ISBN: 978-0-557-51427-4 Copyright © 2008 Carla Kay White and Happy Tapper™, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved. Please do not distribute this book in any way. Please do not sell it, or reprint any part of it without written consent from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. Always include a link to www. iphoneappsecrets.com. Please note that much of this publication is based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence. Although the author has made every reasonable attempt to achieve complete accuracy of the content in this guide, she assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Also, you should use this information as you see fit, and at your own risk. Your particular situation may not be exactly suited to the examples illustrated here; in fact, it’s likely that they won’t be the same, and you should adjust your use of the information and recommendations accordingly. Finally, use your own wisdom as guidance. Nothing in this guide is intended to replace common sense, legal, other professional advice, and is meant to inform and entertain the reader. So have fun with your iPhone and iPad app creation!
Dedicated to my Dad
Contents Before we begin 8 Inside Secrets
Three questions Iâ€™m asked the most. What do you need to sell on iTunes? How long does it take? 14 What does it cost? 16 Path to Success 18 My Secret Six Phase Process 18 Secrets to finding a developer you love Not sure? 22 What sort of skills do you need? 26 Surprise, surprise, surprise... 29
Where to Start
What do you do first? 32 Educate yourself. 35 Separating the wheat from the chaff.
Secrets to a Killer Design 37 How to stand out from the crowd 39 Product definition statement, your North Star Create a screen flow diagram 45 Computer Generated Designs 47 Things you should know about the iPad 51 Testing your design: Critical market research 10 minutes to a 100% better App 55 Testing on your iDevice (without coding!) 56 Make it make sense 59 Now unpack 59 Apple knows best 61 Creating your own look and feel 62 Benefits of creating a great app 62 Secrets to finding a designer 65
What I learned from outsourcing design 65 Where the rubber meets the road 66 Can’t afford a designer? 68
Project Management Basics Time, money and scope The beauty of bartering
Outsourcing Development 75 Post your project to Elance 77 Other places where developers lurk Paying for experience 81 Pick a Rising Star 81 And help them shine 81 Picking the right developer 84 A day in the life 87 Do as I say, not as I do. 87 The devil is in the detail 87 Real contractor love 88 Milestones and carrots 91
Putting it to the Test 93
Testing is your job 95 Low tech advice 95 Detail matters here too 95 How to keep your developer happy 96 The 80% rule: When so-so is good enough 97
Submitting Your App 99 How long until it’s on iTunes? 101 Create a distribution build 101 Create a great product description 102 Then what? 102 Inside iTunes Connect 103
Why your customers are so great 107 Use Get Satisfaction for support 107
Secrets to Promoting 108 A sneak preview 110 Start promotion early. 110 Create a killer website. 110 Be as transparent as possible.
Learn from my Mistakes Don’t Copy 114 Sleep on it 114 Press releases are a waste of money 115 Forget hiring a lawyer if you can 115
Can you recommend a developer? 117 Do you have time to discuss my app idea? 117 What sort of business model should I use? 118 Are there any special websites that helped you? 118 Can you help me with the design specification? 118 How did you manage to get all this done at 5am? 118
About HappyTapper 119 HappyTapper Apps 120 Other places you can find HappyTapper 120 Design Tools 121 Recommended Vendors 122
“Do what you love to help people, and you will always love what you do.” 126
Before we begin Let me just get one thing out of the way first, okay? I’m not an iTunes millionaire. There. I said it. I’m not making $10,000 a day off the App Store. I don’t raise venture capital. I’m also not an iPhone programmer. I didn’t even own a Mac until recently. I’m just a girl who works at an average job in the middle of America who is passionate about iPhone apps. One day I decided to create an app and went about discovering the best way of doing it with just $500 and made over $8000 my first month on iTunes. I have since went on to design and create dozens of hugely successful iPhone apps. I made some mistakes along the way. But I also figured out a pretty solid formula to designing, developing, launching and promoting my apps so they’re guaranteed to get noticed. This book is not another technical guide like the usual iPhone literature that you find on the shelves. That’s because I don’t know any Objective-C or Cocoa so I had to do things a little differently. Most likely, you’re a lot like me. You’re sitting on a killer idea but don’t know where to begin. You heard it costs anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 to create an app. Perhaps you attempted to study the technical manuals in languages you don’t understand. Then you scoured the Internet for information but still you just don’t know where to start. You just want straightforward, no nonsense answers on how to create an iPhone app for an reasonable price. You’re ready to take your idea to the next level and simply want to know the first steps. If you found yourself nodding as you read that last paragraph, then welcome home. You’re going to love this book. You’re going to love learning everything I can tell you about creating a great app. And more importantly, you’re going to love the fact that
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youâ€™re officially among the many people who are creating iPhone apps and tapping into the new gold rush. I am one of them. And so can you. So letâ€™s get started...
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Three questions I’m asked the most. Pretty much every time someone asks me about creating an app, there are three things they’re most curious about. They want to know how long it took me, how much it costs and what do they need to get started. So I’ll jump right into answering these burning questions and let’s get the show rolling. Let’s start with the tools. This might be pretty basic information for some of you who have already done a fair bit of research or have already created an app.
What do you need to sell on iTunes? Mac Computer First off, you need a Mac computer with an Intel process and Leopard 10.5.6. At the time of writing this, the cheapest I could find was a Mac Mini available on eBay for about $400. Copy of iPhone SDK and Xcode The iPhone SDK is a software development kit that you download and install. Apple developed it to allow third parties to create applications that can run directly on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Xcode is Apple’s suite of tools for developing software on Mac platforms and is free to download. No registration is need. iPhone SDK download: http://developer.apple.com/iphone Xcode download: http://developer.apple.com/technology/Xcode.html iPhone Developer Program Membership This is an annual fee you pay to Apple that allows access to all the tools and information you need to develop and distribute your iPhone or iPad app. Program Membership: http://developer.apple.com/programs/
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iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people I meet who want to create an app but are only using a Blackberry. Not only do you need an iDevice to understand the user interface, you’ll need it to test your app as well. A really good idea How do you know if your idea is a good one? First of all, you have to be super passionate about it; and secondly, does it have at least one of the indicators of success? Does your app solve a unique problem? Do you always lose your car in large car parks? Do you need to jump start your happiness? Figure out what isn’t working, and how your app can your customer’s life better. Does the app serve a specific niche? Looking at the most popular apps, you’d probably guess that most iPhone owners are pubescent boys. That might be the case, but there are still plenty of other people addicted to this device. Find a niche with ardent fans (yoga lovers, for example) and create an app that caters to a specific audience. Does it make people laugh? The closest connection between two people is laughter. If you can come up with something funny, or even tender hearted, you are definitely on the right track and your idea may be the golden one. Are you designing a better wheel? Are there existing successful apps that lack significant feature enhancements? When Weightbot launched there were already a dozen weight tracking apps available, but that didn’t stop Weightbot from hitting #1! Will the app be wonderfully interactive? Engage the user by giving them something to do. Most of us have attention spans of a fly, so give us something to do!
1. Invest in the proper hardware (Computer and a iDevice) 2. Create an Apple ID 3. Download, install and play with the SDK 4. Review your idea
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How long does it take? It took me four months to take Gratitude Journal from an idea in my head to selling on the App Store, working on it part-time. I went through two developers, one designer, and ended up doing everything myself except for the actual coding. The chronology of the major milestones paints a better picture of my journey. JUNE 2008 23 June - Started my first gratitude journal JULY 2008 16 - 20 July - Went to Cape Cod and packed my gratitude journal. Thought it would be nice to have one on my iPod touch instead. Ta-da! I have an idea. AUGUST 2008 10 Aug - Created a first mock-up of the Gratitude Journal using Photoshop. 18 Aug - Noticed an Buddha drawing on iamscotty.com and emailed Scott asking if I can use it. 20 Aug - Thought up the name Happytapperâ„˘ while out for a run. Dashed home and registered the domain address. 22 Aug - My friend Jonathan, who did the Bubbles app, offered great insight and we planned weekly calls. 27 Aug - Registered with Developer Program. I tried to pay the $99 but received an email telling me to wait in line instead. 28 Aug - Purchased my first Mac! Woo-ho! SEPTEMBER 2008 18 Sept - After a month of failed attempts to work out busy schedules with Jonathan, decided to give Elance.com a try. 22 Sept - Wrote my first full spec complete with all screen views. 30 Sept - Received five bids on Elance and awarded the contract to Sarat and his team at Passionworks for $400.
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OCTOBER 2008 10 Oct - Tried to outsource Gratitude Journal design but it did not come together. Decided to do it myself. Spent every morning for the next six weeks studying the iPhone user interface and developing my designs. 10 Oct - Received the first code release from Passionworks in an email stating it was 80% complete. It took us another two months to complete that last 20%. 20 Oct - Still not accepted to the iPhone Developer program, so I created a new Apple ID and tried again. This time I was accepted straight away. Odd. 25 Oct - Passed the agreed completion date with Passionworks. Creating bulleted lists was proving to be a challenge. NOVEMBER 2008 7 Nov - Decided to do the website myself so I could use the $200 I originally budgeted towards advertising instead. 14 Nov - Contacted Leo at zenhabits.net about advertising on his site. DECEMBER 2008 8 Dec - Passionworks gave me the final build. Coding complete. I submitted it to the iTunes store and waited. 9 Dec - I finished happytapper.com website. It looks pretty cool. 12 Dec - GO LIVE! I talked to dozens of iPhone app producers and almost all of them have encountered similar hurdles along the way. Either their developer didn’t work out (some worried that he actually died, they hadn’t heard from him in so long). Or the design was too complicated (configuring a server turned out to be more than they bargained for). Or they just ran out of steam and gave up. I’m on my fourteenth app and figured out exactly what it takes to short cut the process, cut the costs and start earning in a couple of months.
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What does it cost? I spent just over $3,000 creating Gratitude Journal. The developer program and new laptop were one time expenses and part of my business start-up costs. But with those included, I covered my expenses within the first week of selling my app on iTunes!
iPhone Developer Program
Zen Habits Ad
*One time start-up costs
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Path to Success The whole process can be broken down into six phases which overlap and repeat. Some phases, such as development and promotion, never truly end. If you’re wondering what it takes to get an app out there, this is basically it:
Six phases that will lead you to success.
My Secret Six Phase Process Concept Deciding exactly what your app does and who it’s for. Design Establishing a clear blueprint of the features, screen layouts and navigation. Development Creating an app that is efficient, bug free and well tested. Distribution Submitting the app to the App Store with images and description. Promoting Marketing the heck out of it. Maintenance Supporting your customer requests and working on new releases. There’s two rules to remember. The first one is don’t believe that once you submit your app to iTunes, you’re done. That’s just the beginning of another phase. I spend just as much time maintaining my existing apps as I do creating new ones. Expect it and plan for it. The second rule is to go for the quick wins. I break down the development process into short phases so I can get things done an move onto the next thing. This keeps momentum going and keeps my project from fizzling out into a slow death. Tackling the process in a long-term plan kills the excitement that comes from inspiration of new ideas. Excitement comes from doing something and moving onto the next task. Seeing results and letting you celebrate the small victories.
