Category: Developer

5. First impressions: Name and Logo

(For the other parts of my “Lessons Learned”-Series, click here)

Welcome back from the Christmas break and a happy new year!
With everything I’ve written about the design of Letteral, I forgot two things and both are very important. In fact, for most users, these are the two things they see first: The app’s  name and its logo.

The Name

Especially in the App Store, names are a science of its own. While you might think of them only as an identifier or a brand name, they are, for better or worse, much more.

First of all, with the tiny attention span that people have when browsing apps, app names should be catchy and already transport the essence of what the app is doing. Names like Runtastic, Scanbot or Hidden Folks do this really well. Looking for a word game to play with your buddies? While something like Umpalumpa sounds really creative, a game called Words with Friends might just be better at catching the user’s eyes when he is skimming through dozens of options in the store.

And then, of course, there is Search Engine Optimization or rather App Store Optimization (ASO). There are excellent articles covering ASO out there so I won’t get into much detail. In short, it is really important and the app name, as Words with Friends demonstrates once again, plays a big role in it. Luckily, with iOS 11, Apple has reduced the number of allowed characters in an app’s name from 50 to 30, making meaningless names like “Appname – Subtitle with as many optimized keywords as possible” much more impractical.

When I start working on an app, I try to come up with a name as early as possible. It can be a useful cornerstone for working out the overall design and, like with animals, you just feel more attached to your project when it has a name. Besides, you have to enter something when setting up your project in Xcode…

I wanted my game to have a name that is catchy and memorable but I also wanted it to give users at least an idea of what the app is doing. The first app I published was a Tumblr client called Bloggn and I was very pleased with the name as it did both things pretty well. So I started thinking about the central elements of the game. I came up with Letters, Words, Triangles, and Hexagons. I created a couple of names, none of which I can remember, but the first thing that stuck was Triletteral. I liked the name, called my Xcode project Triletteral and went with it for a while but I never really loved it. It felt a bit lifeless and was, with four syllables, already slightly cumbersome. Less than two months later (still in 2015) I had a moment like this and decided to drop the triangle reference. From this moment, the game was called Letteral and I never doubted this decision ever since.


The Logo

Ahhh, logos… I hate to design them. But I also love it. Not at the same time of course. It’s a daunting feeling when, at first, you have no clue what you want the logo to look like. But, if you are lucky enough and everything comes together, in the end, it feels like a huge accomplishment.

Especially for apps, the logo is one of the most important elements of any app, period. It is the first thing that potential customers see and, if it’s bad, it will also be the only thing they see. While, with the redesigned App Store, Apple now puts a greater focus on screenshots and videos, a logo is still the key element that represents your app between a huge pile of competing apps.

The one thing that works well both in advertising and on magazine covers seemingly also becomes more and more popular width apps: Faces. The screenshot below shows the current Top 5 apps in the category Free Strategy Games. So if you are developing a game for which you can justify putting a face on its icon, you should seriously consider doing so. However, Letteral is not such a game and I would have lacked the skills for a logo like this anyway.

I wanted Letteral’s logo to look stylish and professional. It had to be easily recognizable in the store and on your home screen and it should look as sophisticated as other logos of professional apps. For my Tumblr client Bloggn, I created the following Icon and I was (and still am) quite happy with it:

Of course, in today’s world, the logo is just too dark and has a bit too much depth but in days of iOS 5, it was pretty good. Thus, my first intention was to create a modern interpretation of it, just replacing the B with an L and making it white/orange instead of black/blue. The result ,which I, unfortunately, couldn’t find anymore, was okay, nothing more. The biggest issue was that it could have been the icon of any app which starts with an L and happens to be orange. I wanted something which is a better representation of the app and its gameplay. Thus, I started playing around incorporating parts of the board into the logo. I went through eleven ideas and variations and luckily, I saved all of them. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

And there you have it. While the first ones are rather uninspired, they slowly evolve in what (almost) is the logo that you know from Letteral.

By the way: The fact that the outline between the two triangles forms the letter L was a complete coincidence. I would love to call it a stroke of genius but if I’m honest, I only realized it after creating the two overlapping triangles…

Just for reference, here is Letteral’s final logo:

So, after three parts, that really is everything I have to say about Letteral’s design. In the next part, I’ll talk about how I implemented the online multiplayer and the pros and cons of Apple’s GameCenter.



