Patina (since there's no "Microsoft Paint for Mac")
May 17, 2016 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Patina (since there's no "Microsoft Paint for Mac")
I wanted to use something like Microsoft Paint on my Mac, but I couldn't find any existing such app that I liked, so I decided to create one. This two year project finally reached full fruition this week with its launch as a paid app in the Mac App Store.

Here's how I made this happen.

First I found the right person to work with me on the project since I'm not a programmer. We got started on it in mid-2014. We knew the user interface needed to be Apple-worthy, the app needed to be really stable, and the feature set needed to be rich but not complicated to use. It takes a long time (especially if it’s a part-time endeavor and a small team) and many hundreds of Basecamp to-dos to achieve that. Not to mention a lot of work with translators since we wanted to make the app available in a variety of other languages.

We finally launched Patina in December 2015 in the Mac App Store as a free app to get some initial user feedback. The feedback was very positive and we ended up with a high rating and a stable top ten download rank position in the free Graphics & Design apps category.

Some users sent us emails saying things like “what’s the catch” or “why is this free” or “Apple should buy this app from you and include it with OS X”. Other users sent us suggestions for enhancements. We implemented most of those enhancement suggestions in the update this week, and also implemented the suggestion to relaunch it as a paid app (specifically $2.99 in the US) so we can hopefully afford to keep developing the app. Although we retain the old ratings and reviews, the download ranking gets reset, so the next challenge is to try to claw our way back up to top ten download ranking in the paid Graphics & Design apps category.

One takeaway I’ve had from this experience, besides the confirmation that users do really appreciate software that has been developed slowly and carefully to ensure quality (we’ve never had a single crash report), is that Apple hugely impacted the price structure for software and created big challenges for developers by doing two things:

- By creating an ecosystem for developers to sell apps in potential high volume for dollars instead of for tens or hundreds of dollars, Apple permanently changed user expectations about what software is worth and should cost. In the past, good commercial-grade software selling for a few dollars would have seemed ridiculously cheap, but now it seems normal.

- By creating a split in the App Store between free apps and paid apps (i.e., having those as two separate categories), instead of having costs be on a fluid continuum from free to whatever, Apple not only made it easy for users to only look at free apps without looking at paid apps but also trained users to think of apps as free vs. not free instead of as a continuum of price levels.

This latter phenomenon creates challenges for developers because it means the difference in terms of both exposure and adoption between a free app and a $0.99 app is much bigger than the difference between, for example, a $0.99 app and a $1.99 app. Setting a price for a product is always tricky business, and the way Apple presents apps in the App Store (which is optional for developers to use, with some pluses and minuses) and the way users perceive that presentation make pricing strategy even trickier in a way.

What lies ahead? Perhaps at some point deciding whether to venture into a higher level of functionality, such as by having layers, which would risk making the app more complicated to use but at the same time would make it more functional for a sub-set of potential users who desire more sophisticated functionality. In the meantime, there are a number of more complex vector drawing apps in the App Store those users can choose from.

If anyone MetaFilter community members reading this post is working on a software development project and wants more insight into the app development and publishing process that I went through, feel free to contact me.
Role: Product Concept Designer, Project Manager
posted by OCDan (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

This sounds great. I've always felt the OS X needed a simple paint program. I'm on my iPad right now, so I can't check it out. I'm almost afraid to ask...How far back is the compatibility? That is, is it locked to the latest version of OS X, or might users of older versions feel the love, too?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:22 PM on May 17, 2016

It's compatible with OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and newer.
posted by OCDan at 12:54 AM on May 18, 2016

We actually coincidentally just discovered one potential compatibility issue with OS X 10.8 and 10.9, but that should be fixed very soon.
posted by OCDan at 9:28 AM on May 18, 2016

Looks good. I just bought it.
posted by mpark at 1:11 PM on May 19, 2016

I hope you enjoy it.

The OS X 10.8/10.9 problem has been solved and an update will be published in the App Store soon.
posted by OCDan at 4:04 PM on May 19, 2016

I am so glad someone has done this! Yay!
posted by capricorn at 8:02 PM on May 19, 2016

Update (version 1.1.1) is live in the Mac App Store now. Users of older OS X versions 10.8 and 10.9 should have no problem now.
posted by OCDan at 8:47 AM on May 21, 2016

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