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Secrets to finding a developer you love Word on the street is that developing an app costs anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000. Maybe more. So you might say I was pretty lucky to find such amazing talent for only 500 bucks. I’m here to tell you that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. I do a lot of prep work before I even think about contacting developers. Investing my time up front scores me a decent rate, it makes the developer’s job so much easier, and it ensures that the project stays on schedule and to budget. I will share with you all my secrets and short-cuts so you may enjoy the same luck creating your app.
“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” Each of us have our own unique talents. I’ll tell you how to make the most of the skills you already have, saving you time and money. The more you can invest up front, the more it will save you in the long run. But first, let’s talk about your motivation. I promise that you’ll need it to see you through your first project.
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Not sure? You are about to embark on a journey that at some point will make you throw your hands up and wonder if it’s all worth it. Perhaps during development or sometime after it’s been launched, something won’t go as planned. You might be well over budget. Or the best design feature just won’t come together. You will at some point wonder why you even started all of this. So ask yourself now...
“What do I want to gain from creating an app?” When I first set out to create Gratitude Journal, I was asked this all the time and in hind site I understand why. Be honest about your motivation. Write it down. It will give you the clarity you will need to see you through a tangled mess. There are as many reasons for creating an iPhone app as there are apps in the iTunes store. Most of the reasons for creating an app tend to be the same. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
“I want to get rich!” Did you read the news about a guy who created an app for a few hundred bucks and made nearly a million dollars in just a few weeks? Yes, those posts caught my eye too. The articles make it sound so easy that anyone could pull it off. But did you ever consider that those articles could be a clever PR campaign by Apple to get people to create apps? I’ve met people who have genuinely bankrolled from their apps. These successful app producers all gave me the same advice. If your main motivation for creating an app is to bank some big bucks then beware. Here’s the deal. If your app doesn’t make the App Store’s top 50 overall, or your category’s top 10, then you may make only 10 to 20 sales a day at best. Thanks to the competitive price war, the average app price is as low as it can go, down to 99¢. That’s simply not enough to quit the day job. In fact, it could be months before you receive your first payment from Apple. I’m not trying to discourage you, however I do want to give you some numbers so you can do the math and know what to budget.
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According to the creators of iFart Mobile, JoelComm.com, you need about 1,500 sales to make it into App Store’s top 50. That was back in 2008. Even with all the new devices out today, the numbers are about the same. This is iFart’s sales from December 2008: Dec 12 - 75 units - #70 entertainment Dec 13 - 296 units - #16 entertainment Dec 14 - 841 units - #76 overall, #8 entertainment Dec 15 - 1,510 units - #39 overall, #5 entertainment Dec 16 - 1,797 units - #22 overall, #3 entertainment Dec 17 - 2,836 units - #15 overall, #3 entertainment Dec 18 - 3,086 units - #10 overall, #3 entertainment Dec 19 - 3,117 units - #9 overall, #2 entertainment Dec 20 - 5,497 units - #4 overall, #2 entertainment Dec 21 - 9,760 units - #2 overall, #1 entertainment Dec 22 - 13,274 units - #1 overall When they hit #1 they were banking about $10,000 a day. They had a very careful yet simple launch strategy which I share with you in the free marketing handbook.
“I want to learn something new.” You’re curious about how this whole process works and want to figure it out for yourself. This was one of my main reasons for creating Gratitude Journal. I simply wanted to see what it was all about. I figured that if I covered my costs and receive a free education out of the deal, I come out ahead. Anything I make in profit is an added bonus and motivation to do another app. View your first app development as education. You are learning new tools, how to work with Apple, the iPhone and iPad user interface, as well as managing you contractors.
“I want to create a meaningful product.” The best reason to create an app is to make meaning -- to create a product that makes the world a better place, increase the quality of life, right a wrong, or prevent the end of something good.
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Meaning can be anything from making a process simpler to making someone laugh. Creating meaning is the best motivator there is. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll succeed, but it does mean that if you fail, at least you failed doing something worthwhile. I wanted to share the power of a gratitude journal with the world. If I managed to get just a few people started on a journal and turn their lives around, then it would be mission accomplished and worth all the effort.
“I want to promote a brand.” Most people have their mobile device within ten feet of them at any given time. Everyone from Walmart to MC Hammer knows how powerful an app is for their brand recognition and sales. It’s an inexpensive and cool way to reach a target audience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your promotional app can reach that desirable market and collect data about them. The iVote app by InfoMedia (ivotemobile.com) is a perfect example of this. Their app allows users to vote their opinion on a variety of questions and polls. I’m amazed at what they know about each person who uses their app. Another great solution is Pinch Media (pinchmedia.com). They offer a free analytics solution that slips right into your app giving you all sorts of insight into your customers. It tracks the location of your customers, how often they use your app, what time of day, and more. Most importantly, it will tell you whether your app is one that people use and come back to again and again.
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What sort of skills do you need? Boasting about successfully driving an app directly into first place is easy if you’re a well connected Silicon Valley player with deep pockets. There’s an unspoken advantage there. But what about those of us who are new to the game? People in the middle of nowhere with a day job and limited resources? How are they to succeed? Even after my few successful apps, I’m still not flushed with venture capital. I told you that at the very start. But I do manage to leverage my best talents to help me cut costs. And you can too. We all have unique gifts, so recognize them and use them to your advantage. My greatest talents include experience managing development projects and my design and usability skills. I also knew a bit about working with teams in India from when I started two businesses. Still, I have never done anything on the Apple platform before. In fact, I didn’t even own a Mac until I started on Gratitude Journal. So I had to dig into my own pocket to pay a developer as well as find time to learn Xcode well enough to get the application on my device. If you have never managed software development, designed a thing in your life, or started a business before, you can still do this. You may have to dip into your pocket and pay for those talents. Alternatively you can partner with someone whose skills compliment yours. Or you can simply sit down and learn. The list below gives you an idea of what talents are needed to make your project happen. Most app teams consist of two or three people who have a combination of all these skills. Depending on what you have to offer, you may have to team with someone so your combined skills are ideally “good” for the essential skills.
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Make a list of all the talents you can leverage to make the most of this project. Are you a subject matter expert who knows everything about yoga for your yoga app? You may know other yoga instructors who would pose for images in your app. Or they can help you test it. Perhaps you already have a huge fan base you can tap into to help market it. Make a list of all your assets and use them to the hilt.
1. List all the talents you have 2. List all the talents youâ€™re missing 3. Decide whether you want to educate yourself, outsource or partner
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Surprise, surprise, surprise... My biggest surprise with creating Gratitude Journal is just how successful it has been. I thought I would sell a few hundred at best and then it would fade away. Out of all my apps, it continues to be the most popular. That wasn’t my only surprise. There are a few things you might want to know about before delving into your app project. Apple keeps 30% of the revenues. I actually knew this before I started so it didn’t come as a surprise to me. Apple deals with all the downloads, credit card clearing and refund requests, so I’m happy to give them 30 percent. In a previous life I managed ecommerce sites and know it takes a lot of work. Letting Apple take care of this headache for me is worth every penny. Apple pays you once a month, four weeks later. Apple sits on your cash for awhile. My first deposit didn’t reach the bank until six weeks after the app went live. I’m guessing it’s because they have to allow time for refund requests. Plus, it doesn’t hurt them to have the cash sit in their banks for a few extra weeks gaining interests either. There are over $1 million daily sales of iPhone apps. Do the math, and 30% of that adds up quickly. Payment doesn’t always match sales reports. Apple provides a daily sales report of the previous day’s downloads. This is an estimate of the downloads for that day. At the end of the month they provide a report of actual sales. The latter is the amount you get paid. My first actual sales report was over 20 percent less than my daily sales estimates. That came as quite a shock. My second set of reports only showed a 1.5 percent difference. A little more bearable, but that’s still a few hundred dollars off. Moral of the story is to not count your chickens before they hatch. What gets deposited in your bank account could be considerably different.
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You have to earn $150 before you get paid. Apple withholds payment until you accumulate at least $150 (after they have taken their 30 percent) in a given currency. If you sold $149 worth of downloads in Euros or Dollars or Yen, you won’t get paid until you have earned one dollar more in that currency. Depending on your app’s success, you might be better off giving it away since you’ll never see the earnings anyway. You pay a wire service fee for international currencies. When I finally did receive payment for my sales in Yen, Euro and Canadian dollars, I discovered a $10 charge for each currency from my bank. This will probably vary from bank to bank, but that’s $30 I had to pay to get my money that month. In the end it’s worth it to sell internationally because it increases my ranking, allows me to reach a wider audience, and let’s face it, every little bit helps. It can take months before Apple answers a question. If you never worked with Apple before, you’ll eventually learn that one of the biggest frustrations is getting prompt replies from the App team. Sometimes this can work to your advantage. Like the time when the author of Simple Abundance contacted Apple demanding Gratitude Journal be removed because of trademark infringement.1 Apple’s delayed response allowed me to come up with a game plan. Most of the time, however, time is critical and you need an answer quickly. One afternoon my app Vision Board just simply disappeared after updating the price. Poof! It was gone and there was no one I could contact to see why or when it would be available for sale again. It reappeared a few nerve wrecking hours later but I just had to wait it out. Thankfully there is an amazing online network of extremely helpful people across the globe all going through similar issues. So you’re not alone. When Apple isn’t available, start reaching out on Twitter, Google, and other networks. You most likely will find your answer.
1 Read more about this story in the section titled “Learn from my mistakes”.
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Where to Start
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What do you do first? OK, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and take the first steps. These first steps should be done before anything else. In the end, you’ll be glad you didn’t put them off. Step 1: Register as an iPhone developer Website: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/ This step costs you nothing and unlocks the tools you need to get started. You must be registered to download the iPhone SDK and have access to Apple’s training materials. The iPhone SDK is a free software development kit you will need to create the application and add it to your iPhone, iPod touch and new iPad. The SDK only works on Macintosh computers. Even if you don’t have a Mac yet, you can still register to view the training materials. However, you’ll eventually need a Mac to install the SDK. That part of the project cost me a new Mac Air (which has proven to be an excellent an investment). Don’t feel obligated to get the most powerful and expensive Mac on the market. Just get one that has an Intel processor and Snow Leopard OS. Step 2: Register for the iPhone Developer Program Website: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/program/index.html This is different to step one. Step one allows you to download the SDK and access helpful guides and videos, and it’s free. The Developer Program gives you the power to install your app on a device and sell it on the App Store. Unless you partner with someone who already purchased iPhone Developer program membership, you’ll need to bust out your credit card. The program costs $99 for standard membership (for small teams) and $299 for enterprise (for companies 500 or more). When I first registered on 27th August, 2008, I wasn’t allowed to purchase the program membership. Instead I received that message that they’ll be in touch. Four months later I finally received an email from Apple giving me the green light to pay my $99 bucks and register The sneaky thing is that I had already gone live a week before I got that email.
