I’m writing an app for iOS 10. It will be on iPhones and iPads. I decided that first.
Then I picked a problem that an app can help solve.
This is not the way you should do it. It’s OK if I do it this way, I’m an expert; I skipped some steps.
Yesterday, I outlined the problem I had: I’m a recidivist when it comes to fat loss. That’s a rather large problem with many aspects. I went through my past experience with online coaching, found a habit that I formed while doing the program, but dropped when the coaching ended.
Project Kapowski is about tracking the right things. I didn’t mention what those were yesterday. I have to do something to make you keep reading, don’t I?
I mentioned scale weight as a bad thing to track because it gives the wrong signal; at a certain point, lowering scale weight anymore is harmful. Doubling down on scale weight after that just makes it worse. At the start of fat loss, however, it’s a good way to get a small win.
So what’s a good thing to track?
I’ll answer that with another question: what does anyone actually care about when they say they want to lose weight?
I’ll answer my own question: their looks.
I’ve noted before that measuring something forces you to focus on the thing you are measuring. So what better thing to track than how someone looks, with a photo.
Let’s imagine what that would be like if we didn’t have a mobile device.
It would be pretty awful, right? Take pictures with a camera. Transfer the pictures to a computer. Remember the first one we took so we can compare. Open that one. Open the new one. Inspect it.
Do that every week, if we remember to.
I might do it for a few weeks, but there are so many steps where failure lurks, that the habit probably won’t take. I doubt you would fare better.
Perhaps, if there were a web site that let me upload the photos once I took them, then do the comparison for me. That’s a bit better, but we’re still stuck with taking pictures and uploading them. Even on a mobile device, a web site would probably be cumbersome to use.
Usability tip: Too much friction and your site/app/tech will go unused.
Hence: writing an app for this makes the most sense. Apps have notifications to remind me when to do things. It’s easy to take a picture in the app and apply it right away to the first one. I can do it all without a network connection.
All that friction is gone by doing this in an app.
There are many situations where a mobile app is not really appropriate, sometimes ever, or at least to start. You will be far more successful if you walk through this process every time you have a serious idea. If you’re not technical, ask someone who is to walk it through with you.
We are at the very early stages of solving something with code. Working through the possibilities like this can really help save you time, effort and money. You might just find a cheaper, easier solution than writing an app. You might find that you can’t really do what you want yet, or that it’s much bigger than you realized.
And forewarned is forearmed.