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Marketing Me
Next weekend I am off to the Engineers Without Borders’ South East regional conference , at UCF in Orlando Florida. While I am there, aside from being a good EWB member, I wanted to better promote my Notchflow App to the sorts of people who are likely to use it – other EWB members! And it won’t hurt to raise my profile either. So to further those goals I have just whipped up an easy-to-make marketing campaign in the form of a post card.

The Recipe
The key to this solution was my local office supplies store, which does in house double sided printing on postcard stock paper. They do this by printing 4 cards to a standard paper size and then trimming the excess from around the edges and cutting the sheets into four postcards – all for around 60 cents a card. All I had to do was to provide two pdf’s – one for the front and one for the back of the complete sheet that will be printed.

And an important aspect of this key point was talking with the staff at the shop in order to understand the limitations of their printing service. In my case the printers used by the store can’t print from edge to edge of the paper, and will leave an un-printed border on each sheet. So the artwork I supplied had to allow for this. I’d also recommend that you take your artwork in for a trial run and just get a single sheet printed as a proof before committing to a full production run. This will give you time to look over the result and do a final spell check! (In my case I had made some incorrect assumptions about the size of the unprinted edge, so I had to re-arrange things between the proof copy and the production run).

(As an aside – for the brand of office store I am using for this printing, the one nearest me seems to be filled with staff who are not quite with it, to the point that it is painful to watch them try and fulfill a request. Fortunately the next furthest store has staff that are on the ball and actually know what they are doing. So it pays to shop around to find a place that you are comfortable with – a classic case of YMMV)

After figuring out the type of marketing materials I wanted, the next task was to decide what to put on the postcard. But this was actually the easy part as:

  • I already have screen shots from my App store submission.
  • I already have text and defined styles from the App’s website: Notchflow.
  • I already have an icon from the App’s website.
  • I already have the App Store badges provided by Apple.

So all I have to do is artfully arrange all of them onto either side of the postcard!

The design I settled on had these elements on the front of the postcard:

  • Three of screen captures I submitted to Apple (but with some minor drop shadows and beveling applied to help them stand out from the flat background).
  • The title and subtitle text taken directly from the App’s website (including the same font and color).
  • A plain background color that is taken from both the App itself and the background color of the App’s website.
  • A border around the edge of the card, with the color again taken from the App and App’s website.

On the rear of the card I have:

  • The App’s icon, taken from the website.
  • Apple’s App store badge.
  • A repeat of the title and subtitle text from the App’s website.
  • The first paragraph of the App’s website which gives a very succint description of what the App actually does. (Again in the same style and color as the website).
  • A list of various web pages and email addresses that I want draw attention to – with the App’s website listed first.
  • A QR code that points to the App in the App Store (see below)

The use of the same images, text, style and colors across the App’s website, the App store submission and now this postcard all help to tie the product together in a coherent set of marketing materials. Plus as I already have the images, text, style and colors well defined then I don’t have to tax my brain to think up new ones!

The QR what?

For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for a couple of years, QR codes are two dimensional barcodes that can be used to encode all sorts of information. In the smart phone era they have become popular for encoding website URLs, and there are many smart phone Apps that will use the phones camera to read a QR code and then open up the URL in the phones’ browser.

For example the following QR code (which I also used on my postcard – see re-use makes things easier as I didn’t have to create a new QR code for this example!) contains a direct link to the Notchflow App in Apple’s App Store, and on an iOS device will open it in the App Store application – which allows for the Notchflow to be directly installed on the device. In addition, if the smart phone reading the code is not an Apple product (eg no App Store application), the QR code also encodes a fall back URL that points to the App’s website.

This may all sound a bit technical to produce and use, but there are numerous QR code creation websites on the internet, as well as QR code reader Apps for every style of smart phone. In my case I created the QR code (as seen above) using QR stuff and read the QR code using their free matching App.

The Result
Finally here are the front and rear proofs of the post card. Not the best images on the web as they have been heavily reduced in size – but you will get the idea about what I am sending off to be printed.

The End
After this little episode I can now add “Product Branding Specialist” to my resume!

See you all next time.


Good News Everyone!
NotchFlow, PathMove and Shake have been updated to support iOS6 and the new 4 inch retina screen.

The goss
I blogged about NotchFlow back in April (see NotchFlow – Water Flow Rate Calculator). This App is only available in the iTunes App Store.
NotchFlow in iTunes App Store

And back in March I spoke about PathMove (see PathMove – Moving objects along a bezier path in iOS) which is available on the App store, and the source code can also be downloaded from GitHUb.
PathMove in iTunes App Store
PathMove source code on GitHub

While more recently in June I released Shake! (see iOS Accelerometer – Shake Rattle and Roll) which is currently only available on GitHub, but I am still working on Apple to get it into the iTunes App Store.
Shake source code on GitHub

The future?
Who knows what the future will bring. Starting this week I will be exploring some ideas I have for some new apps. I am also headed to Orlando for the Engineers Without Borders’ South East Regional Conference (where I will be publicizing NotchFlow), and I am finally going to get started on figuring out what really needs to be done differently for an iPad app – as long as I can tear myself away from playing cut the rope!

NOTE that this App has been updated to support iOS6 and the 4 inch retina screen

A new app is born
I have finally released (and debugged and re-released) the NotchFlow App on the iTunes store. The App is available globally, so if you don’t have access to the US store, please try your local one.

NotchFlow calculates the flow-rate of water passing over the top of a fully contracted V-Notch weir by simply measuring the height of the flow above the bottom of the weir. In addition to calculating the flow, NotchFlow also estimates the population that could be supported by a given flow-rate using one of five predefined per capita water usage profiles.

However if that is not what you want, NotchFlow can perform its calculations three different ways:

  • Flow and population calculated from a given height
  • Height and population calculated from a given flow
  • Height and flow calculated from a given population

Additional information about the App can be found on the NotchFlow website

Pretty Pictures
Here are some screen shots of the NotchFlow App:




Weir Design

The Calculations screen shows the flow and population being calculated from the given height, but also allows the other two calculation types to be easily selected.

The Preferences screen shows the three main configurable preferences:

  • The units system: Metric, Imperial and US
  • The per capita daily water consumption profile
  • The actual notch angle used in the weir under consideration

The Information screen shows the wide range of information and design notes built into NotchFlow.

Finally the Weir Design screen shows part of the design notes available to help build the correct weir shape.

Stealing ideas
The basis for the calculation part of the App was “borrowed” from United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Measurement Manual. This publication describes the basic calculation needed to determine the flow-rate as well as providing notes on how the weir itself should be constructed. The NotchFlow App contains a summary of the design notes from that site with enough detail so that the proper weir can be built in the field.

The pre-defined per capita water profiles were adapted from the classifications defined in the WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality. The WHO classifications aim to relate the level of public health risk for a person based on how much access they have to clean drinking water.

I hope people find this App useful, and I look forward to releasing my next App!

Ciao, Peter