Mobile App Ideas Learning Log | Creative Design Lab

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This is a series of learning logs about “Mobile App Ideas”.

Part 1: Design Quantity

Part 1 illustrates how to generate ideas to promote mobile apps for an individual’s needs. I had to design 6 apps for my co-student called Lena. In order to find out Lena’s needs; first, I interviewed her, and then extracted some key words that inspire ideas of apps.

After output 6 apps’ ideas, I designed three icons for the each apps. The reason for designing 6 apps and 3 icons each is to learn importance of quantity.

Profile of Lena

She…

  • is from Czech Republic
  • moved in Worthing last September
  • works at McDonald
  • likes Films, Beauty and the Beast
  • wants to make animation films
  • has a cat
  • will buy a car

Ideas of 6 apps

CatTachInteract with your cat while you are away from her/him.
Whack the BugsMini game; hit the bags in a shop and keep the place bag free
Story Idea GeneratorInput existing storyline, extract keywords and generate new keywords
Take Me HomeAn auto drive app that takes you home safely when you are drunk
Workbook FillerIt helps to create a workbook for CI108 Digital Media Design
Fill the Map: Worthing Find right information or pieces to fill up the map of Worthing

Concepts behind the ideas

1, CatTach

Lena is a busy girl who is a full-time student and has a part-time job. She also has to commute from Worthing to Brighton which takes 2 hours by bus.

This is designed to help Lena to look after her cat and spare time with it while she is away from home.

App title is made up from two words “cat” and “attach” which reflects the nature of this app.

2, Whack the Bugs

The idea came from an old game called whack-a-mole. It is a simple game that a player hits a mole with a toy hammer and earn the points. In this app, a player whacks the bags in a restaurant to keep the place clean.

This app helps Lena to release stress from work (McDonald) by making aggressive acts on bugs. Bugs are an interpretation of her stress.

You can design bugs or upload the images as well as whacking default design’s of bugs.

3, Story Idea Generator

Draft ideas for icon design

When Lena has to write a plot but has no idea what to write, she can just input a storyline of her favourite part of any existing stories. After that, This app extracts keywords from a storyline and generates alternatives which gives her a new story ideas.

This app is designed to help Lena to create/inspire a storyline for her animation films.

4, Take Me Home

Draft ideas

Since Lena is a young student, she will have a lot of opportunity to going for night clubbing and drinking in Brighton. However, she lives in Worthing which is 30 mins away by car.

It is designed to drive her home safe, especially when she is drunk.

5, Workbook Filler

Draft ideas

Lena has to work on CI108 during this summer since she changed her course from Software Engineering to Digital Media.

Building up workbook is a quite a lot of work which involves weekly tasks and self research and reflection. It helps to organise weekly tasks and gives tips to achieve a higher grade.

6, Fill the Map: Worthing

Draft ideas for icon design

This is designed for Lena to know about Worthing who has just arrived to the city in September.

Develop icons for each apps

1, CatTach

The idea of this app is to connect a cat and a person. So I drew a cat with collar that has a censer and a cat wearing a anthena hat which connects its owner.

The first icon is a  circled cat. I think design idea is good because it is simple and visible. However, having signal symbol on a face is not visually good.

Second one was developed to overcome signal on face. The cat is on its side and having signal on the back.

Another idea came up my mind so I visualise it which is a cat wearing an antenna hat. This image of sensor will not be the actual design but can imply what it does.

The problem I found these design is icons show cat with signals but do not show the reasons of having signals. I feel they do not express connection with cat’s owner.

2, Whack the Bugs

The idea of this design came from my first draft idea.

The first icon has a bug that is attacked by a cat paw. I used warning colours such as yellow and red to show aggressiveness rather than having nails. I thought the first design consist too much images, so I simplified it to the second and third designs.

The second design has a bug in a center. I think the design has a strong visual interpretation of app. However, not many people are happy to see a bug on their smartphone. This thought drew me to design the third one that has a cat paw.

3, Story Idea Generator

The keywords for this app are: story, keywords, generate, ideas.

The first design has a book, a lightning, and a lightbulb which are symbols of “a story”, “generate” and “inspiration” as respectably. I drew them with one line (technically I used some more lines) to add arty and creative impression since it supports creative activity.

The second design is a simplified version of previous design. Now inspiration symbol connects directly to the symbol of “story”.

The last design has “a book”, “arrow” and”a dialogue”. These marks illustrates the workflow as inspiration is generated to a new story.

4, Take Me Home

I used blue or purple to create safe and reliable atmosphere, because this app takes you home while you are drunk or sleeping.

I like the first design which is a personificated car that has wings. However, this design is not clearly visible since the lines are too thin. The second design is a bold lined version of the previous design.

I drew wings to imply smoothness of driving which can be seen as “a car that takes you to the heaven”. That is not good!