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How did I manage to go live then? Two months earlier I gave up waiting and tried to register again. This time I created a brand new Apple ID. I went through the exact same steps and was accepted straightaway. That could have been plain luck. As I wrote this book, I tried to register again with an existing Apple ID and received that same message that they’ll be in touch. So if you’re serious, do it right now. Once you register for the program, you’ll see some new button on the iPhone Dev Center website. This gives you access to the iPhone Provisioning Portal.
1. Register an Apple ID (if you haven’t already) 2. Register as an iPhone Developer 3. Register for the iPhone Developer Program
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Educate yourself. Once registered, the iPhone Developer website is a wealth of excellent learning materials. Make some time to go through it. If reading isn’t your thing, the podcasts are excellent and you can learn on the go. “But aren’t you supposed to tell me how this works?” I’m here to tell you how to save on outsourcing. Without a doubt, the time you invest in learning from Apple translates into money you save down the road. Apple does an amazing job explaining human interface design principles and how they apply to iPhone’s multi-touch interface. They put together a rich collection of documentation, sample code, guides, videos and articles all nicely categorized by technology.
Separating the wheat from the chaff. The glut of information can seem overwhelming, especially to a novice. With so much material, it can be confusing where to begin. Start with the design process. Even if you plan to outsource the design, take a couple of hours to learn this. I composed a list of the best links to get you started. I went though these guides a few times because each time I glimmer a bit more insight about the iPhone interface, which is essentially what make an app stand out. After you finished those guides, slowly make your way through the other videos and readings on the iPhone Developer website. The videos are only about 20 minutes long. Each minute invested in your education could save you $10 of developer costs down the road. Worth it. Check these out first User Interface Design for iPhone Applications2 (video) This 50 minute video gives you the low down on the entire iPhone design and how to take advantage of its slick usability.
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iPhone Human Interface Guidelines3 (reference library) This document pretty much says the same things as the video. It’s broken down into two parts. The first part is about planning for your iPhone development. The second is about designing the user interface for your app. iPad Human Interface Guidelines4 This document does a good job of distinguishing iPhone elements and iPad elements. This is also worth scanning through, because it has some great advice on designing for the iPad.
Excellent Blog Posts iPhone App Design Mistakes: Overblown Visuals (Smashing Magazine) http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/21/iphone-apps-design-mistakes-overblown-visuals/
iPhone App Design Trends (Smashing Magazine) http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/10/09/iphone-app-design-trends/
iPhone App Design Mistakes: Disregard of Context (Smashing Magazine) http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/11/15/iphone-apps-design-mistakes-disregard-of-context/
iPhone Interface Design (Video by Edward Tuft) http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00036T
1. Watch the Human Interface Guidelines Vidoes (iPhone & iPad) 2. Download the Human Interface Guide as your quick reference 3. Read, read, read
3 http://bit.ly/rRi9P 4 http://bit.ly/aYKeun
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Secrets to a Killer Design
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How to stand out from the crowd There has to be something in it for the user. Your customer has to gain something from using your app. Whether they get a laugh, wisdom, or efficiency, there has to be something in it for them. Keep your features list limited. You are designing for a portable and mobile device. Just a couple of main features does the trick. With Gratitude Journal, I was tempted to add features like ambient music and graphs. Those things weren’t core to the main functionality and only add to development cost and time. Dumping those things was a smart move. Don’t design for everyone. Select your target audience and keeps your design simple and aligned specifically for that group5. I was tempted to make Gratitude Journal a basic run-of-the-mill journal, thinking I would have a wider customer base. But there’s nothing special with just a journal. Thankfully friends kept me on focused on staying within my niche. In the end, my app stands out from the rest of the journal apps. Surprise your users. Sneak in a little unexpected extra for your users. Something simple and fun: it can be an animation, feature or style. Just keep it subtle. My quotes feature was my subtle surprise. After creating a journal entry, the user is rewarded with a quote for the day. This little feature has received an amazing amount of positive feedback. Reward your audience and they’ll reward you back.
5 Learn more about “tribes” in How to Successfully Promote Your App
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Product definition statement, your North Star The North Star is a star that doesn’t seem to move in the sky. For many years, it has been used as a navigation aid and to chart navigational maps. The product definition statement says what the app does and who the app is for in a single sentence. This will be your North Star throughout your project, pointing you in the right direction each time you have a question about the design or features. As a result, it will help you manage scope and your developer costs. This is the original product definition statement for Gratitude Journal:
“An easy-to-use journal for people who want to improve their life by allowing them to record, view and share daily gratitude in a personalized design.” That one sentence sums it all. Here’s three simple steps to help you create yours. Step 1: Who is your target audience? The more accurately you define your target audience, the more solid your decisions about the look, feel and functionality of your user interface will be. Are they a novice, experienced, serious, casual? More male or female? Are they business people, teenagers, or retirees? Will they use your application at the end of every day, every time they check their email, or whenever they have a few extra moments? To give you an idea, here are a few characteristics about Gratitude Journal users: • • • • • • •
They want to create an entry quickly and easily. They would like to keep a gratitude journal without carrying around a notebook. They would like to reflect back at their gratitude from previous days. They would like to share their gratitude with others. They are comfortable with their keyboard skills. They use their device daily. They don’t always have access to wireless Internet.
Spending time thinking about my target audience gave me absolute clarity when it came to selecting the features and design.
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Step 2: What features do you want to include? Next, list all the features your app will deliver. Brain storm and get everything written down. You probably will want to refer back to this list later on in the project. This is the original Gratitude Journal feature list. Anything that didn’t scream out as part of the main functionality was either scratched or put into Phase II. Add at least five gratitude entries for one day Change the date for entries Create additional gratitude entries (more than five) Create a single gratitude entry to share Add images to a gratitude entry Share a single gratitude entry from the list View others’ shared gratitude entries Ambient sounds Custom background Chime when saved Display a quote when all five entries are saved Create a profile Ability to view by calendar Ability to view list Ability to delete or edit an entry Step 3: Combine the target audience & the features list. With the image of your target audience in mind, distill the list of features into a single statement -- the product definition statement -- that describes the solution your product offers and who your users are. It’s especially important to eliminate features that don’t support the product definition statement. The variety of the iPhone’s neat capabilities make it tempting to use everything it has to offer. However, more features means higher costs, longer development time and a greater chance of bugs. Keep it lean and focused. Once you’re settled on a solid product definition statement and you’ve started to use it as a filter for your proposed features, you might also want to use it to make sure your initial decision to create an app is still the right one. If you began this project with a specific app in mind, you might find that the process of defining a product definition statement has changed the landscape.
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1. Create your product definition statement. 2. Paste it to your wall, white board, computer - anywhere you work on your app. 3. Add this to your design specification.
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Create a screen flow diagram A simple diagram outlining exactly how each screen links to the others forces you to think about the appâ€™s fluidity. Itâ€™s also valuable information that your developer will thank you for. Below is the final flow diagram I created for Gratitude Journal. I normally use a tool called Omnigraffle to create my screen flows but you can also use Powerpoint, Google Presentation or OpenOffice Draw. Anything that lets you draw some boxes and arrows will work.
Even if you only have a couple of screens, this one image will save you a lot of explaining in your specification. Pictures are always far more powerful than paragraphs. Not only are they quicker to create, they translate well into any language. Your developer will thank you for it.
1. Create a screen flow of your app. 2. Paste it next to your Product Definition Statement 3. Add it to your design specification.
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Pencil and paper Start with the lowest level design as possible. Pencil and paper are just fine and don’t worry if you’re not artistic. If you can draw rectangles, squares and circles then you’re good. This is simply to get the idea out of your head and onto paper. You want to visually capture that list of features you created. If you are particular about the basics, here’s a list of tools to help your paper designs look a bit nicer, but don’t feel like you have to use them. Pencil & paper tools to get your started iPhone Stencil Kit iPhone Wireframe Template (paper print out) Notepod: iPad and iPhone sketchbooks App Sketchbook PixelPads UI Stencils sticky pads Apress iPhone Application Sketch Book Printable iPhone Wireframe Template (free)
Computer Generated Designs Once you have sketched out your designs, you’re ready to create a cleaner version on the computer. Thankfully some wonderful people created dandy tools that will help you put together pretty spectacular layouts. Below are a couple links to Omnigraffle stencils and Photoshop files that really shorten the process. For more of these tools, just search for “iPhone stencil” and “iPhone PSD”. People are posting free files all the time. Computer design tools to get your started iPhone GUI PSD From Geoff Teehan iPhone Elements by Designers Toolbox Omnigraffle Stencils iPhone Mock-up If you don’t have Photoshop and can’t afford to purchase a copy, you can try Gimp (gimp.org). It’s free open source software that does the same thing.
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Create each screen’s layout but keep them as basic as possible right now. Don’t worry about colors, fonts, gradients. This is just one step up from your drawings. You want to test the design before investing lots of time making it look good. The goal at this point is to create design that visually captures the features on each screen. Those two iPhone images are my original layout of Gratitude Journal along with the final design. For the record, I created the design on the left before those precious stencils and Photoshop templates existed. As you can see, the final product turned out completely different. I’ll reveal some secret few steps that helped me whip my app into something a little lot more appealing on the eye. First, we need to work with those designs more.
The size of your Photoshop layout will differ depending on which iDevice your app is intended for. Below are the latest screen demensions for the iPhone and iPad: iPhone 4 Demensions: 960-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi iPad Demensions: 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 ppi
1. Draw out your screens on paper or a white board first. 2. Using your computer, create an electronic copy of your designs. 3. Keep them simple. Don’t worry about the details now.
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Gratitude Journal first mock-up and the final design after at least fifty different iterations.
