Ideas for apps for the iPhone, but no programming experience

Nibbie
Posts: 3
Joined: 2009.12
Post: #1
Dear all. This might be the wrong forum to ask this question, and if so I hope that someone can redirect me to the right place or another site Smile

I have an idea for a great app for the iPhone, but I don`t know anything about programming. So, I would like to work together with someone to develop it.

Thank you in advance for any replies.

Sincerely,

Trinity.
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Member
Posts: 227
Joined: 2008.08
Post: #2
You really aren't going to get anywhere unless you learn programming skills. As far as I can see, you are yet another user with only an idea, and no means to complete it. Sorry for sounding harsh, but you don't get anywhere that way.

This is a great place to learn how to program though.
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Moderator
Posts: 384
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #3
I would encourage you to make a detailed requirements document. This would include:
  • A single sentence that states what the app does and who the app is targeted for
  • A paragraph summary of the app
  • A basic use case of how it would behave
  • Many many sentences that specify exactly what is necessary to build the app. You can put all your ideas down, but you will want to mark when each function/feature could be implemented (mandatory for version 1.1, nice to have for version 1.1, etc). Use phrasing like "The app shall require the first name, last name, high score, and date of each high score to be stored."
    "The app shall require 10 high scores to be stored."
    Use the word "shall" when something is necessary to accomplish what you envision, and use the word "will" when you think something would probably work in a particular way, or when it's not required but seems like a natural statement.

Essentially, you should be able to show this document to a programmer and say "This is what I want to make," and the programmer could say whether or not they could make it, and if they fully understand your idea.

No coding is necessary to write a document like this.
However, a lot of rigor and concentration on details is required.

If you would like an outline, I could try to povde it, but I think it would be helpful for you to try and write something like this yourself. If you cannot define it like this casually, then your idea is not ready to even be considered to be turned into an app.

I would be happy (in fact, fairly delighted) to review any requirements document you make. I think it would be a great learning experience for this community, especially for any aspiring game designers who are either 1) not interested in programming, 2) interested in helping team communication on a semi-large project, or 3) want some experience with how the commercial world of software development works (at least in some companies!).

Try putting it on Google Docs, that's probably the easiest tool to use and is easily shared with others.

However... being able to program is probably the best way to success on the iPhone. Sales of apps are small enough that unless you can break the Top 100, it's not worth it for a large team to develop an app.

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Nibbie
Posts: 3
Joined: 2009.12
Post: #4
Thank you so much Smile I will be going on a one week holiday today, and will write the script as you explained. I will then email it to you Smile

Thank you again,

Sincerely,

Trinity.
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Member
Posts: 194
Joined: 2009.02
Post: #5
LaLuna, I would strongly discourage you from taking Funkboy's advice, it will only lead down a road of bitterness and disappointment- an idea and a dream will get you nowhere 99% of the time in a market like iphone apps, regardless of how good a design doc you come up with. So unless you have some very close friends who code and who are willing to submit to your creative will, I suggest you either, acquire a skill(programming or graphics art) or totally forget about game development all together.
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Moderator
Posts: 384
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #6
NelsonMandella Wrote:LaLuna, I would strongly discourage you from taking Funkboy's advice, it will only lead down a road of bitterness and disappointment- an idea and a dream will get you nowhere 99% of the time in a market like iphone apps, regardless of how good a design doc you come up with. So unless you have some very close friends who code and who are willing to submit to your creative will, I suggest you either, acquire a skill(programming or graphics art) or totally forget about game development all together.
I agree with a lot of what you are saying, especially that in the world of independent iPhone development, being able to program is of vital importance.

However, in the corporate world, people can spend significant (to almost a ridiculous degree) chunks of time writing specs exactly like this. It may not be a skill that will provide real results in the short term, but being able to clearly communicate your wishes to someone else is an incredibly important skill. The exercise I suggest is designed to improve your communication skills and take a critical look at your own ideas.

When I said I am happy to review it, I would be reviewing the overall completeness of the spec. I would not be reviewing the worthiness of the idea, nor necessarily have a great way to get the app made. But I think it is very worthwhile for someone with dreams like those of the original author to be able to fully express what is on his mind, and to have some idea of how to present it to a programmer. There are certainly places online to hire programmers for money - if, after this exercise, one still thinks that one's idea is really great, then coughing up some money to get it made should be more positively reinforced by going through the full design process.

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Apprentice
Posts: 5
Joined: 2010.01
Post: #7
Having an idea is fine if you have the finances to back it up. If you truly believe in your idea then you should invest in it.

There are freelancers out there for design, development, and marketing. You need to set a 'realistic' budget and then have everything prepared before money is exchanged. Write a brief and create a powerpoint demo of what you want with basic wireframe graphics, and borrowed images. This will help you with the 'flow' of the app as you can simply add links to different slides from buttons. This flow can then be tweaked untill you are happy with it.

Once you have that you know exactly what you are asking for:
e.g. Designer - I need 12 screens, 20 types of button which include, continue, back etc
Developer, this is how I expect it to work but with a bit more style so I want the screens to 'slide' flip, rotate etc...

You get a solid payment schedule is place which includes a deposit, an interim payment and a final payment based on certain factors being met.

You will have to learn something to keep costs down, programming is the hardest if your not logically minded, the artwork can be learned via online tutorials or graphics bought from vector sights. Otherwise get a website, learn SEO and get lists of who needs to see your app and concentrate all efforts on that.

Hope this helps
Ian
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Nibbie
Posts: 3
Joined: 2010.01
Post: #8
Having just finished our first iPhone app i'd have to agree with most of the posts - debugdesign info is pretty much spot on. Your going to need a decent budget to get a decent product, and manage the work properly, then test it rigorously and then market it as best you can. It's not easy, and there are many apps that fail. You could try looking for a partner, but be careful not to get ripped off!

It's certainly been a rollercoaster for us, developing the app from nothing, setting up a website, getting it into the app store, then trying to do some indie marketing on virtually no budget - and we have no idea if we'll even break even or make a profit, like everything i suspect we need a bit of luck!

Good luck with whatever path you make, maybe you can update this thread on how it goes if you get into developing iPhone games!
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Member
Posts: 24
Joined: 2009.08
Post: #9
to get the game or app known is the toughest part for me. You can have the best game in the app store, it will sink like a stone if you don't get the word out...
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Nibbie
Posts: 3
Joined: 2009.12
Post: #10
Hey all and thank you for your replies Smile Grin I have actually found a Norwegian app firm who pays for the development and marketing if they see that the app has a selling potensial. You have to make a deal regarding income distribution. But I don`t mind this. It is much better to make some money than none, and see the app come to live.

Again, thank you for your replies, they have been helpful.

Sincerely,

Trinity
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Moderator
Posts: 450
Joined: 2003.08
Post: #11
I believe there are a couple of services like this, and even an iPhone app where you can submit ideas (though I'm not sure about revenue from those submissions), maybe we can have some links handy for someone like this to contact? I don't think anyone on this forum is doing anything like this, or I'd say we should support them, I'd have a feeling they would have responded to one of these. I think http://www.medlmobile.com/ was the one with an iPhone app that lets you submit ideas. Just an idea.
Alex
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