Sunday, July 06, 2014

Planning an iPhone, iPad and Android App - Part 1

Basic organisational tips for app designers

A clearly-focused and well-planned app design project relies on thoughtful workflow. Don’t expect to produce a great app if your project management system consists of a bunch of Post-it notes stuck to the wall of a rotting garden shed.

Think carefully about the chronology of your workflow:

Does it make sense to complete all the graphics before the programmer gets involved, or does the design rely on a programming problem being solved first?

The last situation you want is one where a programmer sits around in a state of limbo, waiting for graphics, racking up an extravagant bill for doing nothing. Here is an example workflow, with time-frames. This is taken from the process used to create Alice for the iPad :


Obvious first steps in the planning stage include registering the name of your app, and scheduling the time of a programmer. Check well in advance that your programmer is available. Mobile OS programmers are the most desirable in their field, and you will often have to work around their schedule, rather than expecting them to schedule time for you. Usually, the most cost-effective method of design is to complete all the graphics before the programmer starts building the app. However, the disadvantage to this approach is that the design of the app cannot evolve in tandem with changes to the mechanisms in the software.

Fortunately there is a way around this:
Make sure you are available to quickly redesign elements as soon as the programmer flags up a problem. You will also need to check what format the programmer requires graphics in. Usually you will deliver graphic designs as single layers exported to Jpeg or PNG formats. PNGs can contain transparent or ‘alpha’ pixels, so they are commonly used for graphical assets that move.

Read Next - Planning an iPhone, iPad and Android App - Part 2
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