Hi, I’m Andy. I design products for iOS and the Web. My process is iterative, collaborative and powered by lots of caffeine and burritos. I’ve worked for publishers, creative agencies, software companies — you name it. If you’d like to chat, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m coming to the end of designing my first iPhone application, and it’s been a great learning experience. It actually feels good being a bit of a noob again (after years of designing web apps). However, at times it feels like I’ve gone backwards in my design process.
I’ve used what I’d call quite antiquated methods (compared to web design) for designing this app. For example, using Photoshop and images.
With web apps, Photoshop is rarely in my workflow. I tend to sketch then code, or more often than not an idea will form in my head and I’ll go straight into code. With iOS design I haven’t touched a code editor through the entire process.
Previously I’ve found it prudent going into code as early as possible, tweaking UI elements, interactions and flows until they feel / work right. Now back with .psds I feel like I’ve lost a certain level of control.
The process is more sequential than agile (I prefer the latter). The developers in my team don’t mind tweaking and making changes, but it’s a lot more time-consuming for them and me. I’m also not able to experiment as much as I usually would.
It’s quite surprising just how many images are used to build an app. I presumed it would be similar to web work. When building the UI, I code as much as possible – gradients, rounded corners, shadows, transparencies and so on. With iconography, I use “@font-face” rather that images too.
In iOS however, both can have performance hits so it’s back to putting together a whole bunch of sprites.
With this new way of working, some benefits have emerged. The product team have been doing mini review / critique sessions through the project, with the end results making for simpler, all-round better design decisions. You don’t need to have designer in your job title to be a designer.
Less, but better — because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.