4. More on Letteral’s “Look & Feel & Hear”

(For the other parts of my “Lessons Learned”-Series, click here)

Previously on…

When I began writing the chapter on design, I didn’t really know where to start and what to tell. When I finished it, I realized that it was far to long for one post so I split it in two. Last week, I talked about my approach on the design and how I drew my inspiration from the gameplay. This week, we’ll hit three topics: Colors, Animations and Sound.


Letteral’s gameplay calls for three different colors: One for each player and a third one to mark the neutral tiles. Technically, for the background and the letters on the tiles, there are even more colors but the key ones are the three colors in which the tiles are tinted.

When I created the very first prototype, for Letteral, I had to choose colors for the players and without much thinking, I went for orange and blue, as well as for gray for the neutral color. I intended them to be only temporary stand ins and I adjusted them very slightly later. But as I generally liked them, I never really thought about exchanging them for other colors. And when I needed a color scheme for the game, I didn’t have to look far: Two strong key colors as well as a neutral third color, perfect!

In online matches, the local player is always orange, the opponent is always blue. As this might cause players to feel more familiar with orange, I try to use the color slightly more in the app, especially in conjunction with “positive” or “default” elements. Gray on the other side, is used next to nowhere in the final designs. There was just no need for a third, more neutral color and when I tried to use it, the designs only looked dirtier or less friendly.

Another thing that I always had in mind when it comes to colors where people who can’t seem them properly. Letteral’s gameplay completely relies on the ability to distinguish three colors, so I planned to include a colorblind-mode from the start. It didn’t have to be pretty but I wanted as many people as possible to be able to play the game.

Through this mode, I also came up with the idea of offering different themes.

They work perfectly with the minimalistic UI and players can adjust the colors to their liking. For example, some people prefer a dark theme over a light one. Also, having  a color blind mode in place gave me the opportunity to add more color schemes later, be it as a reward, as something to celebrate a special occasion or just as a way to say “Thank You” to the players.

Of course, when I talk about themes, I also have to talk about how players get them. Players mainly unlock new themes by purchasing them. I like games which are free-to-play but give players the opportunity to support the game through completely optional purchases. I myself usually buy In-App-Purchase, not because the game forces me to, but because I want to give back to the developers. So I liked the idea of implementing a similar system in Letteral. Together with some achievements, which reward you with free themes, everybody will be able to unlock his favorite themes without ever spending a dime.


One thing that is very near and dear to my heart are animations. Using them is like putting icing on a cake: With no or little icing, the cake will taste bland but if you overuse it, it will taste like pure sugar. It is the same with animations: You don’t want your app to look boring but neither should it like like a bad Powerpoint presentation from the 90s.


While some people might say that, especially in utility apps, animations are nothing but window dressing, they actually have many important purposes. First of all, if properly used, they help the user to understand the UI. Animations can provide feedback for the user’s actions.For example, if he enters a word that is not accepted by the dictionary, when he uses up a life when entering a game, or when he gains a life through an achievement. Animations also can highlight elements in the app that are of special importance, like the achievements buttons which jumps, if a reward can be claimed.

Most important of all, animations can guide the user through the UI-flow. The standard transitions between screens in iOS already do a great job here: when the new screen comes in from the right, the user knows that he is navigating through screens which are on the same level. When it comes in from the bottom – as a modal view –  the user knows that he went deeper into the app’s UI hierarchy. While Letteral also uses animations to navigate the user through the different screens, it usually doesn’t use the default animations. I made this choice to make use of another thing that animations can do: they can give an app a unique character.

The character of an app can be defined by many things: by its colors, its art, its sound… and also by its animations. As Letteral has little art and little sound, the animations where my vessel of choice to convey some feeling of uniqueness.

Especially for screen transitions, animations are tricky to handle. They have to be quick and concise and they must never ever get in the user’s way when he navigates through the app. Actually, many users probably don’t even consciously notice that   screen transition animations are there. They still make the app feel fresh and more dynamic.

As you can see above, most transitions in Letteral are fairly minute and only small variations on the iOS default animations. They mostly consist of a combination of a fade- and a grow-effect. This looks especially great for the many screens that are not displayed in full-screen but as modal overlays over the current screens. As Letteral is a game, at some points I dared to implement some more prominent transitions, for example when opening the lives-view or the themes-view.


