• 05.05.11

Everyday Turns A Famed Viral Video Into iPhone App Gold

How MetaLab designer William Wilkinson turned a viral video meme into a best-selling iPhone app.

Everyday Turns A Famed Viral Video Into iPhone App Gold

In the age of iStuff, we all idly dream of casually coming up with a hit app idea and making a mint off it. MetaLab designer William Wilkinson is one of the few people who have actually accomplished this.


Inspired by the wildly popular time-lapse self portraits of photographer Noah Kalina, he wanted an easier way to make similar portraits of himself. “Noah has got his process down to a science by now, he knows how to frame it perfectly and is strict enough to do it every day,” Wilkinson tells Co.Design. “I just wanted to make it easier for someone who can’t just point a camera at themselves and guess the framing, or a forgetful person.” His solution: Everyday for iPhone 4. Here’s how it works:

Gotta love that Tyler Durden reference.

Easy, right? No schedules to blow, no complicated procedures to learn. Your iPhone buzzes, you take a picture. Done. The app even auto-assembles a time-lapse video for you with one tap. Unsurprisingly, Everyday is selling like hotcakes: in just one month, the app went from “random idea over brunch” to 50,000 downloads. At $1.99 a pop, that’s a serious chunk of dough — even after Apple takes its cut.

No schedules to blow, no complicated procedures to learn.

Everyday hammers home a point I’ve made before about apps: it’s the user experience, not necessarily the technology inside, that sends you laughing all the way to the bank. The iPhone’s front-facing camera and built-in reminders, Wilkinson says, were a key inspiration. But his instincts for effective interface design are what led him to include the features that really made Everyday a hit, like grid guidelines onscreen (to help you line up your face so that it seamlessly matches in the time-lapse with photos you’ve taken previously), and that one-touch movie assembling function. No wonder every tech-hipster influencer on earth was raving about it.

Wilkinson considers putting a price on his app part of making a good UX. “Giving it away for free usually means having to rely on intrusive advertising,” he says. “And strangely, free users tend to be very entitled and are likely to give you worse reviews. Instead I went for $1.99, not the rock-bottom standard of 99 cents but still incredibly affordable. I have no received a single price complaint to date.”

Focus on the experience, and price out the whiners: as Everyday proves, that’s app design advice you can take to the bank.


About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.