Well, I suppose it was inevitable. I joked on the last episode of Core Intuition that I was being drawn in by the idea of developing software specifically for the “baby market.”
Since that time, I developed and deployed version 1.0 of the simplest product I’ve ever designed: Shush for the iPhone and iPod touch.
Shush is an onomatopoeically titled iPhone application whose only purpose is to generate a constant shushing static noise, similar to the noise you might make when you want to quiet a baby who is frantic with fussiness and crying. Of course, you might also use it to calm your fussy and frantic self in a noisy airport, subway, or neighborhood where you live.
Partly due to time constraints, and partly due to purity of vision, Shush is an extremely simple 1.0 application. Its user interface consists of just a single button for starting and stopping the shushing, and a slider for fine-tuning the volume.
Although I really enjoy the minimal design of the app so far, I can see adding some features as time goes on. For instance, users have almost instantly asked for “pink noise” in addition or instead of the default white noise which is currently being generated. A common joke about pink noise is “you know, for girls,” but actually what pink noise refers to is a more appropriate distribution of the randomness in the noise, to suit the way that the human brain hears audio. Learn more about the colors of noise on Wikipedia.
One thing I can tell you is this product has already been extensively field tested. It’s easy enough to make a shushing noise with your mouth, but it gets tiring, and can be hard to sustain. I almost always have my iPhone with me, so it’s great to know that if a serious, full-blown fussy tantrum is taking place, I’ve got a little technological help in my pocket. How well the app will do among the general public is anybody’s guess, but I’m sure there will be at least a few jubilant parents out there who find this as useful as I do.
Stopping a fussy baby from screaming inconsolably? Priceless.