I‘m not a sound designer. So for Letteral‘s „Hear and Feel“ I spent a lot of time listening to stock music and effects on Audiojungle. First of all, I tried to decide on a background music. As a puzzle game, Letteral doesn’t need a huge score to transport the storie’s emotions. After all, there is no story and there are no emotions. Apart from endless joy, I hope . I thought that some kind of ambient music, probably electric, would be a good fit. After listening to hundreds of tracks, and trying some of them  in the game, I couldn’t find anything that worked. All of them felt too intrusive and drew the attention away from the gameplay. In any case, I usually have the music turned off when playing games like Letteral and listen to podcasts or my own music instead. At the end, after looking at some similar games, I decided to not include any music at all. I don’t think that the games loses a lot by that and it is better than having music in there that just doesn’t fit. However, the code to play music is still there so if anybody knows a track that would fit, I would love to hear it.


The sound effects were easier. Again, I wanted them to be quick and minimalistic. However, the buttons needed to sound neural, positive, negative, „going forward“ and „going backward“. Scoring points, unlocking achievements and winning should feel rewarding. And so on… So again, I went through countless sound effects and often purchased a collection of multiple effects, just to use one or two of them.  In the end, I’m glad how it all came together and of course, it would be helpful if I could play you some samples here. However, for legal reasons, I can’t. Sorry :-/


Next week on…

I lied. I didn’t split the chapter on design in two parts. When I was done with it, I realized that I still failed to answer two important questions: How did Letteral get his name and his icon? Next week, on this blog…


3. Sometimes, inner beauty isn’t enough

(For the other parts of my “Lessons Learned”-Series, click here)

I finished the first functional “alpha” of Letteral, with the online mode fully working, in January 2016. The UI however was… Well, there where only placeholders at this point. So I figured that it would take me another three to four months to make everything shiny. After all, how long can it take to create the UI for a couple more screens…?

As we now know, it took me about 18 more months to finally release Letteral on the App Store. While, I didn’t spend all the time working on the UI, I needed much more time than I anticipated. I can’t really explain what took me so long but I certainly can take you through the most important steps in the process and lay out my thoughts. So buckle up Letteral, today we’ll make you beautiful!

Basic Considerations

As I wrote in the introductory post, I specifically chose to develop a word game because it didn’t necessarily require any nice artworks or fancy 3D effects. Of course, word games with 3D graphics can look fantastic, but I’m as good at creating these as I am at yodeling. I’m not saying that I don’t care about UI design. On the contrary, I enjoy it tremendously and being responsible for the user interface is part of my day job. I just lack the artistic skills that the more elaborate games would require from me. Thus, I opted for a more minimalistic approach in which I could put my interface designing skills to use.

Apart from these considerations, at the beginning, I didn’t really know what I wanted the game to look like so I took some crucial leads from the gameplay itself: Visually, it revolves around three things: Triangles, hexagons and three key colors. So I tried to base my design on these elements.

Getting in shape

Hexagons are useful to frame other content. They are fairly similar to circles which currently are used everywhere to frame avatars – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, iMessage… circles are everywhere – so I decided to use them for the same purpose. Actually, for consistency, most buttons and icons in Letteral now have a hexagon shaped.

Triangles, on the other hand, are more useful as small design elements in a bigger picture. After I put the avatars in a hexagon frame, I soon decided  to make a scoreboard of triangles. They would symbolize the race to the finish between the players and fitted perfectly between their avatars. The only downside of this idea is that it requires the final score to bean uneven number. Otherwise, I would probably have gone for six points for the final score, which would have been a nice reference to the hexagons. But since I feel that five points are too few, I finally settled for  seven.

I also incorporated triangles in the avatar images themselves. At the time, these images where only meant as placeholders for players who didn’t have a profile image in Game Center. However, since Game Center by now does not support profile images anymore, these placeholders are now the only visual representation of a player. To make them more recognizable, each avatar image also has a background color which, as well as the image itself, always stays the same for a player.

Initially, I played with the idea of having all icons made of triangles. I liked the uniqueness of that but ultimately decided against it as the icons would have looked coarser and would have been harder to recognize and understand. Instead, most icons now have a polygonal shape which resembles something made of triangles and makes them look a bit like tangram figures.

Geometry Fun Fact: The hexagon shapes I use are regular hexagons, meaning that all six corners have the same angle of 120°. The triangles on the board, however, are not regular (or equilateral as the geometry-buffs would say). Initially, that was because I made a mistake while drawing them on the screen but it turned out to be another lucky accident: A regular triangle would be roughly 15% wider than it is tall. Since I wanted Letteral to be played in portrait mode, the width of the screen is the limiting factor. So for the board, I went for triangles that are as wide as they are tall. This makes them isosceles triangles in which the top angle is more acute than the other two. Why am I saying all of this?