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Things you should know about the iPad Over a million iPads sold in less than a month after Apple started shipping them, making them among one of the fastest growing new consumer computer devices ever6. This means a big opportunity for all of us. It’s a whole new game Whether you already designed your app for the iPhone or not, here’s some advice to help you revise it so that it can take full advantage of all the UI features the iPad offers. Porting an iPhone app directly to the iPad will sink it. Not to mention you miss out on a lot of design opportunity. Take advantage of all the iPad has to offer but be careful not to bring back all the functionality you pruned from your iPhone application. Less screens Let users see more content and do more work in one screen. Drill downs and back buttons aren’t needed. Be careful not to pack too much into one screen while at the same time preventing people from feeling that they must tap through different screens to find what they want. Take advantage of split views and popovers to flatten your hierarchy. Split Views Divide the full-screen view into two side-by-side panes -- the left pane is called the master and the right is called the detail pane. The left pane should always be narrower than the right and is fixed at 320 points in all orientations. Popovers Display additional information or a list of items using popovers. It’s a temporary view that should automatically close when no longer needed. A popover always displays an arrow, and you cannot change the appearance of a popover’s border. Design for both landscape and portrait The full dimensions of the screen minus the status bar are 1004 x 768 pixels (for portrait) or 748 x 1024 pixels (for landscape). You need to create a launch screen for both orientations as well as design your app so it may be viewed either way. 6 MorganStanely Internet Trends, June 7, 2010
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Take advantage of the amazing graphics This is where good design talents are worth paying for. Make your app as realistic looking as possible. Textures such as wood, leather, or metal should be meticulous. Make sure your animations and sounds reflect real life rather than defy physical laws. A book app should do everything just like a real book except smell like it. Rethink your controls Minimizing application controls (such as the trash can) in number and prominence. Make controls discoverable and inconspicuous by designing your own custom controls that subtly integrate with your appâ€™s style. Let them fade out then become brighter when people tap the screen. Toolbars on the bottom of an iPhone app should be migrated to the top of an iPad app. This allows for more space for your content. Keep on learning This is just the tip of the iceberg for the amazing iPad UI features. Including everything would be a whole new book. Hereâ€™s a couple places to educate yourself so you can really make your app stand out. iPad Human Interface Guidelines by Apple Useful Desing Tips for Your iPad App - Smashing Magazine iPad Usability by Jakob Neilson iPad tools to help get you started iPad Sketch Paper from Oelna.de iPad GUI Kit in PSD Format From RawApps iPad GUI PSD From Geoff Teehan iPad UI Vector Elements from Icon Library iPad Omnigraffle Stencil From Information Architects
1. Read the iPad Human Interface Guidelines on Apple. 2. Download and study successful iPad apps. 3. Start designing your app with paper and later computer prototypes.
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Testing your design: Critical market research If you want a great app, you have to test your designs first. Don’t wait until your app is released before you receive your first feedback from reviews on the App Store. Instead, you need to seek out feedback right now. Not at the end. Not halfway through development. Now, when you have only invested a few hours creating some rough designs. Not everyone thinks the way you do, knows what you know, or will use the app as you do. Putting your simple mock-ups in front of your target audience (or even a willing friend) will give you powerful information. Nothing beats a live audience reaction. Even if you only manage to get one person’s input, you are still 100% better off than if you asked nobody. Whether you’re working with a team or doing this solo, find at least one person outside your project to share your designs. The value of early feedback Feedback gives you perspective on which features are critical for release and which can wait. It gives you a solid design that won’t change scope part way through development, saving you money and time. Updates take longer when you outsource, so you need to get feedback now, not after you already went live. How to get useful feedback There are plenty of quick and easy ways to get user feedback. The simplest is asking a few friends who own iDevices for ten minutes of their time. If it makes life easier, request they sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) first1. I never had anyone refuse to sign one. They usually are so excited to be included in my new project that they’re more than happy to oblige. If possible, try to perform all the tests in person. Nothing beats a live audience reaction. And avoid discussing the app beforehand. You want their first look to tell you whether they can figure out what does from the standing start. Then whip out the paper print outs of your designs and try the following tests.
1 Sample NDA from eLance.com : http://help.elance.com/forums/30970/entries/34758
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10 minutes to a 100% better App “Get it” testing is just what it sounds like. Show them the app and see if they get it -- do they understand the purpose of the app, how it’s organized, how it works and so on? Ask them what they think the app does? Why do they feel that way? What do they think is the flow of the app? A purpose of a button? See if they get it without your having to explain it to them. Be sure to keep your opinions to yourself. You want to hear what they think without your influencing them. “Key task” testing means asking the user to do something, then watching how well they do it. You’ll always get more revealing results if they have a hand in choosing the task. When people are doing made-up tasks, they have no emotional investment and can’t use as much personal knowledge. Once you established what the app does, ask them what type of task or activity they can perform with the app. Then have them perform it. Don’t prompt them or help them out. That defeats the purpose of your testing. You want to see if they can figure it out for themselves. These tests cost nothing yet add so much value to your design. Even more powerful is an HTML click-thru. Testing on your iDevice (without coding!)
1. Find friends who will give you honest feedback. Three - four people is plenty. 2. Print out your designs. 3. Run “Get it” and “Key task” tests. 4. Take really good notes. 5. Thank them for their time by buying them coffee.
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Testing on your iDevice (without coding!) A click-thru (sometimes called wireframe) is an easy way to get your app on your device without one line of Objective-C (the primary iPhone development language). I discovered a few free methods to create a your click-thru quick and easy7. Option 1: Email This is a very quick way to view your mock-up on your iDevice. You won’t have the ability to click through the different screens, but it will give you a better idea what your screens will look like. 1. Email yourself a copy of the mock-up. 2. Open the email on your iDevice and save the image to your photo gallery. 3. Open that mock-up image in photo gallery to see a full screen view. Options 2: HTML Click-thru If you know anything about HTML, creating a click-thru will be a breeze. Follow these simple steps and you’re in business. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Create an HTML page for each screen and insert an image of that screen. Link each screen together using image map hotspots. Load all your HTML pages to a web server. Open the main HTML page on your iPhone browser. You are now testing your screens on the device without any Objective-C!
Option 3: MockApp MockApp created a Powerpoint template that you can modify to create a mock-up of your app. It’s pretty slick. I suggest you visit their site to get all the details, but here’s a overview of how it works: 1. Register to download the Powerpoint templates 2. There are two types of templates. One to create a mock-up that runs on your computer. The other will create a mock-up that runs right in your device. 3. If you modify the one that runs on your device, you convert it to a PDF. 4. Then you download an app called GoodReader to display the PDF with all it’s clickable links.
7 More wireframing techniques in the Refences section of this book
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1. Create your click-thru & find a few friends to test it. 3. Run “Get it” and “Key task” tests. 4. Take really good notes. 5. Thank them for their time by buying them coffee. 6. Add your click-thru in your design specification.
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Make it make sense As painful as it can be to have someone blast apart your designs, they’re doing you a favor. Take all you learned, go back to your original mock-ups and make them wow! with your results. Seeing your handiwork through someone else’s eyes may even suggest entirely new app solutions, or let you see an old idea in a new light. Resist the impulse to add things, rather take out any unnecessary features and consider changing the navigation to make it more usable. Take new feature requests with a grain of salt. It might just be another app they’re mimicking. Go for the low hanging fruit for big, easy wins. Even a minor change can have a major impact. Once you incorporated your findings and updated your designs, run the same tests again. I usually do this at least three times before putting on the final touches. Every time I test I gain incredible insight and feedback, even if I just turn to a friend and quickly ask, “Does this make sense to you?”
Now unpack Creating an iPhone app is much like packing for a trip. Whenever I go somewhere I have a rule to remove half the clothes and double the amount of cash I am taking. With the iPhone it’s the same formula. Remove any features you don’t truly need for release. Fewer features mean it will get to market faster, your app far more user friendly, and be easier to maintain. Once you have generated some revenue from sales, you can add more features into your app. Your customers will know that you will be constantly improving your app. Better yet, by waiting you’ll discover exactly what new features your customers want. Why pay for them up front if there’s no demand? Leave out anything that requires a server. If your application requires a server, you’re adding to your overall startup costs. And post-release you’ll need to invest time and money maintaining it. I originally wanted my customers to share their gratitude with others in a Twitterlike fashion. But that meant I would have to store those entries in a database on a server and maintain them.
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I was in that type of business in the past and unless you have a team, it’s exhausting and introduces security and admin headaches. Leave out anything that needs your intervention to approve content. If your app allows users to supply the content, then someone needs to police that content. This is a full-time, 24 hour job. You also don’t make a lot of friends when you reject their content. That customer will most likely seek revenge by leaving a poor rating for your app in App Store. Leave out anything that requires the user to agree to terms of service. This adds to your start-up costs because you need to employ a lawyer to come up with the terms. That alone can cost you more than the app development itself. Don’t contribute to the cr-App Store. The App Store is riddled with poorly designed apps despite the fact that their educational materials tell you exactly how to make an app look great. There’s really no excuse. Don’t contribute to that garbage.
1. Improve your designs. 2. Test again. 3. Rinse and repeat.
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Apple knows best As much as possible, you should use Apple’s standard user interface elements and follow their recommended uses. They invested a lot into creating simple and usable navigation so build on the hard work they already invested. Even my two year old nephew figured out the iPhone interface, so sticking with what they know works is best. Users are accustomed to the look and behavior of the standard views and controls so they learn your application quicker. Still not convinced? Then read this8.
Following Apple’s lead with the design in Gratitude Journal layout. They know what works!
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Creating your own look and feel Many of the default controls can be customized with your own style. For example, you can change button colors or add your own image. A simple change can make your app look nicely polished. Avoid radically changing the look of controls that perform a standard action. For example, creating a completely new design for the on-off button does you no good. Not only will your customers have to learn how to use it, they will wonder what, your fancy control does that the standard one does not. I wanted Gratitude Journal to have a unique look. In fact, I wanted the customer to choose the design, so I created six themes for them to choose from. I created different backgrounds, button colors, delete, send, and navigation buttons. These little changes gave me a unique look while retaining the logical functionality.
Benefits of creating a great app I’m sure you already know why it’s important to design an app that is easy and fun to use. A bad design is a bug. If people can’t use it, it’s broken and it won’t sell. This is how investing time up front in my design paid off for me in the long run. Positive feedback is an incentive to others to hit the buy button Your customers will leave you feedback good or bad, and it helps if it is positive. Just one bad feedback can sink an app out of the top ranking. Once it starts to go south, it’s hard to bring it back to the top again. When you think about it, how often does good feedback get you to hit the “buy” button? For me, it’s essential. Apple advertises your app for you One day Apple just might reach out asking to feature your app in their advertising. This happened to myself as well as quite a few others who used this guide. Even if it comes to nothing, it’s an honor to be considered. And if Apple does use your app, well, that’s the best advertising anyone could ever dream of getting. Ever.
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Future apps sell better. Selling multiple apps through iTunes is where the real money lies. Once you create one great app, customers will thank you for it by purchasing your other apps.
1. Donâ€™t reinvent the Appleâ€™s wheel, just improve it. 2. Read reviews on other apps and see what people like and dislike 3. Be honest with yourself about your designs. Do they work?
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Secrets to finding a designer If you’re lucky, your developer and designer are the same person. I have yet to find one to work with, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Nick Cernis, the developer of the highly successful app Put Things Off, also did all the designs as well. He’s a rare find. In addition to paying someone to build your app, you might want to pay someone to polish up your designs before contacting a developer. You discovered the best flow and layout for each screen, and now someone can help you create that final look you’re going for.
