I had a little time last night to hammer out some code.
I’ve got a database layout done basically done, so I can store data. There’s already a script in place that will download a set of spreadsheets in CSV (“comma separated values,” basically just really simple text).
Now I need to get some more code written to interact with it, create reports, and send emails. And eventually put in some “fun” text into those emails, like, “whoa, you overtook John last night by a staggering 3.45 miles! Hope you told him to eat your dust on the way by!”
I’ve spent some time figuring out how to layout the data, where the data comes from, what it looks like, and how to store what I need to make “Project Hobbit Walk” something worthwhile. In order for me to consider the application truly useful, it has to do a couple of things. For users (including me), it must:
- Be Intuitive. Like picking up the controller for a game, and having every button and key combination work exactly the way you expect, so you can have fun right away.
- Stay Out of the Way. Once it’s configured, it can just stay out of your way. No muss, no fuss.
- Be Useful. Probably the most important part, it needs to show you what you want to know, and help motivate you to get healthier by gamifying life.
- Be Fun. Seriously, it has to create enjoyment.
But let’s be honest. There’s other considerations for me.:
- Easy to Maintain. I can’t spend all my time fixing/updating code, since that would keep me from moving around… I’d fall behind in all my races!
- Easy to Get Started. I don’t have time to walk every single user through the process of setting it up. This goes hand-in-hand with the Be Intuitive part from above.
- Help Pay for Itself. I have a server that I pay for each month out of pocket; if this can generate enough money (through some hopefully innocuous ads) to pay for that, I’d have less stuff to worry about.
- Grow On It’s Own. There will hopefully be enough tools available that it’ll just grow “virally,” like users sending emails to their friends with messages like, “I challenge you to race me to Mordor,” or “I challenge you to climb Mount Everest with me.”
Let me know what you think in the comments below. And a special thanks to all those that have signed up for testing!