In the first installment of this series, I told you that I had done the design for the first version of Well Tempered myself. But the design didn’t look great, and the logo was not selling the tuner either.

For this version, I wanted to have a better design. Not having learned, I thought I’d become a better designer and went to work, but having spent enough time with my sketches, I found that I should call in the professionals. I looked at a lot of designs people had made and asked for some quotes, providing my initial design, my wishes, a history of the project and its economy, and codes to be redeemed in the app store for my old version.

Out of a total of eight designers that got back to me, I chose to work with two. I really wanted to have multiple inputs, and was even contemplating doing two distinctive versions of the app. Oh boy, what a load of extra work that would have been! One of the two quickly became silent, though, so I ended up working only with Aleksandar from Serbia.

Working with Aleksandar was really a lot of fun. We did all of the work through 99designs, and I can really recommend it as a collaboration tool for design projects. 99designs concept is to solicit many designs and only pay for the one I really like. I opted not to go with this concept, trusting more in me finding designers and thinking I would feel bad for all the designs I would choose not to pay for. But 99designs got their cut by having the collaboration tools and by holding the payment until the end of the project.

Aleksandar isn’t a musician, but we had fun iterating through the designs. Whenever I thought something hard to explain to a non-musician, I would just shoot an iPhone video, put it on Dropbox and send him the link. I’m sure he knows a lot about how to tune an instrument now. He also ping-ponged with his musician-friends, and delivered a design that I thought looked really good. I’ll admit, it was in many ways very close to my initial sketches, and that worried me, as I’m not a skilled designer. But running it by other musicians, it got good feedback, and thus I went ahead with that.

But here was the first stumbling block - I got so caught up in ping-ponging about the design that I waited with implementing it. Yes, implementing right away before something is mature makes for code that is best thrown away, and has the risk of locking you into that design since it is easy to start resisting changes knowing the extra work it will bring. But in retrospect I really should have implemented parts of it, because as I started implementing the final design, I noticed there were lots of usability issues that we hadn’t worked through. I very was happy with the responsiveness with Aleksandar, even after we thought we were done, but I also reworked parts of it myself and asking for his thoughts on it.

Come back for the fourth installment of the Well Tempered behind-the-scenes story.

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