App in Seconds Interview – Rapid iPhone Prototyping

I recently spoke to Frank Gaine, the man behind a new web-based iPhone prototyping tool AppInSeconds. It promises to allow rapid prototyping of iPhone apps, and is compatible with iPhones itself, allowing you to emulate menus and create mock GPS functionality quickly and easily and see exactly how they’d function on the phone – ideal for rapid iteration of prototypes, or communicating ideas to a development team.

He shared with me some history of the development of the tool, the good feedback it has received so far, and details on where the project is going next.

Your website looks like it’ll be really useful for web developers looking for an alternative to paper prototypes for communicating ideas about iPhone Apps – have you received good feedback so far?

People love the service, essentially because it is so fast and easy. It seems most people are using it to either share an idea with investors or clients as well as using it to test designs with real users during the development process. Best thing is that they can get their ‘app’ on a real live iPhone with no coding whatsoever. They can amend the screens or the idea according to feedback without having spend a dime on development. Here are some testimonials:

“It’s the missing link in mobile app development.” Sam Collins, Eventasaurus

“App in Seconds was exactly what I needed. I was able to quickly throw some mockups online that I can show to people to communicate our idea.” Jessica Santana

“App in Seconds provided us with invaluable user testing. We could quickly evaluate different user scenarios. Our results allowed us to improve our application’s usability by 20%, and the app became one the Top 5 applications for its category on the App Store.” Gavin Dutch, kotikan

What made you pick iPhone apps?

Good question. Like many others we saw the iPhone as the highest profile smartphone. The phone for which more users pay for apps and therefore the one that many app creators want to design for. However, Android’s rise is something that we are not ignoring and is our next target after an iPad version of the service. More people have contacted us about that that any other addition to the service we could make.

Did you use any prototyping methods did you use to develop the software?

The service did exist before I became involved. It had a different name and had been developed out of sheer necessity by two non-Xcode designers that wanted to show their app ideas. Being a UX consultant I was able to point out the aspects that had to change before launching the service as App in Seconds. We recently had an independent consultant carry out a full series of usability tests which have given us even more food for thought.

Are you looking for user feedback now? What channels are you using?

Yes we are still looking for feedback. We see have a Get Satisfaction page and regularly campaign users for feedback by email and through surveys on the site.

Any thoughts on going further? Perhaps adding the ability to export in an iOS friendly format?

Well we will develop the service for iPad and then tackle Android / Windows 7. There are services out there that are already going a long way to creating drag and drop app publication and we are watching that market very keenly indeed.

Are you done with development? What are the next steps?

We have a list of prioritized usability and functional issues that we are making our way through. This came from the usability testing as well as the features our customers have asked us to consider implementing. We’re going to be busy 🙂

AppInSeconds seems a simple solution for accessible prototyping, and allows stakeholders to clearly communicate their ideas to developers, enabling greater participation in the design process. It is out now, and signup is free from their website.

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