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iOS design: a case study

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iOS design: a case study

  1. iOS design: a case study CocoaHeads, Antwerp, March 26th 2012
  2. I would like to give some context to this presentation. These slides are from a 30 minute presentation called iOS design: a case study.
  3. If I make presentations, some slides only contain a few words or images so the slides won’t distract from what is being said. This “web” version contains sticky notes (like this one) that summarize what I talked about when displaying the slide during the original talk.
  4. iOS Design: a case study is about how we built ConcertWall. Kristof, developer Johan, interface designer @ahigherugliness @wolfr_
  5. Let’s go through the process of designing ConcertWall, from initial brief to final result.
  6. Introduction
  7. My name is Johan Wolf or @wolfr_ on the internet
  8. I read all day
  9. I like to play video games
  10. I love to write
  11. I have an interest in photography
  12. So this is my company’s website, ( http:// wolfslittlestore.be/ ). Notice how the graphics on the homepage are @2x retina :) Under work you can see what I do: interface design, web design, branding and identity, HTML & CSS, photography and design for mobile devices. Companies evolve and this is actually a little bit outdated - I specifically want to focus more on the interface design part. The next website will reflect this!
  13. Design for mobile
  14. Design for mobile These days I design a lot of interfaces for mobile: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7 or for custom hardware.
  15. First iPhone owned: iPhone 3G Number of iPhones owned so far: 3 Favorite application: Tweetie (original) Most used application: Reeder Number of apps currently on iPhone: 104 Number of iPhone apps designed: 4 Number of iPad apps designed: 2
  16. First iPhone owned: iPhone 3G Number of iPhones owned so far: 3 Favorite application: Tweetie (original) Most used application: Reeder Number of apps currently on iPhone: 104 Number of iPhone apps designed: 4 Number of iPad apps designed: 2 I’ve always used an iPhone as my primary phone since it came out, now on my third one. Out of all platforms it’s my favorite one to design for.
  17. Case study
  18. Initial brief • Redesign of existing Last Concerts iPhone app • Design of extra functionality to be added • Website: add polish
  19. Proposal • Complete redesign and rebranding of Last Concerts iPhone app • New marketing strategy: new website & app icon • Further ideas: great iTunes copy, offline ads (in concert halls)
  20. This is the old Last Concerts website. [http:// www.lastconcerts.com/]
  21. This is the old app design. Notice how it doesn’t look too bad (albeit a bit standard) because the defaults Apple provided are excellent.
  22. Wireframing & interaction design
  23. To kick off the project we sat down with a giant sheet of paper. I bought a big roll of paper in the paper shop. Drawing together is one of the best ways to get to define what is going to be built.
  24. Not going to bore you too much with this part, but of course before designing or wireframing anything you need to know: * Why are we building this, for who…? * What are the goals of people using the app?
  25. On the train home I thought a bit about the marketing... the initial app name idea was “Gigfind” (rejected later). We kept the poster idea.
  26. The next process was putting everything I learned in the wireframes. This is my style of wireframing where I put everything in a giant document. This one was made in OmniGraffle but recently I switched over to Illustrator for making these.
  27. This is a detailed view of part of the wireframe. Notice the notes that outline my thoughts surrounding the screens I’m designing.
  28. I generally use this template called Touch Gesture reference guide to show if there is any specific movement required on a screen. [http:// www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1071]
  29. This is another template (by Teehan+Lax). I don’t use it personally but I included it here show the difference between the interaction design and visual design. A “sketch” style is used here to show that this part of the design is NOT about the visual. [http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/ipad- sketch-elements-ai/]
  30. interaction design visual design
  31. Another technique that helps to make the distinction is to make your UI elements gray and unappealing just to make sure you concentrate on the interaction design first. interaction design visual design
  32. Sometimes it might make more sense to wireframe with a good kit of default UI and build a working app first, based on the default UI patterns. This is especially true when you are developing an app for Android, iPhone and WP7 at the same time. If you are doing client work, this will mean educating your clients, and possibly your boss too. The default UI can be implemented relatively fast and is 100% tested. Going custom is hard.
  33. Visual design & user interface customization
  34. Custom is hard. People always forget things.
  35. I often hit this iceberg when I stray from native controls. For example, Ajax interactions require more polish than basic web pages. Custom mobile menus require more polish than the built-in version. If the team doesn’t have the time to polish custom UI, it’s often better to stick to the boring native controls that work. Braden Kowitz, Designer at Google
  36. Very simple example: a dark interface
  37. Let’s say you were to make a “dark” iOS interface. Maybe a developer would start with a simple grouped table view in Xcode.
