Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta brought an idea to into our Launchpad class this quarter: why is the experience of mobile news browsing so bad? Both experienced IPhone developers and design thinkers, they set out to see what a user-driven experience might look like on a new platform, the IPad. Six weeks and dozens of cycles through the design process later, they released Pulse, which allows users to customize what sources they want to see news from, while offering a rich, interactive visual experience. Three weeks and more than 50,000 downloads later, it’s the #1 paid app in the IPad’s app store. During his speech at Monday’s World Wide Developer Conference, Steve Jobs demoed it, calling Pulse “a wonderful RSS reader.”
One key to their success has been the ability to make user-driven lemonade out of constraint lemons. How? They took the fact that they didn’t have dedicated office space and turned it to their advantage, making downtown Palo Alto cafes their programming home base. Given the newness of the IPad, fellow patrons were curious about what they were up to. They turned those interactions into a chance to get a ton of on-the-spot user feedback, which they poured back into the design of the app.
How might you turn a constraint to your advantage?