Simplified SparkPoints (and More of Them!)

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Good morning, SparkPeople!
Our team has been hard at work on several site improvements that will roll out in the next few months. We are always looking for ways to improve your SparkPeople experience as well as make the site simpler and easier for people to use so that they can continue reaching their goals.
Yesterday and today, you may have noticed a few small changes to your SparkPoints page as well as your Start page that we think you'll be happy about. (Sometimes change can be a good thing!)
On the Start page, we launched a new content slideshow with a streamlined look. It has four features plus a daily recipe and video below it. We did this in an effort to bring even more great tips and stories to you each day so there will be more chances for you to find a story that relates to you. Note: To view the new Start page slideshow, hold down the shift button as you press the refresh button, which is an arrow at the top of your browser. That should make the new page appear.

One thing we lost from the old Start page slideshow was the "SparkPeople Insider." This was removed as a conscious effort to make your SparkPeople experience simpler and easier each day—with one less thing to click on or read so you have more time to focus on the tasks that do more to help you reach your goals. (But don't worry, you'll still find many of the great "hidden" features we used to show on the Insider on your new Start page slideshow from time to time.)
With the removal of the Insider (previously worth 1 Point per day), we also cleaned up a few SparkPoints tasks to streamline your daily SparkPeople experience.  SparkPoints are fun and motivating and we know our members love earning Points for different tasks on the site. But we also know that too many Points tasks can be overwhelming. So here's what we changed.
  • We removed Points for taking a poll each day (previously worth 3 Points). We love polls as much as you do, but compared to other tasks like learning (reading articles), getting support (posting on the boards) or tracking your goals, taking a poll (although fun!) is yet another thing to do each day that doesn't make a huge difference in your results. We hope you understand this reasoning and our goal to focus on the tasks that matter most in helping you get results. For people who want to take polls, all of our polls still exist on the site. You can visit our poll center and answer polls you find as often as you would like.
  • We combined 3 Content related tasks into one: Read up to 3 articles per day (previously 9 Points), Take a SparkPeople quiz each day (previously 5 Points), and Read up to two SparkPeople Blog entries per day (previously 6 Points). These have been combined into one task called "Read SparkPeople Content." You can now take quizzes, read slideshows, read our expert's blogs (including this one), read articles and more—however you wish, in any combination! With this approach, you will not run out of new content to earn Points—a common complaint before. Each piece of content you read is now worth 5 points and you can earn 25 points per day for this.
  • We combined 2 Health related tasks into one: Read a Health A-Z topic (previously 3 Points), and Read a Health News article (previously 3 Points). These have been combined into one task called "Read SparkPeople Health Content." You can now read either/or, in any combination, to earn your 6 Points per day.
In summary, the following chart shows the previous SparkPoints tasks and values and what they were worth each day, along with the new tasks and the total Points you can earn. As you can see, there are fewer tasks but more Points than before:

Previous SparkPoints Tasks Current SparkPoints Tasks
  1. Read an Article: 3 each/ 9 day
  2. Take a SP Quiz: 5 ea./5 day               
  3. Read a SparkPeople Blog entry: 3 ea./6day
  4. Read a Health A-Z topic: 3 ea./3 day
  5. Read a Health News article: 3 ea./3 day
  6. Read the SparkPeople Insider: 1 ea./1 day
  7. Take a SparkPeople Poll: 3 ea./ 3 day                                                           
  1. Read any SparkPeople content (includes quiz, slideshow, SparkPeople blog): 5 ea./25 day
  2. Read Health Condition Content (A-Z, Health News): 3 ea./6 day
Total Possible Points: 30      Total Possible Points: 31

We know some members will miss how things used to be, and we understand that. Change is hard—even when that change comes from a website you've grown accustomed to being a certain way. But we hope you understand our goal is always to help YOU and all of our members in the easiest, most streamlined way possible--and to make our site feel less overwhelming. We hope these changes will make your daily SparkPeople routine easier than ever—while still rewarding you for all the work you put into your program.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: announcements


I agree with JaneDoe12345. Don't you have something better to do than change things all the time? Today I have wasted time trying to find Health News since my link doesn't work anymore since SP changed it, AGAIN.

You can always make more money, but you CAN NEVER MAKE MORE TIME. Today SP is making me waste my time by looking for Health News??? Make sure the things you call 'improvements', ARE, and that they are NOT WASTING OUR TIME. Report
Really great changes, especially on the health news points since you guys come up with some very good articles. Thanks. Report
I liked "Take a Poll." It was always interesting to see how I compared to others who took it. Miss the points, too. Doesn't seem quite as rewarding to take the poll and then not get to claim my three points. Report
I really wish you had left things alone a long time ago. The SP that I joined is virtually unrecognizable. It used to be a simple, fun site. Now it is a complicated fun site with way too many tweaks. I am still here and not planning to leave but I do not like the constant upheaval of new and improved -- you could just leave it alone now, thank you.

Many of us do not do Twitter or Facebook and it is kind of unfair that people can get points for that. Are you subtly advertising for them? I would like to get points for something to balance that out but you keep switching things around so I am sometimes not even sure what is going on for points anyway!

