I’ve been working on an app with Jordan Halvorsen called Cull, and we’re getting close to launching it. Cull essentially allows you to view your web stats from services like Mint, Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo and more. It presents the data in a simple, beautiful way. It’s all gesture-based, and very simple to use. I will be sharing more of the design very soon.
I primarily write about print design on this site, but most of the work I do is User Interface and User Experience design.
Until recently, Photoshop was the only real application one could use for UI design, even though it wasn’t designed for it. It’s kind of like using a road bike to bomb down a mountain. You’ll eventually get to the bottom, but you’ll bang yourself up good on the way. The feature set, and the workflow, of PS is not optimized for UI design. We accepted it, and kept trucking along, only because we had no other choice.
Sketch is a vector-based graphics app by Bohemian Coding that offers a set of features, and workflow, specifically built for UI design. I’ve made the switch to Sketch at home, and at work. It’s been such a breath of fresh air.
Some of the benefits of Sketch are:
Super easy to use. The app is very intuitive, and never feels complex or overwhelming, but at the same time it’s powerful. You can get comfortable using it within a few hours.
It’s vector-based. All elements can easily scale without degrading, including drop-shadows, gradients, blurs and strokes.
Text is rendered exactly like it’s displayed in an app or on a website in a browser.
Smart guides. You can easily line things up and see the pixel distance from one object to another. You don’t understand how much time this saves.
Built-in grids. ‘Nuff said!
iOS mirroring. Using their iOS app, Sketch Mirror, you can see your designs on your phone in realtime.
These are some of the great features you’ll find in Sketch.
It’s not all perfect, though. There are some issues with it, but they’re minor. The app is still a little buggy. It’s in the early stages, so it’s expected. Things like zooming in and out can cause some weirdness. It doesn’t handle raster images that well, but that’s expected from a vector-based app. Artboards and export features are only focused on iOS. Would be great to include other platforms like Android and Windows Phone. None of these are deal-breakers and the app just gets better and better with each release.
Now, I know this sounds like a paid advertisement, but I can assure you that I haven’t received a dime from Bohemian Code. This is all of my silly love for this app. It’s really changed the way I design, and it’s exciting.
Down below I’ve put together a list a resources to help with the transition from PS. A lot of great info here on the app, its benefits, how to use it, and the workflow.
I’m going to open the comments in case you want to ask questions.
I don’t write much about apps, but I plan to do so more in the future.
Today, Facebook announced a beautiful app called Paper, that will be released February 3rd. From the video and images, it looks like a great experience. It seems really well designed, and I love the gesture based interactions. I’m looking forward to trying it out. The site is also really well done. Simple and to the point.
From what I’ve read, Mike Matas was responsible for the design, but not 100% sure.
Yale University Press has released an iPad app version of Josef Albers’s influential book, Interaction of Color. Designed by Potion, the app features archival video of Josef Albers in the studio and classroom, videos of practicing artists, designers, and architects discussing how they use color, and 63 fully interactive plates.
Looks like it’s really well done. I’m looking forward to it.
Yesterday, the talented Oliver Reichenstein, and his crew at Information Architects, released Writer for the iPad. The app is a well-designed, stripped down writing tool that allows you to focus on your writing instead of distractions. There’s a Focus Mode that removes auto-correction, spell-checker, toolbars, scrolling, editing, cut/copy/paste and fades out all the text except for the three lines you’re working on. The mode is really great for when you’re stuck on a sentence and need to concentrate on that small section of text.
Much attention has also been paid to the typography. Writer doesn’t have any fancy formatting settings. Instead, font type, text size, column width, leading and contrast have all been optimized to provide the best reading experience in both portrait and landscape modes. The app makes use of Nitti Light, a monospaced typeface by Bold Monday.
I’ve had the privilege of beta testing the app before it’s was released, and I can easily say that Writer is one of my favorite apps on my iPad. I’ve used it many times to write blog posts, emails and even portions of my book. I’m easily distracted when I write and this app helps me to focus. Oliver and crew paid a great deal of attention to the details, and it shows. I applaud them for the excellent work.