Launching Next!: Experience of a first-time app developer


By Jenny Wager
Founder, LefTurn Labs

I am thrilled that there is interest in hearing how Next! was launched. So let’s start at the beginning- the idea for Next! was born from my obsession with productivity and desire for a solution that worked how I worked. There is a certain efficiency that technology can bring to personal productivity, but everything I tried merely replicated paper-based system.

I am not a software developer, marketer, or designer…all things critically important to launching an app. So the first thing I needed was a team- I was lucky enough to partner with my neighbor and brilliant developer Grant Wood, friend and marketing wiz Sean Irwin, and awesome designer Jay Runquist. Together we turned my idea and shoestring budget into a fully integrated and beautiful productivity app used in over 80 countries around the world. We are learning something new every day, but here are the things that I have found to be most important in the launch of Next!:

Design with intention. Like Bob said, beauty is not optional. The app store is all about first impressions so from the design of the app itself, to the app icon and website everything should be designed with intention. This was very important to the development and launch of Next!. Even with our small budget we took special consideration to develop custom components instead of using Apple’s and to create an elegant design. Don’t take shortcuts and don’t launch ugly.

Differentiate. There are thousands of productivity apps out there and more released everyday. Understandably it is extremely difficult to stand out from the crowd. There are too many apps in the market to simply create another ‘me too’ app. If you don’t have an idea that is different in user experience, design, or functionality from what is already out there you are going to have a difficult time competing in the app market. The unique features, design and user experience of Next! has helped us gain recognition.

Be persistent. I didn’t expect to launch Next! and then just sit back and watch it climb the charts. With the amount of apps out there it is critically important to keep your app relevant in the market. Thankfully, there are an amazing amount of app review sites, bloggers and other sources that can help promote your app. It has taken me a great deal of hard work and persistence to contact and follow up with outlets who can spread the word about Next!.

Work for your customers. There are going to be people who don’t understand and/or don’t like your app, but that doesn’t make it any easier to see 1 and 2 star ratings or receive harsh criticism. I’ve learned to focus on the emails thanking me for this product and the difference it has made in their lives; from the couple who is using it to plan their dream wedding to the business professional who is now more confident to take on the next big project at work. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore feedback and criticism. It is important to understand all the ways to make your app better and more usable, but I remind myself every day that I am serving my customers- not everybody.

Next! for the iPad

Launching Next! has been a wonderful and unpredictable journey which has afforded me the opportunity to participate in this exciting market and to impact individuals around the world. Next! has a long way to go before reaching its potential and we would love to hear your experiences and suggestions.

About LefTurn Labs

We founded LefTurn Labs with a mission to create the most complete and engaging software app for getting organized, improving productivity, and taking control of your life and your career. To discover the power and confidence that comes from being in control of your life, please visit lefturnlabs.com or follow the company on Twitter @lefturnlabs.

Comments

  1. Thanks Jenny for sharing this. We’re about to launch and good to know that nice gals finish first.