Making the Emojiscout app

Behind any app lies a thousand small decisions. Here’s how we took Emojiscout from start to finish!

Gjermund.65cc9064966e3ea02a8b631e147fa639Gjermund, designer
in Making Of & Emojiscout

I’m the kind of guy that could find a behind-the-scenes DVD more enjoyable than the movie itself. Stories of how a team of experts used their skill, creativity and enthusiasm to make magic happen on screen – that just never got old to me. And as a teenager, this was one of my main inspirations for making stuff on the computer.

Stories of technology products often jump straight from idea to finished product. We rarely catch a glimpse into the creation itself, which is a shame, considering the hard work and interesting decisions that tend to happen throughout. So in our last side project, we wanted to document the process properly. This is the story of how we made Emojiscout for iOS – from start to finish.

Arriving at the idea

When corona lockdown hit, several of our projects got put on hold over night. This sucked pretty hard, but also made us want to go back to our roots. Let's just play around with an idea entirely of our own. That's how we once started our company, and it's been a rare luxury the last few years.

At the same time, this is dangerous territory. All too often do passion projects end up half-finished in the digital drawer, as life gets in the way. So we wanted a project small enough to ship in a reasonable time, but ambitious enough to actually be useful.

Some Apple emojis, in glorious detail

One thing that had been bothering us both was the experience of finding emojis in iOS. Each little emoji is small, tightly crammed together, and categorized quite fuzzily. This makes them hard to both find and tap, and it gets worse as new ones are introduced. So when Anders casually suggested over Slack that we could make an app ourselves, I was all onboard.

We try to vet our own ideas before diving into them, but this felt right on several fronts:

  • It’ll be a useful tool. If we need it, others probably do too.
  • We can build it ourselves. No need for external parties or APIs.
  • The scope is limited. This should be doable before reality kicks in. Fingers crossed.
  • It’ll be fun. Isn’t this reason enough?

Let's go!

Next post: Designing the user experience