Developing Perspective

Rob Rhyne


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective.

00:00:01   This is the third in the series of interviews

00:00:03   I'm doing with designers, developers, people

00:00:05   who make applications, where we can hopefully

00:00:08   expand beyond just my experience and learn

00:00:10   from other people's mistakes, other people's successes,

00:00:13   but just really hopefully round out some of the content

00:00:17   I talk about here in Developing Perspective.

00:00:19   Today I'm delighted to have Rob Ryan of MartianCraft with me.

00:00:23   We're going to talk a lot about tools

00:00:25   that he uses for design, for his design process,

00:00:28   and a lot of just sort of how design interacts

00:00:31   with development.

00:00:33   And a lot of people who listen to Developing Perspective

00:00:36   tend to be more on the developer side of the spectrum.

00:00:39   But this is kind of a good discussion

00:00:41   of kind of what it is like to bridge that gap

00:00:43   and to work between the two.

00:00:45   And let's get to it.

00:00:46   Like I've said before, these interviews series

00:00:49   aren't 15 minutes.

00:00:50   So they break from the typical mold.

00:00:52   They're about an hour long, just to let you know.

00:00:54   Enjoy.

00:00:55   All right, I'm here with Rob Rhine.

00:00:57   Rob, why don't you introduce yourself?

00:00:59   Hi, I'm Rob.

00:01:00   Alright, Rob, and thanks for taking the time for being with us. I was wondering if you could tell us,

00:01:04   start off by telling us a little bit about

00:01:06   your background, sort of how you got to where you are today.

00:01:09   Well, I'm a, uh...

00:01:11   I guess I'm a designer and developer. I think my Twitter

00:01:15   bio that I use for everything now is kind of designer, developer, writer, so

00:01:21   I went to school for computer science, so I guess my

00:01:24   background where i go home as a developer but i've been a

00:01:27   designer for about

00:01:28   ten years as a professional and uh...

00:01:31   you know most of the writing and you just you know typical writing you know

00:01:34   emails proposals

00:01:35   stuff like that but i have

00:01:37   fantasize about writing other things are at least i write other things maybe one

00:01:41   day i fantasize about sharing those things with people

00:01:44   one day but uh... mostly uh... designer developer

00:01:47   i'd like to do both

00:01:48   it's been going right now you

00:01:50   your staffs were where you are right now

00:01:53   So you're the CEO of Martiancraft?

00:01:56   - Yeah, yeah, I'm in charge of,

00:01:58   I run Martiancraft right now.

00:02:00   All those three things I mentioned,

00:02:03   it kinda taxes both of those.

00:02:06   I do a fair amount of writing proposals,

00:02:08   client interactions, interacting with our guys,

00:02:11   doing things, setting direction.

00:02:13   But I actually get to do a fair amount

00:02:15   of design and development.

00:02:17   I don't do as much development day-to-day

00:02:21   on projects now as I used to.

00:02:23   Obviously when we started the company,

00:02:24   I was one half of the development team.

00:02:28   Now we're much bigger.

00:02:30   But I do get to do a fair amount of design.

00:02:33   And not just the in Photoshop, flipping bits,

00:02:37   although I did a fair amount of that even this morning.

00:02:40   Opening up, but most of just direction,

00:02:44   gearing people towards things.

00:02:46   I'm this close to telling people

00:02:49   when they ask me what I do now

00:02:51   that I just I built it for a living.

00:02:52   Are we allowed to curse on this?

00:02:55   You bleep that out.

00:02:56   - I mean, bleep that out.

00:02:57   - All right, I'll try and avoid saying

00:02:58   too many potty words then.

00:02:59   I build stuff.

00:03:02   And it just is a simple way to just say

00:03:05   I like building things and I like all aspects

00:03:08   of building things.

00:03:09   And so as an owner of a company that kind of

00:03:14   allows me to control much more of that process

00:03:16   than I was if I was just a developer or just a designer

00:03:20   are just uh... you know copywriters something like that

00:03:24   so uh... yeah i'm uh... the c_e_o_ of

00:03:26   martian craft i guess the way to put it which makes apps for

00:03:31   uh... almost any primarily consulting company we do uh...

00:03:35   apps for the discerning client i think is what we say uh... we do a lot of

00:03:39   apps for uh... fortune five hundred companies uh...

00:03:42   bunch of companies who don't like us to talk about

00:03:46   us writing apps for them in public so

00:03:48   I can't talk too much about our clients, but needless to say,

00:03:52   we do everything from your mom and pop, someone's got an idea,

00:03:57   they want to see it pushed through,

00:03:59   to much bigger corporations that are

00:04:02   looking for their mobile presence in the store.

00:04:05   We'll do design and development work for them.

00:04:09   That's cool.

00:04:10   So when you sit down and do your job,

00:04:12   when you're wanting to be productive

00:04:13   and really want to get into the zone and do work,

00:04:17   Can you tell us a little bit about the environment that you go into to do that,

00:04:20   both sort of physically, the tools and software that you use?

00:04:23   I know you're sort of blessed to have a wife who's an architect who designed an

00:04:27   office for you.

00:04:28   And so you have a pretty tailored environment for doing your work.

00:04:31   Yeah, I've got a pretty sweet pad to do work.

00:04:35   Most guys talk about, you know, their cave or doing it. And I was fortunate enough.

00:04:40   My wife is an architect. Her father owns a construction company,

00:04:46   So they just, you know, I just kind of offhand one day said, boy, it'd really be nice to have a desk like this or do this.

00:04:52   And, you know, they were just like, well, that's great.

00:04:54   Let's do that.

00:04:54   And so, uh, when I started working from home, when I quit my, uh, my full-time employment and, uh, started doing this full time, my wife thought it was important that I have a wife, uh, an office with a door.

00:05:07   And so we, uh, carved out part of a unfinished part of our basement and she kind of finished it out and built the suite office.

00:05:14   But really, actually it's funny, sitting here in your office, it's something that I actually

00:05:21   come here and work here, I try and work here twice a week.

00:05:23   So really getting in the zone is not so much the space or the equipment, it's just, it's

00:05:29   a mindset.

00:05:30   And like, I'm a big headphones person.

00:05:33   I mean, there's a lot of people in our field, they have headphones.

00:05:36   And music is really what helps me get into the zone.

00:05:39   Some people can listen to podcasts or they can, you know, we have a guy that works for

00:05:43   for us to watch movies while he's coding.

00:05:45   I don't understand how they do that.

00:05:47   For me, it's music that kind of gets me into that mood.

00:05:53   And particular genres or types of music that you lean towards?

00:05:57   I'm pretty eclectic.

00:05:58   I like all kinds of music.

00:06:00   But when I'm trying to work, it's usually soundtracks.

00:06:04   In fact, movie soundtracks-- and when I say soundtracks,

00:06:08   not a compilation of a lot of pop artists

00:06:11   put a bunch of songs that don't appear in the movie. I'm talking about the actual score that

00:06:14   you hear behind it. So to clarify for some people when I say soundtrack, so the canonical example,

00:06:20   you know, Star Wars, you know, you listen to the opening Star Wars, you know, the opening crawl

00:06:24   and everything's happening, and the music that's going on, that's the type of music.

00:06:27   And in particular, I've gotten, I've had an affinity recently where I listened to,

00:06:33   oh, and I can't even think of the name of the word for it. I was gonna say they're called

00:06:37   called transitionals or periodicals,

00:06:39   but they're not all periodicals.

00:06:40   But there's motivational numbers that,

00:06:43   there's companies that write music for movie trailers,

00:06:47   and it's a specialized thing.

00:06:48   Like if you see a lot of trailers,

00:06:50   they won't play the music from the movie,

00:06:52   'cause most of the time when they're,

00:06:54   they're in the process of making the movie,

00:06:55   when they release a trailer,

00:06:56   the soundtrack's one of the last things you do.

00:06:58   So they have these people that create

00:07:00   these two-minute blurbs that just kind of tell this arc.

00:07:03   And it's actually kind of fascinating,

00:07:05   I have CDs of these where this company,

00:07:08   these different groups that create this music.

00:07:12   And what's interesting about it is there's an arc

00:07:14   within two minutes.

00:07:15   Most classical orchestral music,

00:07:18   it takes 10, 15, 20 minutes to develop these arcs.

00:07:21   Or in movie music, you'll be over a series of several tracks

00:07:26   where you'll introduce a character,

00:07:27   you'll introduce their theme.

