Friday, 1 February 2013

February 2013 Updates - New Team Member and New Design

Introducing our new Co-Founder, and a complete Funl Redesign!

It has been three crazy months since our last update, and boy have we been busy! Since November we have completely redesigned and rebuilt the Funl website, made design tweaks to the app itself, upgraded the user account system, and added a new co-founder! We also got a little sleep somewhere in there too. Yeehaw! Happy belated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year! 

Justin and I have been having a blast building Funl and decided it was time to go on the lookout for a business-oriented co-founder to complement our development skills, and help take Funl to the next level. Meet Josh Kremer. Josh is an entrepreneur who is passionate about product development, life hacking, and healthy habit building. We think he is the perfect fit.

With Josh on board, we rewrote and redesigned our website to better describe the people and the science behind Funl, and what Funl can do for you.

While under the hood, we took that opportunity to completely overhaul our user authentication framework as well (the stuff that helps you register and sign in). This was required in order to make powerful new features available to you in the future. However, because of this upgrade, existing users will need to reset your password. Don't worry, it's fast and simple.

If you've already signed up for Funl you should have already received an email with instructions and a link to reset your password. You'll also need to create new bookmarks and shortcuts, some of the pages have changed.

We are super excited for you to take a look at the redesign and let us know what you think

Our next goal is to grow the Funl user base by 100% by the end of February, and we would love your help! Tell your friends how Funl is helping you build better habits.

Alright back to it,

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Funl on Your Phone: November 2012 Release

From the start we've imagined Funl as a quick, pull-out-your-phone-and-check-something-off style web app. In talking to users (you guys) we learned that not many people were using it this way due to some small friction points in the interaction. Let's be honest, simply navigating to a website on your phone can be annoying enough not to bother.

With all that in mind, October was a busy month for Funl. Here's what we've added:

Updated Mobile Style

We had some issues with word wrapping and ugly alignment on small screens. From the start we've been designing with a mobile-first philosophy, so this needed work. Here's the result:

Improved mobile-first layout for Funl
Before and After: Much cleaner

Homescreen Shortcut

We added the ability to install a shortcut on your phone's home screen which will then act like a native app. You no longer have to navigate to the website to use Funl.

Here's how it's done, starting from the top-left, where I've already signed into the web app:

Steps for installing Funl on your iPhone/iPod/iPad/iOS home screen
Calvin is impressed

Not bad hey? Looks and acts just like a native app (though you still need a data connection). A similar trick can easily be done on an Android device, we'll add steps here soon.

Better URLs

  • To speed up navigating to the site we nabbed the domain. It simply redirects to the old URL at the moment, but it's way easier to type.

Welcome Page

We've added a new landing section to hopefully give new users a better idea of what Funl is all about before requiring them to sign up. 

There are a few variations, we're still testing the best layout and copy. Let us know your thoughts!

Works on any device!

More Speed!

We shaved off about 250KB from the page by optimizing images and scripts. This means the app is about 30% smaller, which means faster load times.
    That's it for now! Hope you like it. As always, we love to hear your thoughts and feature requests.

    Thursday, 18 October 2012

    Stashing your Funl Funds

    Some users have been asking how they should set up their bank accounts to best take advantage of Funl's saving system. We plan to build this into the app in the future, but for now here's the suggested method.

    Our Recommended Stash Setup

    1. Open a savings account at your bank or credit union. Look for no fees, high interest, and online-only access. Most financial institutions provide this type of account.
    2. Call your new account "Funl" (optional, but a nice touch).
    3. Use Funl daily to track your habits and good behaviour.
    4. Every time you log into your bank, top up your Funl savings account to match your Total Savings in the Funl app.
    5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
    6. Achieve personal satisfaction and good financial habits!

    Don't Touch it!

    A common difficulty with saving for specific financial goals is that something else can easily come along and drain your savings before you get close to your target amount. Life is like that... wrenches are occasionally thrown in the gears. At Funl we aim to help protect your Reward stash from unexpected events that may derail your goals.

    Here's a general personal finance tip: have an emergency fund! If you're saving for personal rewards, and all of a sudden need to dip in to your savings to repair your broken car, or tooth, or roof, then all that effort in building good habits feels wasted.

    (Hint: You could always use Funl as a motivator to save for a separate emergency fund!)

    The vision

    One of the next milestones for Funl includes integrated savings right in the app! You'll be able to connect your Funl account to a bank account or credit card, and store your savings in Funl, helping to avoid the temptation to spend your partial savings before reaching your goal. Exciting stuff!


