Iterative Design: Boise's Most Wanted

The methodology that we use in software engineering is called iterative design, whereas we develop the app in stages, concentrating on functionality and then improving the app's features over time, step by step. This is as oppose to trying to build out the entire spec and realizing at the end, either the idea was no good, or requirements have changed so much that our solution is no longer valid.

I started with a simple idea to turn Boise's Most Wanted page into an app for the iPhone. What better way to track down fugitives than to carry around their wanted posters in your pocket. The idea was simple and so was the implementation. It wasn't an ellaborate scheme to try to get it to work but in fact 2 hours and we had a working, fairly useful app.

 

I stopped there. The app wasn't very pretty, it wasn't very functional, but it was a high fidelity prototype that I could show people and gauge their interest. As it turns out, people thought it was a cool app. Would they pay for an app like this? This particular one, most likely not, but I didn't need to spend a lot of time on it in order to get it in front of people and get them sharing their ideas with me. People came up with some interesting features that could make the app worth a $0.99 download. I also got a few tips from Nathan Barry who is a great mobile designer and in just a few tips from him, a few more hours of development, we have a new iteration.

 

However, with any software development, features always seem to creep in, so we're sticking to our initial feature set, improving that, showing it off again, improving it more and we'll be releasing it soon enough after some initial polish. I was tempted to release it as is, but it's only a few hours more of development to get it looking a lot better.

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