1. Mocking Pad for iPad – Week 1 Sales Stats and Other Things of Interest

    November 30, 2010 by accidentalfish

    Mocking Pad has been on sale for 1 week now and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in the hope that its useful to other enterprising iOS developers. It’s worth noting before reading on that Mocking Pad requires iOS 4.2 and was released on the same day as that update.

    I wrote Mocking Pad because it was something I wanted, scratching an itch as the cliche goes, and when I started there was nothing else that did it on the iPad. There are now a handful of competing apps that were released beforehand but none of them quite worked how I wanted to and so I carried on – thats not to say they are bad app’s, they’re not, I just wanted something that was a little different and the great thing about being a developer is that you can go ahead and do it, all it takes is time. Anyway – I had no idea what level of sales to expect from the App Store for a paid app on the iPad and I’d given no serious thought to it’s potential profitability, it was and is a labour of love.

    And so its been incredibly pleasing to find myself with around 40 users. That’s 40 people who have found it on the App Store and think its worth their money. Fantastic! If you’ve bought Mocking Pad – thank you.

    The only real promotional work I’ve done so far is a promo code giveaway via Tap! magazine’s Twitter feed (@tapmaguk – worth following, thanks for the love!) and a similar giveaway on this blog. The Tap! magazine codes got snaffled up very quickly but I think a couple of this blog’s promo codes are still available.

    Looking at my blog and web site logs it would appear most people are coming across the app directly in the app store or searching for it in Google (presumably after seeing it in the App Store). There’s been a notable increase in my blog traffic even though its not linked to directly from the App Store and people are searching through the blog for information on Mocking Pad.

    Given the app sells for $9.99 (£5.99) you can figure out roughly how much money I made over this week pretty easily (I’m going to share sales stats but not revenue). I’m pretty happy with that – it might not be quit the day job and head off into the sunset money but it’s certainly in new laptop territory and for what is currently a side project (albeit one I have invested significant time in) I think that’s fantastic. Will it keep up? Time will tell.

    And this is where the App Store really scores big for developers like me – in the absence of the App Store chances are I would have developed Mocking Pad anyway. As I said earlier it was something I wanted and was interested in writing. However without the App Store and the sheer convenience of being able to put a product on sale I would have had to distribute it for free and if I’d done that there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have reached the level of polish I think it has and been as useful for other people as I hope it is – knowing you’re going to be charging people really focusses the mind.

    Finally, and most importantly, what I’ve loved the most about this past week is the feedback I’ve had from real users. Sure I issued a beta to friends, friends of friends and colleagues but since release I’ve had feedback from actual real life paying for the app users. I made it easy for people to get in touch by building a “Get Support” button prominently into the application and that’s paid off as over 10% of my users have taken the time to get in touch with me, for which I am incredibly grateful.

    The feedback has been in the form of questions, opinions on whats good and bad, and ideas for new features. All of which I can use to guide me in making Mocking Pad into a better app. I’ve already been able to take some of this and build it into the update I’m working on at the moment. If you’re a Mocking Pad user then please do get in touch – I can’t guarantee that I will implement specific requests but, well, I’m listening!

    I’ve also had feedback in the form of two 4* reviews on the US App Store which were accompanied with thoughtful comments. Again this is incredibly gratifying – particularly as one of the reviews mentioned the “feel” which is something I’ve worked really hard on, I really wanted Mocking Pad to feel like the iPad was its natural home and admittedly used some of the larger Apple apps as a guide.

    I think its also worth mentioning two mistakes I made. Firstly I marked the debug build as being 3.2 compatible but not the release app store build. I’d intended that it would function on all iPad’s and not just those that have upgraded to 4.2. Secondly I missed a fairly obvious keyword when submitting the app to the store which means my app doesn’t always get returned along with my competitors and I can’t update the keywords without submitting a new version. There’s one on the way but I’m still kicking myself over that.

    I’ll feedback again in a week or two’s time.

    If anyone has any questions then feel free to ask.


  2. Mocking Pad – Promo Code Giveaway

    November 28, 2010 by accidentalfish

    Looks like all the codes have all gone I’m afraid.

