APP AND LIVED TO TELL THE STORY Alexander Baxevanis @futureshape Tuesday, 14 June 2011 Hello everyone, and thanks for having me here to speak tonight. About a year ago, a few things were happening at about the same time.
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the details Tuesday, 14 June 2011 Using all these resources out there made it very quick to get something working, but it wasn’t perfect. Copying or building off an example will get you a long way, but the user experience comes from the details.
automatically as your location changes? • How do you ask for directions from A to B? • What kind of markers should you show on the map? • ... and many more • (Exercise: try to deconstruct the interactions of the standard Google Maps application on an iPhone) Tuesday, 14 June 2011 Some of you are probably already getting suspicious here - I’m talking at a UX event, and I’m saying that I went straight to writing code?
particularly challenging when sketching for mobile apps: 1) Getting the information density right (i.e. how much you can realistically ﬁt on a screen) 2) Simulating complex interactions (explain popup ...)
if necessary Tuesday, 14 June 2011 Using all these resources out there made it very quick to get something working, but it wasn’t perfect. Copying or building off an example will get you a long way, but the user experience comes from the details. ... Anyway, I had something working quite early, was making progress on these details, and I was obviously quite excited ...
Mayor’s office writing to me - I thought they were going to tell me off for using their data without permission, but actually they were just excited that somebody was planning to build an app for them, for free.
got even more excited and put out a call for developers to create more cycle hire apps. Meanwhile, with the scheme launching in less than a month, I was still in designer’s den, still agonising over a few remaining details, and I had one of the stupidest ideas in my life ...
way. Encouraged by TfL’s press release, they built their apps and launched them before me. Of course they weren’t as good as mine :) But people started downloaded them! Which leads to our second lesson...
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 If you stay in your cocoon and agonise over the details, you’re missing the chance to get your work out there, and you’re missing on all the feedback and recognition you’ll get. This doesn’t mean deliberately launching bad work, it means knowing when your work is good enough.
and ship, and one of the last things left to do (probably because my graphic design skills aren’t that great) was to make an icon for my app. I wanted to make it familiar and recognisable by Londoners, so I went for an abstract version of cycle hire docking stations look like. I knew that it was a bit risky to put the TfL logo in there, but other apps at the time were also doing so, so I decided to take the risk.
that time when TfL decided to crack down on all apps using their logo without permission, so I got a polite email from Apple asking me to remove the logo and resubmit my app. And I had just lost more than a week waiting for Apple to approve the app.
you have to ﬁght over something or take a risk, make sure it’s worthwhile. In my case, having a nice icon was probably more likely to satisfy my designer ego than to make a signiﬁcant difference in the experience of my app. Although I mentioned a couple of things that went wrong, there were also things that went very well.
in mind from the beginning, given that this was an emerging ﬁeld and I couldn’t always predict what people would need, was to at least allow users to send me feedback as easily as possible, from within the app.
the app and restarted it and it has added the new docking stations as you advised, thanks. I added a review on the App Store with 5* rating - thanks for the app, it's great stuff! Regards, Ian Tuesday, 14 June 2011 If you do let people talk to you directly, and reply to them politely (whether they’re right or wrong), you’ll get feedback like this ...
use Tuesday, 14 June 2011 I still use the app myself, although not very frequently as I’m usually on my own bike. And when I do use it, I probably only use 20% of the features I designed ... which might be proof that I didn’t fall into the trap of designing just for myself.
bugs that cause the app to crash or misbehave in a few occasions ... but I have to admit I’ve lost a lot of the initial enthusiasm and haven’t been able to convince myself to sit down and work on a new version.
to try the app, search for ‘Cycle Hire’ in the App Store Tuesday, 14 June 2011 I’ll leave you with this beautiful poster designed by Matt Jones - as I truly believe in getting excited and MAKING things - not just designing them. Try and do it yourselves and see what you learn. If you can’t build something, try to learn how to, or ﬁnd someone who knows. Just give it a try. Thanks for listening!