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BitMethod is looking for a Communications and Design Intern to help us promote our soon-to-be released product called Change, an iPad app aiming to replace old, clunky cash registers.

We want someone who will nerd out on promoting Change and will find creative ways of communicating with our users and potential customers through our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and email newsletters.

Ideal Candidate
An energetic, goofy person who wants more out of their internship than just school credit. Someone who wants to learn and loves writing, design, public relations and technology.

Details
This is a paid internship at our downtown Des Moines office ranging from 10-15 hours a week with recommended breaks for ping pong and Mario Kart.

About BitMethod
We are mobile experts located in Des Moines, Iowa. We help people design and build useful mobile apps as well as build our own. To learn more about us, take a look around bitmethod.com.

To apply, send us something you've created that you're truly proud of. You can email us at jobs@bitmethod.com.

About the author: We are mobile experts. We help people design and build useful mobile apps. We swoon over well-made interactive products and love finding ways to make complex things simple.

Reach out to BitMethod at hello@bitmethod.com

Technology has made many great strides during my lifetime – from connecting people on opposite sides of the world to making it really, really easy to reserve a table without having to place a phone call. One new arena technology is starting to explore is the importance of context to end-users.

For example, I’ve noticed lately how efficiently I work through an overflowing inbox when I’m using my phone. Mobile phones are not an email-friendly medium – it’s hard to type naturally with only thumbs (although, some people have adapted well), the touch-screen keyboard is less accurate than a computer keyboard, and the relatively small window makes reading (and re-reading) my work less easy. And so I give myself permission to be succinct, responding with a few lines at most, cutting straight to the chase.

When I sit down to my desktop to work through my email, however, it’s a completely different experience. I feel like every email deserves to be a lengthy literary masterpiece, thoughtfully crafted, well-formatted and meticulously edited. Emails that could be answered quickly take minutes. Emails that need extra attention get stuck on the back burner, waiting for that magical day when I have enough time to say everything perfectly.

But when I open that same attention-needing email on my phone, I’m suddenly constrained by the small keyboard and my thick thumbs. So I respond, quickly, clearly and with brevity. Problem solved! My correspondents don’t seem to notice or care where my email was composed. And for me, it feels like a weight off my shoulders.

Email is email, no matter how I access it. But in one situation, I feel stressed and burdened by the responsibility, and in another, I feel free to be efficient. The only thing that has changed is the context. It leads me to wonder: What can desktop email clients learn from their mobile counterparts?

It also serves as a reminder to me of how important it is to consider users’ expectations and experiences across multiple media platforms when building software. Desktops and mobile devices may access the same information, but they are not alike. Each has a different feel and a different set of constraints. How does that affect the end product?

I hope we can one day start leveraging context to change user expectations on purpose. And I hope that day comes soon.

7 comments

Daniel E. Shipton

About the author: Dan is constantly pushing to make interactive products simple and easy to use. He won't stop digging until he finds that sweet spot where design, development and message come together to create an amazing experience for the user.

Reach out to Dan Shipton at dan@bitmethod.com

Over the weekend, our app Eat Sleep was featured in the Apple App Store for Mother’s Day under apps for “Moms on the Go.” The first person to notice was @norahcarroll, our friend from LavaRow. We’re so glad her shout out on Twitter gave us the heads up.

The most exciting part for us was seeing the hockey stick growth on our daily downloads chart. In the first two days, downloads quadrupled and we are excited to see next week’s numbers after being featured for an entire week.

We put a lot of love into our little passion projects, so we’re incredibly proud to have been recognized by Apple, especially since we did this project to help out moms!

Igor Dobrosavljević

About the author: Igor speaks business, tech, project management, and three other actual languages. He has a knack for hardware, networking, and keeping software guys on their toes.

Reach out to Igor Dobrosavljević at igor@bitmethod.com

As I’m sure many of you have heard, OMGPOP, the company who created Draw Something, was purchased by Zynga for $210 million back in March.

For those unfamiliar with the game, found on both the iOS and Android platforms, it’s a play on Pictionary. Users choose a word, draw it for a friend, and get them to guess the word by spelling it out from a dozen letters at the bottom of the screen.

The app launched February 1, 2012, and now boasts close to 50 million downloads. While it may seem like Draw Something has been a bit of an overnight success, the actual game is the third iteration of OMGPOP’s flash game Draw My Thing and took about six and a half months to launch.

