Birth of an App, Part 5

The Shaping Of Creatalyst

The app was starting to take shape – ideas for sequences, transitions, animations, colors, formats were shared and discussed and played with. Screen shots gave us a sense for how the app would look and initial animations were looked at first on the pc and then an iPad. An entire wall was covered in the architecture of the app, with navigation through the various sections. Where would this action take the user? How would they get back to where they had been? Was it intuitive? Would they get lost? Where there some surprises? Some interesting reveals? Did the experience serve to stimulate creativity? Was it an enjoyable experience? How true was it to the original vision?

I decided the app needed five sections or categories or subjects. Why five? It had to be an odd number for design purposes and three was too few, seven way too many, so five. I had no idea what these would be named at the time but knew ideas would come to me as we moved forward. Beyond relevance, they needed to suggest a journey as well, tell a story and lead the user through the app.

Like building a house, it was time for more details for the app. The basic structure was in place, but we needed walls, paint, light, fixtures, windows, doors, plumbing, electricity and furniture to make it come to life.

The app was going to have five categories but how many images should be in it at launch? How many were needed to be valuable, interesting and useful? And manageable from my standpoint – choosing good images and writing stories to accompany them. Looking at other apps, the number needed seemed to be somewhere between 50 and 100. I’m fairly aggressive so the number became 100 +/-.

I’m not sure what took me so long, but the name for this app had eluded me forever. What to call this thing? It needed a name to help get us focused on delivering its promise. I played with various words and phrases until, one day, it hit me like running into a brick wall, it was that obvious: This app is a catalyst. A creative catalyst. A creative catalyst – so I played with the two words, combined them and came up with Creatalyst. My buddy Jay Liebenguth turned me onto the app “Nomina” that does searches on names – copyright, web domains, etc. – and Creatalyst was available as an app name. Done.

So now it had a name, but it needed a look and feel to bring it to life. The name Creatalyst works in English but can be a bit tricky to pronounce in other languages. We needed to distinguish the “Cre” from the “atalyst” to suggest where the emphasis was in the word and help with the pronunciation. Given its photo-based content, the designer felt it should have camera elements in it but it had become apparent the app would have broader appeal than being just for photographers; in fact the audience for it could be larger outside of the photography universe. After playing with a number of designs keeping in mind the logo should talk to all audiences, we settled on the one here. Purple was chosen as it is a color that inspires creativity and the thought bubbles emphasized the thinking/dreaming process.

We were well on our way now!