Here at FiddleFly, we always try to put an emphasis on finding new ways to create something exciting. Likewise, when we see a company that has found a way to do just that, we do our best to share it with the world. Sometimes (and until last October when we lost Steve Jobs) those innovative solutions we admire come in the form of something big like changing the way we store music, developing new technology, or redefining the mobile platform. Other times those ingenious innovations are the result of some really creative people seeing a flaw in the system and finding a way to use it, for the better.
One such example of problem solving-turned-innovating, came recently from the gaming startup Heyzap, which has turned that annoying 404 error page into a simple space invaders game. By taking a familiar frustration that we experience all over the web and transforming it into something engaging for users, Heyzap not only relieves some of the hassle of web surfing, but also gives its users a reason to stick around. We’ve seen that in terms of mobile users, the average page view lasts less than 10 seconds, so finding ways to keep users interested (especially when they would otherwise be staring at a dead end) is crucial.
Web-based problem solving can take the shape of in-house solutions too, as we found out recently from the app search engine company Quixey. Instead of spending huge capital and wasting valuable time searching for talented engineers, Quixey created a contest that brought the engineers to them. By offering a small prize for debugging example code, Quixey was able to draw in freelance engineers who they then could decide whether or not to bring on board. Not only did the initiative result in a number of incredibly talented people joining the Quixey team, it generated tons of buzz for the company and helped expand the brand.
Sometimes these simple solutions are not just for personal gain either. For example, you know those annoying CAPTCHAs we all squint at when making purchases online? Well whether you know it or not those 10 or so seconds you spend trying to decipher those jumbled letters are actually doing the world some good. CAPTCHA creator Luis von Ahn realized that although CAPTCHA was already helping secure the internet from spambots, it was also causing people to waste valuable seconds every day. To solve the problem, van Ahn initiated a program called reCAPTCHA that uses the answers people give to their CAPTCHAs to decipher unreadable words in books that are being digitized. While typing two little words may seem simple, the reCAPTCHA initiative has resulted in the digitization of hundreds of thousands of books in a very short amount of time.
Of course these are just a few blips on the radar of creative solutions to simple problems in the connected world. Every day we see new faces pop up on the scene making waves by turning frustrations into productivity. We’re doing our best to join these innovators, and hopefully you are too.