With the rise of mobile, more and more people are looking at in-app purchases to monetize their products and services. But, as usual, there are design aspects to think about. I this article I intend to explain two of the most important things to think about when designing for in-app purchases: Relevance, and Access.
Google services have been a long time coming for iOS users. While most people’s immediate response to that is to say “of course, they have android” I think it’s weird for google to neglect 400 million customers of their services just because they want to promote another mobile platform. Android already has a majority market share after all.
“Hey could you email me that picture you just took?”
While sharing online has taken the web by storm and has since become old news. Sharing digital information locally has always been a hassle away from out computers and high speed internet connections. Not any more.
Meet Clear, the todolist manager that does everything right.
But the best part about clear is it’s use of color and sounds.
Use of color for information
Colors are used in the lists to show priority. The more saturated the color, the more important the task. Now the tasks are already in a list, so one could argue that adding colors to it is redundant. But this is not true. Any human scanning a list will see each item as equally important. Most of us tend to try and put the most important thing at the top of the list but every time we look at the list we still browse more than one item.
Making the list colored gives a subtle hint that you don’t need to look at other tasks. This is the one.
It also gives the user a reason to order the list properly. While the app never tell the user they have to, just creating a rule that says the top is higher priority will make users want to use the rule. Think of it like a hidden keyboard shortcut. Once you learn it, if it’s a valuable shortcut, you stick with it.
Sounds that make it fun
Audio feedback has been used to great effect in games for decades. Which is why I’ve always found it odd that it’s had such little attention in software tool design. Until now.
Clear has a sound effect for every function.
New item? Pop.
Finished item? Ping!
Delete item? Swoosh
But I really mean sound effect. These aren’t just midi notes annoyingly stacked to make an awful racket. These are effects that sound great by themselves and stack neatly. What do I mean by stack? If you complete several tasks in a row, you don’t just get an annoying amount of pings. You’d hate that. Instead you get a rising scale of pings that together seem to form a rising crescendo. Which incidentally is exactly like the normal sound design to gaining point in video games (remember picking up coins in Mario?)
The awesome sound design was done by Josh Mobley.
Getting out of the way
The reason the design of Clear is so impressive is that, while the UI reinforces the users positive emotions of using a todo list, it get’s out of the way to let the users focus on thinking about tasks.
There’s simply nothing else to think about. And you won’t get those soothing sounds of completion if you don’t complete some tasks.
Summary, or: is it awesome?
Clear is the best interface for getting things done I’ve seen so far. On any platform. It’s also responsive like few apps on iOS.
It does gamification right by letting the user learn it’s features intuitively and reinforcing the actual use of the product instead of showering them in useless badges.
Sadly however, it also really doesn’t have a use. At least not for a todo-list power user such as myself. Enter a 100 tasks into Clear and you’ll be looking at an infinite list with no overview. There’s no search, there are no smart lists. But these features would not improve the product. In fact, I think including more features could destroy the product.
If you use lists often but don’t have 1000 tasks in them. This app will make you smile on your way.
If you use really long lists, this app will be nice to play with but not useable.
Should you buy it? YES. If only to support good design.
As usual, the Verge has the best video first look:
Whenever likeminded creative people try to innovate trends emerge. Ideas give birth to ideas. As ideas keep combining in the heads of creative people everywhere some ideas become more sticky than others. I’ll document some of the trends in user experience design I predict will become the norm in 2012. You can find my first post on the subject here.
Another example from a 2011 app is the amazing full screen representation in Wren.
White space apps
When I first saw Wren I was amazed. It was focused and minimalist. Therefore I was shocked to see the full-screen button in the top right corner of the app, “Wouldn’t that completely wreck the experience” was my knee-jerk reaction. Then I tried it and another trend was obvious, apps that scale without bloating their feature sets, or White space apps.
Why are White space apps different? Mobile.
The mobile revolution has some interaction and UI designers scratching their heads or pulling their hair trying to fit all the usual information. The current computing paradigm has relied on massive amounts of text and information tags for a long long time. Even programs that have really tried to rid themselves of rarely used functions or unnecessary amounts of help information have sometimes been stuck in contextual help hell due to the modus operandi of desktop interface design.
No more. Mobile has rid us of all these things. And some designers are provocative enough to realize that less really is more and simply scale their apps without adding more information or complexity.
Is this good or bad?
Only time will tell. But the dominance of mobile design today tells us a lot about what people like. I think it is less about the iPhone being a must-have product and a lot more about really smart and beautiful apps that are just complex piles of engineering on other platforms.
Simple is better. And using white space to focus the users attention on a sparingly chosen set of functions beautifully designed makes this clear. I believe these minimal products will in the future continue to trump the feature behemoths of yesteryear.
No home button
No way to know how to use it without reading a manual or being taught how
Just swipe, DUMBASS!
Nokia must really love being different. Or at least love patenting interaction models, so they can differentiate from iPhone.
To bad different isn’t the same as good.