Marc Edwards of Bjango on why scaling an app can lead to pixel blurring.
The rise of mobile OSs like iOS, Android and Windows 8 Metro have ushered in a large range of display sizes and pixel densities, as well as various methods to cope with the variations. Mobile device pixel densities range from about 160ppi to 320ppi. Apple took the high road and limited UI pixel scaling to two sizes, with newer displays being exactly double the pixel density of the first generation of their devices. This is ideal for scaling. Android and Windows 8 can't easily do that, due to the range of devices they're run on. Their business model dictates variety. Variety dictates non-ideal scaling. Non-ideal scaling dictates blurry pixels.
Interesting blog post on the redesign of the LinkedIn app by Frank Yoo, a member of the design team.
After a lot of deliberation, I have decided to drop the Android gallery from Patterns of Design.
The reason: I'm fast loosing faith in Google's stewardship of the platform. It boils down to one thing: the bag of hurt that goes by the name of 'fragmentation'. No matter how you look at it, it's a problem. It's a problem for consumers. And it's a problem for designers and developers.
Google's recent announcement of changes to the platform does nothing to address the problem directly. Instead, it sidesteps the problem.
From now on, they say, phones and tablets are to be treated as one, indeterminate group: gone are the separate categories for devices that range in size from a 2.6 to a 10 inch screen and in their place is a new framework: apps that scale.
I think it's a fudge and shows again why good design will struggle to find a home on Android.
What does it mean for Patterns of Design? At this stage, not a lot - we're a new site and are still finding our feet, so I'd rather make the change now than later.
John Gruber writes about Apple's Newsstand and how the app has become the unit of distribution for newspapers and magazines.
Why not the same thing for TV sized displays? Imagine watching a baseball game on a TV where ESPN is a smart app, not a dumb channel. When you're watching a game, you could tell the TV to show you the career statistics for the current batter. You could ask the HBO app which other movies this actress had been in. Point is: it'd be better for both viewers and the networks if a TV "channel" were an interactive app rather than a mere single stream of video.
In a blog post titled Burgers, Tablets & Typography, Jon Gold tells us about his taste in burgers and why he thinks the proliferation of Android devices leads to choice paralysis and watered-down product lines.
For those who haven't visited, In-N-Out Burger sell three burgers - the hamburger, the cheeseburger, and the double cheeseburger. No vegetarian burger, no chicken burger, no fish burger. No Texas BBQ burger, no Angus Bacon Double Whopper Extreme burger.
Just a burger, a burger with cheese, and a burger with cheese and more meat. Easy to pick, easy for the franchise to make, easy product line to maintain. Better by less.
Hard to disagree.
Jeremy Olson, the founder of Tapity, on 7 Keys to Unlock an Apple Designer Award.
...if you could get your interface down to just one button, everybody would know how to use it.
Sounds like Siri to me.
For those of you that enjoy such things, Frog Dissection gives you the tools (and, importantly, a frog!) to carry out your very own dissection. The app has been a hit with users - but not for Worsy, an English reviewer, for whom it proved something of a disappointment. He writes:
I expected more freedom - you have to follow the dotted lines with the various tools in a boring and easy way. I was expecting freedom to cut it up however you want - I suppose that would be impossible though.
There's no pleasing everyone!
Gotta love these.
Diego Monzon has created a set of 230 completely editable and scalable icons for app designers and developers. You can view the entire set here.
A similar perspective to Jon Gold's piece about skeuomorphism, this time by James Higgs. The comments are especially worth reading.
Interesting perspective from Jon Gold on why skeuomorphic interfaces are bad for the future of apps.
He mentions the example of Find My Friends and its faux leather surround. I'm in complete agreement with him: it's a weird choice. And nowhere does it become clearer than with the button on the right.
By way of contrast, there's an identical button on the Maps app. But unlike the Find My Friends app, it's designed in a native style.
Importantly, we don't think to question it: it's a style we know.
And here's the rub: the leather version tries to be too many things. It tries to capture the immediacy of the native version while also invoking a homely style. In doing so, it conflates two very different elements: the first is a furled page while the second is the leather trim. Put them together and you get what looks like a leather page.
It ain't pretty. And while I'm not against skeuomorphic interfaces, I do agree with Jon Gold that the Find My Friends app is an example of how not to do them.
(I've rewritten parts of this post. The previous version was a bit unclear.)