What I learned from outsourcing design I attempted to outsource my designs through Elance but didn’t have much luck. My budget couldn’t afford the design quality I was aiming for and the end results were really disappointing. In the end I decided to do the designs myself. I don’t want you to end up wasting time like I did, so learn from my mistakes. Request a portfolio of iPhone designs Make sure the designer has prior iPhone experience with a portfolio of their designs to prove it. Just because someone is a good designer does not imply they can do great iPhone app design. They have to understand the iDevice interface and prove that to you first. Limited iPhone experience might be a bargain There are designers who are new to iPhone and eager to break into the market. You might score a decent rate because they will offer a discount so they can get a first project under their belt. Little iDevice skills is better than none. Testing the waters Request that they design just one screen of your app before committing any funds. This will help you test the waters. Just be sure to get them to sign the NDA first!
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Where the rubber meets the road After you have selected a designer, had them sign the NDA and agreed on a price and payment schedule, send them a detailed specification outlining exactly what you want completed. I use Google Docs for all my specs. They aren’t fancy or heavily designed. They just tell the story with all the resources I already put together. In your design spec, be sure to include: • • • • • • •
Your final mock-up designs Your usability test findings Any artwork you want included (such as logos, fonts) A description of what your app does (the product definition statement) A features list Your navigation flow diagram Major milestones in the design process
You will also need to create a statement of work or binding contract. You can find copies of these on Elance9.
1. Write a description of your job requirements. 2. Post these to freelance sites or directly to designers you know. 3. Interview the designers. See prior work and test their skills. 4. Sign an NDA and share your project details with them. 5. Send them your design specification and any artwork they need.
9 Sample contracts on Elance.com : http://www.elance.com/p/help/myelance/contracts.html
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Can’t afford a designer? You shopped around and the design prices are killing your project, or the designers you can afford can’t provide the quality you expect. That’s what happened to me. If you’re in the same boat, be prepared to make a design tool such as Photoshop or Gimp your new best friend. I used Photoshop for years but I still had plenty to learn. After dozens of design reworks I still wasn’t getting the polished look users expect from an Apple product. So eventually I taught myself how its done. It took a few weeks, but I managed to get there. Learn from the best I studied dozens of online tutorials about how to create shiny buttons, gradients and the latest web design effects. I also downloaded every app that I felt had a great design. I scrutinizing them and tried to repeat their styles in Photoshop teaching myself how to create the same effects. Every time a great looking app came on the market, it deflated my spirits. This was the point in the project where I wondered if I should keep going. I just wasn’t able to create that same level of quality. Looking at these apps, I noticed they all had the same things in common: • • • • • •
only a couple of navigation options unique look and feel, not the default design layout consistent with Apple’s, controls in the corner navigation so simple that no language is required a lot of attention to detail designs resemble real objects
Search for “iPhone app design inspiration” and you’ll discover some blog posts featuring apps with amazing look and feel. Download these apps and see why they’re so great. Then try to incorporate that greatness in your final designs. Photoshop courses A simple one day Photoshop course could be enough to clear the fog. If you can’t afford to attend a training course in person, there are plenty of great Photoshop courses online. I never used any, but heard that Lynda.com has some of the best and it only costs $25 per month.
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Use your library card I made the most of my library card and checked out every book I could find about Photoshop. Poring over these books made all the difference. I didn’t read them cover to cover. I just studied the bits that reflected what I wanted to accomplish the most. Field trip Wanting to know what every real journal looks like, I visited book shops and studied the journals for sale as well. I also spent hours going through boxes of my old journals. Anytime I came across one I picked it up, studied it for a good five minutes and noted anything I liked then tried to fit that into my design. That’s how I came up with the idea of the different themes feature in my app. Invest in one excellent design element I splurged on my mascot, the Buddha (often referred to as “the baby with a dot on it’s head). I discovered him on iamscotty.com and contacted the creator, Scott Jackson, requesting permission to use it. I paid him what I could afford and promote his work any way I can. Now Scott creates all my mascots. He also did my logo. Investing in his work was one of the best decisions I made. Now all my apps have a similarity that work perfectly together and uniquely stands out as a HappyTapper™ app.
1. Study successful app designs. 2. Learn how to use Photoshop or Gimp. 3. Or you can partner with a designer. Exchange services. 4. Don’t copy other’s designs. Come up with something uniquely you.
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Project Management Basics
Project Management Basics 70
Project Management Basics 71
Time, money and scope You have poured your heart and soul into the designs, have a solid spec and are now ready to begin the development phase of the project. Before you start sending out your gorgeous spec and NDA’s to developers, you need to establish your budget and decide how much of your precious savings you’re willing to spend. This is how I determine my budgets. Three things that affect a project: 1. Time it takes to complete the app 2. Money needed to pay free lancers 3. Scope of the project including features and design Changing one of these items effects the other two. Let me show you how. Less time = More money and/or less scope Less money = More time and/or less scope More scope = More money and/or more time If you want to decrease the money available, you also need to decrease scope or increase the time it takes. Or a bit of both. If you want to rush the job, then you better increase your funds or decrease your scope. And if scope goes up, then be prepared to pay extra and for it to take longer. Understanding these basic concepts helps you manage your project and negotiate a better price. If you can’t afford the bid price offered by a developer, decrease the scope or increase the time it takes. Try to find a middle ground that is fair to everyone.
1. What is most flexible? You budget, time or scope? 2. Keep this in mind when working with your developer.
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The beauty of bartering Remember the good old bartering system? You swap services instead of cash - it’s easier on the wallet and your taxes. I’m a big fan of bartering and think it’s a great way to get ahead on a shoestring budget. Not only is it affordable, it’s also a great way to formulate a bond and build a lasting business relationship. I created a website for my yoga instructor in exchange for free yoga lessons. I did the same for my accountant. Because of our experience working together, we have a special relationship we wouldn’t have had otherwise. And now the service I receive from both of them in return is outstanding. If you can’t afford the price, consider what you have to offer in exchange that doesn’t cost you much more than time or some inventory. Is there a way you can help grow their business? Or provide them with something they need? Do you have a product they might enjoy for free? Think creatively. If you need inspiration, check out the barter section on Craigslist. Reading through these posts can seed some ideas and may just connect you with other bartering gurus. Interesting Bartering Stats • 67 percent of consumers have haggled in recent months, compared with 33 percent in 2006.10 • There were some 142,000 listings in the barter section of Craigslist in July, or almost double the number posted during the same month last year, according to Craigslist spokeswoman Susan MacTavish Best.
1. What services or good can you barter? 2. Will it cost you less to offer your service or good than to pay in cash? 3. Check out bartering websites.
10 Source: America’s Research Group, September 2009
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Outsourcing Development 75
Outsourcing Development 76
Post your project to Elance I discoverd my first developer on a website called Elance.com. Elance is a website where you can tap into a skilled talent pool of more than 100,000 tested and rated freelance contractors. The best thing about Elance is that it costs nothing to post a project. This makes it a great place to discover how much your project will cost. Use Elance to study the market Even if you don’t find and hire your freelancer on Elance, their site is packed with advice about outsourcing, as well as all the contracts you’ll need and an excellent payment system. eLance also has a decent project management site to post messages and communicate with potential developers directly online. Study other iPhone app postings to understand what developers are bidding on and the average project costs. The projects with the most bids might have the biggest budgets, but they also might be very well specified. My Elance experience I stumbled across Elance when I was just about to give up on creating Gratitude Journal. A friend agreed to help me with development, but he simply wasn’t finding the time in his schedule to pull it together. So I decided it was time for me to move on, turning to Elance to find a project which I could bid on, not the other way around. After reading a number of iPhone app postings, I decided to give it a whirl. I received six bids on the Gratitude Journal job raning from $200 - $400. The contractor I selected, Passionworks, was actually the highest bid. We had a few online discussions first and he sent me a sample of his code which I had no idea what to do with at the time. I passed the code onto my friend, he had a look at it and gave me the thumbs up. Working with Passionworks was a dream. They’re based in India, about 13 hours ahead of me. Just when I was logging on for the day, they were winding up and would hand the project over to me. And vice versa. We were working on Gratitude Journal around the clock and had no problems communicating. Geography doesn’t matter anymore. Hire the best talent no matter where they’re located.
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Gratitude Journal Elance Post What I need done: I’m a usability and design professional who would like to find an experienced developer or company who understands the iPhone SDK inside and out. I would like help developing a very simple custom Notepad-like iPhone application (3 screens) that uses built in iPhone functionality. The program is fully designed and does not require any complex functionality. What I will provide: All screen designs are complete, as well as the loading page and icon. I will provide all designs, content, and images as well as full project management. Other context/requirements that providers will need to know: Although the application is very simple, I definitely want to work with someone who has excellent iPhone application development experience. If I find a developer whom I work well with, I have other projects coming over the next 3-6 months. Specific expertise that I am seeking: iPhone application development experience is key. Great communication skills and a self starter are also critical. Development Process: I would like to complete a simple click-thru first for usability testing (done by me). Based on the test results, I may tweak the layouts and functionality before full designs are applied. Please note that usability testing has already been done on the paper designs. But it would be great to do some testing on the simulator before going fully functional. Also bear in mind that although I’m a designer, I’ve done quite a bit of coding as well so am familiar with your role. Timeframe for delivery: I would like to have this up and running in 4-6 weeks -- again a very simple application so I don’t believe that development is going to take very long. The simple click-thru would be ready for testing in 2-3 weeks with finishing touches done shortly after that. *** PLEASE NOTE: Although, I have selected “Fixed Fee” as the default I would be happy to discuss an Hourly billing model too. ***
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Other places where developers lurk Guru, Freelance and other sites Elance isn’t the only website where good iPhone developers can be found. There are plenty of other freelance websites but I haven’t tried their services. I’m guessing the experience will be similar if not better. Google “freelance iphone developer” and you will get hundreds of results. At this point in the game, you have the benefit of solid design spec which will gain you a lot of respect from the developers. Most will appreciate the thought you put into your design and in return will take the time to give you a realistic estimate. Those who don’t aren’t interested in your project anyway so move on as quickly as you can. Outsourcing is touch-and-go so finding the right person most likely will require floating your spec on more than one site or past a number of developers. Don’t feel pushed into going outside your budget. If you’re the figures you’re getting in return are giving you sticker shock, see if you can improve your design and descope some of the project for later. Twitter I discovered three of my current developers through Twitter. The first time I twittered (or is it tweeted?) that I was looking for a developer, I only had about 250 followers. Still, one got in touch saying he was interested in working together. Our partnership worked out so well, a few months later I tried it again and got the same luck. Start following iPhone developers and producers and some may follow you back. Nest yourself in their community and you very well could strike up a relationship with a good one.
1. Post your project to freelance sites to see how much it will cost. 2. Ask around for good developers. 3. Check out the ones listed in this guide. Let me know if they’re any good. 4. Get connect through the Twitter community.
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Outsourcing Development 80
Paying for experience When it comes to experience, a good track record is everything. But experienced developers charge a lot more. Somewhere between $125 - $200 per hour. I’m sure they’re worth every penny and if you can afford those rates, go for it. But there are ways of finding developers for much less.
