Would you pay a premium for simple & flexible?

176

I would. It is hard to find things that combine simple and flexible these days.  There are plenty of “single purpose” web services and apps these days, but they sacrifice flexibility. And anyone that’s used Ebay lately will tell you that the other end of the spectrum is the only thing worse.

Recently it was hard to find what I would define as a “simple” wordpress theme and most applications I see aren’t simple and flexible enough.  Yes, the two can go together.

I spent a lot of time on  http://themeforest.net/ and countless other sites looking for something like this blog theme.  I would have paid $50 to $100 for something even simpler instead of the $20 I paid for this theme.  Yes… I would have paid more for less done really well in a flexible way that would enable me to do something like this. 

I classified 90% of the themes I found as unusable. Everything was image heavy, rounded,  3d scrolling , cufon font having, etc.  Let me translate these “features” for you into what they mean: 

  • image heavy = not easily flexible.
  • Rounded = Poor browser support
  • 3D Scrolling = Bad Performance. 
  • Cufon Fonts = Bad Performance and sacrificed simplicity

The other day someone left a 2-star review of GoodDay on iTunes that read:

“This is about as simplistic of an app as you’ll ever find.  For what it does it should be free.  There are other apps that are free or cost $1 that have way more features…”

I took this as a compliment. The goal was to create a flexible app that was so simple I could open it up, rate my day, and close it in < 30 seconds with as little need to forward, back, click, or swipe as possible.  Adding a bunch of features that the competitive apps he mentioned contain would have made it take more than 30 seconds to rate your day. This person was clearly not someone that believes what I believe and, if I could, I would get him his $1 back in iTunes.

How about you… would you pay a premium for simple and flexible?

Skip the splash screen in your apps

Someone reported a “bug” in GoodDay that they “didn’t like the splash screen” I used:

And I admit that I’m not a designer, but I thought this was a clean screen to show while the app was loading.  Until…

I started playing with the built in Apple apps and realized they don’t use a splash screen.  Watch the iPod app open if you want to see what I mean.  They basically load a shell of the UI and then the UI renders on top when it’s ready.  So I set this as my goal.  I built the following “Splash” screen.

In my opinion:

  1. It makes your app feel like it’s loading faster than it is.
  2. You’ll fit in more with expecations that have been set by the default apps.
  3. You don’t have to design a splash screen. 🙂
  4. Apple’s style guide recommends this approach as well… and Apple is never wrong… right?

Now, if you are using PhoneGap to build your application for the iPhone you’ll notice a bug loading the default.png file where it “jumps” 20 pixels right before your app loads as shown here:

If you want to fix this issue you’ll need to tweak the main PhoneGap library code in the following way:

1. Open PhoneGapDelegate.m

2.  Roughly around line 188 you’ll find:  imageView.tag = 1;

3 After that line add: imageView.frame = [[UIScreen mainScreen] applicationFrame];

Hopefully future versions of PhoneGap fix this issue, but for now this will have to do.

Enjoy!