How It’s Made: The Mobile App Episode?

How_Its_MadeSpace pens, beef jerky, cow bells, flip flops – until the show How It’s Made came along, the average citizen had no idea how everyday products like these were created. Now they do, and I think we can all agree the world is a much better place.

As I scrolled through the list of episodes on Wikipedia, it occurred to me the show’s producers have never once ran an episode on how a software application is made. Maybe it’s time that changed!

Therefore, the purpose of this post is twofold. First, I want to urge our readers and community members to suggest this as a future episode. Second, I want to outline how the segment could be structured. With any luck, the app development process will get some primetime viewing – and the average citizen will have a new appreciation for the apps they use on an every basis. No disrespect to sewage pumps and inner tubes.

The first part is easy. You can submit your episode suggestion here.

The second part is where it gets fun. Though I’m not yet a TV director, here’s how I would envision the segment, broken down into four basic parts. For the purpose of this pitch, let’s say that we’re going to be developing an iPhone app.

Part #1. The Idea. Here we would get an inside look into the ideation process. It would be great to feature this from the point-of-view of a major brand, as it would naturally involve a number of key stakeholders: executives, product owners, developers, QA engineers, sales, marketing and so forth. Here we’d get to see how an application must satisfy certain brand and business objectives, and how it must life better/easier/more enjoyable for the prospective user.

Part #2. The Design. Have you ever seen a time-lapse video of someone designing a mobile app? Me neither, but I think this would be a great way to showcase the process. We’d get a complete overview – from wireframe to working version – with an on-air interview from one of the lead designers. We’d get to see the software they use to create the app; why certain colors schemes are chosen over others; how the app transitions from one action to another, along with other aspects of the design phase.

Part #3. The Development. To most people, software development is akin to sorcery; a mystical process that can only be understood by the initiated. With the right mix of editing and visuals, they could see that it’s not so complicated. They could get an inside look into how developers and QA professionals work together to ensure a high-quality application (perhaps via the agile methodology). It goes without saying that this segment would provide a quick look at in-the-wild testing.

Part #4. The Launch. Most people have no idea how an app makes its way to the App Store. This segment would introduce them to the App Store approval process, along with a behind-the-scenes look at the final stages of the launch process itself.

It’s important to note that every episode of How It’s Made features four products, so we’d have to omit most of the nitty-gritty details. Nevertheless, I think it would make for a very interesting segment. After all, mobile apps are way more popular (and interesting) than stuffed olives, cap guns and incense cones.

What do you say? Let’s get a mobile app featured on How It’s Made. See you on TV!

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