Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

February 1, 2013

Product Strategy : Useful Astrology Apps

This happened about 15 years ago in Myanmar. This is also happening with many softwares today.

At that time, I had taken a 4-weeks course in Visual Basic, and another 4-weeks course in Visual C++. I had already rented a Windows PC at home.

I knew a bit of many kinds of astrology techniques, those kinds you can read in magazines and can master in a few minutes.

I was eager to code those astrology techniques into some GUI/desktop apps.

Before I started coding, I looked around. I read in some Myanmar magazines about some theses on astrology at our Computer University. Their calculations were thick,deep and complex. That's fine.

What was not so fine: their outputs were also very hard to understand.

I also checked out some Astrology CD's written by Myanmar programmers, selling at about K 400. Their outputs were of the same kind as those of the theses. (At that time Don Norman hasn't written Living with Complexity. He hasn't proclaimed that "Make output understandable.").

I couldn't learn from them, and so I coded my own design.

Front End

  1. 1 text box to enter user's question
  2. 1 button beneath it

Back End

  1. Read the user's question.
  2. Throw a 6-sided dice 6 times, since this is I Ching.
  3. Using the result from the dice throws, read from a table of answers.
  4. Show the answer to user.
I padded the answer with some folk psychology. I tested the app on my students, and I watched them discreetly from a distance.  At that time, "Usability Testing" was not even in my vocabulary.

My cost to create this was about 8 hours of coding and 8 hours of reading. And users liked it a bit.
Compare this to the other software makers' costs and the users' reaction to their softwares.

1 comment:

  1. I see you a good poacher, goal-mouth thief, opportunist. Way to go ... Please keep writing. Are you pivoting? Good luck!