer…the other might be slightly controversial.

Give me your feedback.

Feature #1: Hover Swap

Many of you have stated that you login to your email service provider multiple times per day to check your list size.

List Goal will now show you your total list size when you hover your mouse pointer over the current daily progress area. You will also see a graph that shows your total progress against your goal.

Note: Habt research has shown that focusing on a large long term goal is a great way to lose motivation and prevent yourself from building that habits needed to reach it.

By placing the daily progress indicators as the default view this will encourage you to focus on that instead of the larger – longer term – goal.


Feature #2: Smart Goals.

When you install List Goal it will automatically pick your goal for you.

Let me explain…

As entrepreneurs we have one MAJOR problem. Over commitment.

We all think that we are going to build a multi-million dollar businesses in 3 months. Truth is…we suck at estimating how long it’s going to take to do things. As a result we become discouraged and never reach our goals.

Stanford University professor B.J. Fogg says…

“Think of your goals as tiny daily behaviours that are repeated until success becomes inevitable” 

I would like to design List Goal to give you several quick wins by automatically picking smaller attainable goals and gradually increasing the difficulty level of each goal as you build the habit of accomplishing them.

How will it work?

If your email list has 125 subscribers. When you signup for List Goal your goal would automatically be set at 250 subscribers. Once you hit that goal then your new goal is set to 500 subscribers and so on.

Smart Goals will help you reach your long term goal by keeping your goals attainable and actionable.

What do you think? Do you think Smart Goals would be MORE or LESS likely to help you grow your list?

Tell me in the comment section below.

And now the new User Interface

Accounting for all of your feedback and the core findings above I redesigned the main user interface.

Here is the updated version…

As mentioned previously, when you hover over the the daily total indicator your total list size and progress will appear.

Here is what that looks like…

Monday we’ll start work on the updated interface and then install integrations for the most popular email service providers (Mailchmip, Aweber etc.)

Alright, tell me what you think.

Dig it? Hate it?

  • Legit, dude. I’m totally in favor of the smart list goal feature as well. I like visible progress and momentum isn’t cutting because of that.

    Great work, Bryan!

  • Hassan Rashid


    One thing I’m worrying about is if you get a large number of email subscribers per day (1000 may be? Although that’d never be the case for us haha), how would you fit them inside the progress indicator circle? Decreasing the daily subs font size or resizing the progress meter wouldn’t look nice so I’d recommend having the app show a ‘+’ sign after the daily sub count reaches a point where it can’t fit inside the progress meter.

    But how would the user then see the actual number of subscribers?

    • Font size could easily handle that scenario. For example, the ‘total’ screen has a 4 digit number with slightly smaller font. It looks ok.

  • Nice. Gamification.

  • Jimmy Moncrief

    dude! I liked the first version, but…I LOVE THE UPDATED VERSION!

  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    LOVE it! Very encouraging now with the daily progress indicator.

    And you quoted B.J. Fogg – one of my favorite TED talk speakers.


  • I think you’re making a mistake there.

    Imagine two guys who set out to climb a mountain. The first one keeps looking up, ahead. Seeing the big pile of rock staring him in the face, daring him, challenging him.

    The second one looks at the mountain once, and then sets out looking at his feet, and keeps tracking his progress on a map.

    Which of the two do you think will have the most long-lasting stamina?

    Remember: seeing proof of progress gives you a reason to keep adding small bits to that progress, whereas seeing a huge goal ahead that hardly seems to get closer is demotivating, and as a result many people will throw in the towel.

    The fix: Make the ultimate goal # smaller and less prominent than the display of incremental improvement.

    Extra benefit: If a user does not see incremental change, he’s forced to admit that he’s not been putting in the effort, which is far more motivating than ‘damn, the mountain looks as far ahead as when I started’.

    • Martin,

      Perhaps another solution would be this… (see image below)

      Show the daily goal by default while making the ‘big goal’ available on mouse over just like the total list size.


