Being selfish: making things for yourself to make better things
In the next few days I will finish work on The Accidental News Explorer - a news exploration iPhone app that celebrates serendipity and the joy of discovering unthought of paths. I've put a lot of work into this little thing, not least because I've been learning Objective-C for the first time and getting to grips with the iOS SDK. But the main reason I've been spending my weekends crafting each pixel and waking early each day to try and make it as good as it can be is simply because I want to make something that my target audience would love to use. My target audience in this case being me. Now I'm not saying I don't care if anybody but me uses this app - on the contrary I would love everybody to use it - what I'm trying to say is that I wanted to make something that I would be proud to have taking up space on my iPhone. When it comes to the iPhone apps I use everyday there's one factor above all others that I use to make the decision whether it's worthy of staying on my phone. And that's quite simply does it look and feel good? I can't use anything that is badly designed. It could have the best functionality in the world but if it looks like a bag of spanners then that app isn't going to be sticking around for very long. So because of this inherent snobby attitude towards the things I use, it's put me under pressure to make this app as good as it can be. A friend of mine once commented that "life is too short to own an ugly pen" and equally I feel the same way about ugly apps. Of course design is a subjective thing, and whilst I would say I'm never 100% happy with any of my work, I'd like to think it's worthy enough to take it's place amongst my app collection.