EMA is a group of data collection strategies that capture information about peoples’ attitudes, experiences and behavior as they live life. Initially, we considered using old EMA strategies, like daily journals, palm pilots or text messages. But a tech-savvy colleague suggested trying EMA with smartphones. There was just one problem: this technology didn’t exist in 2010.
In 2011, we launched the iHabit app, which allowed us to conduct several research projects and learn more about EMA. Gathering information from smartphones users helped us see that our system could do more than EMA. Rather than just gathering data, we recognized the possibility of Ecological Momentary Intervention (EMI). EMI facilitates change by delivering questions, reminders, inspiring messages, etc. to users in the context of everyday life.