00:07:28   But with this trailer music, it's everything in two minutes.

00:07:32   They introduce the piece,

00:07:35   they introduce the arc, they kind of go through this motion,

00:07:37   and then they kind of settle it out,

00:07:39   and all of them kind of end in these kind of,

00:07:41   you know, like brooding music,

00:07:42   where you can just see, you know,

00:07:43   coming soon, May 2012, or whatever it is.

00:07:47   And I've found, iTunes has a couple groups that do that,

00:07:52   that have that type of music,

00:07:55   and I've found that it's actually been really interesting

00:07:57   for development, because a lot of times

00:08:01   I'm jumping in and out of things,

00:08:02   like I've got an answer in email,

00:08:03   something's blowing up on a project and then when I go back to you know I open

00:08:08   Xcode I've got to kind of you know get back into the mood and that music is

00:08:12   kind of it's just it just wipes my memory it's just like okay whatever I

00:08:15   was going on I could just dive in and think about what I'm thinking about and

00:08:18   it's this sounds cheesy but it's got a heroic quality to it like you know you

00:08:23   feel like I'm epically coding away an Xcode or something. Sure I do the same

00:08:26   thing I listen to some of this some of the sound the soundtracks I listen to

00:08:30   It makes you feel like you're saving the world.

00:08:33   - Yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:08:34   You're fighting pirates or, you know.

00:08:36   - It all depends on me fixing this bug

00:08:40   'cause that's what the music says.

00:08:41   - Well, you were the one in Pandora that said in Pandora,

00:08:44   you have this station, what was it, Epic Soundtrack?

00:08:46   - Epic Soundtrack.

00:08:47   - Yeah, you type Epic Soundtrack into Pandora

00:08:50   and I've gotten a couple people on that

00:08:52   and it's like a default.

00:08:53   If I just don't, I don't know what I want to listen to,

00:08:55   I can go into Pandora and enter that

00:08:57   and you'll hear a lot of, you know,

00:08:59   Hans Zimmer and James Horner soundtracks.

00:09:01   Yeah.

00:09:02   And you realize how similar many movie soundtracks are from those--

00:09:06   Yeah, especially with certain artists.

00:09:08   I mean, I've gotten to the point now where I can listen to a soundtrack

00:09:12   I've never heard, and I can tell you which composer it is,

00:09:16   because they each kind of have these affectations or styles.

00:09:19   And a lot of people think it's a bad thing to get tiring of it,

00:09:24   but with John Williams, I think you've got hundreds and hundreds

00:09:29   of movies that he's now composed for.

00:09:31   And imagine if Beethoven, if you had 100 symphonies by Beethoven,

00:09:36   you know, how amazing it would be.

00:09:37   Yeah, sure, they would all blend together after a while,

00:09:40   but you would see, well, what was he feeling like that day?

00:09:42   Or what was he thinking that day?

00:09:43   And it's this neat little time capsule, whereas with Beethoven,

00:09:47   we know we only got nine symphonies.

00:09:49   And there's a brilliance about it, but the movie composers

00:09:54   are much more prolific, I guess.

00:09:57   So when you're actually working what kind of what are sort of the tool set that you find yourself you sort of leaning towards like

00:10:03   What programs are you using on a daily basis when you work? I mean Xcode and Photoshop are kind of the the givens I

00:10:10   You know Xcode obviously if you're doing any type of Mac or iOS development you're using Xcode

00:10:16   There are people I know that have other ways to do it, but I've and I've tried them all

00:10:21   You just keep going back to Xcode. There's just when you're

00:10:26   Similar with Photoshop, I've experimented a lot and I keep telling Gus Mueller I'm going

00:10:32   to write this article about how I designed my last app in Acorn and it was actually really,

00:10:36   it worked really well and I really enjoyed it, but I find when I need speed, when I need

00:10:42   to do something quickly, I go back to Photoshop or I go back to Xcode.

00:10:46   There's just something you want to remove as much friction as possible and for me, things

00:10:51   are so much speed driven.

00:10:52   I mean, as a contractor, you're getting paid for your time.

00:10:56   And one of two scenarios is this.

00:10:58   Either they're paying you by hour,

00:11:01   so you want to be as efficient as possible,

00:11:03   so they're getting their money's worth for that hour,

00:11:05   because you don't want to rack up too much time

00:11:07   without producing enough product,

00:11:09   or they're not going to be happy

00:11:09   and they're not going to go back to you.

00:11:11   Or it's a fixed price product

00:11:12   where they don't care about your efficiency,

00:11:14   but you care about your efficiency

00:11:15   because you can bankrupt yourself on a project.

00:11:18   So for me, it's always geared around speed.

00:11:21   it's being as fast as possible and again going back to some of the distractions that I run

00:11:25   into it's like when I dive in I need to go and do something and I might have an hour

00:11:30   I might have 30 minutes and so it's always Photoshop and Xcode they're always open on

00:11:35   my computer the beauty of having a Mac Pro is you just never close applications there's

00:11:43   a couple other I use Xscope it's a application by the icon factory I use that a lot the recent

00:11:51   version, they have the mirroring mirroring tool where you can

00:11:55   mirror something to your device. And I know there are other tools

00:11:58   that do it live view as one and there's all these differences,

00:12:00   but I just find x scope seems to work most like how I want it to

00:12:05   work. And there's some other nice utilities they have in

00:12:08   there. If you're want to check different color weaknesses, you

00:12:11   can test it on the screen. I also think they're mirroring,

00:12:15   they do something right with the color profiles. So if you've ever

00:12:20   looked at something on your 27 inch cinema display

00:12:24   and then looked at it on the iPhone,

00:12:26   the color representation is different.

00:12:28   - Sure.

00:12:28   - Things seem a little brighter and a little less saturated

00:12:32   and a little less contrasty, to use a real bad word,

00:12:36   on the iPhone itself.

00:12:39   And so there's something that they do with their mirroring

00:12:44   that kind of compensates for that and it looks right.

00:12:47   So when you look at it,

00:12:49   when you're looking at a mock-up on your display

00:12:52   and/or on your device, it looks like it will when you kind of slice it up and

00:12:56   put it in Xcode.

00:12:58   Whereas I think Live View had problems with, you know, color correction.

00:13:02   That could be an early version. I'm not meaning to say anything about Live View.

00:13:05   I use Xscope. I also, I mentioned Acorn earlier, I actually use

00:13:11   Acorn as just kind of my quick edit tool. I won't...

00:13:14   It's kind of funny, I don't do anything lightweight in Photoshop because it's

00:13:18   such a bear.

00:13:19   that I only use it for design, so I usually only have mockups. If I do any type of photo

00:13:24   editing or if I need to crop something or if I need to annotate something or draw a

00:13:28   couple shapes over it or mask something, I do all of that in Acorn. Because by the time

00:13:33   I finish typing "Acorn" and hit enter and launch, Acorn's launched. Whereas Photoshop,

00:13:38   it's like, if it crashes, you've got to go get a cup of coffee when it launches. CS6

00:13:44   is better but it's still not as fast.

00:13:47   So I usually have Acorn open.

00:13:50   TextMate is kind of my--

00:13:53   and all these people that are going crazy over--

00:13:55   TextMate's dead and all that stuff.

00:13:57   I still use whatever 153 or whatever the latest version is.

00:14:01   And it worked just as well today as it did six months ago.

00:14:04   So I assume I'll keep using it until OS 10.15 comes out

00:14:10   and it doesn't run or whatever.

00:14:12   Yeah, it's like plain text is still plain text.

00:14:14   It hasn't changed.

00:14:15   Yeah, and I wish I had some cool little nifty utility

00:14:19   that I use all the time that I don't-- but I'm pretty vanilla

00:14:24   when it comes to that stuff.

00:14:25   I mean, I don't overuse the launcher or anything like that.

00:14:30   I don't have text expander scripts or anything like that.

00:14:33   I'm fairly manual on that type of stuff,

00:14:35   because I'm moving a lot between--

00:14:38   I have to manage two machines, and I have

00:14:40   to manage state on two machines.

00:14:41   I travel enough where I've got my laptop and I have my Mac Pro at home and I have to transfer

00:14:48   between those enough that I just don't worry about having too fidgety of a setup.

00:14:54   There's got to be five or six apps that I have to run and beyond that I don't mess with

00:14:59   it too much.

00:15:00   So you deal with a lot of email, doing a lot of client relations, you just do that in regular

00:15:06   mail?

00:15:07   Yeah, I use regular vanilla mail.