    Fancy a free copy of Mocking Pad for your iPad? Yes? Well give one of these promo codes a go in the US iTunes store:

    AW4TWFM3LP3H
    KEMPLK647JN3
    9LATJMMMWT3E
    LT9A9FFHY6YA
    E4HPJMKM94AK

    First come first served!

    If you try it and like it (or not!) I’d love to hear your feedback: I want Mocking Pad to be hands down the best mocking and wireframing application for the iPad.

    You do need a US iTunes account to redeem promo codes (Apple’s limitation not mine) but if you’re not in the US you can use this sneaky workaround to create an account without a US registered credit card.


  3. First Customers

    November 24, 2010 by accidentalfish

    I’ve just received the sales and download figures for the first few hours that Mocking Pad has been on sale and I’m incredibly happy and grateful to find that I already have a handful of customers.

    If you’ve bought Mocking Pad: thank you and I hope that you feel its money well spent. If there’s anything you want help with or think needs to be improved then let me know. You can get in touch via the blog, through the application itself (click the Get Support button on the project page), or directly at websupport@accidentalfish.com.

    If you’re thinking of buying Mocking Pad but not sure then also get in touch and if I can help you I will – I promise honest answers and no sales pitch!


  4. Mocking Pad Released

    November 23, 2010 by accidentalfish

    I’m incredibly happy to be able to say that Mocking Pad went on sale at 2:47 (GMT) today. You can find it alongside many other splendid apps in the App Store. It’s in the price bracket that means its available at $9.99 in the US and £5.99 in the UK.

    Developing and releasing a piece of software is a long and at times difficult journey and so hitting a milestone like this is a mix of elation and relief, but also trepidation about what comes next: supporting customers, making updates, carefully choosing new features and (sadly but no doubt) fixing bugs. Phew.

    If you decide to download Mocking Pad, and I hope you do, then I’d love to know what you think about it whether that be good or bad or things you’d like to see in a future version. You can leave comments here, get in touch through the applications support feature, email (websupport@accidentalfish.com) Twitter (@accidentalfish) or via an iTunes review.

    Finally I’ve got some promo codes to give out: ten spare this month. You’ll need a US iTunes account due to a restriction in how they work (if I could giveaway global promo codes I happily would). I’ll give them out on a first come first served basis. If you’d like one just get in touch through any of the methods I mentioned above.


  5. Mocking Pad – Good News!

    November 16, 2010 by accidentalfish

    Great news – Mocking Pad has passed the App Store review process!

    But, and you knew there’d be a but right, it’s built against iOS 4.2 and that isn’t out quite yet which means it has to be held back until it is. Some rumours say iOS 4.2 will be out today, others say the end of the month. Unsurprisingly I have no special insider information!


  6. Waiting, Interminably Waiting

    November 13, 2010 by accidentalfish

    Its only been 6 days since I submitted Mocking Pad for review to the App Store but it feels like forever – it always does! Given the release of iOS 4.2 is just round the corner I’m pretty sure Apple are giving priority to reviewing updates to existing applications: makes sense. As soon as I have any news (happy I hope) I’ll post an update.

    In the meantime I’ve been thinking about what I might put in a follow up release. Currently heading the list is an aspect ratio / constraint lock when resizing stencils along with a couple of new stencils: segment button and iOS tab bar. And of course any bug fixes that are required.


  7. Submission!

    November 7, 2010 by accidentalfish

    I finished Mocking Pad’s testing and bug fixing yesterday and submitted it to Apple for App Store approval. Fingers crossed. I’ve never had a submission rejected before but then I’ve also never submitted something so large.

    I feel like I’m crossing out of my comfort zone (development) and into more unfamiliar territory now: marketing, pricing, copy writing etc.

    For starters I submitted this as the App Store description:

    Mocking Pad will help you quickly and easily create sketch like wireframes of your application ideas. Low fidelity sketches can help you and your clients focus on whats really important in the early stages of application design and not get distracted by pixels and colours.

    Mocking Pad is great for collaborating on designs: in face to face meetings you can pass the pad around between colleagues and clients to iterate rapidly, and when working remotely you can share designs in a variety of formats via email and Dropbox. If you want to share your designs over your WiFi network then Mocking Pad can turn your iPad into a web server allowing the viewing of your designs from any web browser.

