Prod — a thoughtful to-do list for Google Chrome

Hello, this is my first post here, I was shown the way by @aschrijver who spotted my Chrome Extension, so I thought I’d share.

It’s a to-do list that blocks addictive websites until you’ve finished your to-do list. It doesn’t show ads, collect personal data, or beg you to upgrade to a pro version. Here it is:

It does collect anonymized data using Google Analytics, I’d like to hear what you guys have to say about this, as privacy is a concern of mine, and has been a big problem recently on the Chrome Extension Store.

It is also monetized using affiliate links which appear now and then as sources in the productivity tips, and on the website for the app. But not in an obtrusive way, they’re always relevant. Again, feedback on this idea is much appreciated, I hope you like it.
— John

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Welcome to the community @JohnBBartlet!

We already chatted on LinkedIn about some changes to the privacy policy and the need to clarify the affiliate marketing (on your site mostly, it is mentioned in Chrome store). Things you are working on. Nice to hear the extension got so much interest so soon after launching. There is much interest in solutions that allow people to become less distracted by social media and other intrusive tech, nowadays.

I have a couple of points of additional feedback (note that I did not install the extension, because a) I do not have Chrome, and b) I only install FOSS (open-source) software on my Linux system):

  • “Prod replaces your new-tab page with a simple, satisfying to-do list”. This is nice, but I use the new-tab page to display (in my case) Stackoverflow, and before I had that I liked the summary of last visited + popular sites that the default tab showed me, so I would like that to be configurable. Maybe an icon at the top bar that shows distracting sites are blocked (because of open TODO items) has my preference. Clicking leads to the todo-list. Also I would need an ‘Override block’ option, but a few clicks away so as not to make that too easy.

  • I would strongly encourage you to have a ‘Product feedback’ button available on you site (maybe vertical on the right-side of the page, and on every page). Also - while your project is not open-source - you could have a Github repository for issues / ideas / bugs, etc. and where you present roadmap and releases. Great way to evolve your product.

  • “Blocks time-wasting sites and redirects you back to your to-dos.”. The user has to enter the sites to block manually. But because you are a browser extension you have the option to do the same as what a hosts file does. You could offer sets of pre-defined sites to add to your blocklist. For instance Facebook has a gazillion related sites (many are trackers) that could be in a group ‘Block Facebook’. Site listings are on Github and you can find 2 of them in my awesome-humane-tech list.

  • Maybe you should make the screenshots in the Chrome store a bit more clear, e.g. by adding a dummy browser frame around them. Now they don’t give the best impression on how the extension looks / acts once installed.

  • I would make you site contain more details than I can find in the Google store. Now it is too minimal in information (for me at least). I go there to learn more. More explainers, more screenshots would be great.

  • Well, this is a bit unrelated. But I would replace your privacy-infringing Gmail account for feedback to another email provider. I personally use paid ($4 p/m) ProtonMail. This allows you to set 5 aliases for your email and you could have for instance (if you have access to the DNS records of your domain and set a TXT record).

These are my 2 cts for today :slight_smile:

Hi @aschrijver,
Thanks so much for the feedback. That’s really helpful, I’m definitely going to act on it. Just working on a pause button at the moment, I’m trying to make a mechanic for it that incentivizes not using it, without shaming you if you do, finding the balance is quite hard.
All of this is so helpful, thanks again.

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