00:15:08   I used the Gmail client online.

00:15:11   I used the web client for a long time until finally,

00:15:13   whenever it was that version of Safari would randomly,

00:15:17   you know, just reload your tabs for fun.

00:15:19   And for grins, if you have too many tabs open

00:15:22   and you go back to that tab and it's like,

00:15:24   I'm gonna refresh it because I didn't,

00:15:26   I wanted to free up this memory.

00:15:28   And when it started doing that, I kind of said,

00:15:30   okay, I need to get away from the web client.

00:15:32   And someone said that in mail and Lion was a lot better.

00:15:37   And ironically about the same time,

00:15:39   I met the product manager at Apple for the mail application.

00:15:43   And we just was randomly in town, had drinks with him,

00:15:47   and we were talking through things.

00:15:48   And he was talking about some of the stuff that went into it.

00:15:51   And I'll give it a try.

00:15:51   And it took a couple days to kind of get used to it.

00:15:55   And for me, it's the way I manage Gmail is built around Gmail.

00:16:00   You know, the whole, and when I say Gmail,

00:16:02   I'm not talking about necessarily the application,

00:16:04   but the way Gmail organizes mail, you know,

00:16:07   where you get a bunch of mail in and you say,

00:16:09   okay, do I care about this? No. Archived, you know, do I need to respond to it, flag it and, you know,

00:16:15   we're star it, as it were. And, you know, the idea is, you know, I have kind of, you know, I'm, I'm

00:16:20   ingesting incoming mail, and then I go back later in the day and kind of say, okay, I need to work

00:16:24   through all those starred emails and kind of just, you know, get them out of my inbox. But whenever

00:16:29   they're done, they just go into an archive folder. And then if I need to find anything, I search and

00:16:34   line mail was able to address that.

00:16:36   I, it was Matt Gemmell that had a tip

00:16:40   on how to use mailbox favorites and mail.

00:16:44   And so I just created a favorite for my,

00:16:48   a favorite for my all mail inside of my, my Gmail folder.

00:16:54   And I just move things into that directly.

00:16:56   I think it's, you know, it's control command the number.

00:17:00   So I think if it's, if you put it

00:17:01   in that little favorites bar,

00:17:03   I think it'll give you that shortcut.

00:17:04   So it's like control command two, as I know is archive.

00:17:09   So in my mind, it's like, whenever I'm done with an email,

00:17:11   it's like control command two and it's gone.

00:17:13   And then I remapped a couple,

00:17:16   I remapped the delivery key command,

00:17:20   I think it's like shift command D and it just feels weird.

00:17:24   So I changed that, I remapped that to command enter.

00:17:28   And so it's like, whenever I'm done.

00:17:29   And I always liked that.

00:17:30   And I think it was entourage of all applications.

00:17:33   I used for my full-time job on Teraj, when you would send an email, the Microsoft email

00:17:38   program, it was like, you know, command enter. And there's just something about that. I would

00:17:43   use two hands and it would just feel great. It was like put an exclamation point in an

00:17:47   email when you were done. And so I remapped the delivery key to that in mail.

00:17:52   Yeah. There's something very satisfying about that keyboard shortcut. I think it's because

00:17:58   it's almost like you wind up when you hold down the command and you can bang on the end.

00:18:02   Exactly.

00:18:03   You send that last email and it's like, "Hell yes, I'm done."

00:18:09   It's really hard not using the F word, by the way.

00:18:11   It's probably the longest I'll ever go without saying the F word.

00:18:14   Well, there we go.

00:18:17   Just for all the kids out there.

00:18:18   Yeah, for all the kids.

00:18:19   In case one of my kids ever listens to this and they're like, "I get yelled at by my wife."

00:18:24   There you go.

00:18:26   So in terms of-- I think you can come at app development

00:18:31   from an interesting place, because you straddle

00:18:36   the world between making things look good

00:18:40   and making them be well-designed,

00:18:41   as well as being able to actually build that as well.

00:18:45   And a lot of people I know who are in this,

00:18:47   they tend to-- it's like they're very much in one of those camps.

00:18:51   There's kind of like the-- it's like, I'm a designer.

00:18:54   I just deliver pixels.

00:18:58   That's their world.

00:18:59   And then there's the people who it's like, well, I

00:19:01   can actually build things.

00:19:02   And I was thinking that interesting.

00:19:04   And I was curious if you had experiences

00:19:06   for how having both sides of that, one side

00:19:10   informs the other, rather than having to sort of have them

00:19:13   be two different parts of--

00:19:14   Yeah, I think it's unfortunate that they're actually

00:19:17   seen and taught as two different disciplines.

00:19:20   that something that, how you build something

00:19:23   and how it works is different.

00:19:26   And it's unfortunate because,

00:19:29   it seems to be a US thing.

00:19:33   Like in the US, we as a culture don't value design.

00:19:37   We don't value good design.

00:19:39   My wife would say, we all live and work in decorated sheds.

00:19:43   There's nothing that, our American sensibility says

00:19:48   that design is how it looks, that it's this decoration or this veneer.

00:19:52   And you know, everybody likes to quote Jobs, who

00:19:56   I'm sure quoted a designer, a well-known designer that said, you know, "Design's how it works."

00:20:00   But I mean, that's really true.

00:20:04   The canonical example when you're... And I took design classes

00:20:08   in college. I didn't just study CS, but it was

00:20:12   some weird crazy name like "Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction," which

00:20:16   like, you know, that robot from Short Circuit and R2D2 are humping or something.

00:20:21   What does that mean?

00:20:22   But what it really was is just an engineering word for design, was how do these things work.

00:20:29   And we read this, Don Norman's fantastic with the design of everyday things.

00:20:34   And one of the examples he uses is he's like a hammer.

00:20:36   A hammer is a great design, a great piece of design, but no one thinks of a hammer as

00:20:41   being a beautiful object or as being a pretty object or something that's well designed.

00:20:46   but from a design standpoint, it's perfect.

00:20:48   There's one way to grab it that works.

00:20:50   If you grab it by the claw or you grab it by the front,

00:20:53   it feels unevenly weighted, it doesn't feel right.

00:20:56   You're like, this is not the way I'm supposed to use this.

00:20:58   You grab it by the one end, it has the right weighting.

00:21:01   And just almost by grabbing it,

00:21:02   if you don't grab it stern enough, it'll drop.

00:21:04   And you figure out, holy crap,

00:21:06   if I put something beneath this, I can smash it,

00:21:08   or if I can hit a nail into this,

00:21:11   the end of this board.

00:21:12   It's perfectly designed,

00:21:13   there's no other way that you can use it.

00:21:15   And that's a great, a well-designed object.

00:21:19   But I think the joke would be,

00:21:22   is if Apple designed a hammer,

00:21:23   it would be made out of aluminum,

00:21:24   it would be shiny and glossy,

00:21:26   and it would be aluminum and white plastic.

00:21:28   Well, that doesn't matter whether you get that

00:21:31   or whether you go to any hardware store

00:21:33   and grab the same old hammer.

00:21:34   They're gonna work the same,

00:21:35   and they're gonna work as well.

00:21:36   Because the design of the hammer,

00:21:38   not the material it's made out of,

00:21:39   not the way it looks,

00:21:41   has nothing to do with its design.

00:21:43   the design is how are you supposed to use a hammer

00:21:46   and you've designed it so there's only one way

00:21:48   you can use it and use it appropriately.

00:21:50   And that's, when you get into software,

00:21:54   I think you can't separate those two.

00:21:57   I think in order for something to work well,

00:22:00   you have to be strong on the engineering side

00:22:03   as well as the design side.

00:22:05   Like it's kind of ironic that we kind of have

00:22:10   this hero worship of designers right now,

00:22:13   but your standard designer, I think, as you see our field,

00:22:17   as far as I'm concerned, can't do anything.

00:22:19   I mean, they can specify something very well,

00:22:22   but what you have at the end of their product, you can't use.

00:22:26   And so its design is essentially useless

00:22:29   because it's not something that you can use.

00:22:31   Now, I'm not saying designers are useless,

00:22:33   and in a large team where you're trying to build

00:22:35   something very ambitious and very large,

00:22:37   designers are necessary, and you have to have some people

00:22:40   that are focusing on the design

00:22:41   and some people that are focusing on making it better,

00:22:44   and I get that.

00:22:45   But in a smaller team, or in an indie team,

00:22:47   or a team of one, you've gotta think of both of them

00:22:51   interchangeably, and you can't have something

00:22:55   with just a Photoshop document.