Draw Something is a pretty simple game. There’s not much to it and after playing a round, or fifty, it’s natural to start developing a wishlist of features you’d like to see implemented.

For instance, sharing. Right now, there is no way within the app to share your stunning portrait of Lady Gaga. Of course, this hasn’t stopped users. They just simply use the screen capture function on their phone and post it online anyway.

But why wouldn’t OMGPOP launch with that? It can’t be that hard to implement. They are already integrated with Facebook anyway.

A few days after the big announcement of their purchase, Draw Something sent out an email to their users announcing some new upcoming features.

When we aren't busy drawing new Hunger Games words or new words like Kung Fu or Green Day here at Draw Something HQ, we have been cranking out new features.

Coming soon are:

  • Sharing drawings on Twitter and Facebook
  • Save drawings to your devices' photo library
  • Notifications for Android devices
  • Increase of the max streak from 99 to 999 (you guys are rocking it!)
  • Pull down to refresh game status
  • UNDO button for your last brush stroke
  • Even better performance
  • More words
  • And a slew of other fixes and tweaks

“Cool,” I thought. “These will improve gameplay tremendously.” Then it hit me, “Whoa, they’ve really thought this through.” Come to find out, they've become masters in iteration and simplification.

Draw Something is by no means perfect in its current form, but were you paying attention? They have reached almost 50 MILLION DOWNLOADS and just sold for $210 MILLION in less than TWO MONTHS.

In this article from Business Insider, Garrett Peek, lead designer of Draw Something, discusses how early iterations included many of the features from the flash version of their game, but they kept cutting, and cutting, and cutting, to get where they are now.

“We took an axe to anything that wasn't fun and ultimately rebuilt the experience several times to enhance the game on mobile. The process was highly iterative.”

Basically, they identified what was truly important to their mobile users based on what they’ve learned from Draw My Thing, then started fresh with a clean slate.

“It's easy to overwhelm a user. The main goal from the beginning was to make Draw Something as fun, intuitive, and easy-to-use as possible -- not an easy task considering most people don't draw on a daily basis.”

If OMGPOP had released the first version of Draw Something with all the features of Draw My Thing, they wouldn’t be where they are today. Heck, they might still be developing a product that would ultimately fail from being overly complex.

The popularity of Draw Something is a great example of how a minimum viable product should work. Identify what’s truly important to your users and execute those key features well. It will allow you to create a solid foundation to build future improvements upon.

Read more from Garrett Peek on how Draw Something was made at BusinessInsider.com:
How Draw Something, The Hit Game 35 Million People Are Playing, Was Made

For more background on OMGPOP, check out Episode 71 of Build and Analyze on the 5by5 network.

Thank you Lyndsay Clark for providing the kickass drawing of a zombie.

1 comments

Amanda Morrow

About the author: Amanda wants to make the world a less confusing and frustrating place by focusing on good design and user experience. Her goal is to one day see humans and machines peacefully coexist without trying to kill one another.

Reach out to Amanda Morrow at amanda@bitmethod.com

Here are five quick tips to help kick-start your company’s mobile efforts:

  1. Do your homework – Mobile is more than just apps and Angry Birds, it’s about providing something useful for your customers in the mobile context. Talk to them and figure out what they need, when they need it and where. That’s the best place to start.
  2. Audit Yourself – Look your business up on every device you can get your hands on. This means websites, social networks, services, and even email newsletters. How do they look? Can your users still find everything they need?
  3. Tackle low hanging fruit – Update all your information online. Google Maps, Facebook Pages, Yelp, FourSquare, etc. Can your customers find your hours, address and phone number? These services are free and your customers are already using them on their mobile devices.
  4. Think Long-Term – Mobile is here to stay. What is the long term goal you want to work towards? Build an action plan and don’t get caught in the mobile land rush. Provide something useful, not trendy.
  5. Observe – Keep your eyes open as mobile evolves. New services come out each day and some of them may be perfect for your business. Don’t spend time on Pinterest if Yelp is all you need. Existing services like Facebook and Foursquare are also adding new features all the time.

Author’s Note: This list was originally written for and appeared in a “Five Things” feature for the Des Moines Register

Daniel E. Shipton

About the author: Dan is constantly pushing to make interactive products simple and easy to use. He won't stop digging until he finds that sweet spot where design, development and message come together to create an amazing experience for the user.

Reach out to Dan Shipton at dan@bitmethod.com