Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tap Tap Tap likes my iPhone development blog

Last weekend was pretty crazy. Mainly because Tap Tap Tap, one of the most respected iPhone development companies, wrote an entire blog post recommending my iPhone design/marketing blog, Tapity. They essentially said, if your a serious iPhone developer, you need to check out my blog.

The last few days have been pretty cool. Not only has traffic increased but I've gotten to meet a lot of cool iPhone developers through this and my posts have gained a lot more "authority"—increasing the likelihood of being passed on.

Its cool to have your endless hours of research and writing finally start to pay off. So to my fellow bloggers, keep at it!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Must read: 7 Ingredients of successful iPhone apps

Apple has synthesized the seven key characteristics found in successful iPhone apps. Read more on 7 Ingredients of successful iPhone apps. I plan on posting a series of follow up posts on

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tapity — two college kids building iPhone apps and yapping about it

So you may have heard I'm building an iPhone app. In fact, its two of us: me and my brother, Josh. We're out to make our mark in the app industry and we're calling ourselves Tapity. I'm now devoting tons of time toward the project and we've decided to blog about every step we take. While great articles about designing, building, and marketing iPhone apps exist, we've found a lack in detailed case studies, with every step (from Twitter activities to design decisions) documented in a fun, colorful way. We want to change that.

Surely, our beginnings are humble but I'm putting my full force behind trying to get a lot of worthwhile discussion going—hope you join us at, it should be fun.

By the way, I would really appreciate your input on the custom theme I've been designing for (pictured above). Also feel free to follow our new Twitter account: @tapityapps.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yeah, I'm building an iPhone app

So its been almost a year in college and I'm realizing that right now I am in a position that I will never be in again. These four years are a unique opportunity for me to build useful applications for college students—because I am one. Scratching my own itch is sure to scratch the itches of millions of other college students around the world. Wow.

So my first app is called "Make the Grade" (tentatively) and the inspiration came from an unexpected bombing of my Statistics test. I was quite disoriented (having a keen interest in keeping my 4.0 GPA) and thought: there should be an easy way for me to see exactly what I need to do to get an A in this class, despite this test grade.

So, enough with the boring back-scratching back story, I'm a good ways along in the design and a decent way through development so I will be launching a marketing site within a week. Until then, check out the Facebook fan page that I just created to see development updates.

Unfortunately, I've been working on the app all day and need to get back to that Statistics homework. Passionate application development has a peculiar way of sucking one's time away from one.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I had a dilemma the other day. Remembering an interesting debate I had with someone on Twitter, I wanted to refer to it, but how? I couldn't. After some (admittedly shallow) research, I couldn't find a website that allowed me to select my conversation and publish it to the interwebs for easy referral.

So... of course I mocked up an app to do this very thing in three easy steps. I'm actually considering building the thing but would really appreciate your input and suggestions.

Publish your Tweetversations in three easy steps (click to enlarge):

1. Define the user who started the conversation and choose which of this user's tweets started it.

2. Now it displays all replies to this user since the conversation started. Choose the tweet that ended the conversation.

3. Throw out the tweets that don't belong in the conversation. And your done. Save it privately or publish it so you can refer to it in your tweets or blog posts. We may also want to have a "copy the text of the conversation" option so that users can easily embed the conversation in their blogs.

I would really like to know what you think: good idea, bad idea? How could it be better? Etc.

By the way, feel free to contact me on Twitter, my username is jerols

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Getting myself edumacated about "Web Development"

Above is a slide from my web development class. According to my professor, it is a wonderful example of good web design. That was true... a decade a go.

There's some good discussion going on at the University Web Developers Ning group. The topic? How higher ed web professionals can elevate web design at the university level. I added my 2 cents, effectively using >30 of my time, so why not re-post it here?

As a student who has been building websites from an early age (and now work at a web development firm as a User Experience Designer), I can definitely testify to the inadequacy of the "Web Development" course I'm taking this semester. My professor teaches the basic HTML stuff fine but the class is also supposed to teach "web design". Aside from the fact that attempting to pack HTML/CSS/Javascript/ServerSide/Web Design into one class implies failure, my professor hasn't worked in the field since the early 2000s (that's millenia in web years). It shows. The "Web Wizard's Guide to Web Design", which is our web design textbook, was written in 2002. The slides of "good web design" he uses do indeed provide a neat look back in time, to where web design stood in the early 2000s. There's just one problem: we've learned a lot since then. Needless to say I usually use that class period to network on Twitter and read the latest Smashing Magazine or A List Apart article. I don't fault my professor; he does a good job, its just a bit out of date. Below is another example of good web design from my professors slides.

A successful web development course should not just teach stuff (whether past or current) because what we learn now will be obsolete in a few years. In addition to teaching the up-to-date knowledge, it should also infuse the students with a passion to immerse themselves in the industry: read the blogs, check out the new technology, get on Twitter and ask questions... but most importantly, build a lot of websites. If you've got an idea for a cool web app, just try building it. Learn as you go along. Unless you have gotten your hands dirty, you won't have the passion to learn more.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Returning to that fine art

The tweetie bird is nearly leaping out of the clock to let me know its about time to wake from my long sleep. In other words, I finally have some good reasons to get back into blogging and have finally allocated some blocks in my schedule for said purpose.

Away too long, lots to talk about

Over the past 6 months or so of non-blogging, I've accumulated some really interesting projects and interests that I'm looking forward to talk about. Namely:

  • University. I wrote my last post during the last gasp of high school. I've moved on to greater academic pursuits at the UNCC—or UNC Charlotte, as the community-college-association-phobic marketing people prefer to call it. Majoring in SIS, first semester was terrific. A meeting with the dean of CCI (College of Computing and Informatics) led to some cool follow up meetings and a lot of cool ideas—namely solutions to the college's lack of community and student participation. This semester, some other students and I will be spending a good five hours a week (for credit) to experiment with traditional and custom social media (and other means) to build community among the student body—its going to be really fun and I'm going to blog about it here. Which brings me to my next topic...
  • Social Media. A lot of universities are getting into this social media things, experimenting with Facebook, MySpace, and even Twitter in order to build community and get attention among students and prospective students. My perspective in solving this problem is unique in that I not only want to solve the problem, but I myself am the target of these efforts—I'm a student. I'll be blogging a lot about our successes and failures with higher ed social media and I'm looking forward to discussing these issues with students and staff from other universities.
  • Twitter. Related to social media, I've recently discovered the power of Twitter. I intend to use it to network with other developers, designers, and social media people to learn and contribute to the community. I also expect Twitter will help me direct people to my blog in order to carry out more substantial discussions.
  • Web Development Projects. Lots of ideas for web apps (just recently, a Twitter related one) that I plan to blog about: design decisions, discoveries, observations.
  • My new job. I just recently got a part time job at a local web development company called Skookum. I've been enjoying working for them, but I'm under an NDA so I'm going to need permission from da boss before blogging. All I can say now is that we're working on some pretty cool stuff.
It's going to be a great year.