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  • Tim Wagner

    I love challenges that demand curiosity, deep analytical thinking and opportunities to cross-pollinate between industries, work roles and borders. As an innovation driver at btrax I work to identify gaps of opportunity in markets, creating processes, brand stories and strategic partners to create unique experiences. Something spark your interest? Start a conversation @wagner_tim

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  • Apr 28, 2009

Sushi Guru iPhone App

Sushi Guru ScreenshootFor mobile applications geared to narrow niche audiences, Sushi Guru is a good case study of what to focus on and avoid in creating an iPhone app.

Slick User Experience
SushiGuru nailed the most important thing – a great user interface. The design is professional and the navigation is simple – basic items that more than a few apps get horribly wrong. People should be able to understand and use all your app features without a user’s manual in a few seconds. Especially when they are paying for it – in this case $1.99.

Know Your Niche
SushiGuru’s creator Ben Trotter didn’t try to make the Swiss Army knife of apps – staying focused on relevant features. The best one allows you to take notes on each sushi – useful for remembering your favorites at a particular sushi bar. The audio clip of the fish name in Japanese and ranking a fish’s eco-friendliness are also solid features.

Partner Up

This leads us to an area where most apps could be more powerful: not reinventing the wheel. Smart tech businesses favor strategic partnerships and third-party integration. Sushi Guru combines information from the Monterrey Aquarium’s established, well-researched seafood guide along with data from the FDA. The cred that lends, however, is not mentioned on SushiGuru’s website or App Store blurb.

The challenge in this case is that the Monterrey Aquarium’s has its own Seafood Guide iPhone app. Although the Aquarium’s app is free and has more specific regional info, it doesn’t have comparable cultural features or design.

Location, Location, Location
Neither Sushi Guru or the Seafood Guide, however, take the next step – integrating with the iPhone’s Google Map app for directions to my favorite sushi bar . Or taps Yelp to provide location-aware listings of nearby sushi restaurants or customer rankings.

For some sushi fans, that’s a deal breaker. But Trotter promises more advanced features when the iPhone’s software is updated this summer, enabling push notifications.


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