Inspired Questions - An iOS App By Erik Ralston & Friends
Today my first iOS mobile app hits the store: Inspired Questions, a simple card game for talking about family and wealth. It was conceived by Dave Specht, art design by Josh Kessie, and web design by Terry Carter. We all know instinctively that great things happen when we all get to know each other, and this is a great example.
It all started back in March. The Mobile Makers were having one of our usual monthly lunch discussions at Room to Think. An entrepreneurial financial advisor was going to stop by to talk about maybe needing a mobile app...
He came by and we had a pleasant conversation about how he's often played a social game with his clients where everyone takes turns answering questions. He wanted to formalize it into a mobile app. Bruce Schmoetzer and I then talked to him for a while longer, explaining to him that Tri-Cities does have enough design and development talent to build software products. He seemed encouraged.
Shenoa Lawrence also provided valuable advice: try putting the questions down on index cards and really playing the game for "lo-fi" "basic prototype" for product testing. He promised he would give that idea a try.
Some months passed, then he came back with a "basic prototype"...
One-hundred professionally designed, professionally printed cards in a nice fancy deck box. With a new name, "Inspired Questions", and the trademark to boot. Joining forces with Dave (for inspiration!) and Josh (for design), we set about building the mobile app for iPhone to bring Inspired Questions to the masses.
What follows is a more fuzzy cycle of designing, developing, discussing, and refining. Just watch this montage video until you go from motivated to exhausted...
I did a lot less sweating, but the process was similar.
The app includes a few great technical details in it like a great pattern for CoreData, techniques for social sharing in iOS, and camera integration. Code for some of these techniques will be explored in follow-up posts.
The final product fills me with great pride:
We submitted to the app store, passing on the first go. we called in Terry Carter for web design to finish off the Inspired Questions website, who dropped in like a soldier on D-Day and made it in a weekend.
It was almost exactly seven months of working, between a full-time job and family, on a neat little app that will help other families better relate. While Dave certainly had great vision in what he wanted for the app and I might have known every technical detail to make the software, it required the expertise of a team and the encouragement of a community. It takes a village to make new things reality and I'm very excited by what more lies ahead.