00:22:58   A Photoshop document is nothing more

00:23:00   than a Photoshop document.

00:23:02   But an Xcode project can be something that you can use.

00:23:05   It may not be something you wanna use,

00:23:07   it may not be the best tool,

00:23:09   but it's something that you can use,

00:23:10   and therefore its design utility is higher than a Photoshop document.

00:23:17   You know, I can't even look at a Photoshop document on my phone.

00:23:21   An Xcode project is meant to be run on my phone.

00:23:23   So it's unfortunate that they're separated.

00:23:28   Yeah.

00:23:29   I wish they were more integrated.

00:23:32   And the type of people that we tend to hire--

00:23:36   what I say is I hire opinionated developers.

00:23:38   And what I'm really saying is I hire developers who have a design sensibility.

00:23:43   They can look at something and say, "This is a bad idea. This isn't going to work the way they think it's going to work."

00:23:48   And they may not know how to fix it, and you may need a designer to come in and think of other ideas,

00:23:53   but they know it's wrong. And so I think at a first level,

00:23:58   I think you have to have that. You have to have that kind of eye, not only eye towards it,

00:24:03   towards it but to know it's not right.

00:24:05   And then it's like...

00:24:06   - They have good taste.

00:24:07   - Yeah, it's kind of good taste, but I mean, there's, you know, movie critics don't necessarily

00:24:12   have good taste, but they know a bad movie when they see it.

00:24:14   And it's, you know, I think there's, you know, you just have to have that to know it doesn't

00:24:19   look right, it doesn't feel right, and you need to change it.

00:24:21   I don't know how to change it or don't know why it's wrong, but I just know it's wrong.

00:24:25   And that's kind of step one.

00:24:26   And then step two is thinking about, okay, what are ways that we can change it?

00:24:30   What are ways that we can make it right?

00:24:31   And that is what designers, if they have a superpower,

00:24:35   that's what they're great at.

00:24:36   And if you follow any designer on Twitter,

00:24:38   you know it because they complain nine times out of 10.

00:24:41   Nine times out of 10 tweets isn't bitching

00:24:44   about how the world is wrong because the exit signs

00:24:47   at the wrong height and it's in a font

00:24:48   that's hard to see in daylight.

00:24:51   A quote unquote normal person looks at that and says,

00:24:57   I get it, it's an exit sign.

00:24:58   It kind of looks like all the rest of the exit signs.

00:25:00   I know what's the big deal.

00:25:01   It's a designers are very good at that.

00:25:04   But so I think it's really just merging.

00:25:06   I think we should sit somewhere in the middle.

00:25:08   I think everybody should kind of have it.

00:25:10   So I don't see myself as unique or special in any way.

00:25:14   And there's certainly plenty of people

00:25:15   that are much better than I am

00:25:16   and much smarter than I am

00:25:17   that do both design and development.

00:25:19   I mean, Mike Rundle, I think is one

00:25:22   of the premier examples of that.

00:25:23   He's actually a very good developer

00:25:25   and he's actually an exceptional designer.

00:25:27   You know, another example would,

00:25:29   I mentioned his name earlier, Matt Gemmo.

00:25:31   And Gemmo is interesting because, I mean,

00:25:34   when you talk about visual taste or aesthetic taste,

00:25:38   I mean, his website is not very, I mean,

00:25:39   even his blog is better 'cause he's using a default template

00:25:43   that looks like it was designed by a designer.

00:25:45   But if you look at his company website,

00:25:47   I mean, it's not a paragon of great design.

00:25:50   And I don't think my, or I shouldn't say great design,

00:25:52   great aesthetic.

00:25:53   And I think Matt would tell you that.

00:25:55   And he's almost a perfect case that says,

00:25:57   design and aesthetic are separated and it doesn't matter.

00:26:00   If you use the app that you just built,

00:26:02   Sticky Notes, I think, or Sticky Notifications,

00:26:05   that's what it's called, yeah, Sticky Notifications.

00:26:08   It's a very lovely and very well-designed app.

00:26:10   There's some very clever copywriting in it.

00:26:12   It works very well, it's very obvious,

00:26:14   and it's very, very easy to use.

00:26:17   But there's nothing in that that is aesthetically amazing.

00:26:21   You know, like I look at it and I'm kinda like,

00:26:22   wow, those notifications kinda have little blurry edges.

00:26:25   You know, there's certain little details that a, you know, quote-unquote Photoshop designer would look at and cringe

00:26:33   But it doesn't matter, you know it or it doesn't matter to an extent and so I think

00:26:39   With design people make a lot of mistakes

00:26:43   They can't separate the aesthetic from the you know

00:26:47   kind of how it works functional part of it and

00:26:49   You can't ignore either I think a great product has all of these working in tandem

00:26:54   but I think a lot of developers are put off by design

00:26:59   because they think, "I've got to be good at Photoshop,"

00:27:01   or, "I have to understand gradients and shadows

00:27:06   "and lighting and all of that stuff,"

00:27:08   when you really don't.

00:27:09   You just need to understand how to make something,

00:27:11   to think about how do I make something simpler.

00:27:14   And that's where I think they really are the same.

00:27:16   So I talk about how people, they diverge,

00:27:19   but really where I think they're the same

00:27:20   is if you take a developer and you say,

00:27:23   you show 'em a piece of code,

00:27:25   the first thing a developer's gonna look at is,

00:27:27   can I make that smaller?

00:27:28   Can I make that less?

00:27:29   Can I write it in less lines of code?

00:27:31   Can I make it more efficient?

00:27:33   How do I cache in certain places

00:27:35   to make it more responsive?

00:27:38   A good developer thinks like that.

00:27:40   A designer looks at a design and says,

00:27:42   how can I make this simpler?

00:27:44   How can I make it more minimal?

00:27:45   How can I make it more efficient?

00:27:47   It's the same things.

00:27:48   It's the same process.

00:27:51   It's the same.

00:27:52   at something and you're trying to make it smaller, faster, more efficient, and easier

00:27:56   to understand.

00:27:57   And when you look at it that way, what a developer does, what a good developer and a good designer

00:28:01   do are the same thing.

00:28:03   It's just what realm do you learn in.

00:28:05   So the only thing I think that I've done is I've put the time in to understand how to

00:28:10   use a graphics program.

00:28:13   And so because I think most people have an idea in their head, how do I, how should this

00:28:21   or how should it be, but they don't necessarily

00:28:24   have the skills to get it out.

00:28:25   They need to work through someone else,

00:28:27   or they just haven't put the time to learn

00:28:30   the techniques to do it.

00:28:31   I mean, I'm not a great drawer.

00:28:32   I'm a terrible, terrible drawer.

00:28:35   And it's where I run into the most trouble.

00:28:38   It's like where I reach the edge of my design skills

00:28:41   is like, I've got this great idea,

00:28:43   but I just cannot figure out how to draw it.

00:28:46   I can't get the light source right,

00:28:48   or it doesn't look right, or when I,

00:28:50   I can't maneuver it or finagle it.

00:28:53   And so I tell myself it's not a design skill

00:28:55   I need to learn, it's just I just need to go

00:28:57   take a drawing class or learn how to draw better.

00:29:00   But design and development, I think,

00:29:02   are things that are separated that should not be separated.

00:29:05   And you shouldn't start one and then the other.

00:29:07   I think right from the beginning,

00:29:09   you should be thinking about both.

00:29:10   And Norman, going back to Don Norman,

00:29:14   he would say that you always are thinking about both.

00:29:16   That developers, it's not that they don't think

00:29:19   about design is that they do consider it,

00:29:22   they just don't think about it in the right way.

00:29:24   Or they don't value it as much as they should.

00:29:27   But you're still making decisions.

00:29:28   I mean, when you place a button,

00:29:29   you've gotta put it somewhere,

00:29:31   you've gotta make it a certain size,

00:29:33   you have to put a label on it.

00:29:35   And there are some developers that truly don't care.

00:29:38   Like we have a guy, Mike, who works for us

00:29:41   that'll just tell you, he's like,

00:29:42   "I'm a boxes and squares kinda guy."

00:29:44   He's like, "You're gonna get solid colors and boxes,

00:29:46   "and I'm not gonna think about it."

00:29:48   And he almost tries to say he intentionally doesn't think about it.

00:29:51   But even if you look at what he does and the types of things he does, he still puts

00:29:56   a lot of thought into how someone going to use this and that's design.

