Developing Perspective

#133: Two Years and Principles of Solid Design.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note and iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herne, Virginia. This is show number 133,

00:00:13   and today is Friday, July 12th, 2013. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes,

00:00:18   so let's get started.

00:00:19   All right, so I'm going to start off the show today talking about a bit of an interesting

00:00:23   anniversary. So as I said, today I'm recording on July 12th, but tomorrow, July 13th, will

00:00:29   be the two-year anniversary of Developing Perspective. I started, or I posted my first

00:00:34   episode on July 13, 2011. So, you know, been doing this for two years straight. I think

00:00:40   I've missed maybe a couple of weeks here and there, but typically it's been pretty much

00:00:44   consistently at least one show a week for that long. I think I've up to 146 unique episodes.

00:00:51   This is episode 133, but I've done 146 unique episodes, including some beta episodes at

00:00:56   the beginning, some interviews I've done, and other things that I didn't consider in

00:00:58   normal net numbering. If you add it all up, it works out to be 38 hours and 9 minutes

00:01:04   so far. So quite a while. Quite a lot, especially when you consider a lot of that is 15 minutes

00:01:10   at a time. But yeah, so I'm just kind of excited about that. It's something that when I remember,

00:01:14   I still remember sitting down and starting recording the first episode back, you know,

00:01:19   two years ago. I was sitting here, sort of sitting at my desk. I had a Logitech USB headset

00:01:23   that I just plugged into my computer. I opened up Audacity, which was the, like the free

00:01:28   MP3 audio recorder editor thing and just started talking.

00:01:33   And I'll think I'll insert in a moment my original intro,

00:01:38   which I thought was kind of awful and also kind of cool

00:01:42   to hear, just in terms of it's something that at the time,

00:01:45   I don't think I really understood what I was doing.

00:01:47   And audio quality was terrible.

00:01:49   My inflection, my diction, a lot of those things

00:01:51   were just not very good, as you can now hear.

00:01:56   This is Developing Perspective, a new daily technology podcast about what's new, what's

00:02:03   interesting, what's worth talking about.

00:02:08   I'm your host, David Smith.

00:02:10   I'm an independent iOS developer.

00:02:13   Yeah, so pretty terrible, right?

00:02:15   But the reality is, and this is I guess sort of the lesson that I thought would be interesting

00:02:19   to draw from, is that that's just the nature of anything.

00:02:23   that you start off sounding kind of terrible,

00:02:25   and you're not very good at it, and you don't necessarily

00:02:28   know what you're doing, but things get better.

00:02:30   And you just kind of stick with it.

00:02:32   And that stick-to-it-iveness, I think,

00:02:33   is what makes most things successful.

00:02:35   Success is rarely overnight.

00:02:37   It is the process of working at things over and over

00:02:40   and over again, and making every mistake you can make.

00:02:43   And then once you make every mistake twice,

00:02:45   you hopefully won't make it again.

00:02:47   And so you just kind of want to keep at it.

00:02:49   And so it's kind of an exciting thing

00:02:50   for me to have gotten to this point with this show, where

00:02:53   you know, I've developed an audience. I've, you know, I've met a large number of you at

00:02:57   various things at conferences, at times, I mean, you know, whenever I'm in San Francisco,

00:03:00   I always find it seems like I'll run into people who listen to the show, just all over

00:03:05   the place. And it's really encouraging to me when I hear stories, and I get these emails

00:03:08   back from people. And I love when I get these emails from someone who says, you know, hey,

00:03:12   I've been working on this app on my part time, you know, it's just something that I wanted

00:03:15   to do. And I wanted to build it and thank you for doing your show. It was really motivating,

00:03:19   it was really encouraging, and it helped me to kind of get it out. And it's some, you

00:03:21   You know, some of these are awesome.

00:03:22   Some of these are simple.

00:03:24   Some of these are just, you know, people scratching an itch that only they have.

00:03:29   The awesome part about that is it's great to hear that it's actually useful, that it's

00:03:32   not just me sitting in front of a microphone once a week talking about, you know, sort

00:03:36   of talk about my life in a way that doesn't actually, you know, sort of adding something

00:03:40   to the discussion to helping people out, which makes me excited.

00:03:45   So it's kind of cool that we've now hit two years of that.

