A labor of love has finally come to fruition! From start to end, I developed PicPredict, your photo fortune teller. It’s an iPhone app where you can select a photo on your phone, add your own fortunes, then shake for your magical psychic answer. Voila!
I had this idea of creating a fortune teller app with a cartoon character and funny fortune sayings. I did some customer validation and soon realized that what I thought was funny, may not be funny to someone else. One friend suggested that I make the app fully customizable which I thought was a great idea. I guess you can call it a pivot (aka Silicon Valley buzz word du jour) for my app. Additional feedback showed that people loved sharing their photos with their custom fortunes.
Two to three months later (after I had already developed the original, scrapped app), I completed PicPredict. People often ask where I find time to develop apps. I tell them that some people like to knit. I like to develop apps. You find time to do things that you enjoy.
During the app development process, I learned how to use Gimp and InkScape to create my graphics. Thank you Google for helping me find all sorts of tutorials. If you don’t want to create your own icons, check out Glyphish.com. For $20, you get the pro package of iPhone icons. Not bad.
Like at most hackathons (iOSDevCamp is great!) and Startup Weekends, a good UI person is a must-have on your team, but often hard to find. Become friends with one now so you can get good feedback when needed. UI people are great. Also, don’t forget to leverage friends and family for UI feedback. Using the iPhone simulator on my MacBook, I created a demo video using Jing and Screencast then shared the link via email to everyone who would listen and watch. Videos make it easy to understand what the app is doing without having the user install the app. It’s like a pseudo test run. Actually, people recommend having a demo video on your post-launch page too.
For those of you who do not have Apple Developers license yet ($99), I suggest that you first develop your app then maybe 1-2 months before it’s ready to be submitted, apply. You can download XCode and develop your app without the license. The only catch is that you can’t test your app on devices until you have your license. It takes about 2 weeks (my experience) to get accepted into the developers program. Then it’s a yearly fee of $99. So better off delaying the cost if you can.
After I submitted PicPredict, it took about 3 weeks to get approved (1 week in “Waiting for Review” state, 1 week in “In Review” state, then a bump in the road and re-submission needed for another week of review). I’m happy that I completed PicPredict in a reasonable amount of time. I hope that everyone enjoys it!
As a thank you to my readers, I am giving away promo codes to random people who tweet, “Check out PicPredict app in the AppStore today! http://PicPredict.com by @sounalath”. Don’t miss your opportunity to try out PicPredict for free!
Click to tweet!
Some PicPredict app decisions/challenges along the way:
- buttons with text or icons – text on buttons were ugly, icons looked more clean, but took more work to create
- app name – Apple didn’t like my original name, so I had to change logo and views with the new name, it took about a week to settle on a new name, should the name explain what the app does or should it be some obscure name, Domain.r is great to come up with a non-dot com URL
- flow of screens – mockups, mockups, mockups help so much, check out MockUp apps b/c all you need to now is PowerPoint
- sharing options – email, facebook, twitter – this round email only for simplicity
- color scheme – kept black and white as it was related to original app name
- price point – anything over $0 is challenging but I opted out of advertising revenues, there’s one blog posting about an Android developer making money from ad revenues, it’s a good read
- promotion methods – to be determined, lots of articles out there (e.g., can try app review sites, twitter, facebook, your own blog, local newspaper, all networks that you’re involved with), trying word of mouth first, wish me luck! read one guy’s journey for his game app
- an email from Apple saying additional review time needed – most likely means your app is about to get rejected although few say they have gotten approvals, google for more stories
- Tip: If you have a crucial update to an existing app, you can use the “expedited app review process” form to push your update through the review process
If you are wondering about how long it takes for your app to get approved once submitted to Apple, here is a hilarious answer (from StackOverflow.com) that I can’t stop laughing about:
Press release for PicPredict app:
KSG Ventures is introducing PicPredict iPhone app, a unique, entertaining way to use iPhone photos as a personalized fortune teller.With PicPredict, creating a personalized fortune teller is as easy as 1-2-3. Users pick a photo on their iPhone, add custom fortunes, then shake the iPhone for their magical answers to appear. The fun part is the ability to share the PicPredict photo with friends and family with a click of a button. This is no ordinary fortune teller app. It is a fortune teller app that you personalize from scratch. Imagine the creative and humorous possibilities.PicPredict is available in the iTunes AppStore at http://itunes.com/apps/picpredict.Link to website: http://www.picpredict.comFounder’s Twitter ID: @sounalathAbout KSG VenturesKSG Ventures is a mobile development company located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Its mission is to create fun and innovative apps for the person on the go whether it’s the busy mom or working professional. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related, I got my start in iOS development from my experience at Startup Weekend at PayPal in 2009. I pitched the idea of Eventabulous and recruited a team of 8 to join me that weekend. After the weekend ended, the momentum slowed down, but I wanted to keep the idea alive. So I bought a MacBook Pro and checked out “iPhone Development for Dummies” from my local library (I still recommend to new developers that they should check out books from the library to get started). In about 4-6 months time, I developed an app using JSON, Twitter API, Google Maps API, and a third party event database source. I also learned how to file an LLC. Thanks to Startup Weekend for giving me the push into mobile development and entrepreneurship.