A new digital toolkit that goes by the name AppSeed looks set to be the next game changer in app development, as it promises to close the gap between brainstorming and creating a prototype. Through a couple of simple steps, AppSeed will transform your hastily sketched out pen and paper designs into a fully functional, digitised app. Currently in the final fortnight of its Kickstarter campaign, AppSeed is the brainchild of Adam Leon and Greg Goralski.
“Sketching is simply the fastest way to test ideas and visually brainstorm,” says Goralski, “but even so, it’s difficult to get a sense of the app experience… What’s missing from a sketch is a sense of context and behaviour. AppSeed solves the digital disconnect that exists with sketching for mobile… Many designers prefer to sketch on paper because of the speed and tactile nature, but we want to have our designs experienced and tested in the context of the device. There are some UI elements that are difficult to communicate in a status sketch, such as the impact of movement, pull-down menus, pop-ups, and modal windows. AppSeed allows you to add these movements and behaviours to your design and then present them within the context of the device.”
The exciting functionality of AppSeed is all thanks to the use of computer vision, which searches the sketch in order to isolate individual elements. The OpenCV library contains a number of ways in which an image or video can be interpreted by a phone. AppSeed finds enclosed spaces, such as boxes, and decides what to do with them; for instance, an enclosed rectangle can be seen as a button. “Once an element is isolated, there is very little that you can’t do with it.”
At a glance, AppSeed looks like it will work wonders for design and development teams, in terms of fast-tracking the often lengthy and labour-intensive process of taking a concept from the drawing board to prototype. Teams will be more quickly able to show off their ideas, in a way that more effectively and meaningfully demonstrates potential.
Of course, there is also the possibility that further down the line, AppSeed will be adopted by just about anybody who wants to create their own app, as it renders a large portion of the previously required programming expertise redundant. What was originally conceived out of frustration, to make developers’ lives easier, may actually end up levelling the playing field completely.