If Stephen King built an App

#1

Don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.” — Stephen King

Prose is architecture, not interior decoration. — Ernest Hemingway

UI are to Apps what Grammar is to Writing. A slick, unique UI does a great job of differentiating your app in the mind of the user but attempting to reach perfection within it takes the focus off the mission at hand — making the users feel welcome and guiding them through to the story of what the app does (the ultimate call to action).

#2

Stick to your own style. “One cannot imitate a writer’s approach to a particular genre, no matter how simple what that writer is doing may seem.” — Stephen King

Your app reflects your brand and should remain unique. Slapping on cookie cutter design with a characterless voice is a sure fire way to rob yours of any character or uniqueness. A first-principles approach to coming up with a user experience may take longer but pays off as it helps create a unique, relevant experience for the user.

#3

Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. — Kurt Vonnegut

Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings. “(kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.)” — Stephen King

Every time a user opens your app, they are making an investment of their time even if not money. The purpose of the app should be to keep the user moving along rapidly in the direction of achieving his / her objective within it. Treat any new additional feature or screen that delays / distracts from the primary objective like a boring part in a book. Trim them ruthlessly, even if you think its your most brilliant creation since birth.

#4

Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. — Kurt Vonnegut

Your app should solve a specific problem for a specific type of customer. The moment you get greedy in trying to solve too many problems for too many types of customers, you will fail to appeal to any of them. A razor-focus in solving a particular need and the determination to keep the app relevant to a particular target audience is usually the recipe to success.

#5

Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is. — Neil Gaiman

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. — Neil Gaiman.

That initial idea, which was the spark which led to the app, sometimes gets lost in the development process. You add layers of features and soon you aren’t serving the purpose you originally intended to. User test often. Even during development. With partial flows and mock ups. Get fresh pairs of eyes to look at the creation and get feedback. Don’t go hunting for ‘intelligent’ users who would get the app but rather bias towards users who have most likely never experienced something like this. However, always look for the raw data on user’s experience within the app (observe as they use) and not their synthesized version of what could be made better in the app. Users are almost always right when they say something doesn’t work for them but almost always wrong when they tell you exactly what’s wrong with the App.

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