In 2013 the average person's attention span was 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Hell, a gold fish has an average attention span of 9 seconds! Surely, you already understand that your app has an extremely limited amount of time to grab a user's attention, and demonstrate it's value, and convince people to download it. Don't let your app get quickly browsed over because people aren't able to quickly identify with it and understand how they will benefit. People need to know what your app is about and what pain it's going to fix or they will scroll passed it in a matter of seconds.
To illustrate the point, take a look a very brief look (literally just 1 to 2 seconds) at the homepage for a very successful app by the team Tapity called Grades. Go ahead, I'll wait. Read More
Quick question, how many times have you downloaded an app, used it for a day or two, and then never touched it again until months later when you're clearing out all of your unused apps? I'm sure it's more often than we'd like.
I'd be willing to bet that most of those apps were novel, eye catching, or had some sort of other x factor that made them sound fun, but something was missing that didn't give them any lasting appeal. I won't deny that there's something to be said about novelty, but for the majority of apps, the only real way to guarantee your app isn't deleted after a few days is to create something where your users will continually benefit from its use.
Does this mean you need some genius idea that nobody has ever thought of before? Or solve a pain that nobody has ever addressed before? Not at all. I don't even think that's realistic. I actually believe the opposite, that pretty much everything we work on is a remix of other ideas or technologies. Any change you've ever seen Kirby Ferguson's short series about this? If not, you might want to check it out (after you finish reading this article of course). Read More
Let's start from the very beginning. I personally believe this is probably the most important factor for success. For whatever reason, you've decided you want to build an app. Most likely you already even have an idea in mind. For a lot of people, that would be enough to get started. I ask you to take one extra step before diving in and answer the following question.
What is the real reason you want to build this app? Write it out. Be honest about your reasoning, as this will guide many decisions, which will help you to focus and deliver a better product. Make sure you know what your end goal is.
If it's to make easy money (or worse, get rich), become famous like Zuckerberg, or tell somebody "I told you so", I would beg you to rethink whether you should create an app. You may be enticed by all of the overnight success stories, but considering there are over a 1.2 million apps in the Apple App store alone (1.3 for Android), those stories are far more scarce than you may have imagined. Not to mention over 92% of those are free. Building a successful app takes serious dedication. Read More
For February, my New Month's Resolution was to stretch for 20 minutes a day. Just as it played out with the previous resolution of writing 500 words a day, I certainly could have improved on this one. All said and done, I missed about a weeks worth of stretching. That's still a solid three weeks of consistently stretching every single day.
So what did I learn? Not as much as I had hoped for. The reason I chose this resolution was I work on a computer for the better part of every day. I have some mild back pain, but worse is my neck pain. I was hoping that stretching consistently would help loosen my neck muscles and improve the pain. Didn't happen. Read More
As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to switch things up this new year and have a new resolution every month. To kick things off, I chose to write 500 words a day for the month of January.
In the past I've had difficulties putting my thoughts on paper. I've had no shortage of thoughts I wanted to be heard, but I never followed through with actually writing them down. I was always quick to write myself off by saying "I'm a horrible writer" for as long as I can remember. That said, I don't know if I ever really tried. Besides, even if I was a horrible writer, what I failed to recognize is that writing is a skill, and ALL skills can be learned with practice and persistence.
When it came to writing 500 words a day, naturally I wasn't perfect. In fact, not even close. Cumulatively, I missed roughly an entire weeks worth of writing. It much more difficult than I expected, and not for the reasons I expected. The most difficult part of the process was actually just sitting down and committing to writing.
Once I got over the initial hump of sitting still long enough to write, 500 words wasn't a problem at all. After all, it was only 500 words. The point wasn't to set a goal to challenge myself, the point was to explore the possibilities of how a different habit could affect my life. Read More
You don’t have to be a designer to understand how powerful and influential design can be. The real value of design becomes apparent when viewed as an investment, not an expense. If done correctly it will increase your return on investment, capture peoples attention, and can even be the deciding factor between your product and another.
As design has grown to be such an integral part of startups, you can no longer afford to have design be an afterthought. As Wells Riley says “It’s a state of mind. It’s an approach to a problem. It’s how you’re going to kick your competitor’s ass”. Design can be a key factor in success – or failure. As more and more companies realize this, the value of good design is becoming hard to ignore. And why would you want to? Some of the most successful companies, such as Apple, Square, and Twitter, have coined their success on brilliant design.
Some things to consider:
- Design can provide your first opportunity to reach out to a potential customer. First impressions do last and are extremely important. Your product design and promotional materials are often your first impression to consumers.
