sambeau.com

Seven Sins

Forgive me, Dear Reader, for I have sinned.

My first sin was a splash screen. Apple apps don't do splash screens, they just present a screen grab of the last time you used it. So, you and I stab frantically at the glass until the app loads for real and things sometimes get accidentally deleted. An Apple-style screen done by a third-party developer is usually even worse. This is because Apple apps tend to launch very quickly. But third-part developer want to impress and impressing means loading lots of images. We are guilty here: our app, sadly, doesn't launch very quickly. We chose to have a splash screen because we felt it was probably more honest. It also gives us something to try to optimise away.

My second sin was gestures. Yes, Dear Reader, we added a non-standard gesture: a swipe-up to open a menu at the bottom of the screen. It feels natural-enough when you do it and I'm sure you will see it appear in other apps. But, the blame will always land here with me (Or more rightly: Bert). Worse than that, the swipe up does something different on the home screen! This should be a sin in itself. (But it isn't.)

My third sin was help buttons. A good app should be so simple and self-explanatory that help should not be needed. But, partly because of my second sin, some sort of help was needed. I bit the bullet and tried to make the help as fun as possible. I also included a setting to get rid of it. Thus I also killed a UI fairy (every user setting does so).

My fourth sin was a wizard. Yes. A wizard. No self respecting Mac or iPhone programmer would consider a wizard. Wizards are for Microsoft! Wizards are Clippy! Oh the shame! Was I talked into it by Bert? Was I weak? Well, yes and no. I do think we need one, so that is clearly a failure on my part. But, I have conveniently convinced myself that what we have here is in fact not a wizard at all: it's just the normal setup process; it's where you create your profile. Every web app has such a thing as does any app that talks with the internet. Am I deluded? Most certainly.

My fifth sin was audio. Why would an iPhone app need audio? It doesn't. Clearly. But it was a bit of fun and it adds to the experience in places. I like it. But many people won't, so there is a setting to turn it off (and another UI fairy needlessly dies).

My sixth sin was a feedback option. Surely anyone who likes the app can manage to leave feedback without an option in the App itself. Indeed. But, a quick and easy way to send us an email might be handy, especially if our app is buggy. So we have a feedback option and I injected some humour into the usually dry affair. I will resist any notion of those Twitter, Facebook and Digg icons that appear on people websites and, more recently, in other people's apps… yuk!… unless Bert convinces me.

My seventh sin is a disclaimer. Dear Reader, I hate disclaimers. I hate what they stand for; I hate that they might have purpose, or worse: power over people. Disclaimers represent a sector of modern society that ruins modern life for the rest of us. "Ptoo!", I say. But, Dave wanted one ; so I wrote one. Then I buried it deep in the settings.