Trend Report: Ranking the styling of sleep apps
Among smartphone users’ many concerns, not getting good sleep ranks pretty high. In recent years, a deluge of “sleep tracking” apps have emerged – many offering similar capabilities: tracking REM cycles to fix poor sleeping patterns, waking you up at ideal times (through data), and sometimes even recording your sleep sounds for self-analysis.
Even without considering ones serving external hardware (like Jawbone or Fitbit), we were able to round up 8 diverse app designs worth writing about. While most apps target users who are wide awake, these designers tackled the tougher challenge of presenting complex data and appealing to those preparing for sleep or just waking up.
We’ve ranked the below sleep apps in rough order from the ones we think are most successful, to the ones that have the most room for improvement.
1. Smart Alarm Clock (iOS)
2. Pillow (iOS)
It’s clear that the developers at Pillow put a premium on design. They take an innovative approach to presenting data. The relatively liberal use of color – just slightly overdone – makes for a more cheerful user experience.
3. SleepBot (Android, iOS)
There’s a pretty clear divide between SleepBot‘s app for Android (top) and iOS (bottom). Probably designed later, the Android version is more in sync with flat design trends. In places it gets a little crowded, but does contain nifty features like a “notes” section. The iOS version, on the other hand, is due for an upgrade—or at the very least, a purge of gradients.
4. Sleep Cycle (iOS)
Sleep Cycle is perhaps the most venerated of the sleep tracking apps in terms of functionality. It’s incredibly easy to use and the information is presented in a clear and readable fashion. This is a design that is no-frills, but it works.
5. Sleep Time (Android, iOS)
Here’s another case of an Android version (top) looking significantly more up-to-date than its iOS counterpart (bottom). Sleep Time‘s use of vivid colors against the black background adds a bit of excitement, but renders the graph relatively difficult to read.
6. Motion X-24/7 (iOS)
Motion X-24/7 boasts some unique features like a heart rate monitor. The app presents a functional, if not especially inspired, design. Just needs to lose those gradients on the audio bars.
7. Sleep As Android (Android)
Here we veer toward an “unsatisfactory” grade. In view of the beautiful Android designs shown above, Sleep As Android will have to improve in order to live up to its name. It can start by ditching that moss green color and giving its numbers some more room to breathe.
8. Proactive Sleep Alarm Clock (iOS)
If you want a sleep-tracking app that will bring you back to your days as a Sega gamer in the 90s, Proactive Sleep is the one for you.
Alex contributes from New York City on topics ranging from branding and typography to the history of design.