How the Pigeon was born. — What I learned from making a project in 3 days.

David Sun
4 min readDec 27, 2016
A screenshot of the app in work.

As part of my project, I decided to create a side-project. Since I had a pretty long 3 months of school, I wanted to create something easy but still deeply meaningful in my daily life.

As I started to draft ideas, I looked into what part of my life experience I want to improve upon.

Because I love quotes, I decided to make something that can inspire me whenever I need it.

Make a ‘new tab’ extension!

I started to pull out my trusty notebook and started to draft ideas. I wanted a quote platform that lives in the new tab. I wanted it to look great and clean to help put quotes in focus.

In a new days, I designed a v1.

You may notice that the design looks nothing like the final project. Stay with me.

The original idea was a platform for ordinary people to post quotes and see the quotes of other people.

For a day or two I thought it was the coolest idea and blasted forward in developing it.

It was a mad rush as I made this version, but eventually the adrenaline rush cooled and I started to see clearly.

I had an uneasy feeling of the idea. It just didn’t feel ‘good’ anymore.

Do I really want this?

I was extremely complicated. I didn’t want to finish this, but in the back of the mind I didn’t want to fall short again like many of the projects.

I took a deep breath, and told myself to take 30 minutes and try to build a better concept.

Thankfully, I created a new idea that I felt genuinely interested in.

The mighty pivot begins.

I tore out the old idea and replaced it with a headline/quote inspiration app. I simplified the original idea and cracked down on the MVP.

In a few hours the new design was finished:

With this new version, and a new spark of confidence. I set out to create the new Pigeon App. With 3 days of grueling 16 hours of work, I managed to deliver the final product.

The Take Away

From this app, I learned some very important lessons. I’m gonna quote from the Vignelli Canon (Please if you have time read it. It is a design book but carries some great lessons in product development)

It is extremely important for a satisfactory result of any design to spend time on the search of the accurate and essential meanings, investigate
their complexities, learn about their ambiguities, understand the context of use to better define the parameters within which we will have to operate.

When I drafted the first version, I rushed into production. I didn’t really research and delve into the idea. And later when it came to delivery, it fell short.

Semantics are what will provide the real bases
for a correct inception of projects, regardless of what they may be.

I can not emphasize this enough. We ‘silicon valley’ kids have received the stereotype that we make apps that solves nothing. To be honest, I fall prey to this stereotype. I have build MANY apps before that felt meaningless and disconnected to the final users.

In the final version, I sat down and really drilled into research. For this app, research came in the form of asking myself the important questions.

Did I want this app?

What is a ‘new tab’ app appropriate for?

What are the weaknesses and strengths of presenting information in a new tab?

With these fundamental questions, I designed the final pigeon to be short in content to capture users attention as they navigate to a page. I focused on a minimal ‘care’ app experience.

Research is very important in any process of design.

Design without semantics is shallow and meaningless
but, unfortunately it is also ubiquitous, and that
is why it is so important that young designers
train themselves to start the design process in the correct way- the only way that can most enrich their design.

It is a mistake I have made many times. But as a growing designer, I am learning to take semantics into accounts.

Hopefully on your next projects, you do too.

-David Sun

Pigeon Download Link:



David Sun

Computer enthusiast, designer, absurdist, and probably too nerdy. (Freelancer!)