I've now been in the mobile app biz over one year, primarily as an inventor, project manager and producer. I've been reflecting on the experience and shared my first mobile app mock-up as a mobile app inventor. If I had known at the start what I know now, these two additional insights would have saved me time, money and strain on valued relationships.
Think of apps as proofs.
Maybe the world didn't have Mrs. Hooper for eighth grade algebra, Miss Helms for trigonometry, or Mrs. Pace for calculus, but I did, and each of them taught me the logic of algebraic and geometric proofs. "If this, then that," "if this is true, then that is true," "because of this, then that," and "how do we get here from there" - all of these are guiding phrases in my mind as I'm now figuring out the way a mobile app will work.
Think of apps in screens.
For the user of a mobile app, the experience flows. For the designer or developer, that experience is comprised of a frame-by-frame, stop-action series of screens with which the user interacts in specific ways.
Breaking an idea down to component parts can feel for the inventor like a violent imposition of simplicity upon something beautifully and perfectly complex. But if the idea can't be "spec'd out" – i.e. described in specifications suitable for building – then drama ensues. The developer tries to guess what the inventor's idea is and codes that in a series of screens. By definition – a phrase used with proofs – those screens are smaller than the vastness of the inventor's imagination and he or she is appalled. The coder doesn't feel valued and the inventor doesn't feel understood.
If mobile app inventors can't – at least in some primitive form - depict the interrelatedness of portions of their ideas in a logical way, and then mock-up those portions as screens, the project can result in frustration and disappointment for all.
Image is very first mock-up via whiteboard, May, 2010, of what has become She Chooses(TM)
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