00:03:47   And, you know, at this point, I have no plans to stop anytime soon.

00:03:50   It's something that I've continued to do, mostly just because of the feedback I get.

00:03:55   And it's just become kind of part of my routine that about once a week I do an episode.

00:03:59   Sometimes I have a lot to say, sometimes I don't have much to say.

00:04:01   But in general, it's just something that I enjoy.

00:04:03   And so I just wanted to thank you, the listeners, for sticking with me for two years.

00:04:07   I don't know if there's that many of you who would have heard the first episode.

00:04:11   And if you are actually, if you are somebody who's listened to this one and also remembers

00:04:14   listening two years ago to the first episode way back, you know, a couple years ago, I'd

00:04:19   I'd love to hear from you, just because that's kind of an interesting thing.

00:04:22   Because I think at the time it had almost no audience.

00:04:25   It's not a huge audience now, but there was almost, it was probably measured in a handful

00:04:29   of people, dozens of people.

00:04:30   So it'd be kind of cool if you could reach out and let me know that.

00:04:32   I just really appreciate it.

00:04:34   But generally also, just one thing I wanted to say is, I get a lot of people who talk

00:04:38   about the show and how helpful it is and useful it is and kind of what they can do to support

00:04:42   the show.

00:04:44   And it's something that really, I've never done the show for sort of financial purposes.

00:04:48   never been a sponsorship. You know, this, this show is not brought to you by Squarespace.

00:04:52   It is brought to you by, you know, by me. It's something that I just, something that I do,

00:04:56   and I want to contribute back. And so I keep doing it for that reason. And so really, the only thing

00:05:01   that you can, when I hear that, it's always kind of a little funny. It's like, you don't really

00:05:04   just support it. I'm just, I'm doing it for you. So, you know, just enjoy it. But really, if the

00:05:09   biggest thing that you can do as a listener, if you want to support the show or wanted to help it out,

00:05:13   is just to share it in whatever venues you have, you know, to talk about if you enjoy it,

00:05:17   and you like it, to tell other people about it, whether that's personally, whether that's

00:05:21   in any kind of venues, in Twitters, in blog posts, in things, podcasts, whatever it is,

00:05:25   if you have places where you can share the word and you think it's useful and you think

00:05:29   other people would benefit from it, please do that. That's the best thing that you can

00:05:32   do because the kind of the more feedback I get along those lines, the just the more encouraging

00:05:39   it is for me to keep at it and to keep, you know, sort of making sure that I'm doing a

00:05:42   good quality show on a regular basis. So yeah, so that's kind of it just an exciting little

00:05:46   side note that I thought I wanted to share. So two years of developing perspective, and

00:05:51   here's, I guess, to another another year. All right, so I'm going to talk about now

00:05:55   and get into the kind of the main topic that I'm going to talk about today. And this is

00:05:59   something that is very relevant, I think, to anyone, mostly iOS developers, people listen

00:06:03   to the show, is related to iOS seven, like, I think a lot of things will be probably over

00:06:07   the next coming coming weeks and months, I think basically right now, I'm starting to

00:06:12   kind of get into a mode of really focused on iOS 7. I think I'm currently guessing that

00:06:17   iOS 7 is going to ship on or not ship my conservative estimate that I'm basing my planning on is

00:06:23   that the GM for iOS 7 would ship in the middle of September, specifically, I think, for my

00:06:28   planning purposes, I say September 12, which I think is on Monday. And so, which is a conservative

00:06:35   estimate, I think that's probably a little earlier than they will actually be ready.

00:06:38   But that's kind of the date that I'm trying to be ready for so that when Apple says here's

00:06:42   the GM, you can now submit to the app store, I'm ready. Because the actual day that it

00:06:46   ships to the public is kind of irrelevant as a developer. It's relevant in a few ways.

