We just released a cool little iPhone app called Hudat – give it a try. It shows you flashcards of your friends from Facebook, or people from upcoming events, and lets you see if you remember their name. The project is interesting both because we think it is a useful and fun app, and also because it was a great example of how you can use our development system – Worklist.net – to quickly prototype and build software. Our co-founder Ryan had the idea and ran the Hudat project over the last couple months in his (very little) spare time, at a total cost of less than $2000. If you signup for Worklist you can actually browse the individual jobs that were used to assemble the app.
If you’d like to learn more, here is a quick interview with Ryan about the project:
So what is Hudat and where did you get the idea for it?
Hudat is an iPhone app that pulls your “friends” profile pics from Facebook and LinkedIn and then quizes you flashcard style to see if you can remember their names. I got the idea on the way to a 3rd grade potluck after my wife chided me for not remembering the parents names even though we had been with them for four years at that point. I was stressed out on the way there — asking her, “who is that guy with the black hair who’s wife does…”
Not good with names huh?
No. I am really bad. The cool thing about Hudat is that not only does it pull in the names and the profile pics but it grabs the lists, groups and events that you are part of or invited to. So, I can create a list in Facebook called School Parents and put all of them in there and then just quiz myself on those people using Hudat. Or, if I am invited to an event on FB or going to a conference I can quiz myself on that event prior to going.
How long did it take you to build and how did you get started?
I mocked up some screenshots in Omni Graffle. Just the basic stuff like what I wanted the login page to look like, what I wanted the flashcard section to look like and saved them as jpegs that I could attach to the Worklist jobs. For the first version, total development time including my design time, project management and testing probably was around 16 hours. Those were not continuous though so the app was ready for the App store in five working days. It took another seven to get it approved
You used Worklist to get the work done. Why?
Well I am a little biased at this point being one of its designers but, It is so easy to break things down into small chunks and make small steps that you can see and learn from. For me I needed someone to look into the Facebook and LinkedIn API’s and tell me how hard or easy it was going to federate and then pull in the contacts and images. I am not very technical so it was more about knowing the right question to ask. I think many product designers/developers know how to ask the right questions to get the technical ball rolling, and it was also easy for me to just ask many of these questions in the chat journal. Worklist gave me a really easy and cost effective way to work with a developer on not only the R&D but the development.
What’s the Journal?
The Journal is Worklist’s public chat channel. It’s like a big lobby that all the project managers and developers hangout in. Often times you will find people hammering jobs out there if it is not too noisy. It is also the place developers go to request code reviews from other developers. You would be surprised how much you can learn about a person just by reading the last couple days of their public chat logs. You quickly see their tone or their ability to collaborate. You can see if and where they are creative etc. It’s a little like reality TV – people may be on their best behavior at first but eventually they forget the cameras are there and their true self comes out.
What is next for Hudat?
We are just waiting for Apple to approve our next build which has the LinkedIn connection working. Facebook was in the first release. There are lots of little things I could do with it, of course Worklist makes it easy to make small incremental changes. But, I think I will leave it be for a while and see what feedback I get from people using it. If even one other person besides me nails every parents name at their next potluck I will be satisfied :)