Update, Count It Off is now available in the App Store here.
Count It Off is my new web and iPhone app for simple calorie counting and weight tracking.
I’ve been trying to not be as large as I am for a few years now. I’ve tried a handful of ways to diet and have recently concluded that calorie counting is the best solution for me (everyone’s different). I started by using a Google Docs spreadsheet, but that got old fast. Then I tried a couple web apps and they all tried too hard. I didn’t want them to attempt to tell me how many calories were in my breakfast. I wanted to calculate it once, record it with a useful name, and then log it by that name the next time I ate it. It was during WWDC 2008 that the idea for Count It Off, a calorie counter for the iPhone, came together.
The week after WWDC (Jun 16th-ish, 2008) I was flying to Spain to visit the MakaluMedia guys who I’ve been (and still am) doing contract work for. The extra long flight from San Francisco to Spain gave me plenty of time to think about Count It Off. Here are the sketches along with some commentary and the final 1.0 screens:
This is the first page the user sees when they open the app. A good bit changed here in 1.0. I didn’t like the Today: 1100 calories header that I sketched out. I played with a few ideas and settled on a Today – XXXX left header along with a progress bar as the first cell in the ‘today’ entries. I also summed up previous days’ consumption and apply a green check mark if you were within 200 calories of your goal. This makes it easy to see how good/bad you’ve been.
The weight page in 1.0 is a simple log that shows how many lbs or kg are left to lose before reaching your goal. This is an area I want to improve on.
New Food Item
The odometer style picker I sketched wasn’t going to work. The number pad entry is much better. In the sketch, you might have noticed that I was going to allow users to capture images of the food they are eating. This isn’t in 1.0 because I’m not really convinced it’s useful. I just wanted to have a reason to use the camera on the phone.
New Log Entry
The “Pick | New” segmented control was also a bad idea. The assumption with Count It Off is that you eat a lot of the same foods over and over. So by default it brings up the searchable ‘pick food’ view shown above:
This progress page doesn’t exist in 1.0 but it is something I still want to do.
Somewhat surprisingly, the sketches from June are pretty similar to version 1.0 of the iPhone application. Those sketches have a few good ideas that didn’t make it into the first version and some bad ideas that didn’t make it in.
Now, those sketches are four months old and I didn’t submit the application to the App Store until Nov. 8th, 2008. Did it take me over four months to build this app? Nope. I played with the iPhone SDK for a few nights back in June, but then things got busy and I shelved the idea when I got home. Then in early October I unexpectadly found some free time (that’s another story ). On October 14th I was still larger than I wanted to be, so I decided to make Count It Off a reality.
I first completed the web app and expecting to announce that before the IPhone version (they sync of course). But before I got the web version to a point where I liked it enough to talk about it, the iPhone version was well under way. I resisted announcing these either project until they were both ready. That day is today!
I’ll blog more about this journey later this week and will let you know when the iPhone app is available in the store.