00:06:50   But for actual shipping to the store, I want to have a home, you know, all my apps updates

00:06:54   and things ready, queued up, lined up, tested, ready to go. So when the GM comes out, I can

00:06:58   do, you know, one last round of testing against the GM and then submit them. And that's, I

00:07:04   think, so that's kind of the date that I'm working towards. And that works out to be

00:07:06   right now about 45 business days between now and then. So that's kind of what I'm planning

00:07:11   for that I have about nine weeks of work ahead of me to update all my apps, to build some

00:07:15   new apps probably, to do a lot of interesting things. And as I've kind of really gotten

00:07:19   into iOS 7, the things that I found have found really interesting and I'm starting to really,

00:07:24   really get excited about is the new UI, I think, allows non-designers, non-art, maybe

00:07:31   non-artistic designers to really make interesting and compelling things. For a lot of my apps,

00:07:36   I take a little bit of time and I've kind of sat down, I haven't done a whole scale

00:07:39   iOS 7, you know, sort of conversions yet, but I would have sat down and done, you know,

00:07:45   open them up in the new Xcode, open them up in iOS 7 and start playing with them and start

00:07:49   seeing, you know, tweaking little parts and seeing how it how that process is going to

00:07:53   go so I can kind of plan accordingly. Is this going to be weeks of work months of work days

00:07:57   of work. And the thing that I found fascinating is that it doesn't take nearly as much effort

00:08:01   as it used to, I think, to make something that looks really sharp, and really fresh.

00:08:07   Now, some of that freshness is certainly just coming from difference, that it's just a new

00:08:10   thing.

00:08:11   So when I compare the old UI to the new UI, it just looks beautiful because it looks different,

00:08:16   and people love different things.

00:08:17   That's the nature of fashion.

00:08:20   That's the reason that new car designs, new clothing designs, new whatever designs keep

00:08:25   coming out, because people like that newness, that freshness, that sense of something that's

00:08:30   changed is exciting and interesting.

00:08:33   But on the other side, I think that there's just this kind of UI.

00:08:36   It's much more minimalist, much more simple, much more or less artistic design lends itself,

00:08:46   I think, to developers, or not only developers, but non-designers.

00:08:49   And it reminded me of a book that I read a while ago called The Non-Designers Design

00:08:56   Book by Robin Williams, which is a book I'll have a link in the show notes to, which is

00:09:01   a great little book.

00:09:02   It's a little bit dated, especially in terms of the way that it's styled and written.

00:09:06   But the content, especially the core principles of it, I think are really good and relevant.

00:09:11   And if you're someone who is trying to sort of beef up your design chops, it's a great

00:09:15   book, I think, to kind of just browse through, and especially about these next four things

00:09:20   that I'm going to talk about.

00:09:21   And so in the way the book is structured, at the beginning at least, the first portion

00:09:24   is sort of expanding upon her concept of four basic design principles.

00:09:31   And these are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity.

00:09:36   And those four things, as I was kind of thinking about it in iOS 7, is that's the core of making

00:09:41   a good iOS 7 app, is nailing those things.

00:09:45   Because that is kind of what your design is resting on.

00:09:49   That's the fulcrum that you're kind of using to make a compelling interface to a large

00:09:52   degree.

00:09:53   Now obviously there's things that you can do way beyond this, and I'm sure I'll be amazed

00:09:56   interested in some of the things that really--

00:09:59   is some of the more imaginative or artistic or designer

00:10:04   oriented development shops are going to do.

00:10:06   For someone like me, I think using those kinds of tools

00:10:10   and techniques appropriately will

00:10:12   lend to create really, really nice looking, useful,

00:10:15   functional, and aesthetically pleasing interfaces.

00:10:18   And so I'm going to kind of unpack those four

00:10:20   areas a little bit.

00:10:21   And like I said, if you want more information,

00:10:22   just definitely get the book.

00:10:23   I really recommend it.

00:10:24   So the first one is contrast.

00:10:26   And this is the idea is you want to avoid elements on the page

00:10:30   being similar that are not the same.

00:10:34   So if you want to think-- if two things are different,

00:10:36   you want to make them very different.

00:10:38   If they're the same, you should make them very the same.

00:10:40   And you create this-- by creating that contrast,

00:10:43   you can make it clear kind of the visual importance of things

00:10:48   and also help the user very quickly digest

00:10:51   the content of a page.

00:10:52   And so contrast is interesting, I think, in iOS 7, because it's one of the few things

00:10:57   that you have to draw contrast between things.