Now, technically, the hexagons you form on the board do not have the same regular shape as the hexagons I use for all the buttons. However, I guess that, apart from a few designers who cringe in agony when they first play the game, next to nobody will notice…

So this is all there is to say about hexagons, triangles and the basic design of Letteral. Next week, I’ll not only talk about colors but also about animations and sound.


2. From “It’s working” to “It’s fun” – Fine-tuning the gameplay

(For the other parts of my “Lessons Learned”-Series, click here)

You can buy a Violin on Amazon for around sixty bucks. According to the user reviews, this instrument is not even bad and you’ll get what you expect: It has four strings, it comes with a bow… it’s working. Still, people pay thousands of dollars for a handcrafted violin and rightfully so: Those instruments are carefully constructed, they sound better and they are more fun to play.

The initial version of Letteral was like a $60 violin: It still needed a lot more craftsmanship and a lot more fine-tuning.

Boosting your luck

In Letteral’s very first prototype, the letters on the board were assigned randomly and all letters were equally likely to appear. Of course, this can lead to games with a lot of Js, Ys and Zs which isn’t a great experience, unless you are into spelling Icelandic mountains or Klingon swear words. So, the very first change I made was to give each letter a weighted probability, the weight being equal to the frequency in which the letter occurred in the game’s language. As I was aiming for an international audience right from the start, I designed the app so that it would be easy to add languages later.

Naturally, by adjusting the frequency, the gameplay became much better instantly. But there was a new problem: In English, for any letter there is a chance of almost 27% of it being a T or an A and only a 0.01% chance for a Z or X. So now, there were lots and lots of Ts and As, all of them demonstrating: Just because something is realistic doesn’t mean that it is also fun.

My first intuition was to reduce the chance of getting the more common letters and to boost the frequency of the more uncommon ones. However, this brings up another concern: Vowels.

Vowels… You can’t form an English (or German or French) word without them and I was wary that this change would leave me with too few of them on the board, especially as the game progresses. As completed hexagons are filled with new letters, there is a chance that players would quickly take over the hexagons with the “easier” letters (aka. vowels) which then would be filled with more uncommon letters, eventually leading to a board with very few vowels and, once again, lots of Klingon swear words.

The solution I came up with is a bit more elaborate: The algorithm that randomly generates letters keeps track of the letters it recently selected. The more recently a letter was generated, the less likely it is to be chosen again. For example, if the list of recent letters is “AMDE” with A being the most recent one, for the next random letter, the chances of getting another A would be reduced by 75%. For M the likelyhood is reduced by 70%, for D by 65%, for E by 60% and so on. That doesn’t mean that you never get two As in a row, it just means that it is much less likely to happen. But as the chances for any given letter “regenerate” over time, it is unlikely to get stuck with a board of unplayable letters.

All in all, this solution works nicely, creating boards that feel natural to their language and still feature a wide variety of different letters.

Not all tiles are created equal

When you play Letteral for a while, you will notice that some tiles are more valuable to you than others.

The 3.5 tiers in Letteral


While the grey tiles are part of just one hexagon, the blue ones belong to two and the orange ones to three hexagons. The orange tiles with a * (aka “Tier 3.5”-tiles) play a very special role: Just by blocking all four of them, players block all hexagons on the board. Since for the first months of development, the game didn’t take this fact into account, these four Tier 3.5 tiles were often randomly filled with letters that are common in the given language (As, Es, Ts…). This made it very easy for one player to block all four of them, essentially preventing his opponent from ever scoring. This could result in long stalemates which obviously aren’t great for anybody.

The solution for this is easy: While Tier 1-tiles can be filled with any letter, Tier 2-tiles will never get the three most frequent letters of the current language. This threshold is increased to six letters for Tier 3 and all the way up to ten for Tier 3.5.

Not including the ten most common letters of the language might seem like a drastic step. However, I started with much smaller numbers and just kept increasing them after months of playtesting. In combination with the previously described weighted randomness, the boards now lead to fun and fluent games. The charm of all of this is, that most players won’t even notice how much is happening under the hood. Or did you?

More Pröblems

Except for English, all other languages in Letteral (Spanish, German, French and Danish) feature diacritics like Ä, É or Ø. When implementing the different languages, I had to decide on how to deal with these special characters. The most obvious solution would have been to just incorporate all of these as they are, displaying them with their respective frequency. However, especially for French, this would have increased the alphabet’s size from the regular 26 letters to a whopping 42 letters. With so many different letters, it is much more difficult to find words and, thus, games take longer to complete.