Pick a Rising Star I had the most success hiring a developer who was eager to break into the iPhone development world. My rising star was Passionworks (passionworks.in) from India. At the time they bid on my eLance posting, although well versed in creating for Apple platform, they only had a couple of iPhone apps in their portfolio. They offered a really good rate and were learning as we progressed. Fortunately they were quick learners and saved me a bundle. They still did an outstanding job. I discovered that rising stars are the best. They are hungry to work on a good project and get the experience. It’s fun to see their talents progress with the projects. Eventually their developer talents will grow so strong, they too will be charging $125 - $200 an hour. At which point you may have to part ways and find a new rising star. But the satisfaction of helping them get to that point is rewarding and they will also appreciate you for giving them that first opportunity.
And help them shine I have promoted Passionworks anywhere I can. I mention them in my blog (carlakaywhite.com), on my happytapper.com site and in all my interviews. I received dozens of emails from people asking who I used to develop Gratitude Journal and I happily pointed them in the direction of Passionworks. The result of all this promotion is that it generated a lot of new business for them, but there’s a downside too. After I went live, I turned to them to do some enhancements but they declined, too backlogged with new work from all the prospects I sent their way.
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Was I upset? Absolutely not! I took the risk of hiring them with limited experience and they took the risk of doing the job at an affordable price. We both gained from the relationship. It was time for me to find a new up-and-coming star to help grow their business. And I found not just one, but plenty, all eager to make their mark.
1. Is your app simple enough for a novice to develop? 2. Can you change your scope so they can learn? 3. Can you lengthen your developer time line to allow for the learning curve?
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Outsourcing Development 83
Picking the right developer Look at their prior work Start with requesting to see their portfolio, if they don’t already have examples of their work on line. Be sure they tell you exactly what they did for each project in their profolio because it might be just a little update on the app rather than build the entire solution. Also ask them for sample code you can review. Even if you can’t make heads or tails of it, you want to make sure they know how to develop on the iPhone and aren’t using your money to learn the very basic first steps. If you have a friend who understands Objective-C, have them take a quick look at the code to make sure it’s clean and well documented. Be sure to praise your friend publicly for their help after you go live. Ask about their current backlog Find out how many projects they have going at a given time. They may not be completely honest, but you have to ask. You don’t want your project to be the neglected step child because it’s not the highest earning project for them. The number of projects depends on the number of developers on the team. If there’s just one developer, two or three projects is the most you want them dealing with at one time. Any more than that, and you are looking at long delays. Ask for their start date Make sure they can start a week after all contracts and agreements are finalized. Excitement for a new project has a limited shelf life, so you want to tap into it as early as possible and keep the momentum going. Ask how long it will take to develop Request a time estimate for the project, and to make estimating a little easier break it down into phases. We’re all terrible estimators and if you’re project is more than six months, expect it to be off. This isn’t the developers or your fault. It’s just too hard to predict the future. Break the project into smaller things. The smaller it is, the easier it is to estimate.
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It may likely still be wrong, but it will be a lot less wrong than if the developer estimated a big project. If something takes longer than expected, it’s better to have it be a couple weeks over rather than months. Passionworks originally agreed to complete Gratitude Journal in four weeks. It took ten weeks in the end but we changed the scope part way through. An extra six weeks didn’t effect me as would an extra six months. Trust your gut You have to believe that you can trust your developer. That they have integrity and won’t take your designs and run. If you’re not ready to commit your entire grand project, hire them for a mini project first to test the waters. Something that takes a day at best. You can see how they work, what kind of questions they ask, how well you get on. Most importantly, it gives you the chance to judge them by their actions rather than just their words. After a few email exchanges with Sarat (Passionworks), I knew that I could trust him. He commicated openly and answered all my questions with as much information as he could. My gut told me I could trust him and sure enough, he proved it. This is an email he sent me after I first went live.
“A couple of weeks after Gratitude was out, we got a bid invitation on Elance for a new project. This was a project listing posted just to us. They wanted to make an application titled “Ingratitude”, basically to record the things that didn’t go well that day. It is exactly the same as Gratitude but for recoding the opposite events. All we had to do was change the application name, icon and graphics. No code change and quickly make the money. Of course we decided not to work on this application in principle, I mean after working on Gratitude how can we do an app like that? We believe in the power of positive thinking.”
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Outsourcing Development 86
A day in the life A typical day creating Gratitude Journal started around 5am. I would wake up, make a cup of tea and read an email from Passionworks with the latest build of my software. I would open the bundle in Xcode then install it on my iPod touch to test. The tests would take about ten minutes but writing up the results need at least two hours. I included every detail I could in the feedback, providing screen shots with notes showing where to make changes and complete step-by-step details of every action I took to achieve a result. Around 7am I emailed Passionworks with my results. Sometimes I would instant message them with my findings but mostly we stuck to emails. The next morning I would get up around 5am, made my tea and opened my email from Sarat with all the requested changes. This went on for about ten weeks. The beauty of outsourcing overseas was that all the work was done while I was asleep. And everything I needed to do was completed while Sarat and his team were asleep. It worked like a dream, no pun intended.
Do as I say, not as I do. The original spec I sent to Passionworks had the low-fidelity mock-ups of the designs. I was still in the process of creating my six different themes, so I just put in the basic designs noting that the final product design will look different. I don’t recommend you do this with your project. Instead, have all your designs as near completion as possible before contacting a developer. Not only is this fair to your developer, it will spare you a lot of headaches.
The devil is in the detail The design spec I created included an image of the journal entry screen with the words “(entry goes here)” in the center of the screen. To me it made perfect sense. I was letting Sarat know that’s where the text would go whenever someone creates an
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entry in their journal. Then Sarat sent me the first build. Sure enough, the journal entry screen looked exactly as it did in the spec, complete with “(entry goes here)” in the middle of the screen. Who’s to blame? Me and only me. I had worked with developers in India before so I should have seen this one coming. But it had been a few years, and I forgot. Did I say details? I worked with developers in India in some of prior jobs, and there’s on trait that all of them have in common. Each one followed directions down to the last detail. They will not add in their own logic or reasoning. If you are aware of this, it can truly work to your advantage. If you aren’t aware of this, you might be in for a few surprises. For example, if you invest time upfront completing your final designs before you handing them off to your developer, they’ll get the job done a lot quicker. By providing them with the complete picture, you don’t give them any wiggle room which reduces the testing time. In fact, you should do this for any developer, not just those in India.
Real contractor love Developers are motivated when they first take on a project. They are fueled by the buzz of a new project and are excited to get started. Start your project out right and keep that momentum going throughout the duration is a fine art. An excellent kick-off Investing in a solid design specification gives your developer confidence that you know your stuff. You seriously thought through your design won’t be changing your mind half way through the project. Developers need short wins and dragging a project on is only going to burn them out. A spec that wows!
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Include all your hard work into the design spec. Images speak louder than words, so try to graphic display your ideas as much as possible. If your spec is solid, you won’t even need to pick up the phone or skype the developer. They’ll just get it. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Product definition statement A story about someone using your app Features overview Screen flow diagram A screen shot of each screen Header functionality Body functionality Footer functionality Next screens Click-thru if you created one Something about you or your company A table listing when the spec was last modified Milestones Assumptions When you expect regular updates
All my communications with designers and developers has been done via email and instant message. I’ve never had to pick up the phone or Skype them to discuss the project. Hopefully one day I’ll get to meet my team in person, but right now I can only imagine what they sound like. It all starts with a good spec.
1. Finish your designs before contacting your developer. 2. Invest your time creating a spectacular spec. 3. Gain thier confidence and enthusiasm with excellent visual details.
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Outsourcing Development 90
Milestones and carrots When it comes to developing your app, it might seem like a unending and confusing mess of unlimited goals. Some of these goals, however, stand head and shoulders above the others. These are your milestones -- they mark significant progress along the road to getting your app to the store. Break you development project down into smaller parts and establish separate milestones within each of those stages. If your app has only four screens, each can be a separate milestone. This will help with time estimates and keep the momentum going with smaller wins that you can celebrate. To really keep your freelancer motivated, offer them a payment at the end of each milestone. Also offer them a bonus for completing the project on time and even more if they complete ahead of schedule. I paid Passionworks at the project kickoff and after completing each milestone. I also happily gave them extra at the end because they did such a great job. I send my team little presents every now and again just because. I want them to know that I appreciate them. It doesnâ€™t need to be much. A cool pair of socks goes a long way. It can make the difference of pushing your project to the front of the line, shortening development time and saving you loads.
1. Establish project milestones. 2. Pay your developer at each major milestone. 3. Pay them a bonus for completing on schedule. Even more if theyâ€™re ahead.
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Gratitude Journal Milestones October 1: Project Kickoff Happy Tapper will provide design documents and any details needed to create the low fidelity application. October 9: Deliver Low Fidelity Application Passionworks delivers low fidelity application to run in the iPhone simulator for usability tests. October 12: Happy Tapper Delivers Design Changes & Image Files Depending on the outcome of the usability tests, Happy Tapper will provide any changes to the applicationâ€™s design changes. These changes will not exceed more than 2 hours development time. If they exceed that amount, Passionworks and Happy Tapper will agree the best way forward. Happy Tapper will also provide all required images to complete the high fidelity application by October 12th. October 20: Deliver High Fidelity Application A high fidelity application will be delivered complete with source code for usability, performance, and QA testing. October 22: Deliver Testing Results Happy Tapper will deliver any changes due to usability, performance and QA tests. October 25: Final Product Deliver - Project Complete
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Putting it to the Test
Putting it to the Test 93
Putting it to the Test 94
Testing is your job It’s up to you to test every one of your app’s features and determine that it is bug free. You cannot leave this up to your developer. You also must test everything with each build. If a feature works in one build and your developer sends you some new code, don’t expect it to still be working. One fix can break something that was working before.
Low tech advice The SDK comes with an iPhone simulator that allows you to run your app directly one your computer. This is great way to quickly view your app, but don’t rely on it for your testing. You must still install your app on your device and test it there, not just on the simulator. Your device and the simulator behave very differently. Something that works on the simulator may not work on your device, and vice versa. Getting your app on your device can be a little hairy and you will need to learn a thing or two about Xcode. It took me days to figure out how to load my app on my iPod the first time. Thankfully I’m not the only one, so there are plenty of good forum posts if you run into a snag. Beside trying to create the polished design, this is where I had my steepest learning curve. But it had to be done if I wanted Apple’s blessing to the App Store. So bite the bullet and learn that bit of Xcode to get you through the last mile.
Detail matters here too Testing a new build of my app only took me a few minutes but creating the feedback email took me hours. I created an issue number for each issue I found, writing down each step taken, the exact results and what I expected the app to do. I included plenty of screen shots as well. I categorized each issue by screen name and recorded everything in a Google Doc to which we both had access. This level of communication might seem a little condescending to the developer. But trust me, it reduces confusion, keeps the project ticking along, and creates a fantastic working relationship. Issues can be so specific that what you assume is causing the problem could be totally off from what it comes down to.
