Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 3: UI Design

I've been developing software for almost 10 years; Over time, I've learned new strategies to overcome challenges. When you have an idea and you want to turn it into something real, it usually requires plans, backup plans, backups of backups; Reams of notes, scrapped ideas, overzealous desires, drawings galore, conversations with others that lasts weeks, but mostly it's a giant, unorganized puzzle to be solved. Each piece must be studied intently, as it is your job to put the pieces in the right place and in the right way... If even one piece is turned upside down, the entirety of the
picture will be thrown off.

Each piece requires a very specific amount of attention. For example, if you designing your very first car, it is important to study and understand the workings of both the gas, and the brake system, but just studying them individually is not enough. It's absolutely essential that also study how the brake and gas work together; What kind of transitions can be created between the two? What would happen if the user interacted with both at the same time, or what if the user quickly switched back and forth between one and the other. These details can completely change everything about the direction of your product... It is the difference between life and death.

Luckily for me, I don't write apps that are "Life and Death" risks, but its important to me to always deliver the very best to you. It's been my priority to take my newest and greatest skills, conquer my age old problems of previous versions, and to hopefully enrich your life with the final result. I want that, and focus on that. As I look back in time to old versions of ShuffleTone, I can easily and safely say that the hardest part of every delivery I've made has been the User Experience along with the User Interface.

I usually have an image that sits in the very back of my head... When I close my eyes I can see it almost perfectly, but I can't see it well enough to know exactly how to create it. I draw and draw and draw till I feel I have gotten close to what I see, then I write every line. Each element on the screen is given specific rules to tell it where to sit, how far from other elements to be, and even what to look like. After these files have been written, I make an almost insane effort to break it; Running it on different emulators, physical phones and tablets; and yet I don't see what I see in the back of my mind. It's never right; It's never perfect; Maybe a mindset of an artist, but I think it's the mindset of someone who knows how much better it can be.

You are probably wondering, what's my point. Well, my point is GUI's are hard. Really hard, in fact. It typically takes a lot of patience, motivation, drive, time, and creativity. It takes knowing what you really want, and why you want it. I am at the very beginning point of creating what I see in my mind. I wanted something physical to share, but I don't have anything yet. Instead, I filled 8 pages of notebook paper with lots and lots of drawings, good and bad, as well as some that need improvement. They still need work, but I really feel good about it so far. Last week I talked about the focus of this new ShuffleTone being playlists. As I've been designing, I just can't help being excited about it... It's perfect; It's intuitive, functional, expansive, fairly modular, and I think it's going to make for a great User Experience.

Anyway, things are progressing well, and I am excited to continue to share as things move forward :)

Have a great week!
Tyler -- DizWARE

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