I have been doing web design for 15 years, and printing even longer. For the past few months, I’ve been working for MagCloud on their iPad app
(available on iTunes
) with a group of extremely talented people. And this experience had nothing to do with what I did as a designer earlier. Here are a few things I learned.
The iPad establishes a very close personal connection with the user. When working with direct touch input, the need for a level of abstraction disappears, and this is really great. In a sense, this brings us back to the design for printing: you touched something with your finger - it shifted! But it is very different from the printing industry in any other sense imaginable. In fact, the touch interface makes it necessary to reassess all the common truths in the design of user interfaces.
Terminology has changed
I had no idea how much web terminology penetrated my vocabulary. There are no “pages” on the iPad, there are “screens” or “views” (pages, screens and views, respectively). You do not “press”, you “touch” (click and tap). You do not “scroll”, you “drag” (scroll and swipe). For most of the first working meetings, I stumbled over my own words when discussing the simplest things.
Goodbye dear "hover"
I have always loved changing the state of page elements on hover. When a web page changes under your cursor, it indicates that you are not indifferent to it. But remove the cursor - the hover disappears with it. Apple offered Safari on the iPad the following solution: one touch changes the state of the element, and the second produces a click. It confused every user who tried to do this before my very eyes. So the change in the state of the elements on hover is sent to retire. I'll miss!
Hello luxurious gestures
Gestures not only create the effect of close connection with the device, they turn it into an instrument like a musical one. In the end, you do not use a guitar - you play it. And what is playing a guitar like not mastering a sequence of gestures?
Do not believe? Check out an app like Uzu
. It only makes beautiful pictures, but using very complex gestures, where you have to use up to 10 fingers.
Our modest application does not do anything like that, but I found the opportunity to use pinching / spreading of fingers in a couple of places for the convenience of the user (pinching fingers to see all pages, dilution - to open a page on the screen). There is still a lot to do.
It takes time
I strongly underestimated how much time I spend on the design phase of the application. I was used to quickly cracking down on web design, which made me arrogant. The application has a lot of details that can interfere with the work of the user. Their refinement takes time.
Imperfect visual tools
It took us 15 years to find a visual language for the web, and it continues to evolve. There are several agreements for design on the iPad, but in a year or two they will look as funny as iMac caramel colors today. Personally, I like to work in places where there are many virgin lands, but it also requires a lot of effort. Sometimes, the next problem can be solved only through the invention of new techniques. It is interesting.
iStrah, iUncertainty and iDoubt
Apple App Store has been a constant source of stress throughout the development process. Every time Apple, on another unpredictable reason, threw the application out of the store, the whole team began to shake. The idea that we would do all this work, and Apple could reject the application or keep it hanging forever, forced us to check and recheck every design decision: “Can this pixel damage our chances of getting into the store?”
With its uncertain policy in the store, Apple kills the creative aspirations of its own developers. Fortunately, we went through it normally, but I can only guess how interesting the store would be if Apple gave the developers a clear list of rules, and promised to strictly follow them. The fear, uncertainty and doubts experienced by people were not originally inevitable, Apple itself created such an atmosphere and is not going to change it.
Despite this, I want to say that I am inspired by the work for a device that just a few years ago would have been a crazy fantasy dream. I have no doubt that the iPad, and the wave of similar devices following it, will be with us for a very long time. I can't wait to see how things go.