Creative Creating: Create the Tools You Wish Existed

April 27, 2015    Reading Time: < 1 Minute

Creativity

I use a lot of online tools for various tasks throughout the day. Most of the simplistic tools that I use (they focus on doing one thing), generally lack something that I wish they had.

Some of them do a great job, but look like they haven’t been touched since 1999. The interface is awkward/not intuitive, it’s crammed with advertisements, it’s built in Flash, and, most of the time, design, was an afterthought.

So instead of complaining, I’ve decided to re-build these tools.

I’ve already started by building three:

#1) Super Simple Stopwatch

Just like it sounds, it does one thing well: Keeps track of time. It’s extremely easy to use and responsive. I use it constantly throughout my day.

Super Simple Stopwatch

#2) Super Simple Mortgage Calculator

Again, this does one thing well: Calculates a mortgage so you can estimate your monthly payments.

Super Simple Mortgage Calculator

And now I’ve built a third: CASE+CONVERT

#3 CASE+CONVERT

This app converts text from lowercase, UPPERCASE, Sentence case, or Capitalize Case and vice-versa. You can type or paste your text, push a button, and it’ll transform your text. Try it out for yourself.

Case + Convert

You may ask: why create something like this if it already exists elsewhere?

Because it’s fun, challenging, and educational. Not only do I get to create and use the tool I want, but I learn valuable lessons and skills along the way.

The founders of 37Signals had a similar strategy when they decided to build a project management tool for their team which we now know as Basecamp.

I think it’s important for people to build and create things they wish existed or believe they can do better. Not only for the tools that come out of it, but for the entire experience of creating.

Are there complementary tools in your industry that you could create or improve upon?

Stay CREATIVE.

Last updated on August 31, 2016. Shawn is the President of Graticle, Inc.

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We have used Shawn at Graticle Design on several web design projects and have always been extremely pleased with the end results. One of the fantastic things about working with Shawn is that he asks all the right question about our company, product and our customer base. Then, from these very insightful conversations, he is able to rapidly create a design that always feels fresh and new, as well as being something that completely envelops all of our needs.

Every time we work with Shawn, he exceeds our expectations. This is saying a lot because after working on several projects with him, we have very high expectations of his ability to make each and every design special, unique and ultimately profitable for us.

Justin Spafford

Audiotech, Inc.

www.audiotech.com

Chicago, Illinois

We recently hired Graticle to design and program our client’s new WordPress website. He did a wonderful job. The site is not only stunning to look at, it also operates beautifully. We enjoyed working with Shawn and we plan on using his services in the future. If you are looking for a designer/programmer that is detailed-oriented, customer-focused, timely and talented – Shawn is your guy.

April Janota

Director of Digital and Creative Solutions

Wilks Communications Group

wilksgrp.com

Oak Park, Illinois