5 Top Tips for New App Designers


So you have a great idea for an app. Fantastic! Pick up a pen and a sketchbook or just a big sheet of paper. Not sure where to start? Follow these tips from Taptalk CEO Onno Faber

First ask yourself…

What is the most important thing for people to do in your app?

What happens when people open your app? What do they see?

What if there was only one button? What would you want that button to do?


Try to draw the home screen. When you’ve worked out what will happen when people leave that screen, draw another screen.


Ask other people what they think of your design.

Always make notes of their observations so you can know how to make it better.

TapTalk’s latest app, STREET, is a collective drawing app. Inspired by street art, it’s an infinite canvas where people can draw and instantly share their creations. Download to get started at getstrt.com

Onno Faber mentored girls learning to make apps at CyberGarage Girls Make Apps class in San Anselmo, California.

img_1916Kidscontent owner Claire Comins is leading this class. For more info, see www.thecybergarage.com

Technovation Challenge: Diary of a coach

I signed up to be a coach for Technovation Challenge. It’s an international girls app development competition that encourages girls to make apps that solve community problems.

Technovation helped me connect with a mentor from Salesforce. I already had a team – a group of three girls in Berkeley who are daughters of a couple of friends, plus possibly another group from a middle school local to me in Marin County.

Saturday before the first meeting: Attended a Technovation Challenge girlsmakeapps workshop. This was a demo of how to use App Inventor by Dave Wolber, a professor in CS at the University of San Francisco. He’s also the author of the appinventor.org website, a great resource for activities that the girls can use to get familiar with the software they’ll be using to make their app.

2016-01-19 16.59.02First meeting for the Berkeley team was at their home. We’d hoped to connect with our Salesforce mentor through gotomeeting but it took such a long time to get the wi-fi sorted that we went ahead and used pens and paper to do the first activity. Each girl divided a large sheet of white paper into 8 and drew pictures: 5 that said something about their hobbies, activities and 3 that were ideas for things that could make an idea for an app. I made it clear there were no right answers and so it was impossible to get anything wrong: the idea was just to get ideas out and be happy sharing as a group. I did one and reminded myself of an app idea I had long ago to create a birdsong identifier app.

Anyway, the girls came up with some really interesting observations and ideas. As an indicator of depth, here’s one of the first ideas: ‘I put world peace. Why should we be killing each other? Life is short, why make it shorter?

With that, here are other words that came up frequently in a wordle. Will be interesting to see what sticks as we move through and distill the ideas further.