While location scouting for one of our Fiction shoots, I thought to myself "there has got to be a better way to do this." The iPhone, and all of its super functional hardware, really is the perfect tool for providing location data: amazing photo quality, video capture, GPS information, 4G connection sharing instantly. Realizing that I had a strong desire and need for such a tool, coupled with the fact that it had yet to be been done properly, I instantly put out a facebook post searching for developers. I sifted through everything from freelance developers to high end mobile dev tech companies, and eventually landed somewhere in the middle with a reasonably priced local mobile company that I felt confident could handle the development of this idea. I then enlisted my friend and brilliant designer Bobby Sattler to create the brand, and design the UI alongside me.
In my experience, if you have an idea, whether it's a film project, a photo you want to take, a design you want to create, or anything that involves you being creative and making decisions, you have to be the driver, you have to have the vision, and not just on a macro scale, but on a micro scale as well. When developing Scout, I knew that the design had to be simple and efficient in order to create a tool that was truly useful for photographers and filmmakers alike. These were my visions for the app: 1) make a professional tool that is simple and powerful and 2) make something that could create informative location scouts that are easily shareable with co-workers, friends, and collaborators.
When we designed the navigation for Scout, we decided on 3 primary navigation buttons: Make, My Scouts, and Discover. When you open the app for the first time, it is very intentional that the first screen to pop up is the Make screen. We want you to Make Scouts, especially when new users first engage with the app. I wanted you to get it right way, with your very first experience of the app. I also wanted to make the process very simple for creating the Scouts. Every box is filling in the template of making the scout. Second up: My Scouts. This is where you keep all your Scouts organized. A main component of location scouting is compiling all of the Scouts that you are going to be shooting into one place. We created a bin system that allows you to create bins for specific shoots, and compile all of the shoot specific Scouts into one place. These days, there is always a push to create a social network when creating apps, but with Scout, I wanted to make sure that the focus was creating locations, and delivering them. Implementing social aspects of the app is a secondary function. This is a tool, not a social network. That said, the possibilities for future social implementation are really fun and unique. With the Discover section, I wanted to keep it very basic; I want people to see what other people are doing, but not necessarily interact yet.
When Bobby and I first started talking about how the brand should look, we agreed that it needed to be simple, iconic, and explain the app at a glance. We did this in a couple ways. The first is through the mark, and what I feel is a very iconic and recognizable symbol for what the app does. Second is the imagery. I knew that I wanted the photos we used to present not only the type of photos one would take while creating a scout, but also create a feeling, a unique aesthetic. Luckily I was going on a trip with some friends to Italy and really tried to capture them taking photos with their phones, collecting memories and locations. We also created a video for Scout. Like the images, we tried to have it represent the person that we felt would use Scout, and the type of environment in which they would utilize Scout, all while giving a simple and quick overview of what the app's functionality.
It's funny how the act of launching an app forces you to see all the things you missed while creating it. With Scout, we have already gotten such great feedback from our users and our internal team, the ideas for continuing to improve are continuously flowing. All of the input we get, both positive and negative, is being accounted for and thought about when designing and creating upcoming versions.
I went to the Facebook headquarters this year and saw a quote on the wall that said "done is better than perfect", and while I don't always agree with this statement, sometimes I have to. This app will never be perfect, but that's why we evolve. You have to put things out there and see what people think. That's what is so much fun - putting your ideas and concepts out there for people to enjoy and be part of. And while Scout has has a very niche purpose, we feel that what we have created fills a very real need in the community it serves, and we are really looking forward to the app evolving with its users.