Review: Pocket Ariely app

Dan Ariely needs little introduction. His book Predictably Irrational is the Songs in the Key of Life of Behavioural Economics: accessible, crowd-pleasing yet profound. And now next to lectures, books, TED talks and YouTube videos, here’s the latest way to learn from the professor: the Pocket Ariely app.

For $1,99 a month, you get video content, podcasts, articles and the opportunity to participate in ongoing research by answering questionaires. As you might expect from Ariely, the content is top notch, though at least part of it may be familiar to you already.

My point of criticism is about the app itself. Behavioural economics is often easier to explain than to put into practice, and this app is no exception. Choice architecture is limited to a few basic categories, each including enough material to induce serious bouts of choice paralysis. No bundling, nudging or defaults to make life easier.

Also, no effort is made to make the user keep using the app. Endowed progress? Commitment strategies? Sunk costs? Dig deep enough and you’ll probably find great content on it. But the app offers no indication of progress, curriculums, badges or certificates. Making it feel more like a stroll through a slightly overwhelming library than a true app-like, addictive experience.

Since the app is free for the first month, I recommend you check it out and see what you think. Even if you agree the app leaves room for improvement, the content won’t disappoint.