00:30:01   Yeah, that's it.

00:30:02   It we're thinking about the same problem at the end.

00:30:05   So I don't, I don't know if I answered your question at all, actually, but it's a,

00:30:10   it's a rant of mine that I go off on from time to time.

00:30:13   And one thing I was curious about, so I think a lot of, most of the people who

00:30:17   who listen to developing respective are,

00:30:20   would consider themselves developers first and foremost,

00:30:23   I think, in terms of that's,

00:30:24   I mean that's largely how I would consider myself.

00:30:27   That's where my training and skillset is, and--

00:30:30   - Your comfort area.

00:30:31   - That's, you know, yeah, or at least that's my area

00:30:33   of strength and aptitude, I'd say.

00:30:35   And I was curious, for you though, in terms of if,

00:30:38   one of the things that I've certainly been focusing on

00:30:40   probably, sort of once I got,

00:30:43   so once I got to a certain point of skill with

00:30:46   development was how do I then develop the design part of my application development.

00:30:54   And so what I'm trying to make, rather than just making it work, how do I make it work

00:30:59   well, be good from a user experience perspective, and also look fairly good, aesthetically.

00:31:06   And I was curious, what recommendations or starting points do you think you'd have for

00:31:10   someone who wants to improve themselves in that area?

00:31:14   Well this is, because of the timeliness of this,

00:31:16   this is gonna be a pretty charged statement

00:31:20   considering the lawsuit that was just settled.

00:31:23   But the answer to that is the copy,

00:31:25   is to look at an application that either

00:31:30   is accomplishing something you wanna accomplish

00:31:32   or does something that you find interesting

00:31:35   and unique and copy it.

00:31:38   And when I say copy it, I mean photocopy it.

00:31:40   I mean look at it in minute details,

00:31:43   look how it behaves in very insignificant ways

00:31:46   and try and build something that works

00:31:48   and acts exactly like it.

00:31:50   I'm not saying you should ship something like that,

00:31:52   but when you're trying to figure out

00:31:54   how to think about these things and what to look at,

00:31:58   copy something that's good.

00:31:59   Just, and a great example,

00:32:02   a lot of good artists and designers do this.

00:32:06   I mean, that's traditionally how artists are taught.

00:32:10   when you're trying to learn kind of what's your own voice,

00:32:13   what's your own style, it used to be,

00:32:16   traditionally, artists would apprentice with masters.

00:32:19   And what they were doing in their apprenticing

00:32:20   is copying the style of the master.

00:32:23   So when the master's painting something

00:32:25   or working something out, you're looking at it and saying,

00:32:27   okay, I'm gonna paint it exactly the way that they paint it.

00:32:30   A modern example of this, I mean,

00:32:34   a designer, Louis Mantea, that a lot of people talk about,

00:32:37   one of the things that he does all the time

00:32:38   he traces things when I'll see him, you know, he'll be at Disney World and he'll see something

00:32:44   that's interesting him, he'll take a picture of it and he'll trace it in Illustrator or

00:32:48   in Photoshop and just draw it and just go in and the thing is, is he's done this for

00:32:53   so long that now as he's tracing things he's adding his own style and he's saying, "Oh,

00:32:59   that's interesting, I'm going to change that corner, I'm going to change the way he resolved

00:33:02   these two lines or I'm going to change the way this is lit or the way it's shaded in

00:33:08   in a subtle way that he finds more pleasing.

00:33:11   And that's really, when you get down to the really,

00:33:14   really great designers, what they're doing

00:33:16   is they're looking at these very, very small details

00:33:19   and saying, I'm gonna have something that looks

00:33:21   a very close approximation to something,

00:33:24   but I'm gonna slant it in a way that feels

00:33:26   and looks right to me.

00:33:28   And so, for someone who has no idea how to do this,

00:33:32   I mean, and iOS is perfect for this.

00:33:35   I mean, there's tons of little details.

00:33:38   I'm doing this on an app right now.

00:33:39   I'm looking at how does the Compose screen

00:33:43   on the mail application work.

00:33:45   It seems pretty simple.

00:33:46   We use it all the time.

00:33:48   There are tons of details.

00:33:50   So for one example is when you go in to type in

00:33:53   and you're filling out an address,

00:33:55   they swap in a table view

00:33:57   that has your auto-complete details.

00:33:59   And you look at it and you say,

00:34:00   well, that's just pretty standard.

00:34:01   It's just a standard table view cell

00:34:03   and I'm layering those things in there, but it's not.

00:34:07   It's subtly transparent.

00:34:09   It's de-emphasized.

00:34:10   They also emphasize the cell that you're typing in.

00:34:13   They put a little drop shadow right underneath it

00:34:15   so there's a perceived order.

00:34:17   They use a certain text size.

00:34:20   They don't use a predefined cell.

00:34:21   They use a custom cell.

00:34:24   There's a certain way it's hidden.

00:34:26   There's a certain way when you show it

00:34:27   and when you don't show it.

00:34:28   You know, when you go all the way back at the end

00:34:30   and you clear out a selection,

00:34:32   that disappears and they re-pop the key.

00:34:33   You know, you make the keyboard go away.

00:34:36   You know, there's all these things.

00:34:37   When do you bring the keyboard up?

00:34:38   How do you bring this in?

00:34:39   Is there a fade?

00:34:40   Do you animate into showing that

00:34:42   or do you show it immediately?

00:34:43   It's one screen that you could sit down

00:34:46   and take an entire day trying to replicate exactly,

00:34:49   to get it exactly like it is.

00:34:51   But in doing that, you're thinking about

00:34:54   why did they make these decisions?

00:34:56   Why did they do the things that they're doing?

00:34:59   And you start to think about it.

00:35:00   And then the next time you go to build something like that,

00:35:02   you think about it.

00:35:03   And you think, well, what did they do there

00:35:06   and would I do the same thing here?

00:35:09   Does it apply here,

00:35:10   or should I do something subtly different?

00:35:12   And it's paying attention to those details.

00:35:14   It's looking at an application through a microscope

00:35:18   that is really how you get better at design.

00:35:22   It's not teaching yourself Photoshop.

00:35:24   I mean, Photoshop has a high learning curve,

00:35:28   and it's difficult, but it's not impossible.

00:35:30   And I would say to anyone, any would-be designer,

00:35:33   again, not to plug Acorn again,

00:35:35   I just happen to really like it, but buy that, it's 50 bucks.

00:35:39   And you can learn that, and you'll know

00:35:40   a layered image editor.

00:35:42   In fact, buy that and buy, I think it's Pixelmator,

00:35:44   which is its other competition.

00:35:46   You can buy both of them, and you're still out

00:35:47   less than 100 bucks, and nowhere near

00:35:51   the expense of Photoshop.

00:35:52   So you can get the basics out of that

00:35:55   without necessarily using Photoshop,

00:35:58   but that's not the quarter design.

00:36:00   The quarter design is figuring out

00:36:02   how do all these individual things work,

00:36:04   and not at a macro level, but at a micro level.

00:36:06   Very, very tiny.

00:36:08   What are these little tiny interactions that they do

00:36:11   and why do they do it?

00:36:12   And then from there, you can kind of figure out,

00:36:15   you kind of build a recognition for it.

00:36:18   And then after you have that recognition,

00:36:20   as you start to think of your next app or your next ideas,

00:36:23   you start, you know, those ideas show up again.

00:36:26   You're like, maybe I should do it this way

00:36:27   or maybe I should do this.

00:36:29   And then over time, you start to get a feeling for,

00:36:31   this is better, I think this is right,

00:36:33   or I think this is the way we should do it.

00:36:36   And what you've developed by that point

00:36:37   is your own opinion, your own perspective.

00:36:40   And that's when you're a designer, to me.

00:36:42   That's when it's like, okay,

00:36:43   when you start having your own opinions

00:36:45   and you can have an informed opinion about,

00:36:47   well, I did it this way instead of this way

00:36:49   because you're a designer,

00:36:51   not when you've mastered lighting in Photoshop

00:36:54   or a 3D program, which I've done neither.

00:36:58   - Yeah, I mean, it's interesting.

00:37:01   I find for me, like I recently went through

00:37:02   a whole big redesign for audio books.

00:37:05   And you were certainly--

00:37:06   - I was aware.

00:37:07   - You were aware and involved in a lot of that.

00:37:08   And it's this funny thing of when you get to a point

00:37:11   that you start noticing things

00:37:15   that you didn't notice before.