The last design is worse than the first two designs. I wanted to interpret “it takes me home while I am sleeping” which brought me an idea of adding wheels to the bed. So, I drew a bed with wheels and a sleeping person who seems to be sent to the hospital.

5, Workbook Filler

The tasks of this app are simply filling a workbook with all the required information. All the icon design consist a sketchbook and pieces of information, check mark or interpretation of information. I think they all look fine but just having a sketchbook and CI108 might work as good or can be better than three of them.

6, Fill the Map: Worthing

The keywords for this app are; a map, get to know the place and information.

The first design has a map pointer symbol and text “Worthing”. I used pixelated font to add a sense of retro games. This design and the second design have lime green and light blue which are the colours of land and the sea. Instead of having a map pointer, the second design has a magnetic compass to illustrate the app as an adventure.

The last design has “i” as information. “i” also consists meaning of “I love” in this case, “I love Worthing”. It has a background that looks like jerry.

Part 2: Apply Categories

By Grundy n.d. “The colour wheel” modified by hako

CatTach

Category

catTach is an app that enables you to interact with your cat while you are away from her/him.  This app can be categorised as “Family and Friend” and “Well-being and Health“.

Similar app

Most of pets related apps are usually, playing with digital pets, diary or schedule organiser, dictionary that provides information about health issues. These can not allow pet owners to feed or trace their pets’ day. For example, RSPCA provides  advice and tips on having pets. It also provides free scrapbook and pet photo storage where a user can store and sort photos of their pets.

RSPCA My Pet

Credit: Webmoco Ltd

Whack the Bugs

Category

Whack the Bugs is a mini game to release the stress by hitting the bags. This can be categorised as “Entertainment” and “Well-being“.

Similar app

“Squashing Bugs Madness – Whack Tiny Insect Mania” is the app that has very similar concept that a user hit the bugs to release their stress. It is located in a forest where all the bugs are while Whack the Bugs is located in a restaurant because the target  audience Lena, my co-student, works in a fast-food restaurant.

Squashing Bugs Madness – Whack Tiny Insect Mania

Credit: Francis Jose. 2015

SMASH YOUR ENEMIES LIKE CUTE LITTLE BUGS AND SHOW THEM THAT YOU ARE POWERFUL. The higher the score, the better you will feel! DON’T WORRY – JUST SQUASH ALL YOUR WORRIES.(Jose. 2015).

Story Idea Generator

Category

This app idea is to inspire user to produce new storyline. This can be categorised as “Hobbies” & “Work“.

Similar app

There are a lot of story or plot generators available online. Story Starters is designed for young stars to create a story that provides 4 different themes such as adventure, fantasy, sci-fi and scrumbler. Once a user set a name and key stage it will generate some tasks and keywords. However, I couldn’t find any apps that borrow existing ideas and generate the keywords to recreate a new story.

Story Starters

Credit: Scholastic Inc

Take Me Home

Category

This app takes a user home safely which can be categorised as “Travel

Similar app

Currently there is not any similar apps available to the mass-market, even though autonomous cars are being developed and permitted to use on public road in US (NCSL. 2017). Autonomous cars use radar. laser light and GPS to understand the surroundings. It also consists of control system that can make such decisions as which ways to go (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Google’s in-house driverless car

Credit: By Grendelkhan – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Workbook Filler

Category

This app helps to create a workbook for Digital Media Design. This can be categorised as “Work” and “Learning“.

Similar app

There are many planner apps available for different occasions. myHomework Student Planner is one of them that helps students to be organised with their school life. Unlike other planner apps, my Workbook Filler idea is not widely usable since it focuses on to solve one particular assignment for one single module. However, when I think my target user Lena, this app can be very useful because gathering all the pieces becomes easier.

myHomework Student Planner

Credit: instin, LLC

Fill the Map: Worthing

Category

This app helps to know about Worthing. This can be categorised as “Travel“, “Learning” and “Hobbies“.

Similar app

World Map Quiz is a geographic quiz game which test a user’s general knowledge of geographical information. Fill the Map Worthing is similar type of app but much smaller scale since it focuses on local area of Worthing.

World Map Quiz

Credit: Qbis Studio

Part 3: Synectics

A method of identifying and solving problems that depends on creative thinking, the use of analogy, and informal conversation among a small group of individuals with diverse experience and expertise

(Collins Dictionary)

Direct analogy

In a direct analogy, parallel ideas or issues in real life. This is a simple process to compare between similar ideas and issues.

Clean the water in the Ganges river

Fantasy

To produce magical ideas that do not seem realistic.

Boil the river to kill all the germs

Hoover the river to suck out  sewage sludge

Personal analogy

To think what happens to you if the fantasy solutions was used.

Eatable creatures such as fish die and food shortage happens. Hungry, angry and sad.

Feel bad at killing creatures.

Symbolic analogy

Solutions that represent the problems.

Rocks; Natural water filter

Posted by Aiko Ohakoda