My Medical iOS app is a ‘must have’ for your device. It allows you to keep track of all of your personal medical information as well as other family members, in one convenient place. It is an app that everyone would find extremely useful, we are currently reviewing this app and will publish it shortly but we also wanted to find out more about the background and how this app came about. Read our comprehensive interview with the developer, it’s fascinating…
Please explain how your app was originally thought of and what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?
The idea for My Medical came to me from a friend of mine who is a physician. He said, “Steven, some of my patients have such a tough time keeping track of their medications. Some are writing down notes to themselves on scraps of paper. Some kind of digital organizer would help them. It would help me.”
I took his suggestion with some reluctance; this was nearly two years ago when the iPhone App Store was largely a repository for novelties and silly games, much more so than it is now. I didn’t think the marketplace was asking for something serious, something useful. So it was, of course, a total shock to see that My Medical had a welcome reception from its launch, which has continued to this day.
Explain the design, how you came up with the colors and themes.
Both versions of My Medical for the iPhone/iPod Touch and for the iPad have gone through design overhauls in the past few months. Naturally, in the early releases I concentrated on content and functionality, and for design I mostly borrowed from Apple’s look and feel. But as the app grew I dedicated more time to a sporty design. These days, the iPad is adorned with a faux manila medical folder look, complete with papers inside, a sticky note and a paperclip. The iPhone version does not feature these graphics, owing to its small size. Instead, people can set their own background and color scheme.
Regarding the layout, my mantra from the start was “As Simple as Possible.” As a software user, I don’t want to have any learning curve to use an application, and as a software developer that was the goal I strove for. This is perhaps especially important for medical software. The interfaces of many medical applications will boggle your mind. Buttons, textboxes, checkboxes, lists and tables are everywhere, ostensibly because there is so much information to cover. But it doesn’t have to be like that. I think software designers sometimes forget about the person using the application on the other side. Apple products are known for their ease of use and I was enthusiastic to uphold that distinction in my own work.
Who do you see as the main target market for this app in terms of age, genre and expenditure?
I think My Medical appeals to three broad groups, the first of which is families, who may value having records for every family member all together: spouses can have each other’s information on hand, plus immunization records for the kids, aging parents, and so on. It’s also a great help to people who have long, complex medical histories, or in the case of special needs children, to their parents. Finally, being that My Medical was born of a doctor’s suggestion, I think it can be useful for health care providers who want to take informal notes on their patients.
Of course, My Medical is for everyone and anyone who wants to keep track of their health. In that spirit, I don’t want to segregate anyone on a basis of expenditure. An effort is made to price the app well.
How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of this app?
The planning process took about one month. Personal health records have come and gone, and they all store largely the same information. So the challenge during the planning stage was not what information was going to be in the app, but how that information was going to be presented. Was it possible to make it user-friendly? Was it worthwhile? Only after these questions were answered did I actually start writing the application.
How do you predict sales to be, is there a good solid market for this style of app?
There is absolutely a desire for a mobile health record. That became apparent when My Medical was first available. It was a very different, feature-limited application back then, and it has grown into a robust health record entirely because of comments and suggestions from the people who use it.
People often tell me that they had been looking for something like My Medical for ages, but they either found nothing at all or nothing that fits their needs. The demand is there. It just needs to be connected to the app!
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?
With the proliferation of devices iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Apple’s regular march of new software releases, keeping up with the wide variety of systems that My Medical runs on can be a source of frustration. Pre-release versions of My Medical are tested on my own two devices, while real releases operate on an untold number of models, operating systems, and other configurations. So incompatibles can arise. A feature that works perfectly in my experience might not for a select few, and it can be a challenge to figure out why.
Would you consider developing apps for third parties?
A year ago I may have said yes, when I considered myself an app developer. Now I consider myself less a developer of apps, and more a developer of My Medical. My greatest priorities are providing support and feedback for existing customers, releasing new and improved versions on a regular basis, and reaching out to a growing marketplace.
What have you learnt from the App Store?
Distributing My Medical through the App Store has been a revealing experience. It goes without saying that since the store offers many thousands of apps it’s easy to get lost in the fray. But the upside is that the store is a very democratized environment, and apps that are designed well and do great things have a chance to succeed. I think that My Medical is one of those apps.
In practice, I’ve learned that on the App Store, visibility is critically important perhaps more important than pricing.
Have Apple supported you well with your App development?
I do not have much to gripe about. That Apple exposes apps to a vast global audience is an untold virtue. On the development end, they started out with a lack of transparency and communication (particularly app approval status and documentation) but they have improved by leaps and bounds. I think Apple provides the best APIs there are.
What next, are you developing another app, would you go for the same genre again, if not which?
I’m excited to release the next update of My Medical which will contain several new pieces of functionality. As for another app, it is going to be My Medical for Mac. A Mac version of the app, which will round out the suite. A version for Android is frequently sought after and it is being considered as well.
What do you think about TheAppWhisperer.com? Have we helped you? Would you recommend us? Have we been supportive?
This is my first time working with TheAppWhisperer.com and I would happily do so again. Thank you Joanne for being so attentive. I recommend you to developers and shoppers alike.
Thank you too Steven, that’s great to hear.