    * Minimal UI lets you focus and maximises the work area
    * Large selection of prebuilt stencils for web, desktop and mobile
    * Stencils snap together for quick placement
    * Wide variety of layout tools (center, align, make same size etc.)
    * Share and collaborate with colleagues and clients
    * Integrates with your workflow – export to Illustrator and Inkscape via SVG
    * Manage multiple projects and pages within projects
    * Share your stencils over your WiFi network in any web browser directly from your iPad

    Mocking Pad development is continuing, let me know via the website or directly through the applications support request feature access what *you* want to see in future versions.

    Along with these images:

    tn_screenshot1.pngtn_screenshot2.png

    tn_screenshot3.pngtn_screenshot4.png

    Initially I’ve set the price at $9.99 which is similar to competing products. I’m not really interested in a race to the bottom however and may put the price up on later releases.

    Now I’m trying to take advantage of a break before the product goes on sale to recharge my batteries a little, but after working so hard for so long I’m finding it difficult to sit back and “just relax”.


  8. The Fear

    November 3, 2010 by accidentalfish

    Over the years I’ve read many books on entrepreneurship, both about software itself but also more generally, and one thing that is often talked about but I’ve never quite connected with is the fear that surrounds launching a new product and the need to move past it and not become gripped in a cycle of procrastination disguising itself as perfectionism. You gotta ship!

    After all I figured – I’ve been there and done that. I’ve delivered many products over the years in a variety of markets and models. Some shrink wrap, some enterprise, and both public facing and internal websites. I’ve had my share of successes and flops and while I’ve certainly worried and always been determined to deliver a good job and felt great when we’ve made our users happy and bad when I’ve felt like we’ve let them down I’ve never come close to paralysis, and I’ve certainly never felt any fear.

    Rationalising this, I told myself, these were delivered on behalf of someone else: usually my employer. There’s a plural involved. And I wasn’t in the direct line of fire if the product went wrong or was badly received. Sure if its bug-ridden software I’d feel the pain of trying to fix it under pressure or maybe even lose my job but no customer was likely to tell me to my face: your software sucks.

    I also thought about the open source and free software I’ve released. Things like Photo Drive and the Activate Your Glutes website. If people had been unhappy about them then sure I wouldn’t have felt great about that, I wanted to do a good job and make something useful and if I could fix the problems I would, but heck, ultimately they’re free, things I’ve given away with no real obligation: they work for me and if they don’t work for you then just throw them away. All it will have cost you is a little time.

    However now Mocking Pad’s release is imminent, it will be submitted to Apple in the next few days, I finally understand The Fear. I’ve invested a lot of time in Mocking Pad. A lot of me. And now I’m about to ask customers directly, for the first time, to give me money for it. To say to people hey I think this is worth $10 of your hard earned cash.

    And you know something?

    Thats scary.

    I mean lets get realistic about this.

    Maybe no one will even notice it, it will be ignored and sink without trace. Ouch.

    Some people will see the product but judge it to be poor before buying it.

    Other people will buy the product and it won’t quite do what they want.

    And some people will buy the product and hate it.

    But maybe, just maybe, some people will buy the product and love it. Maybe most people. They’ll find it useful. It will help them out. They’ll become fans and talk about it and tell people about it and they’ll buy it too.

    And it turns out that thats how you conquer The Fear. Better still thats how you use it. You use the fear to drive you to do your best job but, like Schrödinger’s cat, you won’t know how your products going to do until you open the box and release it. And if you’re anything like me you need to know if the cats alive or dead.


  9. Finding your iPhones UDID

    November 1, 2010 by accidentalfish

    If you’re taking demo or beta iPhone software from me then the first thing I’ll ask you for is your phones UDID. This is needed for the code signing process used by Apple when distributing outside of the App Store.

    To find this:

    1. Connect your phone to your computer.
    2. Open iTunes (if it doesn’t open automatically).
    3. Click your iPhone under devices on the left sidebar.
    4. Go to the Summary tab.
    5. Click the Serial Number field and it will change into the UDID.
    6. Now go to the Edit menu and select Copy (or press Ctrl+C on a PC or Command+C on a Mac).
    7. Send this to me in an email.