Does your app tell a story?

11 Oct 2013


Hey you…

Come here…


I want to tell you a STORY.

This story starts where most do, with humble origins. There was a girl, let’s call her Annalie, who lived on a farm outside of a small village known for two things: rocky ground that was hard to farm and farmers that were hardened by farming those hard-to-farm farms. Soon, however, this small village was going to be known for a third thing. Something so revolutionary and world-changing that it might as well be only known for that. And it was Annalie who made it.

You see, growing up and watching these farmers farm these hard-to-farm farms helped shape how she saw the world, the needs around her and what to do about it all. So when Annalie created…

But wait.


We’re talking about building mobile apps right?  There’s something you need it to do, you build it to do that thing (or in most cases too many things) and then POOF! Instant success. Right?

But if that’s true, why am I wondering what in the heck it was that Annalie made?! Because, dear friends, we’re wired for it. We want to hear stories, see them, live them. We practically breathe them (I tried, but I blacked out, so I’m not sure if it worked). And if you think stories have no place in business you’ve missed something huge.

We love to hear about a super successful start-up whose humble beginnings in a garage were fueled by some crazy idea, two people who wouldn’t give up and zero sleep. But it’s not just companies and their founders that have a story. The products are telling a story too, be it a thermostat or an app that controls a thermostat. And the more clear the story, the better designed it’s going to be. From the beginning.

When we start down the path developing an app, for a client or ourselves, we have to ask what the story is going to be. What are we trying to say with this thing? Who is the audience (user), what do they expect (necessary functions) and how can we meet that expectation while also bringing them something new and unexpected (unique feature space). And how can we get out of our own way? If the story isn’t compelling, you’re going to build a crummy app. But if you can make it clear, concise and everything in the app points back to that story you’re set for success.

Nail down that story before you decide on feature sets, and you’ll have less change orders, smoother design and approval periods, and hopefully smoother development because you’re building something specific, not the kitchen sink. Mid-project changes are the worst for delivery times, cost and morale. And, honestly, most of the time they are a result of not figuring out the story you’re trying to tell with the app until you’re already neck-deep in making it.

At Chaotic Moon, we work hard with our clients to help write that story in the beginning. Together. Our clients are killer at what they do, and we’re awesome at what we do. With our powers combined we can tell an amazing story together. One app at a time.

Oh, and if you want to know what ended up happening to Annalie and that invention to help the hardened farmers and their hard-to-farm farms? So do I! And I tell you what, whatever it is, I’ll take two.