    The title of this post was inspired by Mr. Money Mustache and his fantastic personal finance blog. Particularly the use of the term stash. Have a read, he has some great ideas!

    Monday, 15 October 2012

    New Features: October 2012

    Yo! New Funl Features!

    These two have been in the backlog for a while, and many of you have requested them, so hopefully you'll find the update helpful. Cutting to the chase, here are the changes:

    • Editing! You can now edit Tasks and Rewards in Funl. This should help with any of those typos or tweaking Payout amounts on your Tasks. Simply hit "edit" in the top right corner of each Task or Reward and you'll get a flyout with access to the fields you need to change. Deleting was also snuck into this flyout, to prevent accidental deletions.
    Oops, forgot a wheel!

    • Progress Bars! Its now a lot easier to visualize your progress toward your Rewards. There's also a handy summary progress bar at the bottom to help you keep your Funl balance in sync with your savings account. (I couldn't resist...)

    Time to get to work on the coffee
    Speaking of syncing and stashing your Funl funds, there's another post coming on that soon.

    Thanks for reading, now back to building better lives!

    Tuesday, 18 September 2012

    Funl Philosophy - Tips for Saving

    The Funl application itself is fairly straightforward; it consists of Tasks and Rewards, which are explained below in detail. The real power of the app is when you redirect your spending. Here are some pointers and best practices on how to use Funl to improve your habits.


    A Task is an activity or habit you would like to perform. There may be many types of Tasks for which you would like to use Funl. Going to the gym, reading a book, mowing the lawn, spending time with family, and other similar positive activities are all encouraged. Setting up a Task to represent an activity you would like to pursue more often is a great way to use Funl.

    Another useful trick is using Funl to help you break bad habits. For example, you could set up a task to go a day without smoking, or to pack a lunch or prepare a meal at home instead of getting take-out. These tasks are great because they often redirect money that you would have spent on the bad habit into something you really want!


    Time for you to put all the money you're saving by creating good habits into something enjoyable! A Reward is a goal in Funl, they are tied to things you would like to own or do, but need to save for. As you perform Tasks, each payout will be "Funl'd" (sure it's a verb!) into a Reward, helping you progress toward your goal. Some good examples of Rewards would be saving for a new computer, or bike, or vacation. Nearly anything can be a Reward, but we suggest you use something you would really like to do or have, but can't quite justify the cost.

    When you finally reach your goal you can splurge on your purchase without the guilt of not being able to afford it, or the feeling that you don't really deserve it. Rewards are not intended to cover regular expenses, and the money should be left in the Reward account until you reach your goal.

    When you link your good behaviours to tangible rewards the motivation factor is huge! This is called Positive Reinforcement; good behaviour is rewarded, instead of punishing bad behaviour. We find it very motivational for helping build good habits!

    For more tips and updates follow Funl on Twitter or on Facebook.

    Password Recovery and Bug Fixes

    We just released some more small fixes and features to Funl:

    • Password Recovery! This was a big one, sorry if anyone had been locked out, oversight on our part. If you've forgotten your password you can find a recovery link on the Funl sign in page.
    • When adding Tasks and Rewards, the "Cancel" button now behaves as it should. 
    • Faster loading. We've removed some unnecessary files that were being served. Expect speed increases to continue... there's no such thing as "fast enough!"
    • Firefox and IE had some weird rendering issues on Sign In and Sign Up.
    • The Menu buttons are now rendering properly in Internet Explorer.
    On the topic of web browsers: Funl does not condone the use of Internet Explorer.

    We love Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. They are both more secure, faster, and update automagically! They also comply much better with web standards, which makes development and support significantly easier. Programmers love it when you use a standards-compliant browser. ;)

    Happy Funl-ing!

    Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Minor Update

    We're pushing out some bug fixes to Funl today. Here's what has changed:

    • To avoid stressing our beta database we need to limit the number of Tasks and Rewards each user has entered to 5. None of your existing items will be lost, but you won't be able to add or remove new ones past 5. If you absolutely need more, hang tight, we've got it in the backlog.
    • The buttons have been fixed so that the entire button is clickable, not just the text. That was annoying, sorry about that one.
    • There is now a total of your current reward progress on the Rewards tab.
    • On visiting the page, if you are signed in you are now automatically navigated to the My Funl dashboard, instead of the landing page. On that note... "Home" was ambiguous, so the Tasks/Rewards view is now known as "My Funl"
    • The Home button on the About page now works.
    If you notice any other weirdness or have features you'd like to see added let us know!