Making apps like strawberry cakes

I just made a strawberry cake for my daughter’s birthday. While making it, I figured that it’s really like making a great app.

First you need to know some basic requirements. Starting off with a recipe you believe in helps.
Then you need to balance out your priorities. What is most important priority in your project?
Well, in a strawberry cake it’s easy. The most important ingredient is strawberries.
So, I maximized on strawberries. I didn’t go with the one liter requirement. I went with three liters.

Focus on your app’s key priorities!

Once you are done with priorities, you need to think in layers.
Every layer counts. It doesn’t matter if the cake only looks nice but just one layer beneath it is crap.
In fact, the user interface (first layer) might be pretty but if any layer beneath it fails the entire user experience fails.
An app depends on stability and performance through all layers including the UI, local component layer, local data storage layer, and even through the integration with backend components.

So, the layering starts. Prepare by slicing a lot of strawberries.
What ever the user likes the most, spend the most amount of time on that.

Think. Prepare. Do.

For the first layer, you’ll need vanilla cream and sliced strawberries.
Vanilla cream gives a great base taste. It sort of scopes the cake.
App scope is critical. Make sure you don’t go too wide, a great app does often just a few things, but does them very well.

First layer: Vanilla cream and then strawberries

For the second layer, you’ll focus in on what matters. As I’ve already said, it’s strawberries.
Strawberry mousse made of cream, gelatin, and strawberries. And on top of that lots of strawberries.
The mousse gives great texture. Great apps also have great textures such as responsiveness, predictability yet open for the user’s imagination. Lots of strawberries here. Learn exactly what the highest priorities of your user or give as much awesome smartness as you possibly can come up with. But package whatever you do, in an easy to use format.

Second layer: Strawberry mousse and strawberries

For the third layer, you are preparing for that final UI touch. Prepare well.
To make the last strawberries really pop, put some melted white chocolate, cream cheese and cream on top.
And on the side, some whipped cream to make sure the strawberries stick.
Make sure the context around your app optimizes its value. Streamline your processes, align your app look and feel with your overall brand.
And in a narrower perspective, your app’s visual background: make sure it’s calm and quiet so you can direct the user’s attention to what’s important.

Third layer: White chocolate and whipped cream on the side

Finally, you greet the user with fireworks. Go all out on strawberries. See biggest one? Right in the middle. Whatever that matters the most with your app, make it visible already on the first screen of the app. Make it impossible to miss. And right in the middle, put the best idea you came up with!


So there you have it. Optimize whatever characteristic is the most important for the user.
And be sure to focus not only on the top layer, the user interface. The entire user experience has to be consistently excellent.
Layer by layer.
Just like a strawberry cake.


3 Responses to Making apps like strawberry cakes

  1. Bobby Ngai July 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Developing apps never looked so tempting! I am now wondering how your strawberry analogy extends to repeat app use. Knowing you are an advocate of designing an app to be used more than once I Iook forward to the next course 😉

  2. Andreas Sjostrom July 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Of course!

    Another question: How do you industrialize cake making without sacrificing beauty?

  3. Bobby Ngai July 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Proven recipes, good ingredients, a capable kitchen, and a chef’s flair?

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