At the end, I opted for different solutions for different languages. With French and Spanish, it is not uncommon to mitigate the diacritics anyway, especially when you are texting. Thus, I replaced all of these characters with their basic latin letters in the underlying dictionaries, reducing the alphabet for these two languages to 26 letters.

For German and Danish, things are a little different. You wouldn’t replace an Ö or an Ø with just an O, the usual replacement, for example in crossword puzzles, is OE. However, the E is already the most common letter in both languages so I didn’t want to make it even more important. Also, selecting two tiles to essentially get a single letter feels out of place for a game like Letteral. Therefore, I decided to incorporate all of these letters (Ä, Ö, Ü für German and Å, Æ, Ø for Danish) into the game’s alphabets. Only for the German ß, I replaced it with an SS since otherwise, I would have to display a capital ß, which most people – even Germans – don’t even know exists. Also, ß is a very infrequent letter and most Germans don’t know when to use it over a double S anyway, so the replacement feels natural. And remember, I’m German, I should know. 🙂

One more thing

The final tweak to the gameplay I introduced only days before submitting Letteral to the App Store. In fact, it is the second last change I made to the code.

My very last commits


For two years of development, the first player in a match had the whole board at his disposal. I always felt that finding a word in 28 letters was a bit overwhelming and the feedback I received during beta testing confirmed that. While I had played with the idea of reducing this number, I was hesitant to do so because I feared yet another rule would make the game more complicated for newer players and ultimately put them off.

Eventually I wrote off these reservations. When you start a new game of Letteral now, the six central Letters will be blocked for the first player. Having played with this for a while, I think the rewards greatly outweigh the risks here. Apart from reducing the number of letters for the first player to “only” 22, this new rules comes with another upside: The first player always had a slight advantage over the second one. He could choose the first (and probably) best word and in some cases, he was able to score before his opponent even got a chance to interact. Blocking the six central tiles greatly reduces this advantage and makes it impossible to score a point in the first turn.


So, that’s all there is to say about gameplay. I took you along on my journey from a rough idea to a polished game. Next week we will be talking visuals. I’ll share with you how I, as somebody who always hated arts classes in school, approached the UX design for Letteral.


1. The evolution of Letteral

(For the other parts of my “Lessons Learned”-Series, click here)

Sometimes, the best ideas come to you at the unlikeliest times. The idea for Letteral came to me at 1:30 a.m. being very tired and yet unable to sleep…

As long as I can remember, I love board games (Being German, that’s probably in my genes…), especially the strategy heavy ones, like Agricola or Tzolk’in or Puerto Rico. And ever since I owned my first Palm PDA (a Clié PEG-SJ33) and discovered Popcap’s Bookworm, I’m also a big fan of word games. So it shouldn’t come up as no surprise that games which combine elements of these two genres, like Letterpress or Nimblebit’s fantastic Capitals, are right up my alley.

The game that I imagined at 1:30 a.m. was quite different from the one that you can now download from the App Store, but it was a a start. How it grew into the Letteral you know and (hopefully) love, you can find out here.

The Premise

Two years ago, I was looking for an app project that I could work on in my spare time and that would be the creative outlet besides my regular job as a mobile developer. This came with a couple of conditions:

  • The app had to be good enough so that I could put it on the App Store one day
  • Having worked on a Tumblr client for my last project, this time I wanted to make a game
  • The project was to be small enough so that I had a chance of actually completing it
  • Although I’m a fairly experienced with UI-Design, most three-years-olds are better at drawing than me, so the game’s visuals had to be simple enough

Combine all of these stipulations with my aforementioned love for word- and strategy-games and out came the idea of creating a two-player game which combines word knowledge and strategy. My 1:30 a.m. idea wasn’t Letteral though, it was something much more rectangular:

The idea was the following: Players take turns finding words in the 25 letters. You were able to use all letters, no matter if they belonged to you, your opponent, or if they are still neutral. When you find a word, you’ll take ownership of all its letters. In order to score, you’ll need to own all five letters in any of the five rows or columns. After scoring, all tiles in this row/column would be filled with new letters and become neutral again.

Refining the idea

This game, which I tentatively called 25Letters, already sounds a lot like Letteral. However, after taking a Saturday to create a quick prototype, I quickly realized that it had two major issues:

  • You had ten opportunities to score (5 rows & 5 columns) and each one required five letters. It turns out that players almost always scored in their turn, making the game fairly benign
  • Especially with scoring happening so quickly, there was no real element of interaction. Players would play side by side and not with (or rather against) each other

I quickly found a solution for the lack of interaction: If all letters that you use for a word become blocked for the next turn, players have the opportunity to interfere with their opponent’s plans. After I implemented this change gameplay was significantly better. But the first problem remained, it was still too easy to score.