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When an issue becomes a bug An issue isn’t a bug unless it’s repeatable. If it happens once, it was a user error. If it happens twice, you got lucky. If it happens three times, it’s a bug. You may not find all the bugs, but be sure to fix the ones you do find. They’ll surface later in your customer reviews and that will hurt sales.
How to keep your developer happy Developers despise bugs as much as you do so when you find one, go gentle on them. They take pride in their work so hearing the bad stuff is like someone telling you your kid is ugly. How you communicate your findings can make the difference in completing the project on time and on budget while keeping your developer happy. Start with complimenting them first. Point out all the things you like about the build. If they fixed a bug, give them a high five. If they finished new development, thank them for that too. Developers need to hear that they’re doing a good job before you start digging on them about the bugs. When you get to the part about the bugs, be sure to give them all the details. Not only will soften the blow, it will be easier for them to fix if you pass along every detail you experienced coming across the issue. Finish by telling them again that you appreciate all their efforts and you enjoy working with them. This may sound a bit much, but who doesn’t want to hear this? It’s not only respectable, it builds a relationship that can last through the storm of bug fixes ands scope changes.
1. Test your app on an iDevice for each build. 2. If you find a bug, record every step and detail. Take screen shots. 3. Compliment your developer before giving them the bad news.
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The 80% rule: When so-so is good enough At some point you’ll have to decide that your app is good enough to submit to the app store. If you’re a small shop like me, waiting too long could be fatal. Instead, release early and incorporate feedback after you go live. Eighty percent complete was good enough for me. Part way through development, Passionworks told me that they couldn’t figure out how to create a bulleted list on the fly. This was core functionality for Gratitude Journal so I simply couldn’t let this one slide. Moreover I wanted the bullets to be these beautifully designed images I had designed for each theme. Development overran quite a bit as we both searched for an answer. Eventually we discovered a way to create a list with special characters in a text file. It meant I couldn’t use my beautiful bullets, but it meant that I could go to market. Eighty percent was good enough.
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Example of Testing Details “ISSUE #32: Main Screen - Search Results Bug” Steps Take: 1. Opened app 2. Tapped “Journal” to go to Main Screen 3. Tapped on the search field 4. Entered the text “home” 5. closed the keypad Results: * See screen shot * Entries with “home” in the text are shown. * Tapped on the first entry to view it. * Tapped on “Journal” to go back to the search results. * All entries are shown, not just the entries with “home”. * Search field is empty. Desired Results: * See screen shot * Entries with “home” in the text are shown. * Tapped on the first entry to view it. * Tapped on “Journal” to go back to the search results. * The search results with “home” are shown. * “home” is still in the search field
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Submitting Your App
Submitting Your App 99
Submitting Your App 100
How long until it’s on iTunes? There are currently 15,000 apps submitted every week and all apps are approved or reject within a week.1 If Apple rejects your app for any reason, it goes to the back of the line and you wait just as long again until they review it again. This happened with Vision Board and in the end it took just as long for approval than to develop it. At the time approval turn around was three weeks and my app was rejected because the image holder looked too much like a Poloriod™. Avoid Rejection There are three main reasons why Apple doesn’t approve an app. The number one reason an app is rejected is because it doesn’t function as advertised. Apps that don’t do what is claimed in their description. The second reason apps are rejected is because developers use private APIs. Only use the API’s in the official SDK. And the third reason is they crash which is simply bad user experience. From personal experience, avoid using any design elements that might be percieved as trademark infringement. This includes a picture frame that looks like a Polaroid™ or an Apple or iPhone icon. If your app does get rejected, Apple provides no advice as to how to fix it so it receives approval. They only tell you why they reject it. So you may end up submitting it a few times until you get it right.
Create a distribution build By this stage in your project you’ll know the iPhone Program portal inside and out. This site gives you everything you need to submit your app to the iTunes store. Basically you create a build specifically for distribution and upload it to Apple iTunes Connect along with a product description and screen shots. That’s the 10,000 foot view of what’s involved. Just know that it’s a rather tedious process and be patient learning it the first go around. Eventually you’ll get the hang of all the steps involved and it will be a breeze. If you come across a crazy error that makes no sense, google it. Chances are plenty of other people have had the same problem. 1 Apple WWDC Keynote by Steve Jobs, June 7, 2010
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Create a great product description Screen shots and descriptions are critical marketing materials and can be what gets your app approved. Make sure your description is interesting and accurate. Tell the user exactly what they need to know before they hit the buy button. State whether your app is discounted. If you are offering your app at a special price for a limited time, let them know how much and for how long. Show quotes from people who have used your app. If you get a great review, put it at the top of your description. Oprah is a huge fan of the Gratitude Journal and made it mainstream, so I quoted her. List the features. Put your main features at the top and keep each item on the list simple and concise. Your customer should be able to skim this in seconds. Add a personal note Give a glimpse of your human side and thank the customer for purchasing the app. I used to tell everyone that I’m donating ten percent of my revenues to charity as my way of thanking my customers. I had to pull it because Apple doesn’t allow that for some reason.
Then what? Apple will send you a very simple email saying your app is approved. They recently added a feature that allows you to set the release date which is nice if you want to plan a launch promotion on the release date. After you app goes live, you’ll want to start tracking sales, manage users and send out promotion codes. All this can be done through your developer memebership which gives you access to iTunes Connect website. Next is a breakdown of the different section on iTunes Connect and all they have to offer.
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1. Make sure your app doesn’t use priviate API’s or crashes. 2. Create a description that matches the functionality. 3. Submit your bundle to Apple and wait a week.
Inside iTunes Connect Sales / trend reports Apple provides daily and weekly sales reports. These reports are not your actual sales but are an indication of the number of downloads by country. Contracts, tax and banking information If you plan to sell your app, you need to provide Apple with tax and banking details. They will not send your money to you until this information is complete. Financial reports These are the actual sales. Apple provides a report for each currency after the end of each month. Manage users You can grant others access to your iTunes Connect account. This is pretty nice if you decide to partner with someone. Manage your applications This is where you submit your app for distribution on the App Store. It’s also where you submit updates and app details such as icon design, screen shots and product description. Request promotions codes If you want to give someone a free copy of your app, you can send them a promotion code. You are given 50 codes for each version of an application and they expire four
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weeks after they are requested. These codes can only be used in the U.S. iTunes Store. Contact us This section provides answers to questions and puts you in touch with an iTunes Rep.
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Customer Love 105
Customer Love 106
Why your customers are so great One of the best things about creating an iPhone app are the great people you meet. As soon as your app is on the market, your customers will surface on Twitter and other places. Instantly move towards building relationships with these people. Maybe it’s the nature of my app, but people around the world have contacted me since I launched Gratitude Journal. Some have feature requests, some want to know how I did it, some just want to say thanks. Some even sent some really fabulous gifts. I make a conscious effort to let each of them know how much I appreciate that they got in touch. It’s important that they realize that their feedback is gold to me and that I am listening. These customers have not only become my friends but also are my best advertising. They speak so highly of all my apps in their blogs, tweets and one-on-one with friends. That’s sort of word-of-mouth marketing is the best you can get.
Use Get Satisfaction for support It’s important that you let your customers get ahold of you for support and praise. When it comes to customer support, Getsatisfaction.com is an amazing service. It’s a bulletin board designed specifically for great customer support. All my products are listed under getsatisfaction.com/happytapper. My customers post questions and anyone can answer them. GetSatisfaction automatically tries to answer their questions as their typing it, saving you a lot of time of repeating the same answer over and over again. Customers can also provide feedback and feature requests as well as show the “buzz on Twitter” about the product. I can’t say enough great things about this site. Best of all it’s free. Questions come right into my feeder and email, so I can answer them as soon as they’re posted. You don’t want to miss a single one. If you reply quickly, customers will be absolutely impressed and sing your praises on the social network scene. Customers want to know they’ve been heard. Some can expect a lot out of a 99¢ app, but most are just dumping every idea they have because they want to help you to improve your product. Some excellent ideas are buried in there, and they are the best insight you can get.
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Secrets to Promoting
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Secrets to Promoting 109
A sneak preview The App Store does a great job promoting your app for you if it’s in the top 50 overall or in the top 20 of its category. But what if it isn’t and how do you get there? And once you’re there, how do you stay? The “Promoting Your App” handbook is filled with ideas on how to reach your audience and keep their loyalty. This section is just a glimpse of what that book has to offer. I also suggest you read Tap Tap Tap’s post “The Cookie Cutter Guide to Charting in the App Store”.1
Start promotion early. Create a buzz about your app and make yourself a subject matter expert. Some apps did this by creating controversy before going live. They submitted press releases stating that their app was rejected by Apple, or that they are in a lawsuit. Anything to attract attention. Start collecting emails as soon as possible through your website. There are some excellent place holder website themes out there for a steal, like the LauchIt theme available from Themeforest2 for just $8. Bargain!
Create a killer website. I invested a good month putting together my website, happytapper.com. Because of this, my site has been highlighted on dozens of sites that feature great designs which resulted in thousands of visits. It’s also generated a lot of buzz on Twitter. The quality of the website should reflect the quality of the app. A simple, slick, one page site is all it takes. There are plenty of themes designed solely to promote iPhone and iPad apps. They’re affordable and will get you up and running in no time. Here’s a few low cost templates that work just wonderfully.
1 http://taptaptap.com/blog/the-cookie-cutter-guide-to-charting-in-the-app-store/ 2 http://themeforest.net/item/launchit/full_screen_preview/80079
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iDevice Website Themes Templatic Wordpress Theme - $65 Inspire Wordpress theme - $70 Apz Wordpress theme - $70 Fone theme - $14 Fone Delux Wordpress theme - $27 Stage HTML template - $17 My Application template - $12
Be as transparent as possible. I shared my story about how I created Gratitude Journal openly and honestly. I wrote about how keeping a gratitude journal took me out of the depression I was in since my dad passed away to finding peace and happiness. This story took root and sprung to life in places I didnâ€™t expect. All sorts of magazines, blogs and newsletters were equally interested in my story as they were with my app. Iâ€™ve been on national radio shows, magazines, and in major news publications like USA Today. Each article results in another person contacting me requesting to feature me in their blog or magazine. Create a story worth telling and people will tell it for you.
1. Find your tribe and become a leader. 2. Create buzz. 3. Start collecting emails through a slick website. 4. Read Promoting Your App to really rock.
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Learn from my Mistakes
Learn from my Mistakes 112
Learn from my Mistakes 113
Don’t Copy As tempting (and easy) as it can be to copy and paste your designs, don’t do it. You will be exposed and it will just cost you credibility. My Vision Board app launch was a laughable mess. At the time, Apple didn’t allow you to set the launch date so it just happened, and I wasn’t prepared. In my haste, I copied the launch HTML email for Basecamp’s app, Outpost. I used pretty much the same design just inserting it with my app images. Then sent it out to my email distribution list. Not only was it riddled with typoes and borken links, to add insult to injury it took only about 20 minutes before it reached the original designer of that HTML email. By then, I was humiliated. To save face, I instantly apologized as sincerely and honestly as I could. Not being prepared was no escuse for my mistake, and this wasn’t the time to used some canned “I’m sorry for the inconvience” spiels. Thankfully the designer was super cool about it all, laughing it off and gradually we became friends. I now spend just as much time investing in the launch campaign as I do the design. I found a great designer who creates my emails. You can reach him @brandledesign. Or you can use this HTML template from Themeforest1 that costs only $12.
