Sort-Of App Review: r/ally

Like previous “sort-of reviews” on this blog, this is more a description of what I enjoy, find useful, and might change if I could about the mobile app r/ally (@RallyYourGoals on Twitter), currently in beta mode. I’m not an industry expert and my intent is not to provide an exhaustive, authoritative account, just a user reflection.

r/ally recently approached me on Twitter and asked me to beta test the app. The tweet was non-spammy and when I visited their feed, it wasn’t filled with identical tweets to other accounts (which is, for me, typically a dealbreaker). And most importantly, the app concept seemed uniquely designed for me and my interests, which was a dealMAKER.

r/ally is an app for women to collaborate and support each other in pursuing their goals: professional, personal, and anything in between. As a woman who is constantly creating new goals and seeking like-minded collaborators for grassroots projects, the idea appealed to me. One app store reviewer wrote “this is what LinkedIn has been missing,” and I’m inclined to agree.

Not only can people see what projects you’re working on, they can reach out to help even if you don’t know one another. Users have the option to accept or decline offers of support on a goal from other users, and once an offer of support has been accepted, the two users can share private messages to spitball ideas, exchange contact information, and anything else to move toward the goal in question.

The app is currently not location-specific, but I’ve come across users in Toronto and Vancouver so far. Like many products and services that cater to women in a career context, the users at this early stage seem to be primarily middle-class, white, urban and highly educated. A more diverse user base would make for a more interesting and inclusive user experience, and I’m hoping they will get there.

Like any social app, it needs a critical mass of active users in order to be worth checking regularly. I don’t think they’re quite there yet but I definitely see the potential! I seem to share interests with a lot of the users who are there, which has led to a few new connections. The app notifies you of other users’ goals you may wish to support, and so far I’ve found the algorithm produces users and goals relevant to my interests.

As this app amasses more users, I am confident that it’ll be interesting and busy enough to come back to regularly. One thing I think might be a barrier to frequent use, though, is that users appear to be capped at three active goals at a time. For me, this limits the app’s usefulness because I’d like to be using it as a sort of long-term social to-do list, and I typically have more than three long-term goals on the go at a given time. If they removed the goal cap, I’d have a lot more to do on r/ally.

r/ally is a brilliant concept with a well-designed interface and algorithms that drive user engagement. If it gets more uptake, especially among more diverse communities of women, it has a lot of potential to be a go-to app for ambitious women.