Happiness for the iPhone is designed to be simple, stress-free, and easy to use on the go. It requires that you regularly update it with your current level of happiness (+5: on top of the world; -5: down in the dumps) and your current context. The app collects the data over time and displays it graphically, showing how the different contexts affect your happiness.
Its design is minimalist, which is both its strength and weakness. If you have a busy schedule and no time for inputing huge amounts of data (or can’t be bothered) then the app is perfect for a quick, effective visualization of which factors impact your happiness and how significant this impact is. However its use doesn’t extend much beyond this. Its output is pretty much limited to graphs made up of green and red rectangles that are labelled with “tags”. You can also browse through the different tags and review how often these positively and/or negatively influence your day.
Happiness works best if you have a small number of tags that you enter regularly (say 4 to 8). I tried at first to enter a different reason each day and the data I got from it wasn’t particularly helpful. The problem with frequently using the same tags, though, is that you rarely find out something that you didn’t already know. So although the app works well, you’re unlikely to find earth-shattering revelations about your inner happiness. Also, the tags can only be compared to each other, and if you have too many they overflow onto different charts, which can get confusing, and prevents you from making a clear comparison. Actually, it would be more helpful to view everything on an iPad, and apparently a version is on the way.
You can set multiple tags for each entry, though I avoid this as it doesn’t help you find out which tags have more or less impact. I’ll give you an example: say I set my happiness rating to +3. I have three tags listed, two of which are positive and one which is negative. Overall my day came to +3, taking into account the good and the bad. The app lists all of these tags as being positive, ignoring the negative aspects. It can only be fixed by creating separate entries for each different factor, which is what I ended up doing.
So what’s Happiness (the app) like overall? It’s great for quickly and easily updating your mood, especially on the fly, and seeing how different factors influence your happiness. However, some of the resulting data can be hard to interpret, and some people may find it doesn’t help them to discover much.
- Quick and simple to use
- Provides a way to see which factors influence your day the most
- Regular reminders help you to regularly update your data
- Great for people with busy schedules
- May be too simple or limited for some people
- Does not provide an especially comprehensive analysis of your mood over time
Stewart’s Rating: 4/5