My new app has just arrived in the iTunes store! It is called Solace & Courage and appears in the Lifestyle section of the app store. View or Buy it in iTunes here.
It provides advice, comfort and inspiration for all types of life situations, via carefully prepared text and photos.
You may be thinking that this is rather different to Oz Weather – and it is! However, if there were to be a connection it might be that Oz Weather deals with atmospheric weather, whereas Solace & Courage deals with psychological weather. Is that too contrived? In any case, psychology and spirituality have been a special interest for me almost as long as the weather has – and creating an iPhone app along these lines seemed like an ideal outlet for this.
The app may best be used as follows:
- Helpful advice for times of stress
- Encouragement for any time
- Use for centering or meditation
- Use as a thought of the day to ponder
The categories of text it contains:
- Choose For Me (a random selection)
- Receive Encouragement
- For Disappointment
- For Sadness / Depression
- For Anxiety / Fear
- For Irritation / Anger
- About Solace (explanation and instructions)
You may either choose text by category, or allow a random selection especially for you. Optionally you can have the app open immediately to a random selection, as a “thought of day”, and the text may be either autoscrolled or allow you to scroll manually.
The app contains a collection of original passages of text composed especially for this application, inspired by Eckhart Tolle, Torkom Saraydarian, J.Krishnamurti and other teachers of the Ageless Wisdom. There is no religious content, but it is intended to be spiritually refreshing and stimulating. The text is non-trivial – it encourages you to explore deeply, inspires you to overcome your limitations, and provides comfort and self-empowerment in times of need.
The background pictures of nature are beautiful, peaceful and inspiring, complementing the tone and mood of the text. Users are encouraged to take the time to absorb the meaning of the text and apply it to their own lives.
The app has deliberately slow and elegant transitions from item to item – to encourage the user to become more still and focused, and thus become more receptive to the deeper meaning of the words.
The Development Side of the Story
I only had the idea for this app about a month ago, and worked on it in bits and pieces between my other projects. Despite the relative simplicity of the app’s structure, I spent around four to five days effort in creating, experimenting with and tweaking the interface. I felt that it was important that the interface created the right mood for the user. I composed the text myself, writing only when I felt adequately inspired.
The background photos were licensed from BigStockPhotos.com – about 60 photos for AUD$133 (US$86), although I eventually discarded about 10 of them for not having quite the right level of appeal.
The app submission process was smooth – it took about 4 1/2 working days from submission to approval by Apple.
Of course it is far too early to tell how well this app will go in the very competitive app store environment, but I’m not holding my breath. I may be lucky just to make back the photo licensing fees!
I suppose another trait that this app has in common with Oz Weather is that it is has serious intentions. So many of the apps currently available are very light, frivolous and faddish, though to a large degree this is due to the way the app store is structured. It favours the cheapest apps (by putting the highest volume of sales to the top of its rankings rather than highest revenue), and the one-off payment system means that developers have no incentive to develop apps that will be used on an ongoing basis.
Of course iPhone OS 3.0 will change this to some degree, making it possible for developers to charge for premium or onging content. But we still have a few months to go with the existing model before those new possiblities will actually eventuate!