00:37:18   And in some ways it's infuriating because--

00:37:20   - Sure.

00:37:21   - In some ways I was blissfully ignorant before

00:37:25   of many of the mistakes that I was making.

00:37:28   And that was very liberating.

00:37:30   I didn't feel bad when I made many of these mistakes that I was making.

00:37:34   Or even mistakes is maybe not the right word.

00:37:36   But it's just-- there's all these little things.

00:37:39   I mean, at this point for me, a lot of my--

00:37:42   even basic design for me is like, are things aligned correctly?

00:37:46   Are they consistent?

00:37:47   Is the sizing and proportions right?

00:37:50   Those types of things, which are different.

00:37:51   And so my UIs reflect that in the sense that I have very simple and plain UIs,

00:37:58   especially in audiobooks, like those types of things,

00:38:00   where making it look good is not so much a question

00:38:03   of having it be fancy.

00:38:05   It's not--

00:38:06   - No, exactly.

00:38:06   - It's not super textured and all these things

00:38:08   that are harder to get right.

00:38:10   - Well, and you mentioned something,

00:38:12   you kind of built it out.

00:38:14   I mean, there's these kind of design basics

00:38:16   that you can have, these basic,

00:38:17   not rules of design, but kind of the basic elements

00:38:23   of design in, you know, you said it, size, proportion,

00:38:27   hierarchy which hierarchy and proportion kind of go together

00:38:30   uh... harmony

00:38:31   there's always a big spin texture is one of them

00:38:34   but texture is not everything

00:38:36   and a lot of people even think that color and texture go hand in hand

00:38:40   and why i thought was interesting with what you

00:38:42   ended up we go where you landed with audio books

00:38:45   as he is shipped away a lot of the texture

00:38:47   and a lot of the veneer and went to something that's

00:38:49   very almost black and white and very subtle

00:38:53   more beautiful because it was more

00:38:56   aligned, it was more regular.

00:38:57   I mean, you can get accomplished so much in a design

00:39:02   by just making something regular.

00:39:03   A lot of people ask me what is the best design

00:39:09   iPhone app that I had ever seen,

00:39:10   and for the longest time I said it was Things,

00:39:12   the iPhone to-do list, and a lot of people

00:39:15   kind of looked at me, it wasn't the answer

00:39:16   they were expecting, and I said what was beautiful

00:39:18   about what Things did is they took the default Apple style

00:39:23   and they tweaked it just a little bit,

00:39:24   and they made just a little bit of subtle improvements

00:39:28   to where when you were using things,

00:39:30   you didn't feel like you left that Apple universe.

00:39:33   You weren't transported into another alternate reality

00:39:36   where we're gonna use yellows and blacks

00:39:38   and all of these things.

00:39:40   It was iPhone blue and iPhone gray and it felt right

00:39:45   and that takes a lot of effort.

00:39:48   A lot of people just think it's easy

00:39:50   because when they think of the hard parts of the design,

00:39:53   they think of the texture and of the color.

00:39:55   But those decisions are almost inconsequential.

00:40:00   You can make those decisions at the end.

00:40:03   You can change the texture at any point,

00:40:05   and you can change the color at any point.

00:40:08   And as long as you're working with it,

00:40:11   color can affect some things,

00:40:13   but by and large, you can make those decisions

00:40:15   throughout the entire process

00:40:16   and not drastically alter the design of the application.

00:40:20   And in a lot of ways,

00:40:21   you can do too much work on texture up front,

00:40:24   alter your design, and then throw a lot of that away.

00:40:27   It's really, and I'm not to say that it's a last

00:40:29   or it's a finishing touch, but in a lot of ways it is.

00:40:32   There's a, my wife, architect, watches a lot of HGTV,

00:40:38   and she watches a lot of Food Network,

00:40:40   and I think the show's on the Food Network.

00:40:42   It's a show called Restaurant Impossible,

00:40:46   and it's a guy, big, brutish guy.

00:40:48   He goes in and he fixes restaurants.

00:40:50   It's like one of those two days, $10,000.

00:40:53   And they redo the restaurant.

00:40:54   He redoes the menu and does all these things.

00:40:56   But one half of that show is geared towards

00:41:00   redoing the design of the restaurant.

00:41:03   And it's everything from how they lay things out,

00:41:05   to how many people they sit, to the aesthetic,

00:41:07   the color on the walls, and the veneers,

00:41:11   and treatments throughout the restaurant.

00:41:14   I bring that up because one of the better designers,

00:41:19   whenever we watch the show and we get to the end and we're watching what they did, my wife and I

00:41:22   always like what this one particular designer did and I can't remember her name. But she's on

00:41:27   a commercial during these shows for, I think it's Sherman Williams, and she's talking about tips for

00:41:35   a better design, how to better design your space. And it's funny because she was talking about a

00:41:42   paint company, but what she said is that the last thing she does is pick the color of the walls.

00:41:48   And yet for most people, that's the first thing they do.

00:41:50   Whenever they go in and strip out all the stuff

00:41:52   in their space and they want to redesign it,

00:41:54   they think, well, what color are we gonna paint the walls?

00:41:56   And this one was saying, no, it's the last thing that I do.

00:41:59   And a lot of it is because the first thing you want to do

00:42:03   when you strip a room bare and you're rebuilding it

00:42:05   is you want to think about how you're gonna use it.

00:42:07   You want to think about what types of spaces

00:42:10   do you want to set up?

00:42:11   How do you want to arrange seating?

00:42:13   How do you want to arrange storage?

00:42:14   How do you want to arrange things

00:42:15   that you're gonna hang on the wall?

00:42:16   what pieces of furniture will you have?

00:42:19   And then you start adding in some of the visual artifacts.

00:42:22   Like you might see a set of curtains that you like,

00:42:25   or a carpet or a rug that you'll lay down.

00:42:28   You might be changing the floors.

00:42:30   All of these things which will affect

00:42:32   the overall aesthetic of the room.

00:42:34   And what you ultimately want is the color of the wall

00:42:36   to blend in with that.

00:42:37   You don't want the color of the wall to determine that.

00:42:40   Because the color of the wall

00:42:41   is what you have the most of in the room.

00:42:44   - It's easiest to change too.

00:42:46   But yeah, it's the easiest thing to change.

00:42:47   It's the cheapest.

00:42:48   If you put up a color and it doesn't work,

00:42:49   it's like you go to Home Depot and spend 50 or 100 bucks

00:42:52   on a couple gallons of paint, and almost anybody can paint.

00:42:56   Now I think doing painting well is a different story,

00:42:57   but anybody can paint.

00:42:59   And it's not that big of an expense.

00:43:03   But I think a lot of people do that

00:43:05   with texture in iOS devices.

00:43:07   Texture should inform the design.

00:43:10   It should help it, it should aid it,

00:43:11   maybe add a little bit of whimsy or fun to the design,

00:43:14   shouldn't be the purpose of the design.

00:43:16   So if you're putting a wood background in the background,

00:43:19   it's like, well, why is it a wood background?

00:43:21   What's the point?

00:43:21   Does it work with the aesthetic?

00:43:23   But I think some people just say, well,

00:43:24   I'm going to put a wood background on there.

00:43:26   And then they just kind of move from there.

00:43:28   So--

00:43:29   It's almost like the dark side of copying too much, right?

00:43:34   Where you're saying the best way to learn is to copy.

00:43:37   And I think often what you'll see,

00:43:38   though, is people getting a little too--

00:43:41   they'll see an app that was very, like that was successful

00:43:44   and does some of these, you know, to take some, take some

00:43:47   bold moves from them, the aesthetic side, and then they

00:43:50   just copy it exactly, even though it doesn't make sense.

00:43:52   Perfect app for this, the app that this has happened to so

00:43:55   many times, and the app was Path. Path came out and Path

00:43:59   had a lot of innovative, clever, fill in your adjective. I

00:44:06   mean, a lot of it depends on opinion, but they had some very

00:44:08   interesting design ideas when path 2.0 came out. They had that

00:44:12   radio man radio menu and the lower left, they had the scroll

00:44:17   indicator that would show you the time that we rotate and do

00:44:20   all this fancy stuff. And they had a very nice overall

00:44:23   aesthetic to the app. They had a lot of things going on on that

00:44:26   app, and it worked very, very well for them. And they were

00:44:30   able it was it was very successful. And, you know, they

00:44:33   also did the what is it the like hide and seek, like underneath

00:44:38   - The sliding panels.

00:44:39   - Yeah, the sliding panels.

