Day 1 : Let’s shape the app!

This post is the second part of a global story that relates how we #BuildAnAppInOneWeek. If you haven’t done it yet, please read the first post here : http://www.pikichat.com/full_story.html

What do we put inside the app?

Before starting to design the app or even code it you need to have a good idea of what you put inside or not. And the most difficult part is probably what you don’t integrate in the app.
Simplicity was our main goal. We know how important it is for a mobile app to do only one thing but do it incredibly well and deadly simply!

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication — Steve Jobs

Our goal was to create an app that would make VERY easy and fun to share photos with a group of friends and interact on it.
We ended up with an app structure that would allow to :

  • Create a group of friends
  • Add a photo in a group
  • Only one photo would be available per group, which means that if someone else in the group add another photo, the previous one disappears. This part is really important in order to have an app really simple to use (e.g : No infinite scroll on a feed).
  • Allow members of a group to comment the group’s photo.
  • And finally let a member add a photo without other members of the group being able to know who added it : the “incognito” mode. A funny way to bring interactions in a group and that allow you to post pic that you probably would not post within your name ☺
  • Let other members be aware when one of the members has seen the photo
  • Let people add videos
  • Create public groups where only the admins would be able to add photos
  • Give the possibility to draw on the photos
  • Sign Up with a phone number
  • Android version (the first version of PikiChat will only be available on iOS)

What will it look like?

Now that we know what will be inside the app we can start designing it. But before even starting to put some beautiful colors on it, we need to have a good idea of the user experience. It’s maybe even more important and more difficult to build than the UI (user interface which is more the beauty of the app than the usage).

User Experience Patterns

In order to build a great user experience, the best way is to be used with mobile usages and to know all the specificities of a platform, in our case iOS.
But you can also get inspiration from great websites where you’ll have access to all kind of patterns from many different apps :

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pttrns is a great place to find ideas of user interface and experience


Thanks to these resources and to your own experience you can start drawing some mockups. Plenty of differents tools exists to draw mockups, these are the ones that we used for this project :

  • POP (https://popapp.in) . It is a great solution to test your mockups on your phone : you take photos of your mockups, then you link each mockups in order to test interactions.
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Finally, when you know what the structure of your app is, you can make it beautiful (I mean at least for you, or even more important for your target, which for our app are boys and girls between 14 and 20, even if we hope to have plenty users of other ages!).

Even for a simple app you have plenty of screens to design!
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Even for a simple app you have plenty of screens to design!

Many other stuffs on which you shouldn’t spend too much times!

There are still plenty of things that you have to do when starting to build an app. But there are stuff on which you shouldn’t loos your time!

  • Book your domain name : if you have found one that is available it will be really fast. You can use platforms like GoDaddy for example or many others. Our tips : Google “GoDaddy” then you’ll find special offer to register your domain with a discount.
  • Create an Apple Developer account : you will need it to start developing your app and to post it on the Apple store. It shouldn’t take you to much time, but it will cost you 99$ ☹

Sum Up : The tools used to shape the app

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  • Bring life to your mockup with POP : https://popapp.in. Draw your mockups on a piece of paper and then take pitctures of them and finally POP offers you an easy way to tests interactions between them, almost like if you had your final app in your hands!
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Next step : Let’s code the app!

In our next post we will cover from day 2 to day 6 with the core of the app developement. We’re going to give you all the tools and the steps that were necessary in order to give birth to Pikichat!

Pikichat is a fun photo group, messaging app ! Drop us an email : founders@pikichat.com

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