iED Blog

Gossip, innovation and insight into our apps

The power of graphic design

One of the interesting things we have learnt during the creation of this app is just  how many skill sets you need. We had rather naively assumed there would be this technical dude who would translate what we wanted from medical speak into code, bang it onto the iphone for us, and maybe knock us up a web site too.

Think again. John, our coder, needed to work from an incredibly precise spec sheet, with a UML flow chart detailing user and system processes and a level of detail down to the number of spaces between lines, number of decimal places for each step of each calculation etc. This alone took us 3 months to get about right, and it still made him cry!

Once we were talking the same language as John, we could start getting versions of the app, but it quickly became apparent that he would not be able to design & maintain the website, or in fact coordinate the look and feel of our app and umbrella brands. These are very different skills.

So we needed  Kev our graphic designer. The amount Kev has contributed cannot be overstated. Apart from the obvious logo’s there are little things we could never have done. For example, the various browns are custom colours, all buttons have been custom designed with depressed and non depressed states. If they have rounded edges then those edges need to have transparent areas so as not to be visible on the background. The logo is designed to fit in with the look and feel of the website, and the colour-ways for the next few applications have been decided in advance!

Rob, our web designer came up with the website, in collaboration with Kev. You need web designer to really harness the power of off the shelf blogging software which is what our web page is based on. They can also help you with mass email communications, tracking, forums, web based surveys, wiki channels  for documentation, youtube channels and so on and so forth.

All this is vital to setting up an iterative build process. Building a community of alpha testers, tracking changes and building relationships is difficult at the best of times, but vital if you are going to get meaningful feedback from anyone. Also, your solution also has to scale, so it works as well for  500,000 people as it does for 50.

Making all this happen & look professional is easy to them, but black magic as far as I am concerned.

In parallel with this run the standard setting processes, communicating with the colleges that might object, or agree to validate your product. Making sure you collect data for research and publication is important, and Taj has run away with that, whilst Rob has helped us with the technical side of data collection.

Last but not least is the business side of it, setting up a limited company, getting your disclaimer checked by lawyers, preferably in each country you might distribute it in, and setting up a developer account with apple!

All this to create a small free iphone app.

I will try to post a few pics of how we went from concept to product.


2 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Melinda Radel
    18/07/2010 at 10:16 am #

    I don’t really agree with everything you’ve written here, but it was still an interesting and actually quite enlightening read. Thanks.

  2. Haidar Samiei
    09/08/2010 at 8:43 am #

    Hi There

    Thanks for the reply. What don’t you agree with? We love hearing other peoples opinions / points of view! Especially if it makes us think differently about things.


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