If you follow me on twitter (or via the side-bar here on this blog) you might know that I’ve been spending some free time on making an iPhone application.
It’s finally in the store and if you want it right now instead of reading this blog entry then go over to www.simplecardsapp.com.
I wanted to write a little bit about how this app came into creation, since it’s my first one that I’ve actually put on the store.
I get a lot of ideas, maybe 1-2 ideas a month that are good enough for me to write down. My selection process of what I actually then work on is something like this:
Write down the idea very concisely. I actually didn’t do that with SimpleCards but just kept it in my head. Usually not recommended to do, but sometimes it’s a useful method to sort out ideas too. The ones you can keep in your head for a long time are usually better.
Sketch it out roughly on paper, either UI right away like I did for SimpleCards, or just put down some more details into the idea to see if it could work and how it should work.
Sketch it out in photoshop or omnigraffle to get a better idea of if it’s actually doable.
If at any point in this process I see that it wouldn’t work or it’s just not as interesting as I first thought, I just stop working on it.
SimpleCards is a flashcard app that intended to replace the normal paper flashcards that I use a lot. When studying Japanese you have to learn the Kanji (chinese character), the hiragana (pronunciation) and the what it means. So when you use normal flashcards with 2 sides you actually loose out a little bit of practice because you always get pronunciation and translation on the same side. So not only did I want a super-simple (as simple as paper) way to flip through flashcards, but I also wanted to be able to have 3 sides per card.
Now to show a bit about the creation process of SimpleCards, as I said I got this idea and kept it in my head for a while. I kept thinking I wanted it and thought about it for maybe 1-2 months before sitting down and sketching it. Which resulted in the next picture.
Then after doing this I still liked the idea really much, pretty much the same day I started transferring it to the computer and putting in some more detail with OmniGraffle.
I thought this looked so good that it was a real motivation booster. Everything seemed to work and it was just as simple as I wanted it. I then checked out maybe 5-10 apps of the competition and saw that no-one had the one critical feature that I designed my whole app around: Multiple sides per flashcard.
I then spent two weekends coding this thing and got out a beta version following my own design. In the picture above nothing is real, it’s just sketches, in the picture below, all the screenshots are real from the actual application.
I do know however that what sells an app in the Appstore is design, graphics and nothing else. I also know that design is my extremely weak point. That’s why I got the excellent Anders Davén who I’ve worked with before to do the design for me. As Emma said, “It’s like upgrading from a Mac from 1995 to the latest OS X”. As you can see below, it truly lifted the app from being something only I would use (a fathers love) to something everyone could use!
So then the App was done! I created a website for it to be able to link to it (and to help you guys, readers, find it), and to be able to promote it a bit easier. That website is www.simplecardsapp.com.
So now that you know how it was created, go download it!
Get it even if you don’t plan on learning new words. Here are some alternative uses for it:
Memorizing names of people
Counter for how many times you have swiped across the screen
Pretending you’re learning a language.
and so on and so forth…
And once you get it, make sure to rate it 5 stars and write a good review! ;P