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Archive for the ‘iPhone App Design’ Category

Announcing our App Making workshop

Friday, January 31st, 2014

App Making Workshop

We love to teach and we want to do more of it so we have decided to create a 2-day workshop called App Making. The workshop is crafted to turbo-charge your app design and marketing skills in one weekend.

The first workshop will be held in Charlotte, NC on Feb 22-23 and we are super pumped about it.

Check out the App Making website to learn more.

Can’t travel to Charlotte?

Request us to come to your city or company.


Sign up to find out when the online version becomes available.

Interview with Michael Flarup

Monday, November 4th, 2013


Michael Flarup, co-founder of Robocat, is one of the coolest designers in the app industry. He is known for gorgeous apps like Haze, Thermo, and Outside.

This summer I had the pleasure of extracting 30 minutes of excellent insights into how to design and market great apps and I think you are really going to enjoy it.

This is just one of nine interviews included with The App Design Handbook, iOS 7 Edition (coming out on November 6th—that is this Wednesday!) Here’s the full list of interviews:

  • Mark Kawano—Former Senior Designer and User Experience Evangelist at Apple, founder at Storehouse
  • Rene Ritchie— Editor-in-chief,
  • Marc Edwards—Founder and Lead Designer at Bjango (iStat, Skala)
  • Ellis Hamburger—Reporter at the Verge
  • Michael Flarup—Founder and Lead Designer at Robocat (Haze, Thermo, Outside)
  • Julian Walker—Director of Software Engineering and Co-Founder at FiftyThree
  • (Paper)
  • Harold Emsheimer—Co-Founder and Interface Designer at Overcommitted (Recall, Entries)
  • Shane Crawford—Founder of Blue Lightning Labs (Mathemagics)
  • Denys Zhadanov—Marketing Director at Readdle (Calendars, Printer Pro, PDF Expert)

As a taste of what’s to come later this week, enjoy the full interview with Michael:

If you haven’t already, sign up below for more updates and a special discount when the book comes out:

iOS 6 vs iOS 7 – is there a balance?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013


iOS 7 has made people drastically rethink the look and feel of their app. For some designers this was a breath of fresh air, for others not so much. Take a look at Dribbble for example. It’s filled with designs that look “flatter” and feel “lighter”, but a lot of it feels forced — heavily skeuomorphic designs stripped bare just to fit in.

If you look back one year ago, you had to take a chainsaw to get through all the wood and leather that people were posting to Dribbble. There were some lighter iOS 7 feeling apps, but not many. Now, most of the chrome that we came to know and love on our favorite apps is gone or in the process of being simplified into flat translucent navigation bars with a white background.

Is there a balance between the two?

We still want to abide by Apple’s HIG, but does that mean we have to completely tear away all of the chrome that gives the app character and personality? I believe there can be a balance and I aim to find that.

Here at Tapity we are known for some of the most skeuomorphic apps there are. Just look at Grades.
Beautiful wooden navigation bars with textured paper that really give the app personality along with a unique feeling that has been with the app since the beginning. Obviously we know this doesn’t fit within iOS 7 very well, but do we have to completely rip away everything and force a interface that “fits” nicely with every other app? We could’ve just created white table cells with simple input fields and called it an update.

It would have fit right in with just about every app now, but we have to think about different ways to compromise, ways to still give the app personality while fitting in with the simpler, lighter feeling iOS 7.

As you can see by the navigation bars below, over time we started to get rid of some of the gloss and use more subtle textures naturally. If we decided to follow the trend by completely flattening and taking away every little piece of characteristic Grades had, it would look like the third navigation bar.


I think there can be a halfway point were these two styles meet and work nicely together.

I understand that the drop shadows, inner shadows, heavy strokes, and glows can look extremely heavy on iOS 7. Grades 3 currently uses all these layer styles and they do feel out of place when I open the app now.

Well, what if we got rid of glows, drop and inner shadows completely. Now we tone down the strokes to about 1 pixel. This will definitely help lighten the app overall.

What about the wood? This is something that has been with Grades since creation and we feel there has to be a better solution than completely scrapping it. We tried selecting a lighter colored wood while toning down the wood grain so it isn’t overpowering.

Here is a mockup that brings all of these points together:


Check it out on Dribbble for a larger preview.

Keeping the original essence of Grades while making it feel at home in iOS 7 is not an easy task. Matter of fact, it’s extremely difficult and we still are probably miles away from an ideal solution, but it’s challenges like these that truly make our job exciting.


iOS 7 apps: more than just a face-lift?

Friday, September 27th, 2013

That’s the question Ellis Hamburger asked in his excellent piece today on The Verge.

The short answer: yes but it might take some time.

Quotes from Justin Williams, Jeff Broderick, Jony Ive, and — by some fluke — myself in there talking about how iOS 7 is much deeper than a facelift. The best iOS 7 apps will take advantage of the lack of the simpler visuals to focus on designing better interactions. I hope this will spark a renaissance in UI design with a renewed focus on how the app works and feels.

I don’t think app developers have had time to explore the full potential of iOS 7 yet but I am hopeful for the future.

Check it out on The Verge: iOS 7 apps are prettier but are they better? >>

Quartz Composer key to iOS 7 design

Thursday, July 18th, 2013


A couple rough animations I mocked up using Quartz Composer. Ironically, less-real-worldy elements make it easier to animate in dynamic, fluid, and, yes, physical ways.

iOS 7 has made us totally rethink many of our apps. Of course the aesthetics needed to change, but as designers we should never stop there. The new OS brings amazing opportunities to engage the user even more emotionally through some really cool new APIs.

One of the new things in iOS 7 is a built in physics engine and a new focus on interactions and animations. As designers, that is super exciting to us. Unfortunately, traditional design tools like Photoshop lack the ability to flesh out these kinds of new interaction ideas. Photoshop is built for static mockups. That doesn’t cut it any more.


Fortunately, Apple has built a really neat tool called Quartz Composer (requires developer login) that makes it possible to play around with animation. I have always known about Quartz Composer but never gave it a chance due to the steep learning curve. With iOS 7, though, I really had no choice so I finally started diving into this week. Though many people have said it is a “dying application” (and it may be) it is nonetheless an incredibly useful tool and perhaps the best way to design animated interactions at the moment.

Quartz Composer tutorials are scarce but here is a nice set of video tutorials on creating Facebook Home using Quartz Composer by Dave O Brien. These give you enough of an idea to get started. I might actually work on some tutorials myself so stay tuned.

Hours is coming along beautifully and we cannot wait to show you more! If you want to stay in the loop, signup for the Hours mailing list below and take a peek at my Dribbble because I post stuff there quite often.


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