Bring sketches to life with POP, a mobile prototyping app from Taiwan that’s an instant hit

POP helps designers prototype on paper by converting sketches into workable mockups. The Taiwanese startup has a solid team, too.

Developers and designers who build know the importance of wireframing. For the longest time, designers relied upon using pen and paper to draw sketches of their designs before translating these into actual products. What has always been missing is an easy way to bring the casual sketch to life. Woomoo, a Taipei based startup, has just launched POP (short form for Prototyping on Paper) to solve that problem, and has became an instant hit.

POP is an iPhone app through which you can sketch out your ideas on paper and convert them into a functioning mockup. Simply sketch out your page ideas, take photos of your sketches with POP, and then add links through the POP app. The app was launched late last week and quickly showed up on the front page of Hacker News. They were then picked up by several publications such as The Next Web and Cult of Mac.

We spoke to Ben, one of the folks behind the ingenious app over an email interview.

Could you share with us more about three guys behind WOOMOO?

I dropped out of high school at 17 and from the university again at 21. I founded my first startup at 27 and started to learn coding. Since then, I managed to write a browser based desktop environment and made quite a name for myself among the Taiwan tech groups at the age 29. I co-founded WOOMOO INC. with Leo and Wraecca at 31.

Leo went to National Taiwan University, founded his first startup in the state right after he graduated. However, he returned to Taiwan and taught himself design. Since then he had been freelancing and building his own product at the same time. During that period he designed for a lot of popular sites like Gomaji and iCook. Leo left Polydice this year to work on POP and co-founded WOOMOO INC. along with Ben and Wraecca.

Our third cofounder, Wraecca played band as a drummer. He built a popular website while in college, made an iOS indie game after military service, and was the chef iOS developer at Jiepang, China’s version of Foursquare. He left Jiepang and took our invitation to cofound WOOMOO INC.

How did the idea come about, and what was the biggest pain point when you were building the app?

We had been developing apps for a while and had always had trouble finding the right tool to do app prototypes. We ended up with just pen and paper, which is spontaneously intuitive. The iPhone sheets we bought for sketch was too expensive hence the initial idea was to make a cheeper version and sell back to the state.

However that still do not solve our problem, we can only guess how it works on the iPhone. Someday an idea just pop out of my head, “Why not just take photos of them and make hotspots on them so those mockups can be tappable and be simulated on iPhone?” Since then we started to develop this tool for our own use and hope that might be helpful for others too.

I think the hardest part of this app is to make it really simple and easy to use. Normally people would think “let’s make an iPhone app prototypes with an iPad which has a bigger screen.” No one would ever think an iPhone app prototype can be done on an iPhone itself. We had hard time tuning the flow and UI so it can be used with just one hand to create a prototype in mins!

Any plans to support other mobile OSes (other than iOS)?

Yes we’d really love to support Android and Windows phone but not until we expand our team. We’ll probably look for funding to speed up the development process.

Could you share more about the pricing structure/rev model?

If you Google the amount of new apps submitted everyday you’ll find there is a huge market in app development tools. We plan to make POP a subscription service with additional syncing features to different devices and commet system for team cooperation. The final decision hasn’t been made yet and we will not charge until we think it is worth it, but here is what we had in mind now:

  • Free – 1 project and 1 teammate (you can delete the sample project so you got an extra project for free)
  • $19.99/month – unlimited projects and 3 teammate (will be $5/month in the beginning for promotion)
  • $39.99/month – unlimited projects and 10 teammate

Also there might be a stand-alone offline version that charge for a one time fee for people who does not need to cooperate with others.

What’s moving forward for POP and Woomoo?

Definitely user feedback. We received a lot of user feedback, they drive us to deliver better products and services!  We love to see our service to be used by many people across many countries.

What is the team currently looking for?

As we mentioned above we have been asked for multi-platform support. This is not going to happen until we expand our team and that needs investments. So if you are interested you are welcome to email us and discuss about the details at funding@woomoo.in

Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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