Design

How This Simple App Solves A Real-World Problem

So, is everyone sick of the cliche “There’s an app for that!” yet? As we all know, phrases become cliches because they’re often quoted, and the reason that they’re often quoted is because they tend to be true. The problem is, there’s a very simple truth that can get overlooked in the hubbub of all the cute sayings about apps: the fact that yes, there are some apps out there that are very specific, and as a result of this laser-sharp focus, these apps can actually solve some real-world problems.

As an example, let’s see how one particular app, characterized by simplicity and narrow focus, can help deal with an issue that many people run up against. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but nevertheless solving the problem contributes to the overall pleasantness of everyday life.


This app helps you find a tennis partner without making too much racket

Tennis Anyone?

Let’s face it; tennis is one of those games you just can’t play by yourself. Even ping-pong allows you to raise half of the table to a vertical position in order to let you bounce the ball against the surface, simulating another player. Trying that with tennis would be problematic and rather silly (but if anyone has done it, please provide a video!). And no, hitting a tennis ball against a garage door or warehouse wall doesn’t count.

How many times have people been discouraged from taking up a sport or hobby just because “I can’t find anyone to do this with me!”? Fortunately, LetsPlayTennis.com has the ideal solution to the problem of the solitary player. This is an app that helps you find a tennis partner in your area.

How It Works

You join up by entering the usual pertinent information, stuff like name, city and state, birth date, and tennis skill level. Once you register, and yes, you can do it through Facebook, you can search for partners based on your location, age, and desired skill level.

You get the potential partners’ entries, which includes name, town, age, skill level, and best time to play. It’s easy as that. That’s all the app does, and if you think about it, that’s all it needs to do.

Simplicity Means Specialization Means Effectiveness

 Let’s Play Tennis does more than provide tennis aficionados with available partners; it provides a valuable lesson in the best way to construct an app. While it’s true that an app that has a very limited audience may not be the ubiquitous must-have of the Internet age, keeping it simple and focused on a function prized by a very specific demographic allows the designers to make sure this app provides a very effective solution to an otherwise annoying problem.

Sure, it’s not going to cure cancer, balance your checking account, or give you the most energy-efficient route home; in fact, its use is limited to what some would dismissively call a “first-world problem”. But so what? What we have here is an app that doesn’t have a million functions to it; it just has one, and thus is free to do what it does very, very well.

This is a lesson worth learning, especially if you’re designing your own apps. You can add this lesson to this information on how to create killer apps.

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Born in the Boston area in 1959, I started writing in 1985. I live in Nashua NH with my wife and three cats. We have four kids in our blended family. I am an utter geek who's into gaming, horror, SF/fantasy, the Red Sox, trains, running, history, and a bunch of other things.

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