Only Allah is Perfect

Dear Reader, knowing when to stop is difficult.

John Lasseter likes to say that Pixar films don't get finished, they just get released. Also, perhaps to counter perfectionism, every Persian carpet is purposely given a fault to ensure that a flawless rug is never created: only Allah is perfect.

Version one of Payday is complete. It is not perfect, but it is complete.

Some of its flaws are due to external restraints; some are due to design decisions that cannot (and may never) be revisited; some have grown to become charming to me, so they will remain.

Most of the imperfections that remain in Payday exist because the designer is a flawed, imperfect individual and it was designed for a flawed, imperfect individual: Me.

Payday began before I owned an iPhone; it began before the iPhone existed. It is a tool I have been wanting for years and a tool that has existed in various unsatisfactory forms in spreadsheets, Palm Pilots and notebooks throughout the years.

Dear Reader, I must confess. I am useless with money.

I am one of those unfortunate souls who has neither the courage nor short-term memory to keep my bank balance in my head at all times. I have tried on so many occasions to organise, sort, tally, tabulate and ration. Some days I have succeeded but never for more than a few days. My problem is that while I am perfectly capable of sorting my finances out, I am incapable of the level of daily admin required to keep my calculations relevant.

Dear Reader, I must confess. I loath bureaucracy.

When the iPhone beamed from heaven into my life, Payday was the first Application I craved. I evaluated every personal finance app I could but was bitterly disappointed: they were designed for people who were good with money! Organised people! People with short-term memories! People who could be bothered!

The fundamental flaw with every personal finance app on the market toady is that they are essentially a time and motion study. They require you to collect every receipt and enter it. If you miss just one entry then you are fucked and your finances are built on lies.

Payday is built the other way round because that is the way I think.

With Payday, I have to spend at most five minutes every month setting it up and then I should never have to touch it. In fact, if I behave and keep within my daily budget I can get away without touching it ever again.

There is only one thing to remember: how much I can spend today and if I can't even remember that, Payday will tell me. If I misbehave all I have to do is confess my sin and enter a new bank balance. My penance is a slightly reduced budget tomorrow. No more lies.

Payday's initial customer is Me.

So, Dear Reader, please note that (unless you are my long-lost twin) Payday has not designed for you… yet. You will have different habits, different problems and vital edge cases that I have not considered. But, if you are more similar to me than to an accountant, there is a good possibility that Payday is the finance app for you, too. With feedback and iteration I hope it will become perfectly designed for you in time.

Gradually, I intend to address your unique problems but I can only do this once I understand you. As long as your problem is one that is shared by people like me (namely: the fuckwit-admin-o-phobic) I will endeavour to solve your problem with my little app.

However… Payday will never be an app for people who are already good with money. Those people are already well served. More importantly, I do not understand them, so how could I honestly design for them?

Payday does contain a few things that aren't personal issues: I am not paid twice-monthly, I do not use dollars and I don't need help as I already know how to use the app. Thus, these are probably some of the weaker parts of the design. I assume they will be revisited once real people use them.

The future roadmap contains a number of items that weren't personal issues when I originally designed Payday. Some have become issues since; some are my best-guesses at what other similar users might reasonably require. It would be great to get some feedback before we implement them.

For example:

  • Irregular Paydays: for students and the self employed,
  • Overdrafts and debt repayments,
  • Recording and budgeting for bills that change amount each time.

Payday will never have professional features, like:

  • Multiple Accounts
  • Expenses
  • Currency conversion

Unless, of course, I need them!