  38. You could set a new background color, but now your other UI elements don’t match the background.
  39. You can now go look for ways to customize the other UI elements. In OS5 some interface elements can be given a “tint” color.
  40. There are tutorials out there that show you how to change the default UI completely. The end result of most of these tutorials is mediocre at best.
  41. Even famous apps like Instapaper don’t implement a version that is 100% “right”. There is no default list view for dark interfaces in the iOS SDK, so a lot of iOS dev time is probably spent reinventing the wheel (i.e. coloring an existing UI element) The lines between items have too much contrast, the font for table views is supposed to be bold, and the frame of the table view should have more contrast. Kudos to Marco for implementing a dark table view when in Dark mode, which is a detail many apps would forget. I am using Instapaper as an example now but trust me, there are a apps out there that are a LOT worse. I <3 Instapaper and by many accounts it’s a leading example.
  42. How to make a grouped table view thats fits right in? Start by looking at the one that Apple made. The key to a great iOS design is knowing the platform. Look carefully at how the default apps are built.
  43. Work those details (not like this app). Non retina graphic Inconsistent language Non retina graphic Highlight text should be white Non retina graphic
  44. In the end, if you want a custom design that is great, you’re going to need to implement your own version of certain UI parts using custom assets.
  45. List item 1 List item 2 List item 3 Here’s my version the grouped table view... you could say: not much difference? I say - fits right into iOS! [Download PSD: http://dribbble.com/ shots/233036-iPhone-list-PSD ]
  46. list_view_top@2x.png list_view_middle@2x.png list_view_bottom@2x.png
  47. List item 1 List item 2 List item 3 This “dark UI” design works on any background - even disco style backgrounds (using PNG transparency to achieve this).
  48. If what you are building can’t be built with the default UI elements take a close look at what the leaders in a particular field are doing e.g. FourSquare recently decided to switch over to MapBox for their maps. [http://mapbox.com/]
  49. True business cost of customization: both UI elements took at least several hours & iterations to get right
  50. But if nobody took any UI risk there would not be any innovation out there, so it depends on what you’re doing. This screenshot is from Al Gore’s Our Choice, in my opinion the best e-book there is on iPad, interaction design-wise that is (then Apple took these ideas and made iBooks author... that’s life!) [ http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-edAGLokak ] This was done by Mike Matas, Bret Victor and their team. Two names you should definitely remember if you’re into interface design. [http:// www.mikematas.com/] [http://worrydream.com/]
  51. The Tapbots guys are famous for their custom interfaces. Their business is practically based on the fact that their apps are 100% custom. I love how they think of power users. [http://tapbots.com/] [http:// tapbots.com/software/tweetbot/ipad/]
  52. A common interaction design mistake
  53. Web style form iOS style form (better!)
  54. It took me a while to learn how to handle forms on iOS. Take a close look at Calendar (add new event), Contacts (edit/add contacts) and Settings to get a good grasp on what to do. Web style form iOS style form (better!)
  55. Test your design (!) Use Skala preview http://bjango.com/mac/ skalapreview/ by Bjango to view your design while making it. This should give you a better sense of what you’re doing than the huge retina PSD you are working in.
  56. Design resources
  57. For the Illustrator guys like me check out the iPhone Vector UI elements template http:// www.mercuryintermedia.com/blog/index.php/ 2009/03/iphone-ui-vector-elements
  58. The Teehan+Lax PSD template is your best friend when designing for iOS. It’s an almost perfect representation of Apple’s UI elements in the form of a PSD. [ http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/ iphone-4-gui-psd-retina-display/ ]
  59. Design: lessons learned
  60. • Custom vs. native is a tough balance - stick to the standards where possible • “Coloring” UIKit makes more sense than re-inventing the wheel • Don’t think you can do better than Apple (unless you can invest the same time)
  61. • Give your app personality through: • Splash screen • App icon • App content
  62. • Don't try to give your app personality through: • Custom interaction design • Ignoring standards and good defaults (e.g. standard sizes of elements, 44px “touch” area)
  63. Final designs
  64. App icon
  65. Iterations
  66. Iterations Since illustration is not my forte we hired an illustrator, Mattias Lundin from Sweden: http:// dribbble.com/inkgraphix
  67. It’s easy to go overboard with app icon designs. The guys from Spice Invaders made 50 variants... a bit too much.
  68. You should read their “making of” blog post on http://on-5.com/2012/01/the-making-of-spice- invaders/
  69. Speaking of “behind the scenes”, here’s another cool one: http://www.repeattimerapp.com/how/
  70. In the end we ran with this icon, showing 2 posters, a Woodstock reference, bold colors & a reference to music through the notes & guitar.
