A few words about our iPad app

Our iPad app having hit Apple’s AppStore last week, we thought it useful to give you a little background information on it. You know, the why, who, what, when and all.

We first started toying with the idea of developing an iPad app towards the end of the summer 2010. Apple had just released its game-changing device and, well, we were just as excited as the rest of them. I remember calling Geoffroy (of Central Design, our web agency), foolishly telling him: “we need to do something on that iPad thingy”, thinking at the time that a day or two of coding (three at most) would do it. Not quite, no…

First there was the three months of planning: napkin doodles and sketches, navigation flow charts and design screen shots – picture white walls plastered with sheets and sheets of screen shots continuously being amended, moved and removed. Once the app’s design and flow was set in stone, we met with our developer Thomas (of Suit My Mind), outlining what we had in mind. Once he told us what was doable, and what we could already forget about right from the get-go, he got down to business and started coding. This took another two months (give-and-take), and was the stage where Geoffroy and Thomas really came together like Voltron. I saw the Basecamp exchanges the two wizards had, but hadn’t a clue what they were on about.  All I knew is that I couldn’t wait to test the first version of our app.

Fast-forward to February 2011, and here I was, like a little puppy, installing a first Beta version on my iPad. And I loved it. Sure, it wasn’t perfect and certain tweaks still needed to be made, but then and there I knew we were on the right track. The excitement was palpable, and I could already see the magazine’s name in big letters under the AppStore’s ‘App of the Week’ banner. It was clean, it looked beautiful and, above all, it was Word (my incessant pestering to Geoffroy about needing to keep the app as ‘Word as possible’ had, it seemed, paid off). All we now needed to do was take into account all the feedback people had given us (we had asked the extended Word-fam to test the app out to the max), and we’d be ready to submit it to Apple for their approval. Not quite, no…

First, Apple came back with some rather tedious things they wanted us to change (add disclaimers to contests, remove dummy banners, etc…). Then, the advertiser we had secured to launch the app in conjunction with was forced to pull-out at the last minute following the double-pronged disaster in Japan. And this happened five days before launch. Arg!

In the end, this turned out to be quite an omen as an advertiser we had approached as an alternative, Nikon, showed immediate interest and took no more than two days (two days!!) to come back with a positive answer. Finally, ten months after that first napkin doodle, we were ready for take-off and the tip-top Word icon Geoffroy designed for the app finally made its debut on the AppStore.

So, what can you expect from The Word’s iPad app and its five sections (Life, Style, Music, Culture and Exclusives)? More video content (music interviews, humming sessions, studio visits, neighbourhood guides, summer festival coverage), image galleries (exhibition previews, photographers’ portfolios, throw-away projects) and extended profile pieces, interviews and features. All of The Word’s back issues will also be available for free download. We’ll be posting more tips on how to use our app as well as other iPad applications which would sit well next to ours throughout the week.

I truly hope you enjoy this new version of The Word and please do let us know what you think of it, either on our Facebook page, by email (wewrite@thewordmagazine.be) or by Tweet-mentioning us with your comments.

PS: a massive (MASSIVE!) thank you to both Geoffroy and Thomas for their patience (the levels of indecisiveness they sometimes had to put up with would have driven me mad), perseverance (there is no doubt they were tempted to tell me to, very simply, fuck off more than once) and ingenuity (we basically asked them for 50K euro project without having even a tenth of that budget). If the web/app world sainted some of its players, these two would be top of the list.

Download The Word’s iPad app here