Version 1.0 is always so hard. When we wrote version 1.0 of FastFigures Finance Calculator and released it in February, we really didn’t know what we were doing. We were trying to figure out everything from what Objective-C is all about to how to make the user interface do the things we want it to do. Even worse, we hadn’t used the iPhone enough to have a clear understanding of how we should interact with it.
So we create and change and throw out and create some more and over the course of a few months — from November to February — we refine it enough to have something decent. Decent, mind you. Not great, but good.
Should we continue on for another month or two and keep creating and changing and throwing out until we approach great? Of course. Would it have been better if we could roll out a beta program to a few hundred, get their input, and keep refining until we are closer to great than good? Yes.
But after four or five months of staring at the same code, good feels good enough. So we shipped. And the response was solid. In the first few months, we sold a few thousand units, tried to manage the unmanageable (Top Paid position and search), and learned a ton from talking with and listening to customers who were using it every day in the field.
And with a break, we were ready for our next try. We took all those suggestions and all that feedback, took our new-found experience with iPhone development, boiled it down to a couple of things that we could do in a few months, and got to work. What did we add to FastFigures version 2? The following, all focused on speed, accuracy and ease-of-use:
- Pop-up editors for improved data entry in the templates
- Start-up options to get you where you want to go quicker
- Faster navigation to the calculator
- Improved button sizes and layouts for easier data entry in the calculator and templates
- Memory locations and constants
- Integrated help
In general, the application feels more like an iPhone application, it acts the way I’d expect, and I’ve already heard from a number of customers who dropped their other products to solely use FastFigures. We didn’t ship ‘good’ this time. We waited for great.
And now, with the learning curve behind us and the core in place, we can really get to work. The plans are exciting: template creation, add-ons, saving data, syncing to the web site, report generation… I can’t wait to get started.