If you are planning your next vacation then you need this app, it is great. My Vacation allows you to create a travel journal that you can share with friends and family. We wanted to find out more about this ingenious app so we interviewed Tony Short the developer behind it to find out how it all came into being, read more here…
Can you tell our readers how your app was originally thought of, what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?
I had the aim to do an iPhone app before I came up with the idea for My Vacation. For a software developer, the iPhone market is still very exciting, with the potential for one person with a good idea to succeed.
It was during a trip to Jasper, Canada that I made the decision to leave my job to start my own business, hence the name of my company. It was in the same holiday, which was an amazing holiday, that I wanted to create a travel journal – so the idea started from there.
Can you tell us how you came up with the colors and themes ideas, design?
I thought long and hard about the design and what to put on each page. With the size of the iPhone screen you have to sometimes guide or even restrict user choice in order to keep the interface clean. In order to highlight the user’s own photos I kept the controls and background very simple, just employing subtle gradients.
While most of the interface should be logical and standard it can be good to include some experimental parts to the interface – for the user to discover. The first place I did this was the scrolling film roll on the main page. Then there is a small icon in the top right which rotates the colours through the themes of Sun, Ski, Nature, City and Party. I played around with Adobe’s kuler site to give me ideas on colours that work well together.
Who do you see as the main target market for this app?
I think it has a wide global appeal, as we all have holidays which we’d like to look back on in the future. If you look at the demographic breakdown on who visits travel blogging websites there seems to be a swing to female from male users. I think it’s a communication thing!
How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of your app?
It took from October to March to design and produce the app, as well as to set up the website and company. This is probably a long time for your first app, but I started with quite an ambitious and open-ended idea.
How do you view your sales, is there a good solid market for this style of app?
I think the key is to stay in the category Top 20-25 so you are on the first page when IPhone users are browsing. I’d be happy if I could keep My Vacation up there. I wouldn’t call it a solid market unless you are a big brand or have a great app – I’m striving for the latter to start with!
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?
Getting noticed. My background is from software development rather than marketing or sales. I’ve learnt a lot but it’s still hard to gauge what’s been good promotion and what hasn’t.
Would you consider developing apps for third parties?
If the right opportunity came up then yes.
What have you learnt from the App Store since you launched your app?
Not so much an observation about the App Store but the change of work from pre-release to after is noticeable. You can pace yourself before release, you can do things because they interest you and you’re learning from it. After release you have responsibility to users, and you need to divide your time up more. You need to learn when to get outside help.
Have Apple supported you well with your app?
They featured My Vacation in their What’s Hot section in 83 App Stores for 2 weeks which took it to #2 in Travel worldwide, so a resounding yes! For all the negative talk on the controlling nature of the company I think they should be praised for the opportunity they’ve given to small startups.
What next, are you developing another app? Would you go for the same genre again, if not which?
I am working on new features for My Vacation, providing more ways to share your trips, and more location-based information. After the Summer I may look into designing a Photography app which I could also slot into My Vacation.
The Apple iPad – what are your thoughts about it and how do you think your app will integrate?
I have drawn up how I think the interface would look and I think it would be more work than an average port. However, it would be a nice complement to the iPhone app, to allow users to see their vacation snaps on a larger screen.