Unstuck Tip Cards

The highly successful decision-making app becomes a deck of cards to help you shuffle through life's inevitable dilemmas


In 2011, Cool Hunting covered the launch of Unstuck, a groundbreaking iPad app that strategically leads users through times of creative blockage and decision-making struggles. Using a simple step-by-step diagnostic survey, Unstuck figures out exactly what the dilemma is at hand and then creates a tip list to direct focus toward an attainable solution. The app has been wildly successful, attracting over a million users and a highly involved online community since its inception. “The feedback on the app has been gratifyingly positive. And surprising,” says Nancy Hawley, VP of Content at Unstuck. “People are finding all kinds of ways to use the app beyond what we had imagined. They’re using it to conduct meetings, settle disagreements, counteract OCD, fix their relationships.”


With such high interest, Unstuck wanted to serve more than the iPad community. After creating a web-based app, which is now in beta, Unstuck started thinking about other mediums. As a result, the Unstuck team has released Unstuck Tip Cards, a physical manifestation of its app that puts decision-making right into your hands. “Our audience has been asking for more, and there’s something joyful about the tactile nature of cards,” says Hawley. “It’s a familiar, fun format, and an easily reusable one that helps make an uncomfortable moment a little more comfortable.”


Using a three-step method, the deck initiates a personal dialogue similar to the app, offering a quick, action-oriented response for immediate action. The deck uses familiar feelings—such as “I need better ideas” or “I can’t seem to keep focus”—to define a “stuck moment” and prompt diagnosis. Each stuck moment then leads you to three possible solution cards with a piece of advice and a direct exercise, allowing you to choose, meditate and act on the idea that seems most relevant to the situation. “While the app takes you down a deliberate path, you can look at all the tips in the card decks if you want, not just the ones related to your stuck moment,” Hawley explains, “You can’t have too much wisdom.” Concluding with a reflective follow-up question, the cards effectively annihilate life’s most common dilemmas.


Armed with user feedback gathered from its weekly advice email, Unstuck focused their decks on four areas of inner-conflict: productivity, procrastination, negative thinking and conjuring creativity. “We’ve been so devoted to how the app works and the algorithm behind it, but re-creating that experience with cards would have resulted in an unwieldy 75-card deck, So we had to zero in on the most common ‘stucks’ from the community,” says Hawley. “That fresh perspective has freed up our thinking about what Unstuck could be for our users going forward.”

The Unstuck community does more than just provide analytics for product design, however. Their Facebook fans, for instance, are constantly sharing ideas and support to help each other face their own stuck moments, and Unstuck’s advice on Twitter begs to be shared. “We had hoped to achieve a strong level of trust among Unstuck users, and that’s come true,” says Hawley. “The app design encourages honesty, and we’ve respected that. Everything we do is with the user at the forefront.”

Unstuck Tip Cards ($25 per deck) are available online.

Images by Cool Hunting