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It’s not about features…

Last week, two apps made with Kwik were awarded by two different sources. Their success not only make me proud for, somehow, being part of their stories but mostly because they are a clear examples that, having (or not) feature A or B is not the most important thing when you have a good story to tell.

Every day I receive several requests about “missing feature A” or “feature B should do more than which it currently does”, etc. Last month I was in some meetups with Carlos Icaza and he mentioned in his sessions about the “benefits” of not having all 5,000 APIs provided by iOS SDK into Corona. He reminded us that with “only 500 APIs”, people have done amazing things. Less, sometimes, is more, as you need to be much more creative to accomplish things when you don’t have a full arsenal of resources. The more your brain is used, better ideas will flow.

The same applies for Kwik. “Where’s Paradise?”, developed by Rares and Anamaria from New Mindflow (winners of Ansca’s App of the Week”) and Sparky, the Shark, by Mark Newell from Biscuit Interactive (named one of the 30 Amazing Interactive iPad Books for Children by AppAlp.com) are great examples of talent overcoming technological challenges.

Let’s start with Sparky, which was made mostly by one individual with Kwik 1.6 (no multi-language, no sprite sheets, no sync text and audio, no coloring options, no games, etc – everything people claim to be mandatory items for a successful interactive children’s book).

Our favorite shark is in the list with high budgeted top stories like Morris Lessmore (funded by the State of Louisiana, if I am not wrong, and made by several talented people) and Cinderella, by Nosy Crow (a top developer team in the UK). Great story and pure talent over fancy features.

Where’s Paradise? is another great example. In a prize mostly reserved to amazing games, a documentary made by two film makers (not developers) won Ansca’s prize. Again, no embedded video, maps integration, etc. Just pure talent and a great story to tell.

My purpose with this posting is to invite you to think about what you currently have in hands. Is really a feature what will make your app shine? Is it a missing “page turn” feature (top complaint) stopping you to publish your app? If you think this is the case, check some of the top selling storybooks (not all of them uses it).

Think twice if your story is driven by features (you will not have a winner here) not by content or talent. In fact, take a look at the 30 Amazing… list mentioned above. Many of the apps awarded are simply but well done text+audio+illustrations stories. Sometimes children like more the “box” than the real gift… More features may be cool for you but not inspiring for your main audience.

Let me know your thoughts!

1 comment

  • Great post, Alex. And we’re not saying so because you praised our app.

    We have to remember that apps, ebooks and books are just a way to get your story to an audience. Even having a printed book is a relatively new “feature”. Before that it was just somebody telling a story to a bunch of people willing to listen.

    It’s the same with films. No amount of special effects or use of latest technologies can make a film good simply based on that.

    It’s all about the story and how you tell it. If that doesn’t engage your audience, nothing will.

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