Building an app that people care about as much as our community does about Clue, is something we don’t take lightly. We recently rolled out a new version of Clue on both iOS and Android. It was a major project, a year in the making, which resulted in a lot of change at once—especially for those of you who have been using Clue for many years.
You let us know how you felt, both the good and, very honestly, the bad. We genuinely appreciate when anyone takes the time to give us feedback—even when it’s difficult to hear or read (and we really do read every tweet, DM and comment).
Just as you’ve taken the time to give us feedback, as the people behind the product, we want to take the time to answer your most common questions, to give you more context on why the recent changes were necessary, and offer further insight into our decision making. We hope this will help explain why we’re excited about what the update enables, now and for the future.
Q: Bring back the old Clue! It wasn’t broken, why did you ‘fix’ it?
A: We’ve heard this a lot. In a sense, it’s wonderful to hear that for many of you, the old app did the job well enough. And we want to level with you—it really did need fixing, and it was in fact unavoidable.
Clue was originally built as the first pioneering app of its kind over a decade ago, on a technical framework that was fitting for the time (think the era of the iPhone 5, when we all excessively used the lo-fi filter on Instagram).
Over 10 years, 100 million app downloads and a whole lot of technical innovation later, the code Clue was built on was dated, overly complex, and holding us back. It was taking a really long time to be able to make even small improvements, or fix bugs. And the app was crashing more often, especially for long-time Clue users. There was so much we wanted to build and action, but simply couldn’t because the technical foundation couldn’t support it. So we made the difficult decision that migrating Clue to a new, modernized code-base couldn’t wait.
We wanted to be able to build and innovate faster and needed a state-of-the-art technical foundation for the future of Clue and everything we’re building for you. We spent the majority of 2022 working very hard to rebuild the app entirely. And now we have that foundation.
Q: Why did the relaunched app not have all the same functionality as the old Clue?
A: While the relaunch featured critical improvements in speed, performance, and much-requested new cycle tracking options, it didn’t have all of the same features as the old app. We recognize this was frustrating if you used the features that weren’t in the update, and we’re so sorry if you’re still missing some functionality you found valuable.
We didn’t omit these features because we didn’t care about every single Clue user. We had to release a slimmer version of the app first because to rebuild every feature (even those used less frequently by our 11-million strong user base) would have simply taken too long. As a small but mighty team, aiming for the smoothest and soonest migration to the new platform, we knew we had to first get the technical foundation right, and prioritize implementing core functionality to serve the needs of the majority of our user community.
Again, we do not take disappointing any of our users lightly. We have agonized about some of these decisions, and worked extremely hard to minimize the disruption to as many people as possible. That work continues as we build back better on the new platform.
Q: So how did you decide what features to prioritize? And will all the old features be back?
A: With millions of users and so many features, we knew any features that didn’t make the initial release would be missed at least by some of our users. The fairest approach was to first look at the features that were used by the most users, most often. We also had to weigh up the relative development cost of rebuilding certain functionality – as is the reality for a service that is still mostly free to use.
Since the relaunch, as a team we have been focused solely on bringing back features that were the most important to our community. More features are in development, and others we won’t be bringing back exactly as they were in the old app. We need to take this opportunity to ensure the features we build meet the changing needs of the Clue community, based on the latest user feedback and insights.
These were difficult, yet necessary decisions we had to make in order to continue serving our growing community in a safe, secure, and reliable way into the future. Since migrating to the new version of the app, we can already build features almost three times faster than before and we’re able to release new features weekly, when we were previously only able to release updates once a month.
While you may not be able to quite feel this yet in your regular Clue use, we are confident that you will be able to tell that the app is getting better more quickly over the coming months. We believe the benefit of that will outweigh the short-term disruption for the vast majority of our users.
Q: You’ve been promising certain features will be back soon—how long is it going to take?
A: Admittedly, some things are taking longer to rebuild than expected, and we’re so grateful for your continued patience as we work hard to bring back more of the features you love.
Migrating millions of users safely to the new version of the app involves many behind the scenes complexities to meet the needs of our very diverse community. As every feature and change involves health data, it’s so important to us that we get it right. We roll out updates every few days, and will continue to do so as we keep building the best Clue experience for you. For every feature you’re still waiting for, there are many more that have already been rolled out that are in high demand.
Since launch, we’ve already brought back many features due to popular demand including: tracking tests, custom tags, medication, appointments, BBT, the ring, IUD, shot, patch, the fertile window toggle, detailed tracking, period and cycle statistics, and much more.
Taking a user-centric, data-driven approach to development, we’re constantly listening and adjusting our priorities for each update. We’re currently hard at work on the next batch of high-priority features, including reminders, birth control pill tracking, multi-day tracking, and tags and tracking summaries for Android.
Q: Why do I have to have an account now? Are you just trying to gather more data so you can make money from that?
A: Clue has never and will never sell private user data. It’s simply not our business model. Our business model is building a premium experience, Clue Plus, which is so good that a growing number of you will happily pay for it.
If you’re a long-time Clue user, you may have started to use the app when it wasn’t mandatory to have an account. Using the app without an account meant your data was only stored locally on your device, meaning it was not portable between devices. We’d seen too many cases where users had experienced the heartbreak of losing years of tracked data when they lost or broke a device. Over the years, data privacy and security has evolved and having an account is the best way for us to ensure the safety of your health data. Since 2019, it has been our policy that every new user needs to create an account. The latest update just meant that support for non-account users (which was part of the old app) was no longer possible.
Change is always hard. And we’re grateful to our community for the support, feedback, and patience through the recent updates. We are incredibly excited about what these changes will enable for future development and look forward to continuing to build and innovate Clue not just for you, but with you.
Have you heard? You can now invest in Clue and become a co-owner from just €10. As an investor, you can get closer than ever to our product development process and participate in investor forum polls, testing, and be the first to know about upcoming updates. Find out more here.
Got more questions and feedback about the new Clue? We’re always listening. Reach out to us via email@example.com.