An App to Quit Drinking? Think of the Possibilities.

Could a “habit app” be your entry into the field of mobile app development? Apps such as Quit That are becoming quite popular nowadays, thanks to a multitude of “bad habits” that people want to quit.

We’re not saying anything you don’t already know, but in Australia, we love our beer. Close to 18% of Australians report drinking every day at a level that is considered to be unhealthy. This can cause binge drinking, drunk driving, assaults and a lot of health problems. It can also affect our well-being and the well-being of those close to us.

Organisations such as Danny Green’s Coward Punch Campaign and Governments such as Queensland and NSW with their lock out laws are trying to fight what is now known as “problem drinking.” The lock out laws seem to be reducing the number of assaults in some areas but some business owners believe they are harming their bottom lines.

But what about people who want to quit drinking alcohol without government intervention? Well, as the saying goes, “there’s an app for that.”

Habit Apps

Problems such as alcohol consumption and other bad habits can be fought a number of apps in the marketplace. There are plenty of smartphone apps that can intervene for you in real time. They can provide people with motivation right when they need it the most.

Apps to help drinking are popular right now, such as Quit That, Step Away or Stop Drinking with Andrew Johnson. BJ Fogg, a researcher at Stanford University in the US, has coined a term for these kind of apps that has become popular: persuasive technology.

Persuasive technology has helped people with numerous problem behaviours already, such as overeating, racism and bullying. Ultimately these kind of apps provide information and support for those trying to change destructive behaviours.

Persuasive apps are working so well that they are becoming a vital tool for those trying to mitigate the social and physical effects of alcohol and those who don’t know when to say when.

App Creation: What Works?

The field is wide open at this point. A sampling of over 200 reviews of apps to help people stop drinking on iTunes doesn’t reveal much, nor does a UK list of health-related apps. It all depends on what features work best for the user.

There are approximately 18 apps of reasonable quality on iTunes that focus solely on cutting down or quitting drinking changing your behaviour. There are two main strategies: motivation and self-control. These are backed up notifications, reminders, competitions, avatars and praise and reward mechanisms.

Self-control apps let you know how many drinks you have consumed and remind you of your blood alcohol concentration level. However, they don’t inform the user when they have gone too far.

Most users seem to want self-control apps that don’t interact too fast or too persistently. They want to have gradual notifications with full control over their interaction with the app. Many users prefer apps which provide incremental targets so they can establish a pattern of success gradually. It is also important for many users to share their progress on social media.

What it Means to a Mobile App Developer

Right now, the field is wide open. If you are someone who has quit drinking or you are a professional in the social work or human development field, you may have some insight to offer that nobody has put in an app yet.

If you are interested, we would recommend hanging out in online groups. You may even want to start a discussion about what would or wouldn’t work in a stop drinking app. Use all of this information to your advantage and come up with an idea.

Then, contact us at Smarter Apps. We can create and develop your app from your idea. If you need funding and your idea is great, we may even be able to find investors for you.

Bottom line: if you have a great idea for an app, we can help you turn it into reality. And remember, it only takes one good app to help you quit your day job.