My new thing, and how you can help me make it

May 31, 2014

I’m working on a new thing.

It will be a tool for designers and developers to work better, together.

I’ve worked in the technology industry and specifically in designing and building websites, apps and UI-s for, gosh, around 15 years now. As I’ve been in different organizations, I’ve noticed some repeating trends and bottlenecks around tooling and also, more importantly, about people and how they work together. Or, how the workflow could sometimes be more fun and collaborative with better tooling.

Many organizations have by now realized that as technology becomes more and more powerful, everyone is on a more level playing field when it comes to making things. Technology and engineering, while still important, are no longer the limiting factors. Instead, you can stand out from the crowd with better design and user experience.

Yet, as a designer, you still are limited by the engineers who will build the thing for you. Some people seem to think that the answer is to have unicorns: people who can do both amazing design and then build the thing themselves. There are some people like that. If you are one of those people and can do both sides equally well, then I have nothing to teach you. You can do whatever you want. You have accomplished nirvana. Go forth and make things. You, my friend, are free.

For the rest of us, though, we still build things as designers and engineers, and need to work well together while operating with different mindsets and tools. We are united by common goals, yet sometimes have different or conflicting ideas about how to achieve those, when it comes to delivering polished apps. I am working on a tool to help make this collaboration smoother, more efficient and satisfying for all involved parties.

So, where do you come in?

I will have a closed beta period for at least several months. I want the tool to be great when it is published. There still are many hypotheses to test, and loose ends to tie up, and UI to polish, before it’s ready for a wider audience.

I am looking for users for my closed beta period, who are willing to think along and try this thing out. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • You are working on an iOS or Mac app. Both new (not yet shipped) and existing apps (already shipped, now working on updates/next versions) are fine.
  • You have at least one designer and one developer on your team, with both of these roles fairly loosely defined. (“Designer” can be “visual”, “interaction” or whatever else your term is.) The tool is also useful for one-man builders, but I believe it will shine in teams, and that’s what I want to try out.
  • Ideally, you are based in Europe because that’s where I am, and it is easier for me to get around here. Possibly some time during the process, I would like to visit you to learn more about your team, processes, and see how the tool fits in to how you work, as well as help you get started in person. Doesn’t matter where exactly in Europe you are as long as it’s reasonably reachable by plane.

The technology is coming well together, but the project is still in its early stages, so you should be prepared to put up with the usual annoyances of early alpha-style software, like things not working, API-s breaking or changing without proper processes etc.

In return for your time, I can hopefully give you a better development process and a glimpse at how apps will be refined in the future.

If the above sounds interesting to you, then please do get in touch with me.

I will also be at WWDC in San Francisco next week so feel free to also ping or grab me to talk more in person, if you’re around SF during this time.