I Think I Saw A Unicorn

Greg Slovacek

Here at Asana, we work tirelessly to find ways to make our users more effective. We design, build, test, and iterate on all aspects of our product with the goal of helping all of you do great things.

So when we recently learned that not only do some of our users like unicorns, but others have never even seen a unicorn, our creative engine kicked into action. This could be a highly leveraged opportunity to both motivate our users and give them a very special reward for using our product. Of course, we couldn’t just give everyone unicorns (which are very, very rare) without knowing the consequences. So in true Asana fashion, we decided we’d have to run an experiment.

To test this opportunity, we engineered our product to randomly deliver a flying unicorn, riding on a rainbow laced with an encouraging message, upon completion of a task. It didn’t show up for every completed task, but just once in a while. Then we’d see if our unicorn-spotting users got more productive.

Now, the introduction of a rainbow-surfing unicorn reward raises many questions regarding user productivity. For example, what is the optimal number of colors for the rainbow to have? Is it important that the creature is, in fact, a unicorn? Does the tone or content of the messages make a difference?

Since we like to learn things quickly, we have already prepared experiments to answer these questions as well. We look forward to comparing yesterday’s results with those for users who see a three-color-rainbow-surfing narwhal that quotes the Dalai Lama. Yes, narwhals also have horns. We have to control for something!

So far, the unicorn has been so well-received that there is already talk internally of moving towards a single-horned UI with a rainbow color scheme. We’ll look at the data to figure out just how many colors it should have.

Also, happy April Fool’s Day! We hope you enjoyed it.

  1. avatarAlberto

    Happy One month old Shane, You. Jason & the girls! Yayaya! Congrads! Esp. slowly haleing from your c-section it deff helps you slow down & enjoy things! But I dunno how it is to have one I’m deff blessed at being able to give birth naturally. But I know others that have had em & it looks painful! But Shane is deff the reward in the end! He’s so tiny & cute! I want to squish em! In a good way not-a-I’m-your-old-granny-kinda-squeeze. haha. Did you finish his quilt top? Because if so I love love love love love love love love lover it! Good job Momma! I have my daughter’s to be quilt not done still I gotta put on binding debating on buying some or making my own..i did quilt it myself just x’s but I wish it was free motion quilted but oh well next time.I love his 1month shirt! I gotta do that too just have to buy that computer printer stuff. DId you make it or someone get it for you as a gift?Have an awesome day!Karin Marie :)

  2. avatardo not want to say

    you are silly if you don’t implement this – a lot of us using your product had these unicorns better yet wanted one and mom said it was silly to have

  3. avatarYas

    I got the unicorn when I completed my first task yesterday and I was so disappointed when I didn’t get when I completed more tasks :(
    I want my unicorn – LOL

  4. avatarJoy

    I would like to thank you for adding the Unicorn Hack as it does a good job gamifying otherwise boring tasks.
    Seeing the unicorn is an added treat and gives a sense of accomplishment, like a gold star. Is that needed? No. Does it make life and work more awesome? Yes.

    With this premise, I would like to request that you either implement the unicorn on the completion of every task, or introduce a new character for daily tasks to keep the unicorn elusive. For example, a gopher could pop up from the bottom of the browser window with a speech bubble saying different funny sayings about the completion of the task.

    Just something to simmer on. :)

  5. avatarEric Bolikowski

    Hahaha I suddenly saw this unicorn flying over my screen and I double checked that I didn’t have a new virus or something playing jokes on me :D Then to my great joy I find this blog entry — you guys sure know how to lighten up a working day!
    Thanks for this great unicorn. Just one question: what is its name??

  6. avatarChrissy

    Ok, I’m a little late to the party- but YES, I have been getting flying unicorns- and it’s LITERALLY become my main motivation for completing tasks. It’s pretty much the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen a program do. Thank you asana, you’ve been life changing in more ways than one.

    Long live the unicorn.

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