It took forever to find this blog -- not even an announcement? A chance link in a comment was it.

Really. Just leave well enough alone, please. Report
I am really enjoying the changes. You have shifted point-earning more toward things that really matter. I especially love earning my points by reading what is interesting and helpful to me, rather than getting picky about whether that information is housed in an Article, or Sparkblog category. Report
I usually am not totally happy with some of SP changes, but I think this will be a great improvement! Thanks! Report
Guess I missed the slide show. It doesn't appear on my Start page, as stated in the blog.
I love the change but it would have been nice to see this article on the start page to give everyone the information before they started to look for the old format. Change is good and it does take some time to adjust but I think it is much better than going back and forth!!! Thanks! Report
I think I will like the new point system. . It's nice that I saw this on my friends feed and looked it up, otherwise not sure when I would have noticed. Report
Well I guess we will all have to settle into these new changes together. I understand your reasoning for streamlining. I also just came across this article and maybe it was in my Weekly Spark email. I'm not sure because my email was backed up. OR maybe this information should be sent to our SparkPeople emails. I'm sure someone probably have already said it. I'll put a note on my status for my SF and Teams. Thank you again for this site! :) Report
This whole site is hard to navigate. Points don't matter to me. But being able to comment on messages I receive does. Report
Love the article
I really agree with the others. A link or comment on the Start Page can go a long ways to explain to the SP members what changes are made and what is coming. I posted a like to this page on both my teams to help them but it was accidently read by me this evening. Thanks for a good blog. Report
I agree with others. I came across this entry by chance looking up another article and seeing this little blurb on the side. This should be something on the start page or a link with the banner.

Heh, just when I was starting to find my way around, everything's changing! But I think your ideas with the points changing to guide to more helpful content is fantastic.

Thanks for the site!!!

If I wasn't a team leader, I would never have seen this blog. The blogs seem to be buried somewhere. In fact, when I noticed the changes (before reading the thread on the team leaders team), I couldn't find the blogs at all. Not sure I can again. Sorry...these are not minor tweaks and while I agree that change can be good, these don't all seem to be that great. I also don't do FB, pinterest, twitter or any of those things, so points to constantly connect with them are useless to me. In fact, I don't think there are many on my team who do anything beyond an occasional member on FB. Thanks for this blog, but how about sending a link out on our Friend Feed or somewhere more on the start page??? Report
I am not opposed to change at all but I do agree with the posters who have commented that a heads-up would have been nice. I also searched for 15 minutes before I found this blog detailing all the changes. I think it should have been front and center. With that said, I would like to commend SP for all the hard work and dedication that is put into this awesome site! I have enjoyed all the content on the website and have learned valuable hints, tips, and tolls in my weight loss journey! Thank you! Report
I love the chages. Thanks. Report
Thank you, exceldream.......I also thought the Health News article was a very helpful link. WHERE is it???? Report
I can't figure out how to get to the Health News. I hope it's still there somewhere - those were often my favorite articles. Like someone else said, I miss being able to select the headliners, I don't have the patience to wait until an interesting article comes streaming by. Other than that, it all makes sense. Points are less motivating to me now than my weight loss and food enjoyment I'm getting from SparkPeople. Thanks so much! Report
I'm so excited about the changes in the SparkPoints. It was feeling like a chore and I love reading the spark blogs, but after 3, I was out of points for the day. Will be nice to get points for 5 of them, and the polls were like an extra task I would do when I had time, but most times I didn't so very excited about these changes! Report
Please review the links on the sparkpoints page, as well as the new pages that combine everything that should be earning points for a certain area. Example: you combined 'health news' and 'health a-z' but the link on the sparkpoints page only goes to 'health a-z'. Also, I didn't see 'read sparkpeople blog' on the new page for reading SP content. I hate the orange menus at the top because more frequently than not I have problems using them - either I can't click on most of the menu items or they open up if my mouse gets near them and I get sent to random pages instead of what I was trying to click on the page. The only menus from the top I use are in 'my trackers', which are a pain in the rear as is because of these problems. If you're going to change the layout of the sparkpoints list, then please ensure we are able to get to all of the items we can earn points for from that list, without having to search the site to find our favorite activities.

Also, the 'top stories' on the start page doesn't work. Half of the image is not even visible, and the tabs at the top of the image aren't useable, so it's completely worthless at this point. Please review the coding and correct it. Report
Make any changes you like, but PLEASE do NOT ever get rid of the Reports section called Daily Calorie Differential!

I have used this to very successfully lose weight, because getting on a scale is a horrifying experience for me. I can't deal with the stress/anxiety/depression associated with the "irregular" numbers one gets when weighing.

With the Daily Calorie Differential, I can keep a spreadsheet of each day's calorie deficit. For each 3,500 deficit calories, I have (at least theoretically) lost one more pound.

This is really working for me! I have lost 11 pounds since April 13th, and expect this beneficial trend to continue. I religiously track everything that goes into my mouth, and my FitBit very accurately counts calories burned. This make the Calorie Differential number very accurate.