One way of solving this would have been to increase the boards size to 6×6. This makes it harder to take over an individual row/column but has problems of its own. First of all, having 36 letters available is just overwhelming. Secondly, finding words by itself should be a challenge and thus rewarding. With so many letters at your disposal, the real questions is which words you can not form. So nope, increasing the board’s size was not an option.

The solution came to me, when I remembered a game I played a lot in the very early days of the App Store. Unfortunately, I don’t remember its name but it played a bit like Bejeweled, only that the tiles where triangles and you had to create hexagons of one color in order to score (Update: @jonclayden helped me out. It was Frenzic!).

I was fairly excited about this idea. A word game based on triangular tiles felt more original anyway and I was optimistic that it would solve the problems the 5×5 approach had. So, I spent another day to create another prototype.

Now, this looks much more like Letteral, even the colors were already there. Summarizing the rules:

  • Two Players take turns finding words
  • All letters in a word turn the player’s color
  • Additionally, if a letter was used in a word, it becomes blocked for one turn. So the other player won’t be able to use it in his next turn
  • When you manage to take over all six letters in a hexagon, you’ll score a point
  • After scoring, all letters in the hexagon are replaced by new ones


I immediately noticed that the gameplay now felt pretty good and that it was more challenging to score. There are eight scoring opportunities (aka. hexagons) on the board and they now require six letters. While it is still possible to fill a whole hexagon in one turn (by now, there is even an achievement for it) it is much more difficult and subsequently really feels rewarding. Another positive side effect of the new board is the fact, that some letters are more important than others now: While the letters on the outer borders of the board are only part of one hexagon, the letters in the center belong to up to three hexagons, making them strategically more valuable.

Thus, the basic concept was in place and it stayed unchanged until today. The gameplay wasn’t final though: Only after a lot of testing and many subtle changes it became what is is today. I’ll talk more about the fine tuning next week!



0. Lessons Learned – Introduction

After two years of caring and breeding, my game Letteral finally hatched today. I originally estimated that it would only take me 12 months to develop the game… then 18… Now, it has been 24 months and it could have been a lot more if it weren’t for the fantastic community of iOS developers who is sharing their questions, thoughts, and knowledge on the internet.

I learned a lot while developing Letteral. Of course, I became better at stuff I already knew, like UI design and general programming. But I also had to dive into topics I never worked on before, for example, GameCenter, Amazon Web Services or advertisements. This knowledge should not go to waste, so I’m going to publish a series of blog posts in which I’ll share my experiences with you. A new post will be up each Friday. I haven’t yet decided on all the topics that I’m going to cover, so if there is anything you are particularly interested in, please let me know!

Table of Contents

Upcoming Topics

  • Monetization
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Marketing without a budget
  • The iOS App Store
  • And more…

Who is this guy?

My name is Philipp Schlösser, I’m an iOS developer from Braunschweig, Germany. In 2010, during my time at university, I decided to get into iOS development. Becoming an app developer, a profession which didn’t even exist two years earlier, was an exciting prospect! As a) I wanted to work on a real project and b) the official Tumblr client was fairly bad back then, I started developing a Tumblr client of my own. After developing it for two years in my spare time (I originally estimated that it would only take me 12 months to develop the app – You might see a pattern here…)  “Bloggn” hit the App Store by the end of 2012. Although my app turned out to be pretty good, by then the official Tumblr app was not only working nicely but also free. So, as you can imagine, Bloggn’s financial success was… marginal, to put it mildly. Of course, it is long gone from the App Store but you can find some last traces of it here or here.

Honestly: Even though it is hard to imagine today, it was quite a good looking app in 2012 🙂

From all of this, I learned two things:

  1. It might not be that easy to become an App Store millionaire after all
  2. Developing for iOS is a real joy

It was mainly due to the second realization that in 2015, after finishing university, I started working as an iOS developer for a local, medium-sized IT-company. My job of back then is also my job of today although, having dipped my toes into Android- and even Xamarin-development, I now call myself “mobile developer”. Yet, almost exactly two years ago, I felt that something was missing from my job: As my company is mainly doing contract work, I was missing the creativity and the feeling of working on something that is truly my own. And so, Letteral was born…