Have you ever wanted to send a bunch of foot soldiers to a coworkers apartment? Likely. Do you have a great idea for an app or a game but want to collaborate with other like-minded nerds with similar ideas? There’s an app for that. Thanks to creator Daniel Abrams, with Wend making apps easily and effectively has never been, well…more easy or effective. With Wend, the real world and virtual world collide without any of that messy coding that takes forever (I assume). So instead of me trying to explain making an app, hear what Daniel has to say about Wend and the future of app-making. And also a herd of giraffes walking through Dupont Circle. Because that is a thing that could happen.
Daniel Abrams of Wend
In the most basic sentence possible, what does Wend do?
Wend is a tool for building location based games and apps on mobile devices.
What does it mean to visually build an app as opposed to building one with coding?
Creating an app of any complexity, especially a location-based app, requires a great deal of knowledge. We want to drastically lower the barrier to entry for creating sophisticated location based apps. Wend allows a weekend hobbyist to build complicated apps that would normally only be possible for a trained software engineer with years of industry experience.
What led you to create Wend?
We wanted to send hordes of (virtual) foot soldiers marching down 7th street to besiege our coworker’s new condo.
How do you want to change your industry?
Mobile apps are unique in that they are aware of your location. So far this has mostly been used for very simple check-in mechanics like Foursquare or very basic game mechanics like Ingress. We think this barely taps the potential of location aware apps. We want to allow designers to create incredibly rich, sophisticated apps where virtual agents move around on their own and have goals, memories, and the ability to interact with real people in deep and surprising ways.
What do you hope to provide your clients with that they probably aren’t finding anywhere else?
The tools to build really complex, creative location aware apps don’t exist today. We want to provide the tools to enable whole new categories of apps that are fun, engaging and useful.
Why create something new?
Steve Jobs said great software lives at the intersection of technology and liberal arts. That’s where we want to be. We want to push the boundaries are what is possible.
How can a place on Wend be both real and imaginary (getting existential on you)?
Because the magic of Wend is that the world is what we tell it to be. If a designer wants a herd of talking giraffes to wander around Dupont Circle, the herd will appear to other Wend users just so. If the giraffes commute to Capitol Hill each day, Wend will show them walking down 17th street at the appropriate times, just like everyone else. We can even pull in traffic data and have them stuck in rush hour traffic appropriately. If a user wishes to speak with these giraffes, they have to actually go to their location. It is the imposition of the imaginary on top of the real that lets us do wonderful, engaging things.
Who can make an app with Wend—how much technological savvy is required?
It depends to some degree on the complexity of the app. Anyone can make basic apps with a few hours of work, even if they don’t have much technical background. To make a very complex app it helps to have knowledge of some basic scripting concepts like if/then statements and looping.
Why are apps vital to our culture and why do we need a site like Wend to create them faster and more easily?
Our goal is to enable apps that are fun, engaging, useful, and meaningful.
What will a physical presence of an app add to its virtual presence?
Because the real world is incredibly engaging! There is no substitute for the joy of moving around, experiencing actual places, using all one’s senses, getting some exercise.
What kind of app would you most like to see created on Wend?
I want to see people pushing the boundaries of what can be done with location-based apps. Most location-based apps are habit trails that send people from place to place for pointless reasons like check-ins or silly challenges. I think it is possible to create compelling location based apps that have depth of purpose or emotional engagement, and I want to help people do this with Wend.