00:44:41   And there's debate whether that came first

00:44:43   or Facebook came first, but a lot of apps started doing,

00:44:46   you know, all of a sudden after Path came out,

00:44:48   a lot of apps started doing the sliding panels,

00:44:50   and a lot of apps started doing radial menus,

00:44:54   and a lot of apps started doing

00:44:55   those little scroll view decorations

00:44:58   and all those different types of things.

00:45:00   And what they're doing is they're taking

00:45:03   a finished piece of that design,

00:45:06   pulling it out of the context of that finished piece of the design and putting it somewhere

00:45:10   else and it doesn't work.

00:45:12   And that's where I think Samsung copying Apple, that's what Samsung did.

00:45:17   They took certain finished pieces of Apple's product and said, "We're going to pull that

00:45:23   out wholesale and place it into another product that's completely different."

00:45:33   One of the big design differences between an Android device and an iPhone is that on

00:45:38   an iPhone you have one hardware button and that's it.

00:45:41   On the iPhone or the Android devices you have these soft buttons, or now I think they're

00:45:45   actually software buttons, in newer versions of Android, but you have these buttons at

00:45:49   the bottom and they're anchored to the bottom.

00:45:52   In many cases you can't move them.

00:45:54   So a lot of Samsung's code would put, you know, whereas the Android standard tab bar

00:46:00   would go at the top, in some of their applications, they'd move the tab bar to the bottom, like

00:46:05   a tab view controller works on the iPhone.

00:46:08   Well, not only was that kind of cribbing Apple and bad because they styled it to look like

00:46:13   Apple, it was bad because sometimes you go to hit a tab and sometimes you hit the back

00:46:17   button or the home button and it will close the app.

00:46:20   So it's one of those that I think when I say I'm copying something or photocopying something,

00:46:26   I'm saying, take something that's doing the same thing

00:46:29   you wanna do, take it in context,

00:46:32   and move the whole thing over, and then tweak it.

00:46:35   You know, it's like, copy exactly something that you like,

00:46:38   and then make subtle tweaks to make it work

00:46:40   in your environment.

00:46:42   Maybe you don't even ship it.

00:46:43   Maybe you're just understanding better

00:46:46   why they're doing what they're doing

00:46:47   and what the decisions they're making,

00:46:48   and maybe you have a better way to do the whole thing

00:46:50   that's completely different.

00:46:52   But copying is not necessarily bad.

00:46:55   even shipping a copy of something

00:46:57   is also so that you could argue

00:46:58   that things copied apples

00:47:01   you are style

00:47:02   yet they certainly extended augmented and a lot of ways that apple had not

00:47:06   it's always the eight apple style

00:47:09   but they understood why apple did what they did and they were able to build

00:47:12   something that work within that because they understood it

00:47:15   where i think samsung's big crime was the copied it and didn't understand

00:47:20   what they were doing

00:47:21   the copying the big part

00:47:23   of design no doubt and it exists

00:47:26   it's it's kind of

00:47:27   seen in a bad light in uh... the digital realm but um...

00:47:31   if you look at another very popular design field fashion

00:47:34   it's rampant

00:47:36   you know you and i i i think probably every piece of clothing we have

00:47:39   down or shoes or wallets everything

00:47:42   is a copy of some

00:47:44   high-end designer you know

00:47:45   some high-end designer one point like i

00:47:47   i carry the slum wallet you know it was like some from paul walk

00:47:51   pocket wallets

00:47:52   some crazy designer, you know, some high-end men's fashion designer for one award show

00:47:59   or something like that on TV said, "You know what? I'm going to design a swim wallet for this

00:48:04   celebrity, and I'm going to charge him $200,000, and he's going to show it to everybody at the

00:48:08   Oscars, and then people are going to want to come to me and buy this slim wallet because they're

00:48:12   going to want to see it." And then a year later, 40 clones say, "I'm going to build a slim wallet,

00:48:18   too, and they go and they design a slim wallet.

00:48:20   And then there's another set of clones beyond that.

00:48:22   The first set of clones are the higher end,

00:48:26   couture-like brands.

00:48:27   But then eventually some guy that sells wallets

00:48:31   at JC Penney's is gonna look at that and say,

00:48:34   "We're gonna design a slim wallet,

00:48:36   "and that's the one I'm gonna walk in and buy for $50

00:48:39   "that Tom Cruise had 10 years ago for $200,000,"

00:48:43   or whatever.

00:48:45   And I'm exaggerating this.

00:48:46   I don't know that slim wallets work that way,

00:48:48   but it's a typical example of how fashion is built upon copying.

00:48:52   And the idea is that in that instance,

00:48:54   the copying of that built up the reputation of the designer because the

00:48:59   designer, fashion is very ephemeral.

00:49:03   So if you design something and it becomes a trend and becomes a fad,

00:49:07   all these people are copying it.

00:49:08   You've got a pulse on what people are really into.

00:49:11   It's people are very interested to see what your next thing is.

00:49:14   On the digital side, that seems less like it.

00:49:17   It's like we kind of put the shell around Apple where we say they have to be there's some

00:49:22   unified source of inspiration and everybody else has got to go do something different when really

00:49:28   Apple and pushing design the way that they do

00:49:30   They're influencing the whole industry and instead of being angry about all these people that are copying them. They should be happy

00:49:37   You know if they're five or six

00:49:40   Strongest competitors are constantly copying what they did last year. They're always ahead

00:49:46   always. No one will ever catch up with them because no one is ever going to try and look

00:49:52   past them and leapfrog them. Why are they upset about that? That's what I don't understand.

00:49:57   I mean, because the copy. But anyway, I'm going off on a tangent about people being

00:50:03   upset. I think it's obvious that what Samsung did wasn't right. I don't understand why Apple

00:50:08   pursued them the way that they did.

00:50:10   Yeah. But it's interesting because I always think of these things, I think so often what

00:50:14   what you see with app development is--

00:50:17   there is a very sort of a fashionable--

00:50:21   or almost like seasons or whatever,

00:50:23   where these things are in vogue for a short period.

00:50:27   And often will-- or even what will often happen

00:50:29   is someone will create something that's novel and interesting.

00:50:33   And that then sort of gets added into the toolbox

00:50:38   that everyone else almost starts to assume,

00:50:41   even though

00:50:42   that didn't exist before. I mean you imagine things like

00:50:46   and I think Tweety is probably one of the best examples of an app that did this.

00:50:50   Pull to refresh or even the sliding or swiping on a

00:50:54   table on a table view cell

00:50:56   to view information about it

00:50:58   or there's, you think you were saying with Path, with the radial menus,

00:51:02   there's all these little things that you'll start to

00:51:04   that something will come up, someone will almost invent something

00:51:08   and it becomes fashionable to do that.

00:51:11   And in many ways, what I find is interesting with that

00:51:13   is it's good for that to then spread

00:51:19   throughout the app ecosystem.

00:51:20   Because from a user's perspective, it becomes simple.

00:51:25   It's like, oh, well, I know how that works.

00:51:27   I've seen that before.

00:51:29   And that's dangerous sometimes.

00:51:31   But I always find it reassuring often

00:51:34   as a user where I had these things come across

00:51:37   I'm used to how to interact often with like the little slidey panel thing if that's where

00:51:43   they're going to store their, you know, it's like you swipe from the left to the right

00:51:49   and the little thing appears and you choose the next menu.

00:51:51   It's like I've done that enough times now that I know how that works and I know how

00:51:57   to use it.

00:51:58   What's interesting about these things to me is that someone commented on this a couple

00:52:06   weeks ago, I think on Twitter, where they said, "The amazing thing about pull-to-refresh

00:52:12   is that Apple's now..."

00:52:14   Probably breaking in two weeks.

00:52:17   But Apple's...

00:52:18   It was in the keynotes.

00:52:19   Oh, it was in the keynotes.

00:52:20   All right, so they have the pull-to-refresh control in iOS 6.

00:52:25   And the interesting thing about that is that, that this person was bringing up, was that

00:52:29   Apple actually pulled something, an interaction that wasn't created by them, and they're now

00:52:35   now merging it back in, and how often does that happen?

00:52:38   All of the other interactions that you mentioned,

00:52:40   none of those Apple provides by default,

00:52:43   and none of those Apple does in their apps.

00:52:46   So it's part of the kind of setting these trends.

00:52:50   It's not Apple setting these trends.

