Nicely done beginner’s guide to iOS design

iPad and iPhone diagram

iPad and iPhone in portrait and landscape viewsBy Ben Taylor from taybenlor.com

As someone who does work on both the development and design side of iOS apps I find that many designers struggle with the transition to UI work, or with the different processes involved in iPhone and iPad app design. In this guide I’ll describe the deliverables you’ll be expected to produce, outline the constraints of the medium and introduce fundamental iOS and UI design concepts.

The Medium

Knowing your medium and its quirks is an important part of being a good designer. I’m sure you’ve been witness to large print-outs with horrible pixelation artefacts – the result of misunderstanding print media. Similarly misunderstanding the role of pixels on screen can result in blurry, squished, or pixellated designs.

iOS devices come in two main form factors, the iPhone and the iPad. (For simplicity I’ll be leaving the iPod Touch range out. In almost all cases it can be treated like an iPhone, so let’s ignore it for now.) While this seems quite simple on the surface the iPhone 5, the iPad mini and Retina screens have added a bit of complexity. The most important difference is between the devices that have Retina screens and those that don’t. A Retina screen shows an incredible level of detail which makes good design look even better. Unfortunately it also makes certain mistakes much more obvious.

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If you want to see the future of software UI design, look to the history of print design

Interaction Design collage

This interesting article from bjango.com posits that stylistic design choices follow from the limitations of their hardware or production:

Interaction Design collageLike many trends in technical areas, interaction design is being led by technical ability.

8bit games looked 8bit-y, because of limited colour palettes and giant pixels. 16bit games looked 16bit-y because of better colour abilities and slightly smaller pixels than their 8bit counterparts. Newer games look newer, because GPU hardware developed to the point where full 3D games were possible. These aren’t stylistic choices, they’re hardware limitations, dictating how software looks.

In the same respect, print design has limitations to work with. Most body copy in print design is black, because of hardware abilities — black is one of the four printing plates, so it can be reproduced at high quality, with sharp, fine lines needed for text. Back off a little to a mid-grey and the quality drops significantly, because you’re still using black to print, but you’re building mid-grey from a dither pattern of small black dots on white paper. It’s a trick. There is no mid-grey, only black or white. And because of this, smallish text printed as mid-grey looks horrible (please note that I’m talking about typical four colour CMYK offset printing, not the use of special colours).

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The best resources for learning bleeding-edge web, UI and UX design

"Finally, an awsome UX tutorial."

Great ideas for web, UI and UX design from Colm Tuite, a great authority, on Quora.com, a great site.

Here’s a pretty good resource for learning UX/UI design, if I do say so myself. There is a difference between UI design and UX design. There is a lot of overlap though, so I’ll try to bundle them together. Here it is, in ten simple steps.

#1 Discover the problem
Far too many designers sit down to work on a new project without doing any research at all. [more]

#2 Get to know your users
It’s much easier to solve problems when you first figure out who is experiencing them. Find out as much as you can about your users before you start. [more]

#3 Learn to wireframe properly
So, now that we know who our users are and what problems they are experiencing, we can start redesigning our homepage, right?

Wrong. [more]

#4 Communicate effectively
It is your job to communicate the information your users want in the quickest, most effective way possible. [more]

UX-bad Too long winded.

UX-better Better.

UX-best Bleeding edge.

#5 Guide your users
When a user lands in your app and doesn’t immediately see how it can benefit them, chances are they’re gonna leave and won’t be coming back anytime soon. [more]

#6 Encourage your users
When a user makes a mistake, don’t just inform them in a cold manner and leave them to figure out the solution. [more]

#7 Reward your users
Likewise, when your users do something right, reward them. Don’t just inform them of their success like any robot would. [more]

#8 Learn the basic fundamentals (HTML, CSS, JS, Ruby, Python etc.). [more]

#9 Learn visual design
Lots of UX designers think they don’t need to know about color or typography. Others say it’s a complete waste of time. It’s not.  [more]

#10 Study. Study. Study.
There are countless resources out there for learning about design. Here are just a few to get you started:

Resources
Smashing Magazine
Aarron Walter (aarron) on Twitter
Paul Irish (paul_irish) on Twitter
Responsive Design
Ryan Singer (rjs) on Twitter
Chris Coyier (chriscoyier) on Twitter
www.designskool.com
CSS-Tricks
AaronRobbs (AaronRobbs) on Twitter
Designing for Emotion
Welcome | Voice and Tone
Dribbble – Popular
iOS Mobile Patterns
The Main Tap › PatternTap
Google
Designer News

Awesome Sites
http://mailchimp.com
https://yourkarma.com/
http://facebook.com
http://layervault.com/


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