Desk

An App Story

Traction Leadership Meeting

I had a great time meeting some of the other local Traction leaders in a group meeting the other day as we discussed the challenges of building energy and excitement around our projects, products, and companies as well as working through some of the logistics of leading our own local Meetup Groups (I’m hosting one in a few weeks in Atlanta).

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The Best Mac UI Photoshop File for OS X Yosemite

ui

Wow, that was kind of a long title.

I’ve been using an unbelievable UI PSD for some of the designs I’ve been creating – and it’s free! Insanity.

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Decisions, Not Options

I first heard of this philosophy, “Decisions, Not Options,” via WordPress which I have since adopted for many of my previous products. Not only that, I’ve adopted this philosophy in general for some of my organizations as well. It’s nicely applicable to most things.

Here’s what they have to say about that:

Every time you give a user an option, you are asking them to make a decision. When a user doesn’t care or understand the option this ultimately leads to frustration.

As developers we sometimes feel that providing options for everything is a good thing, you can never have too many choices, right? Ultimately these choices end up being technical ones, choices that the average end user has no interest in.

It’s our duty as developers to make smart design decisions and avoid putting the weight of technical choices on our end users.

You and I have encountered this too many times to count as many of the apps and products that we use today are too bloated to be useful.

Most of the Microsoft suite of products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.) are like this with far too many options for the user to choose from.

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A Built-in Note-taking App

Simple and easy.

Simple and easy.

I know this is obvious but it’s worth mentioning explicitly since it’s a clear value that Desk brings to the table: Note-taking.

I’ve started using Desk for simply taking note during my meetings. I can save these locally or in the cloud which is nice since I have multiple MacBooks that I use in a variety of different circumstances and can get access to the notes anywhere.

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Docker

docker

As I’ve mentioned, I’m spending as much time as I possibly can on building traction for this app so that it can be as successful as possible. Working through books, other marketing materials, and generally developing strategy has been nothing short of a complete grind as I attempt to also simply build product.

The challenge is that have a limited amount of hours that I can actually work on the development portion (and I’ve done that on purpose) and maximizing those hours into anything but product is tough. This is especially difficult since I’m not that “big” into marketing in the first place.

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Making Banners

making-banner

Gotta love gifs. Still working on some of these banners for collateral art as well as for the store.

The last details are being put together and I’m hoping to get this shipped very soon.

The Final 1%

The final 1% is the hardest part for me on pretty much any project and I feel like I’ve been at 99% done for weeks, if not months.

The reality is that I haven’t been but psychologically I’ve been fooling myself into believing I’m closer than I actually am.

Working through bugs and user experience issues is important and necessary and I’m quite thankful for the team that I’ve got testing the app – they are the best!

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App Forgiveness

I love this section via Apple’s guidelines on developing apps from a UX perspective:

Encourage people to explore your app by building in forgiveness—that is, making most actions easily reversible. People need to feel that they can try things without damaging the system or jeopardizing their data. Create safety nets, such as the Undo and Revert to Saved commands, so that people will feel comfortable learning and using your product.

Warn users when they initiate a task that will cause irreversible loss of data. If alerts appear frequently, however, it may mean that the product has some design flaws. When options are presented clearly and feedback is timely, using an app should be relatively error-free.

Anticipate common problems and alert users to potential side effects. Provide extensive feedback and communication at every stage so users feel that they have enough information to make the right choices.

Pretty neat, right?

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Domain “Official”

renewal

Yearly invoice for domain renewal.

I received a copy of the invoice for the Desk.pm domain today and I did a double-take as I realized that it’s already been a year since I first registered the actual domain.

I didn’t actually start active development until November 11 last year which means that, at this point in time, I’ve been actively working on this app for 311 days.

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It’s Never a Complete Waste

Every feature matters at this point, especially as we get so close to an official market-ready version. I’m polishing every element of the app as we get there and I’m scrutinizing every single detail.

It… must… be… perfect.

So it’s really tough when you bump into a feature that you know isn’t going to make that high standard and mark. And this past weekend I encountered that on a feature that I was personally very attached to.

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