Yesterday I mentioned that the wife and I had started the planning process for an iPhone application. We have a lot of notes written down describing features and behaviors, even some sketches of the interface could look like. It was a nice little joint exercise, and I was feeling pretty motivated.
Not even 2 hours after I made that post, I stumbled upon a link to another developer who is working on a similar app, coming soon. The feature list is brief, but it does include one notable thing that wife and I had jotted down as useful, but missing from the other three apps mentioned. And on top of that, it is beautiful. The developer put a lot of effort into a custom interface. I am a firm believer in form following function, so a glitzy interface doesn't necessarily mean very much, but it is hard to deny the appeal. I'd be willing to bet that in the absence of other information or experience, (and other factors such as price being otherwise equal) potential customers will go with a prettier application. This other developer is making a pretty strong argument.
So that was rather demotivating.
Upon further reflection, I think I still have at least a couple of features in mind that nobody else is currently doing. And where there may be some feature overlap, I think I can add value by providing all of these features in a single app with a good workflow. I also thought of another feature this morning while in the shower (I'm going to pause and allow that mental image to sink in; ahhh.....) that I haven't seen elsewhere.
Motivation restored. I may not wind up with the prettiest app, but by golly it will be as chock full of useful features as I can make it, and it will be as easy to use as possible.