- Design can determine who will even bother to look at your product. It must be designed with a specific target market it mind. It can literally set peoples expectations of your product. Almost 75% of consumer spending is impulse purchases. If your product is not well-designed you are missing out.
The effectiveness of a website can be determined in many ways. What you are looking for is the sites ability to attract targeted traffic and more importantly retain that traffic by satisfying the viewer by delivering relevant information or converting on a specific task.
Simply Adam Mann's five evaluation components:
Each website should have set objectives it is trying to achieve, and those objectives are achieved by the functionality incorporated in the site. In order for the site to function efficiently, the site must be easy to navigate. It should have a clear content hierarchy to direct the flow of traffic, helping the site to be very intuitive to use. “Undesigned“, or minimalistic websites often take this to the extreme by stripping down a site to it’s most basic, raw and practical form.
The content on a site should be as thorough yet concise as possible. In order to do this you need to “focus like a laser” as Steve Jobs says. Do not get distracted, make sure every words counts. You only have a matter of seconds to capture somebody’s attention on the web. Delivering a concise message in as few words as possible can be a difficult task, all while keeping search engine optimization in mind. Research should be done on your target market, and you must constantly re-evaluate who your audience is to make sure you are actively engaging them. Read More
We are finally nearing the launch of Find My Train, in fact, we just submitted it to the Apple App Store! Since we've began showing more of the app, I've had numerous people ask how much it would cost to build them an app.
Since this is my first time working on a team developing an app, I do not have much to compare it to, so I decided to look around the web. Below is a modified post by Vlad of Darwin Apps, which I think does a great job creating an analogy to help bridge the tech to non-tech gap of expectations between product and price. (Perhaps I also enjoy this analogy because I am a huge car fan)
Getting back to the question, how much does an app cost? To put it plainly, about as much as a car, depending on what you want.
“I just want an app and I want it to work” - Used 1994 Honda Civic - $1-5K.
You just want a simple app. Nothing fancy, and you don’t really care who works on it. You can probably find a freelancer locally (hint: College students, trust the CS / engineering degrees first) or someone off odesk to do this for you. It won’t be anything amazing, but if you’re careful in finding someone and managing the process, you can get a few screens done on one platform, and in an app store (or on the web), and maybe even test if you can solve a problem effectively with said app. Read More
You’ve set up your first meeting with a design team. You’ve had so many ideas that have been floating around in your head that you are excited to finally bring to realization. But, if this is your first rodeo with designers, you might have no clue what to expect or what you should do prior to beginning the design process. Even if you have worked with designers, there are always ways to make your meetings more productive as well as enjoyable.
Preparation is important for a successful and productive meeting. Often your main goal for the first meeting should be to develop a relationship. Not all teams work the same way. You may meet with several teams before you find yourself feeling the right connection with.
So, what should you bring to your first meeting?
Your thoughts (thought out)
A designer can ask all the right questions, but if you don’t have any answers it can obviously hinder the process. That’s not to say you need to know everything, ideas and concepts will develop as the design process unravels, but make sure you have some things to talk about. There’s going to be a lot of questions. It’s not production time yet, but the creative team is going to need a thorough understanding of what exactly you are trying to achieve and how you plan on achieving it.
This may not apply to everyone, but say you are looking to develop branding for a cleaning product, go ahead and bring a sample for the designer to test out. Let them experience first hand why people will love your product as opposed to telling them why. The better they know the product the better they can represent it. When they truly love a product they will be that much more passionate about helping it succeed Read More
I’ve heard the word undesigned tossed around regularly as of late. I have heard people describe their website as undesigned, and it seems almost half of the responses are an argument of how it is not undesigned at all, instead of actually commenting on the work itself. People argue that it is actually carefully designed, not undesigned, when in actuality the website is both carefully designed and undesigned. I personally believe that there is a misunderstanding of what undesigning really is.
Undesigned is not not-designed.
Undesigned should not be read as not-designed. Quite literally, the word undesigned means “having no ulterior or fraudulent purpose” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Undesigned work is optimized for a specific function. Each and every design decision should be based on the chosen function without distractions. You would remove all superfluous design elements that do not directly affect the end goal. Less is more.
There are a lot of factors involved in undesigning that are not obvious on the surface. In all actuality, that is the point – to create something that’s so intuitive to use that it does not look overly designed. Every element is looked at from both a visual as well as functional view point. Each design element has a purpose: to assist the user in accomplishing their objectives. Read More