Upgrade your iPhone app

Posted: January 21, 2011 in Computing, iPhone, Projects, Usability

As a UI/UX designer for the iPhone and iPad, I pretty much live and breathe iOS interfaces. Recently I was reading Matt Rix’s Blog, and I read his post on game makeovers and I had a few thoughts.

I’m going to offer my skills as a designer to those small iOS developers out there, but more on that in a bit, first my thoughts on Matt’s blog post…

His example is a game called MicroSquares, but I have no doubt that a good percentage of games in the App Store fall prey to the same issues. The fact is, Matt is a rarity when it comes to programmers. He understands the importance of UI and the skills to develop a good UI, but also the skills to implement it. Most developers only have the inkling of what makes a good UI.

I work day in and day out with Justin who is a very talented programmer. Back before the App Store, Justin built the initial Dynolicious in a vacuum. He understood the importance of a good UI, but he was more interested in the physics of modeling a vehicle on the iPhone.

Armed with a copy of Illustrator he went about creating his UI. I remember that he was proud of his work, and you can understand for someone who has no experience in this sort of thing, he did a pretty good job. There was a lot of room for improvement though, and one of the first jobs I had when I joined BunsenTech was to give Dynolicious a facelift.

I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that there’s something to be said for experience and knowledge whether it be modeling physics or for designing a great user interface.

One of the reasons that I love my job, is that for the first time the UI is a vital part of the process. In my past life, I was a web developer this was rarely the case. Web development is seen as a “low tech” job and many UI/UX designers are simply seen as people who “draw pretty pictures”. For the iOS the design is vital to the app, so much so that I usually have 90% of an app’s interface designed before the first line of code is written.

I can’t overstate this, it is rare to have a good selling app with poor design. Look at any one of the charts on the App Store, most every app is well designed with good-looking screen shots.

So back to Matt’s blog post. Matt tries to suggest a handful of things that need to be “fixed” to improve MicroSquares, but I think (with no offense to the author), it requires more than just a few improvements, it really needs a complete UI overhaul. The fact is, I noticed that MicroSquares has been updated, but it still needs a lot of work. Currently MicroSquares looks like a proof of concept and not a finished game. It’s 90% complete.

I’ve decided that I want to help make a difference for one app (for now). If you’re a developer with an app either complete, or nearing completion and you know you need UI help, I might be willing to work with you. Here’s my promise: I will work with you (or your team) to make the best possible product I know how.

So what do I want? Well first, I want to say that this isn’t a job for me. I have a job that I love, it’s not really about making money. I’m doing this because I honestly want to make great iOS software. I want to find a project that I love, and that I feel that I can make a difference being a part of. If it’s a success, sure I expect to share some of that success.

In closing, let me say that I’m only going to work with someone if they meet a few requirements. First, I have to believe in your concept. If you already have something built I want to feel that I can take your project from 90% to 110%. Almost as important, there has to be a sense that we will be able to work together well. Lastly, I’m not going to take on something too big, or something that doesn’t fit my own style. It’s unfair to both of us if the project is not something than I can handle on my spare time.

If you’re interested in making your app shine, send me an email so we can talk.

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