How we created an app that makes life easier for the paranoid

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Hi πŸ‘‹πŸ»

I have been working as a product designer for quite some time now and am actively looking for ideas for my own product. And, as often happens, everything we need is right under our noses. So I got an idea that has been in the air for a very long time πŸ˜„

Looking ahead, you can download the application here, and now we also have a Landosic πŸ™ˆ

What’s your problem?

Imagine you have a train today. The day before departure, you write a list of what you need to take with you, what you need to do in order not to forget anything.

You collect all your things, before you go out, you carefully double-check whether you have forgotten whether you have turned off or closed something. And now, everything seems to be checked, everything is fine, you can go. You slam the doors, get into a taxi and go to the station.

Everything seems to be cool, right? And then bam, and that same stupid thought: β€œdid I turn off the iron?”, Or β€œdid I close the door?”. Endless attempts to remember begin, convulsive calls to neighbors / friends / relatives, and that’s all. Not cool.

There are a lot of solutions to this problem, from the simplest, such as filming everything on video or doing something unusual (for example, patting yourself on the cheeks) in order to remember exactly. And ending with the most high-tech: CCTV cameras, smart locks, etc.

All these methods are effective in their own way, but if for the former it is enough just not to forget, then the latter require tangible financial investments, for which not everyone is ready.

So what’s the idea?

The idea is as simple as the world – a checklist application with minor modifications πŸ™ˆ

Flow is impossibly simple, watch your hands:

  • On onboarding, you give access to notifications and geolocation tracking. You set up your house there. It didn’t work out with the FSB, SBU and FBI, so there is nowhere to sell the data, they don’t go anywhere, you don’t have to worry. Everything that happened in Locked.app will remain in Locked.app 😏
  • Then, you create a switch for each activity. For example, I have doors, windows, lights and a boiler.
  • And finally, when you still check it all before exiting – just mark it in the application, everything is simple ✨

Yeah, he ran away. It would be so simple – people would just use reminders.

Don’t forget edge cases

When you first start using the application, it is a new experience for you. Accordingly, you are unlikely to forget to switch the toggle. But when it becomes part of your daily routine, you will forget about it. This is the main problem.

I solved it quite trivially. App simply tracks your geolocation in the background to notify you when you leave home. Then the probability of forgetting to switch the toggle becomes several times less. When you return home, all the toggles turn off by themselves.

There is also a rather sensitive aspect of privacy here. If someone intercepted the data that you are not at home and, perhaps, forgot to close the door, it would be at least unpleasant. Because so far I’m not ready to offer any synchronization and similar things, because I find it unsafe.

Another edge case is couriers. If you work as a courier or for any other reason you can drive past your house during the day, the application will turn off the toggles and you will have to turn them on again. To avoid this, you can turn off auto power off in the settings. This was the simplest solution possible, and the simplest is often the best 😁

How was it?

It all started once again, when I, cursing to myself, walked up to the fifth floor to check if I had closed the doors πŸ™ˆ

Then I decided that it was time to put an end to it, because well, I really got sick.

A basic concept of what and how can be done quickly appeared in my head, and after that, over a cup of coffee, my friend and I threw it in more and more detail, painted the roadmap and took the whole thing to work. At the end, we had 1.5 designers, 0 developers and the infinity of infinity of desire and aspiration.

We started with a trivial questionnaire, which they scattered to everyone they could get to in order to collect some basic analytics.

It turned out that the problem is, to one degree or another, relevant for all those who took part in the survey. So we decided it was worth a try.

We have assembled and tested several prototypes. To save time, design concepts were tested in parallel with this. As a result, we came to something similar to what happened in the end:

Well, then what? And then code …

I delayed this moment as best I could, but I had to start coding this whole thing. Since the project’s budget was very limited by a round zero, I decided that I would write it myself. Initially, I considered Flutter, but after the research I realized that it would be difficult to implement background geolocation tracking. There was a ready-made module that was easy to set up, but it cost money, which, we remember, we do not have.

I decided that Swift would be the best for this task, especially since I had heard a lot about the simplicity and lightness of SwiftUI.

Of course, since I had practically no programming experience, 90% of the code consists of crutches, torn in pieces from all kinds of guides on Youtube, StackOverflow and other resources, and 10% of my personal crutches, which I fenced in order to marry all this …

It turned out, surprisingly, well. You can personally test the result by downloading the application from the link. Feel free to leave honest feedback, we will improve πŸ˜„

Well, a little about plans for the future

Now I do not have time to deal with the application at all, unfortunately. There are already many features in mind, but now, to be honest, there are slightly different priorities. The application will be updated, the application will live, because it does the main thing – it solves the problem.

After publishing it on reddit and in all sorts of design communities, I received a lot of feedback (of course, not always positive) that the application is useless, that there is a lot of advertising, etc. I took some of the feedback into account and already implemented the ability to turn off ads for money and cut its amount a little (well, kamon, I need to at least beat off the dev account πŸ˜„). I skipped a part because, obviously, not all comments make sense.

Well, again, you can download the application here, and don’t forget about the Landosik πŸ™ˆ

I hope to get some kind of feedback from you in order to understand whether it makes sense at all to develop Locked.app somewhere further, or just leave it as it is)

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