00:11:02   So say like you have buttons or text or those types of things where before you would have

00:11:09   a button would look like a button that's potentially because it has a nice big drop shadow, big

00:11:12   round rect, all kind of things that visually make it really stand out, that there's a huge

00:11:17   amount of contrast.

00:11:18   Contrast is more complicated in iOS 7.

00:11:20   do it with things like color. You do it with things like spacing, which I'll talk about

00:11:25   a little bit. But the reality with contrast is that it becomes very important that you're

00:11:29   very aware of it. That you look at it and say, "Things that have the tint color of my

00:11:34   application should have, should be buttons or should be actionable. And if it isn't one

00:11:40   of those, it needs to be different. You know, so the body copy should be black and the buttons

00:11:45   should be blue, for example." And being very aware of that, that that is that contrast

00:11:49   is important and significant for an iOS 7.

00:11:52   I think it's taken on kind of a new role.

00:11:55   The next one is repetition.

00:11:57   And this is repeating visual elements of design

00:12:00   throughout your application, throughout your process.

00:12:04   And this helps to create kind of organization and unity.

00:12:06   And this is the same kind of thing, where

00:12:08   you want to make sure that you're using consistency

00:12:10   across your application, because you want to teach your user how

00:12:13   to use things, because you're taking away

00:12:15   of the affordances and kind of crutches that they could lean on to kind of work your way

00:12:21   through your app a little bit. So you want to be very consistent. You know, say you want

00:12:24   your tint color to probably be the same throughout your entire application. If it's blue on one

00:12:28   screen, green on the other screen, purple on the other, it's going to be much more complicated.

00:12:31   And so this repetition helps a lot. And the same kind of thing, if you can structure screens

00:12:36   so that they're very, you know, they have the same kind of visual layout, it'll help

00:12:40   your user kind of be able to navigate it in kind of a cool way. Alignment talks about

00:12:46   making sure that things aren't placed on the page in an arbitrary way. They should have

00:12:49   a visual--visually, you know, be very kind of visually aligned. And this--that isn't

00:12:56   necessarily a sort of all in a straight line, but you're making sure that they're kind of

00:12:59   on a grid, that things are laid out with appropriate spacing, that you're kind of using kind of

00:13:03   good metrics to lay things out. And especially with something like iOS 7, this is where I've

00:13:08   kind of seen this a lot, is that you have, because you have almost nothing on the screen

00:13:14   except for text and typography, you'll have a few lines and things, the alignment and

00:13:19   the spacing of how you lay things out is the thing that sort of gives your page structure

00:13:25   and gives it order, and so becomes very important. And last one is proximity. And this is, again,

00:13:32   something where you're trying to relate items by putting them close together and then creating

00:13:36   space between things that aren't related. And it's an important thing. I think it's

00:13:41   again in Iowa 7, I found that I've as I've been in my kind of trials is it becomes very

00:13:45   important to get this right, that you want to make sure that you're because you're not

00:13:49   you don't have these harsh lines between things. You want to you're you're separating things

00:13:54   with white space. And so you want to make sure that you're grouping and improving the

00:13:58   proximity of items appropriately as a result. So those kind of those are the four basic

00:14:02   design principles. And I thought that was just kind of an interesting thing that this

00:14:05   book I'd read probably a couple years ago that really kind of applies really well to

00:14:09   iOS 7. And obviously, part of why it does is because this book was, I think, mostly

00:14:14   written for page layout and that kind of design. So it's kind of the old kind of page layout

00:14:19   design, which is very, very -- those kind of skills now apply very directly to iOS 7.

00:14:25   That's how you lay out a good piece of copy on a piece of paper, you know, doing an advertisement

00:14:31   or even you could imagine seeing a restaurant laying out a menu.

00:14:34   The same kind of rules apply now in iOS 7 because it's a very similar kind of look and

00:14:39   feel.

00:14:40   So I definitely recommend that and just kind of some things to think about that you want

00:14:42   to make sure your apps have good contrast, good repetition, good alignment, and good

00:14:46   proximity.

00:14:47   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:14:48   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns, complaints, I'm on Twitter @_DavidSmith.

00:14:51   I'm on AppNet @DavidSmith, David@DevelopingPerspective.com.

00:14:53   I hope you have a great weekend.

00:14:56   Happy coding.

00:14:57   I'll talk to you soon.