00:52:53   In fact, it's Apple that's saying,

00:52:55   "No, we're thinking about the long-term health

00:52:56   "of the platform, and what are gonna be the things

00:52:59   "that you're gonna use now and in 10 years?"

00:53:03   So even in just a short five years of the iPhone, that we've had the iPhone, look at

00:53:08   apps that we had at the beginning of the iPhone and now apps that we have now.

00:53:12   And if you look at mail, mail is a very close sibling to what it was when it first came

00:53:19   out.

00:53:20   A lot of the basic interactions have just gone unchanged.

00:53:23   In that sense, it's a timeless design.

00:53:26   Unlike say the calculator, for example, that has subtly changed the look over time and

00:53:32   even interaction where you rotate it and it does all this stuff.

00:53:38   I think as we look back to some of these, I think if you ran the original

00:53:41   version of Tweety now, it would look old.

00:53:46   It would look out of style, even worse.

00:53:49   You know, out of style in the sense that when we look back to haircuts of

00:53:54   the '80s or when you look at bell bottoms or something like that and you say,

00:53:58   those are out of style.

00:54:00   I think that's what we're starting to see with applications,

00:54:02   which is a new thing for our field.

00:54:04   It's very odd in the sense that you can look at,

00:54:08   you know, you can run Microsoft Word 6 or Microsoft Word 5,

00:54:12   which ran on the Mac, and you would run it,

00:54:14   and it would look like a very close cousin

00:54:17   to the Word that we would run today.

00:54:19   It's mostly unchanged.

00:54:22   I mean, Microsoft went into this phase

00:54:26   where they're adding the ribbon

00:54:27   and they're doing all that weird stuff,

00:54:29   but if you look at it on the Mac,

00:54:30   before they added the ribbon, I mean,

00:54:32   I guess the last version was Office 10

00:54:34   or something like that.

00:54:35   It looked very close to the same word

00:54:39   that existed 20 years before that.

00:54:41   Whereas now we're now saying that apps

00:54:44   were getting into this fashionable sense.

00:54:46   And I think it's a good thing.

00:54:47   I think it's a reaction to how popular

00:54:50   the mobile platform is and just how much of a,

00:54:55   how vogue it's become.

00:54:59   you know that uh... you know the iphone isn't it thing to have you know now when

00:55:03   you see phones and t_v_ shows

00:55:05   each rare if they don't have an iphone

00:55:07   evidence it's product placement for something else that's product placement

00:55:11   for samsung galaxy s whatever the hell they're on now

00:55:15   and

00:55:17   it's so it's all you know everybody you just assume everyone's gonna have an

00:55:20   iphone it's like it's almost like that's replaced cell phone

00:55:23   it's a because of that now these absolutely use it was a dot

00:55:28   Alec Baldwin got in trouble because he was playing Words with Friends while the plane

00:55:31   was landing.

00:55:32   Everybody's like, "That jerk Alec Baldwin playing this."

00:55:35   My first thought was, "Oh my God, if I was the Words with Friends developer, I would

00:55:38   be like, 'Alec Baldwin's using my app?

00:55:41   Jack Ryan?'

00:55:42   That's awesome."

00:55:43   That was my first thought, and that's the thing.

00:55:46   We have commercials now where we celebrate app developers where they're seen as these

00:55:50   stars.

00:55:51   The story I like to tell my friends, a friend of mine is on Broadway.

00:55:56   he's not the lead for Phantom now, he's the understudy for the male lead for Phantom of

00:56:03   the Opera in Broadway. I mean, the Broadway production, been on forever. And my buddy,

00:56:08   his dream was to be on Broadway. He went out and now he's, when he was auditioning for

00:56:13   shows, he was auditioning for shows with these other celebrities and greasing elbows with

00:56:19   all these people. And I'm just thinking, "Oh my gosh, my wife would be going crazy." And

00:56:23   I pull out my iPhone and he's like, "Oh, what are you doing these days?" I'm like, "Well,

00:56:25   I write apps for the iPhone."

00:56:26   He's like, "Oh my gosh."

00:56:27   And he pulls his phone out,

00:56:28   and he wants to talk to me about nothing but apps.

00:56:30   He doesn't want to brag about how he met some famous actor

00:56:34   or actress or anything like that.

00:56:35   He wants to talk about all these apps.

00:56:36   And I'm a cool guy because I'm like,

00:56:38   "Oh yeah, I know the guy that wrote that.

00:56:39   Oh yeah, I had drinks next to, you know, with this guy."

00:56:43   Or something like that.

00:56:44   There's a celebrity aura around app development,

00:56:48   and maybe it's a bubble, maybe it'll go away.

00:56:52   I don't really remember seeing this with web developers,

00:56:55   and the whole web scene, but I think part of it,

00:56:58   that's what's driving this notion

00:57:00   that apps are fashionable now,

00:57:02   that we're gonna see things go in and out of fashion,

00:57:06   and it's why we're experimenting.

00:57:08   It's why Path did some of the things they did.

00:57:11   Path was trying to prove, hey, you should use us

00:57:15   instead of Instagram or Facebook or Twitter.

00:57:18   You should put all of your data in us.

00:57:20   And they did that by producing this very attractive,

00:57:23   very interesting, very fashion-forward iPhone app

00:57:27   that a lot of people copied.

00:57:28   And I think by people copying them,

00:57:32   that boosted their sense,

00:57:35   because now when you see that little clock in the corner,

00:57:37   it's like, oh, you've got the path scroll indicator style.

00:57:40   And that's really just one step away from saying,

00:57:43   oh yeah, I'm gonna Xerox something from you.

00:57:45   - Sure, sure.

00:57:45   - Or I'm gonna TiVo this show.

00:57:47   That very,

00:57:52   very seductive, you know, verb form of your product

00:57:56   that you want to get to.

00:57:57   And so I think it's a good thing,

00:58:01   but it's also, it has the downsides.

00:58:03   And I think if you go to, with all fashion,

00:58:07   you've got to think about it.

00:58:08   You know, you never know, are you gonna be the guy

00:58:10   that put high-waisted pants on women again,

00:58:13   or are you gonna be the guy that came out with, you know,

00:58:16   the revelation of jean jackets or something?

00:58:18   I don't, you know, I don't know.

00:58:19   I'm not a fashion guy.

00:58:21   I leave that to my wife.

00:58:23   So as we start straying away from the things--

00:58:26   [LAUGHTER]

00:58:26   How do we get our G check?

00:58:27   It's like the things that we're experts in

00:58:29   may be a good point to wind it down.

00:58:32   So I just wanted to thank you so much for taking the time.

00:58:35   Thank you.

00:58:35   I think it definitely informs the--

00:58:38   I know I've benefited from the time that we've spent together

00:58:40   in terms of being focused so much on the Xcode programming

00:58:47   part.

00:58:48   I think it's always good to have that balance.

00:58:51   It's like the other, it's just the other part of it.

00:58:54   And you can't, it's like, it's like,

00:58:55   it just, one wouldn't really stand well without the others.

00:58:58   - No, I agree, I agree.

00:58:59   And I think that's what hopefully it kind of came across

00:59:02   in all of this I was saying is that

00:59:04   it shouldn't be seen as the dark side,

00:59:06   but just the other side.

00:59:07   Just it's, there's another way to think about it

00:59:10   and another way, but they're really

00:59:12   all after the same purpose.

00:59:13   - Yeah. - You know,

00:59:14   it's all geared towards the same thing.

00:59:16   And I think there's even similar, you know,

00:59:18   problem solving techniques that you use.

00:59:21   Cool.

00:59:22   Thank you very much.

00:59:23   It was fun.

00:59:24   And appreciate your time.

00:59:27   Thank you for joining me for that interview with Rob.

00:59:29   Hopefully that was interesting and useful.

00:59:31   If you want to follow up with Rob or find him online,

00:59:33   he's in a couple of different places.

00:59:35   His website is blog.robryan.com.

00:59:39   For Martian Craft, the company that he manages and works for

00:59:43   that does excellent app development on iPhone, iPad,

00:59:47   Android, even do Mac, I think.

00:59:49   Probably some of the best guys in the business.

00:59:51   Reach out to them if you're actually

00:59:53   looking for custom design services or application

00:59:57   development.

00:59:57   That's martiancraft.com.

00:59:59   And he's on Twitter as Captain Taco, spelled C-A-P-T-T-A-C-O.

01:00:06   And links to all of these sites are in the show notes.

01:00:09   So otherwise, I hope you have a good rest of your day,

01:00:12   and happy coding.