    • Daily count default version

      • Ideally, you would have:

        ‘total goal’ up top, smaller font/

        ‘numbers acquired today’ in the middle, same font size/

        ‘percentage gained today’ at the bottom, biggest font/

        The hover feature could work, not sure about it. If you do use it, I think non-hover/daily goal, hover/main goal is best, yes.

        Best you could do is pre-release two or three different versions of the app, survey which version gets people most motivated, and then final launch the winner.

  • Love it! The hover feature is nice, especially because if I don’t want to see my total progress for a while (since I know I’m far off) I can just focus on the small goal for the day instead. Smart Goals is a great idea as well!

    I say go ahead and have it built this way!

    Thanks Bryan!

    • EXACTLY! Stay motivated by focusing on daily actions but keep the big goal and overall progress close by.

  • Jesse

    I like it. Just another example of getting something out, getting fast feedback on it, and iterating.

  • Mr Harris – love it, looks great. PLEASE tell me you’re going to support sendy, a very popular self hosted email platform https://sendy.co/

    • Thanks Steve. I haven’t heard of Sendy until now but I’ll put it on the list to consider. We’ll start with the more popular hosted services (1. Mailhmip 2. Aweber 3. Ontraport 4. Infusionsoft) and then work down from there.

      • Thanks buddy, I was a big user of Aweber, but the monthly costs spiraled – taking control and sending through Amazon simple email service saves a tonne of money which is awesome!

      • Don’t forget ActiveCampaign they have an easy API

  • I love dashboards and this mini-dashboard idea of yours has me stoked. This is really awesome Bryan!

    Quick thought: One dashboard technique that I use (sorry I’m a KPI junkie) is to include color as information. Basically have the green circle start off red then go to yellow closer to the goal then green closest to the goal (or change the color each third of the way to the goal).

    This compliments the minimalist rule by not adding more stuff but changing how the stuff is seen. Just a thought but helps to “earn the green”.

    • Really good idea. I’ll play around with that!

  • Small wins early. THAT is the key…so I think you nailed it. I speak for the neophytes who have less that 25 real humans on their lists, so for List Goal to reach the masses (I’m guessing there are more neophytes than badasses), then we need to win early, while still keeping a high goal, of course.

  • I love it! Can’t wait to install it on my laptop. Thanks Bryan.

  • P. Alex Morland

    Seems like a cool app. I like the simplicity of it & that Smart Goals Function.

  • Hover brilliant and Smart Goals is MORE likely to help me reach my goal.

  • Yes! I really wanted to see the overall progress toward the total goal, but I new that the daily progress is what would actually motivate me to work toward the big goal every day. It looks great, you have all the features needed. Good job!

  • Great shift in the second version. Love the hover over feature.

  • David Forster Haddow

    Cool creation Bryan!

    I love the “zen” focus. Know what the goal is + know where your at + know what’s happening now! Is that a link to videofruit.com in the bottom right or just a watermark?

  • Love these updates, Bryan! Definitely an improvement over the previous version. Great work!

    P.S. Check out the hover numbers in the fourth image. The 82,503 number is too big and was a bit confusing.

    • Ha! Yea, I noticed after publishing. Totally just place fillers at this point.

  • Francis Waldecker

    Love the smart goals!

  • Athif

    Thanks Bryan. Would love the integration with GetResponse 🙂

  • Bryan – loving the progress.

    I would like to suggest something. One cool aspect of Momentum is a visual background motivation and experience. I would love to see how you can incorporate visual backgrounds that didn’t take away the daily email goal focus. Some examples:

    a. a slight change in colors that fade form one to another
    b. a static image that disappeared if you clicked on the goal number
    c. 50/50 screen where top is visual beauty backgrounds and bottom is metrics.

    Just some ideas bro!

    Remember… be a servant,


    • Hmmm…I’ll have to ponder on that. Thanks for the feedback!

  • This whole process of building a product with your audience is brilliant Bryan. Great work.