Saturday, 8 December 2012

App design online course

To get me started with understanding more about App design I have been doing an online course with Excel Business.  Basically the course has a Course diagnostic to guide you to the areas you wish to focus on.  I have put more focus on the basics not the developing/coding at this stage.  I can go back and change this as I progress through the course.

Theses are some infographics which came with the course.

The first explains the structure of the course and which modules cover which areas

1.  Introduction

  • Need to reserve an app name though the app-submission process similar to domain-name squatting early on.
  • Platform choice iOS v Android - consider demographic of target audience
  • Consideration to pricing -free(revenue from advertising), too low (perceived as low quality),too high.  Offer lite versions to give a taster 
  • Websites which offer details on tracking success of apps and
  • Most users hear about your app through word-of-mouth or press coverage, about which you’ll learn more in Unit 18.
  • App submission - iOS to Apple/ Android to Google Play

2.  Basic Platform considerations

iOS v Android

  • Will generally make more money on iOS.  There are over 315 million iOS devices out there (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad sales combined), and Apple has the largest credit-card number reservoir in the world. Although Google does not provide precise sales data, The Loop estimates that in 2011 Apple enjoyed a 12.4 percent share of the mobile device market while Google’s Android had 5.7 percent. If you had to pick just one platform, iOS will give you access to the largest number of customers, and more importantly the largest number of paying customers. For every ten apps that developers build, roughly seven are for iOS,” according to app-trackers, Flurry.

  • iPhone users are prepared to pay for apps, while Android users, largely, are not. Since Apple started selling apps, iOS developers had been paid a total of $4 billion – Google refuse to release comparable data. It is estimated that a developer who got $1 on the iTunes App Store would get $0.24 from Google Play.

  • Why tablets are not just big mobile phones. Tablets, in particular the iPad, are an immensely popular new platform with consumers. The marketplace for these devices is exploding. However, it’s important to recognise that there is a big difference between designing apps for tablet-sized screens and mobile phones. Just scaling your interface will not cut it. The ergonomics of a tablet are radically different from those of a mobile phone.
  • Using 360 degrees of rotation/ Reach patterns

As you reach across the screen the hand is covering the screen so the hand would obscure any graphical transformations.

Best to have main controllers on easy reach of thumbs like above rather than higher up the screen as below

Always consider designing screen for both landscape and portrait- tablets are  rotational devices.

Dont necessarily need to hard code the rotational feature as the software SDK automatically adds this functionality.

Check Flipboard for an elegant hard coded interpretation for rotational interfaces

Reach pattern on a mobile phone presents less of an issue as can generally place user interfaces anywhere on the screen.

The Killer App idea
The peculiar paradox of app design is this: Simple is hard.

If your app cannot be explained in one sentence, in clear, plain English, then you already have a marketing nightmare on your hands.
A few successful apps and the one sentence description that could be used for each of them: Instagram: Make your photos look old-fashioned and attractive.
Angry Birds: Fire flightless birds through the air to kill evil pigs.
Pages: Write and edit documents.

• The app stores are tough places to sell apps, discard any idea that you can’t figure out how to sell
• Use the power of YouTube to promote your app once it’s on sale
• Make a video that is compelling enough that people will share it even if they don’t care about your app

There are guidelines and conditions for designing apps (so avoid being too controversial)

Planning an App

Careful projet management is important when developing an app.

It is often most cost effective to design all the graphics of the App before getting a developer on baord.  there is no harm scheduling a developers time as Mobile OS developers are in high demand. 
You will also need to check what format the programmer requires graphics in. Usually you will deliver graphic designs as single layers exported to Jpeg or PNG formats. PNGs can contain transparent or ‘alpha’ pixels, so they are commonly used for graphical assets that move. 

Storyboard the design, plan how the user will interact with the design and annotate appropriately.

A cheap project management tool is Google Apps

Partnering with a programmer

A basic overview of the two major languages used by the leading mobile platforms. 

This the programming suite for Apple’s iOS and includes provision for deploying projects on the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. This tool collection is mature and extensively documented – both by Apple and by the huge community of developers that use these tools. Xcode allows programmers to code in a language called Objective C, which is quick and powerful, but relatively unforgiving to newcomers. Seasoned programmers can also code in a variety of other languages and use Xcode to wrap these. The Xcode software is free to download and it is free to run code on the hardware simulator. However, to distribute apps to actual devices, or to submit an app to the store, you must sign up as an Apple developer for the price of $99 per year

Android SDK 
This is a software development kit (SDK) which enables developers to create applications for the Android platform. It includes tools for programmers such as the required libraries, a debugger, a handset emulator, sample code and even some tutorials. Applications are written using the Java programming language. Android applications exist in .apk format and are stored in / data/app folder on the Android OS (the folder is accessible only to root users for security reasons).

These are examples of actual storyboards sent to a developer.

Introduction to Xcode 

There is a whole introduction to coding which at this stage I have not time to go through.  As with web design i think it would be useful to at least grasp an understanding so I will return to this later.  I have embedded the videos as I only have access to this for a limited time.

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