Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures

Hey Quote Coders,

Quote Codes launched this week! And we would like to take this opportunity to thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts for the love and support you have shown towards the game. Quote Codes has been featured by Apple in over 83 countries worldwide and has broken into top 20 in its category in Canada and UK. We are just so so proud and humbled by the reception. Here is the download link again for the ones who haven’t already (Seriously what are you waiting for?) – https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/quote-codes/id1142929451?ls=1&mt=8

Right, lets continue the story of the game. In the previous blog, Joseph explained about his font choice and preference of a very whimsical and fun font. We thought we had something good going but as we started to develop we realized how wrong we were.

Design and App Flow Failures.

The first step we did was try to chalk out the App Flow of the game. How will the player navigate and interact with the game was crucial. We divided the app into 2 segments.

  1. Game Play
  • Main Game Screen (The main gameplay screen)
  • Game End Screen (The screen that shows the decoded quote)
  • Tutorial (static tutorial screen that shows the rules of the game)
  1. Menu
  •  Stats (stats depicting quotes the player has decoded)
  • Settings (A settings page)
  • Credits (A credits page)
  • Categories (Categories section so user can select themes of quotes)

Sometime on Illustrator and I came up with this mess.

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures
Even we were getting confused looking at this

Not making excuses but at the time Adobe hadn’t come out with the XD and our first instinct was to use illustrator from the very go.

So after the app flow we tried putting in the designs on them.

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures
This was our first attempt at UI for Quote Codes

Our initial thoughts were to use the primitive font as main headers in UI which as you can see looks too cryptic and cluttered.

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures
Using the Primitive Font as headers in UI made it confusing

In the previous blog, Joseph explained how he thought the DK Clair De Lune font was perfect for the game. But, as you can see from these designs, though it looked alright, it wasn’t really readable and made the whole game scene quite confusing. Plus Apple’s Human Interface guidelines recommend to have a minimum tappable area of 44pt x 44pt. The keyboard buttons were falling short of the 44pt. Increasing them would make everything look even more cluttered.

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures
Though it looked fun, this design was not at all practical for our word game.

Try and Try till you succeed.

Right so after those failures we decided to try another fresh approach, scrapped the whole layout, font and structure and try a completely new way by adding new fonts and icons. We even tried inverting and messing around with the colors this time to see how it looks.

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures
A completely fresh approach with new color options, icons and fonts

New funky icons

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures

Though they looked fun initially, it just felt too much. The whole concept of solving your favorite quotes was getting overshadowed by the funky design and colors.  Plus, this used the Hamburger Menu which apple completely hated and they were right to do so – (Watch from 32 mins on HERE)

So 2 iterations of designs and 2 complete failures but we weren’t about to back down. More on this in future diaries. 

Till then don’t forget to download Quote Codes – Our quirky word puzzler featured by Apple worldwide (had to say it again :p)

Quote Codes Diaries 8: Design and App Flow Failures

App Prototyping with Adobe XD

So last time we talked about the benefits of Sketch App for initial designs of an app. Things were going fine for us. We designed on Sketch. And then we would try to figure out our app flow. This would involve getting screens arranged in their order of sequence and sharing the pic between us which always turned out to be horrible and confusing.

Quantum iOS app Flow
Imagine having more than 20 screens here

Or otherwise it would be going old school. Taking printouts and physically figure it out on a white board. All these methods lacked one essential component for any successful design – feedback from initial testers. How can we make the users get the sequence – we had to rely on their understanding rather than them experiencing it. We could only be sure they understood it, if they held it in their hands and get a first hand experience. Figure out where they could go wrong, how we could minimize or negate that possibility through better design.

Then Adobe hit back with Experience Design (XD).

Adobe XD was exactly what we were looking for. XD allowed us to make real prototypes on real devices that we could give to real users. This brought out a great clarity to us and the users. It greatly simplified our process. Changes could be made in the initial stages itself.

Just take a look at what our whole artboard looked like in XD:

The Game Quantum on XD
Adobe XD interface
The Game Quantum on XD
Linking each screen to create the prototype

Don’t get intimidated by these images. It is far more easier than it looks. All you need to do is link the various buttons in the screens based on your app flow – Its just drag and drop and literally takes less than 10 mins!

 

Prototyping with Adobe XD
Linking the screens together is just drag and drop

Hats off to the Adobe guys for getting this product out in the market. Mind you, the product is still in beta, but damn it’s awesome.

There are however a few things missing in Adobe XD:

 – XD does not give you the ability to animate individual elements. For ex: you won’t be able slide in a single button separately on the screen. It only allows screen transitions for now.

 – XD does not support Photoshop import. Yes, you read that right. Currently, the software only allows vector imports. This can be a big problem if you already have your app designed in Photoshop.

 

But since the software is still a work in progress we are hoping they would add additional features. Oh and the whole thing is just under 80 MB. Kudos Adobe! 

Adobe XD can really become the de facto prototyping tool. The Windows version of the software was just release in beta sometime back. In the end it will all depend on how much Adobe decides to charge us when they come out with the full version.

All in all, there is no denying the fact that there is a new player in the prototyping wars. And this newbie happens to be the oldest of them all.

Adobe XD is currently available in beta free for Mac and Windows HERE

 

If you are looking for some quick tutorials. These are our top picks. 

How to Use Adobe Experience Design CC By Terry White

How to Create a UI Prototype By Rafiq Elmansy

Design with Sketch App

We have always used Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop for the initial prototyping of our app designs. Though a bit of an overkill, we were familiar with it and hence stuck with it for a long time. Then a friend introduced us the Sketch App. And it just blew us away..

Sketch app

Firstly, it’s less than 50 MB installed on your hard disk. 50 freakin MB. Can you imagine that? Adobe Illustrator is more than 1.5 GB and Photoshop is well over that. We became a believer right then. Of course don’t get us wrong. Illustrator is still one of the best when it comes to making accurate drawings that involve stylus inputs and Photoshop is the king of digital image manipulation.

Sketch vs Illustrator vs Photoshop
Photoshop vs Illustrator vs Sketch

If you google you will find a million comparisons between Sketch, Photoshop and Illustrator but believe us Sketch wins when you are looking at getting started with the initial screens of the app and it wins in Web Design because of its superior grid layouts, ability to export all layers separately in one go and get CSS attributes for your designs!

Design with sketch app Pixel Drop Studios
iOS Ui Template in Sketch

And the templates included are so much handy. They have templates and export options for almost every iOS device screen size, Web Design and most popular Android ones. It is a match made in heaven for studios like us.

design with sketch app tutorial Pixel Drop Studios
Pre-Installed Templates in Sketch

So Sketch has now become our de facto software for building our initial designs.

It is available for download from their official website. You can first download a Trial version and then purchase the licence if you like from HERE.

If you are really interested here is a small list of awesome free tutorials that will help transition to the software. Note that some of the tutorials are of Sketch 3 while the latest version available right now is Sketch 4 but be assured that the learnings in them still apply!

For Readers:

Official Sketch User Manual

Marc Andrew – Sketch App Tutorial Series

Sketch Tutorial for iOS Developers – Robert Chan

Sketch for Beginners – Sebastian Gabriel

For the ones who prefer videos:

Sketch Tutorial Series – LevelUpTuts

Introduction to Sketch for Web Design – CharliMarieTV

Sketch for Beginners – Patrick Benske