Sleep on it I don’t know how many times I exasperated myself trying to solved a technical problem or trying to find design inspiration and getting no where. In the end it cost me not to just walk away from it for a few hours or a day. If I don’t walk away, I just get more stubburn plowing down the same old path rather than trying a new route. My creativity is the first thing to go and I end up working ten times harder instead of smarter. It’s amazing what a simple walk around the block can do to release ideas, get you out of a rut and back on track. Let go and the answers will come to you. Just give it a few hours or a night’s sleep. 1 http://themeforest.net/item/appbuilders-email-template/74813
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Press releases are a waste of money I spent $350 on a press release and although it was extremely well written, it got me nothing in return. Not one journalist cared. And why should they? It was a generic pitch and basically spam. Instead, do something that makes you stand out. Try something retro like pick up the phone and call someone. Or hand write a personal note. Fill it with passion, excitement and life. Do something incredible, meaningful, purposeful and unforgetable. Stand apart from everyone else.
Forget hiring a lawyer if you can These guys can cost you twice as much as a developer and add very little value. A quick email to them will easily run you $50. That adds up quickly. Save yourself a lot of money and avoid apps that need T&C’s or any other lawyer mumble jumble. A quick lesson on trademarks I paid a lawyer $450 to teach me about trademarks. Something I could have easily figured it out on my own through the help of Google. My story goes like this. The author of Simple Abudance contacted me saying I needed to pull Gratitude Journal for iTunes because it infringed on their trademark rights. I panicked and the first thing I did was reach out to friends for legel references. Big mistake. Basically I paid a lawyer $375 to go to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) and plug in the term “gratitude journal”. Then give me an expensive one hour lesson on Trademark law while I educated him on the mobile app market and the term “gratitude journal”. If you can, avoid lawyers at all cost. Research your app name on TESS and make sure it’s legit. Secondly, put the trademark symbol (™)on all of your unique names (such as HappyTapper™). Those two pieces of advice cost me $450 and you can have them for free.
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Can you recommend a developer? You bet. At the back of this book is a list of all the contractors and resources I use. I also included developers whom I met over the months and gotten to know a little. I’ve never worked with these guys, so I can’t vouge for their work. I discovered Passionworks (www.passionworks.in) by using eLance.com. I’m not sure about their availability. They were too busy to help with future enhancements for Gratitude Journal in January 2009, so I found a new developer. But if you can get them and afford them, they’re excellent. There are plenty of other outsourcing websites like guru.com and hireacoder.com. I haven’t tried these services, so I’m not sure how successful they are.
Do you have time to discuss my app idea? Of course! My 1-on-1 jam sessions are one-off think-tanking conversations for surfacing opportunities and zooming in strategies for your iPhone app. Cost is $300, with 10% donated to charity. Exclusively on the phone. Inspiration and how-to guaranteed. The conversation usually runs about an hour. I review your app concept in advance. Your jump start session includes: • Jump Start Questions - a meaningful inquiry into your iPhone app project. I will email it to you when you book your session. This brief Q&A is an immensely valuable process on it’s own, and it will inform our actual think-tanking. • Advance research and assessment. I will review any relevant websites and materials on your app in advance of our session. • A sixty-minute consulting session for you and your business. You are welcome to invite other people in on the call. • An MP3 file of the recorded session emailed to you. • 10% of your fee donated the charity of your choice: GlobalGiving.com or Kiva. Email me a few lines about your app and where you want to take it, or just send me a link to your site. If I feel that I can add value and the timing works, then we schedule a phone session. I usually book two to four weeks in advance. This is an exclusive offer to newsletter readers.
What sort of business model should I use? I’m in no position to give you advice as to whether you should form a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship. An formalized business isn’t required to sell an app. I suggest you talk to an accountant or business advisor and get professional input.
Are there any special websites that helped you? TapTapTap’s blog is superb (taptaptap.com/blog). They posted their sales numbers, talked about pricing and marketing strategies, and explained how they designed their apps. They create gorgeous apps and have been insanely successful. I have a great idea for an app, would you be interested in partnering? It’s always an honor to be asked this. I’m currently working on four different applications and do this in my spare time, so at the time of writing I’ll have to pass. But I appreciate being considered.
Can you help me with the design specification? Yes! I can help you with your designs, writing the specification, finding developers, and managing your project. I charge an hourly rate based on the level of service required.
How did you manage to get all this done at 5am? I have an amazing husband who took care of everything else in my life while I poured myself into this development. He cooked, cleaned and made sure I got dressed for work in time. He played a large part in making Gratitude Journal possible.
Resources About HappyTapper HappyTapper Apps on iTunes http://itunes.com/apps/happytapper Download our iPhone apps HappyTapper www.happytapper.com About HappyTapper and our apps Inside Secrets to an iPhone App www.iphoneappsecrets.om The official book site Health, Wealth & Happiness www.carlakaywhite.com Carlaâ€™s personal blog about finding peace and prosperity. 1-on-1 Jam Sessions www.happytapper.com/services Personal phone session to jump start your project Press Kit www.happytapper.com/PressKit/HappyTapperPressKit.zip Images of logos and products Email firstname.lastname@example.org
HappyTapper Apps Gratitude Journal www.happytapper.com/gratitude-journal Change your thoughts, change your life. Vision Board www.happytapper.com/vision-board Visualize your dreams into action! Little Buddha www.happytapper.com/little-buddha Over 39,000 inspirational quotes
Other places you can find HappyTapper Twitter @carlawhite Facebook HappyTapper Fan Page Vimeo www.vimeo.com/happytapper YouTube www.youtube.com/user/carlakaywhite Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/happytapper/
Design Tools iPhone Sketch Tools iPhone Stencil Kit iPhone Wireframe Template (paper print out) Notepod: iPad and iPhone sketchbooks App Sketchbook PixelPads UI Stencils sticky pads Apress iPhone Application Sketch Book Printable iPhone Wireframe Template (free) iPad Sketch Tools iPad Sketch Paper from Oelna.de iPad Sketchbook iPad Stencil Kit iPhone Computer Mock-up Tools iPhone GUI PSD From Geoff Teehan iPhone Elements by Designers Toolbox Omnigraffle Stencils iPhone Mock-up iPad Computer Mock-up Tools iPad GUI Kit in PSD Format From RawApps iPad GUI PSD From Geoff Teehan iPad UI Vector Elements (AI) From Icon Library iPad Omnigraffle Stencil From Information Architects iPhone and iPad Icons Great Icons by Glyfish Touch Screen Hand Gestures Omnigraffle Stencil Free icons by DryIcons 108 Mono Icons by Tutorial9
Bolsamiq Mock-ups Mock-App Justinmind Prototyper Wireframing iPhone & iPod Apps LiveView for iPhone & iPad Dapp iPhone Code Generator SketchyPad iDevice Website Themes Templatic Wordpress Theme - $65 Inspire Wordpress theme - $70 Apz Wordpress theme - $70 Fone theme - $14 Fone Delux Wordpress theme - $27 Stage HTML template - $17 My Application template - $12
Recommended Vendors Designers Brandle Design - Ryan Brandle did a smashing HTML newsletter for Little Buddha iamscotty.com - Scott Jackson created all my mascots and logo. Great artist! iPhone Developers Nuebloc - I have never worked with these guys, but exchanged a few emails with Bruce Hunter. They seem pretty good. iphodea.com - I worked with founder, Dragos, on a couple of projects and heâ€™s great! Easy to share ideas, very innovative, and he makes projects fun. He recently teamed up with a fantastic designer, so they offer the full suite of services.
Digital Media Minute - Tom Mullaly is always looking for new apps to review. Contact him through his website for a review. Appcrunch - contact Josh. Theyâ€™re happy to help developers with great products get free reviews and exposure. Want to be listed? If you develop apps, design apps, design app websites or newsletters, or promote apps and would like to be listed in this book, drop me a message and Iâ€™ll hook you up! happytapper.com/contact
Index B backlog 89 bartering 77 blog 38 C click-thru 59 HTML 59 MockApp 59 concept 19–132 contractor love 94 cost 17
get rich 23 Getsatisfaction 113 Google Docs 68 H HTML Click-thru 59 I idea 14 iFart 24 iPad Design 53 iPhone simulator 101 issue 102
D demensions 50 Design 19 detail 93–132 developer happy 102 Developer Program 13 development 19–132 distribution 19 distribution build 107
K “Key task” testing 58
E educate 37 Elance 80 elements 63
M Maintenance 19 market research 57 milestones 97 MockApp 59 motivation 21
F feedback 57 freelance websites 82 friend 41 G “Get it” testing 58
L lawyer 122 layout 50 leave out 61 look and feel 64 Lynda.com 71
N NDA 68 niche 41
O outsourcing design 67 P Pinch Media 25 portfolio 89 press release 122 product definition statement 43 product description 108 promoting 19 R register 34 rejection 107 revenues 31 rising star 85 S sales reports 31 scope 75 screen flow diagram 47 SDK 13 Six Phase Process 19 skills 27 spec 68 surprise 31 T target audience 41 testing 58 “Get it” 58 “Key task” 58
the 80% rule 103 time estimate 89 tools 49 transparent 118 Twitter 82 U user interface 63 W website 117 wireframe 59 X Xcode 13
“Do what you love to help people, and you will always love what you do.”
Carla Kay White Author & Founder of HappyTapper
About Carla White and HappyTapper.com Carla created her first iPhone app, Gratitude Journal during the hours of 5 - 7am before going into her day job. Gratitude Journal is a diary for noting five things we’re thankful for each day. By focusing on gratitude, we become aware of those things and thus create a shift in our thinking to the positive. Carla did all the designs, managed the development, started Happytapper.com and did all the promotion herself. She is a one person show. Carla outsourced the development for $500 and the entire project cost her just $700. Gratitude Journal was released in December 2008 and shot up to #2 in the Lifestyles category of the App Store within its first week. It remains around that position at the time of writing (June 2010). More importantly, it has received nearly all five star reviews. Carla’s apps received great reviews from Macworld, LifeHacker and was featured in USA Today. Apple also requested the rights to feature it in their advertising. Combining her iPhone development experience with her design and project management knowledge, Carla formulated a successful process that brings ideas to market faster. Using this process, she continues to create more iPhone apps while sharing everything she learns along the way. Carla is on a mission to create a life of financial independence while bringing meaning and purpose to other people’s lives. She created a formula that allows her to work on projects she loves while raising money for charity.
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