I designed, user tested, built, and published an Android app in the Google Play Store.
After a few seasons of boating at Lake of the Ozarks (LOTO) and listening to other boaters my wife and I realized there was a need for something to help people find their way around the expansive 1100 mile shoreline. Google Maps is great (I’m a Level 5 Local Guide and a Map Maker for Google Maps) but many of the businesses at The Lake change so quickly that Maps is very often out of date. Maps also lacks a way to display the mile marker system that is vital for navigating waterways.
So far the app has over 750 installs and the Google Map that powers the app has over 20,000 views.
I did some rapid lo-fi wireframing in Balsamiq Mockups and used interactive wireframes to validate my concepts with some potential users.
This was intended to be a mobile app from the outset so Balsamiq was not the ideal tool for user testing since there aren’t any mobile PDF viewers that do a good job of handling the hotspots in PDFs that Balsamiq creates. Marvel was brand new at the time and this was a great reason for me to learn to use it.
When I moved into Marvel I went into higher fidelity: Check out the Interactive Marvel Mockup
I used the Marvel mockup to iterate and facilitate quite a few conversations until I felt confident I had something useful and fun to use.
Here’s an overview of the interactive mockup: Marvel Mockup Overview
I built the app using Cordova, a Google Maps API, and a KML map that I created and keep updated.
The current version of the app is not too far off from the concepts. This is a recording of the actual app: Lakefront at LOTO Overview
I put together a little responsive website to give an overview of what the app does.
I promote the app on Craigslist, MidwestBoatParty.com, and a t-shirt. I also created a logo for the boat racing team Wax on Wax Off Offshore Racing and in trade they are sporting the app’s logo on the boat which is campaigned around the country.
I’m proud of the fact that I was able to do the entire thing from end to end; concept, design, build, promote. Of course, nothing is ever done and I have plans to move to a different mapping API so that I can create a more elegant user experience.