One of the old saws in writing is to “write what you know.” As coders we often create projects in isolation, coding up our ideas and taking about 10 minutes to staple some sort of interface on top of it. We don’t always write what we know.
Bringing in some outside help and perspective can take an average project and make it something really interesting. This weeks bit of interesting is courtesy of Aaron Karp, Web Ninja and part time Thermo Nuclear Super Rock Star.
Aaron dropped by the pink motel and pitched in on a mobile application project we have been working on. The application is strongly text based and my initial efforts at design where clashing horribly with Apple’s pretty glossy candy interface (see image 1).
As you can see, my version is kind of boring. Without any images the text just sits there and looks dull and uninviting. The list looks very much like every other list in an iPad or iPhone.
This is where a good designer comes in. Aaron has a different perspective from me. He see’s fonts as a visual element rather than simply a text element. He also comes from a windows phone background which gives him a different sensibility when it comes to mobile applications. While Apple is pretty amazing when it comes to design and mobile products, I have to say that the new Windows 7 Mango phone interface is insanely pretty. It also has a strongly typography based aesthetic, which is what I was looking for on this project.
Aaron delivered in a huge way (see image 2).
His design is way more professional than anything I would have come up with. He also had some great feedback on the flow of the application. The text is artfully arranged and much more visually interesting. If we use a bit of transparency here and there, we can also do some really cool things with backgrounds. We are still hashing out some of the layout and functionality, but I really like where this is going.
Stay tuned for updates where we will actually talk about what this app does.