For a person such as myself who is "allergic" to getting on the scale [NEVER AGAIN!], the Daily Calorie Differential Report is essential to successfully continue on my weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey. Report
I'll miss the walking content tabs; the new way is ok, just more to look at (more work, actually).

I don't care much about points anymore; I do keep my water points under control and that's the only one I've ever worried about. Lost the ability to get log-in points regularly when you moved the wheel to the bottom of the page. Shrugged and gave up on that one.
I'm kind of glad the polls are moving out; so often I changed how I would answer one, but had no way to register that change. We change, too. Not just the site.

I do hope you won't get into the habit of continually tweaking, like software programs (and WW) do. It's then more trouble than it's worth to learn the 'new' way of doing things. Report
@BLKILLY You already receive points for drinking your 8 glasses of water a day (I want to say it's 5 points daily?), but I agree there should be something similar for getting in all your fruits and veggies; I know it's something I struggle with sometimes. Report
I think you should drop the low points on the Login and the Bonus Spins !! I don't think those wheels are "free spinning". I have had them stop on one number, then suddenly change !!! Give us decent spins !!! Report
I'm all for PROGRESS. I am vested in Sparks and I would be lost without them. I am hoping to keep all the GREAT EXERCISE VIDEOS and the recipe's with the new changes. I would like to contact Chef Megan to ask questions...that would be nice. Finally, I would like to access all my FAVORITES from the Start Page or ANY PAGE. I do refer to several favorites for articles and EXERCISE video/ shortcuts. The new Sparks sounds like a great change. Report
I normally don't like changes on some things, but this I do like this. It's new and I needed that. Thanks SP:) Report
I love it! Five points for reading content! Oh, yeah! Bonus spin here I come (sooner than before the changes)! Report
I like the changes. I like that I can get more points for the more useful things, like reading health/fitness articles, but it will take me a little less time. Love the look of the start page! Report
Award points for drinking water and eating veggies. Report
I think taking a poll now and again is fun. Did you realized that using the web search and selecting search spark people, you will NOT find the poll center you linked to in this blog. The Poll Center cannot be saved as a favorite. How will I find it in the future? Report
I like the new way. Makes more sense.

I would like to make a suggestion though. I think we should get one point for each 8 oz glass of water we drink. That is way more motivating to drink water in my opinion! Report
Love the streamlining! The simpler Spark is to use, the more I like it... Report
Can you make 5 the minimum amount of login points? Get rid of 2 pts... Report
I like it the new way. Less to fuss with. The polls were so easy they really should be just for fun. Thanks! Report
The only thing I miss is the the trivia, it was what I did while drinking my coffee in the morning! Hope you bring them back!

I like the streamline of the other articles/activities, though! Report
Thanks for the update, I might like this better! Report
No issues with the changes, they sound like they will improve the site,but would it really be so difficult to let members know BEFORE you launch the changes? Post the blog the day before, or post it on the Team Leaders team the day before, or something, so we are not logging in to see that things are now different and wondering exactly what has changed. Report
I used to enjoy the pop up that asked if you spinned today. I haven't missed posting more than 5 or 6 days in over three years, yet once in a while I forget to spin, I get extremely irritated with only 2 perfect attendance months. Missed it this month, after 42 days I forgot to spin on Tuesday. ;( Report
Whoa! I was surprised by the changes today too - but I think they're for the better! I will miss the polls though, they were quite interesting and didn't take long to do. Report
Would be nice if you sent out this kind of blog the day before you do the actual changes so we are prepared. Report
Sometimes change is hard.....but I have always found that attitude is 90% of accepting it. Report
I liked the old start page better but after a few weeks I'll never remember it and love the new one! I'm all for the streamline of the points though! It used to be so much stuff in order to get points! Thank you SparkPeople for bringing some changes :) Report
Changes sound great, but would like to make a suggestion:

1) When you have earned enough Spark points to spin the Bonus Wheel, could you flash up something on our Spark page to tell us that we are eligible for a Bonus spin? Many, many times I would NOT have known I could spin the Bonus Wheel, IF I had not gone back to my Spark points before signing off for the day. I think others would also like this suggestion.

2) Please keep the SPARK RADIO as part of the Start page. I love this feature but forget about it if I don't see something to remind me!

Thanks for your consideration. "A devoted Spark People fan." Report
I like the changes! I like the new look of the start page and I agree completely with how you streamlined the points! I LOVE this site!!! Report
WHOA!!! It's was kinda a surprise I really like taking the polls I thought something was wrong w/ my eyes LOL!!!
Change is good that's what we do everyday on our journey to a better me ,I say yay to the changes !!!! Well done!!:-D Report
Ok i already know I am going to miss the points from the polls :( but everything else sounds good :) Report
I really like the new start page - it seems much cleaner... The combinations of the different related items/features is great! And, while the content of SP is "all good in the hood" sitting in front of the computer maybe doesn't serve us quite as well as moving around! It seems these changes will continue to improve our online SP experiences while giving us more offline time to put what we learn to practice! Thanks Report
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