  71. Michael Flarup’s template is the best template out there for designing your app icon. Recently a new version came out “supporting” the new iPad. [ http://appicontemplate.com/ ]
  72. Keep in mind that this is the size most people are going to see your icon at, I can only advise to use a simple glyph/form instead of a super detailed representation. Perhaps this design is still too detailed.
  73. These icons are super clear and to me still look attractive:
  74. Assets & specification
  75. You can’t just deliver a PSD to a developer, there’s no way that’s going to work. This part of the presentation is about preparing assets and the way I try to communicate the design.
  76. Some tools to work faster when making assets: Prepo is a Mac app to easily convert @2x images to regular sized images (“@1x”). [Prepo: http:// wearemothership.com/work/prepo/]
  77. Here’s the assets for ConcertWall. Takes some work to export them all, especially crisp assets in both retina and non-retina versions.
  78. I use some automator actions to make my life easier e.g. this does about the same thing as the Prepo app (convert @2x to @1x)
  79. This action just adds text to multiple files, if you forget to add @2x to the names (like I always do :))
  80. I write a spec for the developer in which I explain which images to use where, which fonts to use where etc. You can’t possibly describe the whole design but basic stuff like which asset belongs where is very helpful for a developer.
  81. ## Lists: thumbnails Use glow.png for the glow on last.fm images. * The thumbnails are 54x55 pixels * Use a black 54x55 thumbnail if no image can be found/images are still loading * When an image gets loaded, slight fade in animation would be nice This is an example of a “specification” for thumbnails in lists in the Concertwall app.
  82. A design has to be communicated Merely sending the mockups is not enough.
  83. The app I use to make these is called Mou (http://mouapp.com/), on the left side you write in Markdown, on the right side you immediately see your output. This way you can easily reference asset images directly in the spec. The app allows you to export to HTML and PDF, so when you deliver the spec to the developer he/ she can open it up in a separate window (e.g. on a second screen) and have it handy at all times.
  84. Marketing: website
  85. Here’s a simple way to make a good looking iPhone asset for your marketing website:
  86. Download Mikael Eidenberg’s iPhone template, open it in Photoshop, and edit the smart object inside of it (http://www.mikaeleidenberg.se/page/ free-iphone-template)
  87. This is what it should look like.
  88. Now put your own design in there...
  89. Bam! A nice graphic for the website.
  90. Here’s an early version of the website design. I got tired of the “feature list” type design talking about how great the app is.
  91. The new approach is simpler: since the app is free anyway we want to lead people to download right away. Why not let the app speak for itself?
  92. This is the current version which we are still looking to improve, we would like a “happy” version with a festival background.
  93. This shows some of the steps involved in creating this design: photography, logo and icon creation forego the design process. You can’t make anything cool without materials.
  94. Thank you! Follow me: @wolfr_ on Twitter E-mail me: mail@wolfslittlestore.be Read the blog: wolfslittlestore.be/journal Subscribe to the blog: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Wolfslittlestore
  95. Resources Web content mentioned in this talk LastConcerts http://www.lastconcerts.com/ Touch gesture reference guide: http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1071 The making of Spice Invaders http://on-5.com/2012/01/the-making-of-spice-invaders/ Repeat timer pro case study http://www.repeattimerapp.com/how/ App icon template pixel resort http://appicontemplate.com/ Teehan + Lax iPhone 4 GUI PSD http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/iphone-4-gui-psd-retina-display/ Teehan + Lax iPad sketch elements http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/ipad-sketch-elements-ai/ Teehan + Lax iPhone sketch elements http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/iphone-sketch-elements-ai/ iPhone UI Vector Elements http://www.mercuryintermedia.com/blog/index.php/2009/03/iphone-ui-vector-elements/ Skala preview http://bjango.com/mac/skalapreview/ Prepo app http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prepo/id476533227?mt=12 Automator (continued) http://wolfslittlestore.be/2012/03/07/automator-continued/ Designing for iOS http://wolfslittlestore.be/2012/02/29/designing-for-ios-continued/ Mou app http://mouapp.com/ List view PSD on Dribbble http://dribbble.com/shots/233036-iPhone-list-PSD Mapbox http://mapbox.com/ Other essential web content around the subject Apple iOS HIG http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/AppleHIGuidelines/Intro/Intro.html Design then Code http://designthencode.com/ Almost everything on the Bjango blog: http://bjango.com/articles/
  96. If you liked this presentation Check out my previous presentations: Designing better user interfaces http://www.slideshare.net/Wolfr/designing-better-user- interfaces Design for Developers. http://www.slideshare.net/Wolfr/design-for- developersonlineversionlong
  97. Hire me. If you like what you’re seeing, I can apply my knowledge to your application too. Get in touch: mail@wolfslittlestore.be

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