I’m pleased to announce that we have released version 2.0 of our Pray: the Catholic Novena App!
The Novena Year In Review
A little over a year ago we launched the novena app, and to our delight it has helped tens of thousands of Catholics pray more novenas than they ever had in their life.
Our goal was to help Catholics pray (and complete!) more novenas, deepening their faith, and thus transforming the world for God and truth.
We launched with about 15 novenas, and each month I added more. We are now at 37 novenas and counting. We started with only an iPhone version, but through a successful Indiegogo campaign we crowd sourced the funds to pay a developer to port the app to Android.
Along the way, I’ve been inundated by emails every single day from Catholics praying novenas using the app. I wish I could have responded to every one of them, but just reading them has been a blessing.
Pray 2.0, Based on Your Feedback
No app is perfect, and over the past year we heard the feedback from our users on the features that would make the app better. We have begun implementing them and in the new version of the app on iOS the first one is already live: configurable reminders.
The app had a default reminder set to go off at 8 am each morning. Obviously that doesn’t work for some people, so now when you start a novena you can choose what time to get reminded to pray each day.
Boom! Now you’re reminded at just the time each day that you usually pray your novena.
You can also instantly add a reminder for the start of the novena to your iPhone’s calendar, so that the upcoming novena you don’t want to forget that starts in four days, will automatically notify you.
UI Refresh to Help You Pray
One neat thing about having so many faithful Catholics installing our app is that we can see on the backend the statistics:
- How many people install the app, launch it, and immediately start praying a novena?
- How many people install the app, and then some time later start a novena?
- How many people install the app, but never pray a novena?
This last use case was one that made us sad: the whole point of our app is to help Catholics pray novenas! So if someone gets the app and never prays a novena, we have failed to help them in their prayer life.
“Well,” you may say, “that happens sometimes, what can you do about it?”
In fact, we can do quite a lot. The initial experience after installing our app is…you get dropped into a list of novenas. It is not obvious what you are supposed to do, tap one of them? Scroll down? Which one is the next one?
So, my fellow Devoted Coder Chad Pav and I got our heads together and streamlined the app to make it clearer as to what you should do when you open the app for the first time, selecting the next few novenas that are starting soon and encouraging you to pray one of them.
Hint hint: pray the Immaculate Conception novena!
Now, some Catholics know the exact novena they want to pray, so they can tap the See all Novenas link or tap the Novenas tab in the bottom middle of the screen, and they will go to a list of novenas, grouped by month, with a handy search bar at the top.
This new design we think we funnel people into the action they are looking for, namely, to pray a novena! And once they have prayed a novena, if it is a new devotion for them, they will see the power of such prayer before the throne of God and be encouraged to continue to pray.
Immaculate Conception Novena Begins
Providentially, the Immaculate Conception novena begins today!
This novena was the first major one that our community prayed when we launched the app a year ago.
The novena is “locked”, and you can unlock it by becoming a patron for a small amount through an in-app purchase.
Originally, people could unlock novenas by sharing the app with their friends. But we received emails from people asking us to allow them to be patrons to unlock all novenas, as they had already invited all their friends to the app!
So we introduced the patronage model, and wonderfully, many people have become patrons, enabling us to continue adding novenas, features, and pay the monthly hosting bills.
Here’s to another year of growing in faith through novena prayers. Happy praying, happy Immaculate Conception novena starting, and happy beginning of Advent in just a few days.
Devin & Chad