10 Mar

Creative Design Lab: Mobile app week 5

Over the last week, I’ve created a representation of my app in Photoshop. It includes a logo and icon for show on the home screen, as well as sample in-app screenshots. The icon was created used this template from pixelresort.com and the iPhone templates are freely available here.

funnybananasiconforblog

representationforblog

We each came up with a version, developed from the same storyboard and the same ideas. It was very interesting to see our creative differences in the graphics alone.

I used a lot of colour in mine, combined with simple shapes so as not to let it look cluttered and thus confusing the audience of children. I used a lot of circles and rounded shapes to give it an inviting and friendly appearance. I stuck to design rules like alignment and used fading of background elements to keep focus on the task at hand. I also tried to keep text to a minimum, given that our target demographic is children.

The following is a version by Amber James.

1972621_10203333691961732_853189926_o

 

The following was created by Raghad Badahdah.

raghadapp

The following was created by Elise Harbord.

EliseApp

I also created a flow chart to demonstrate the order of interaction within the app, as shown below. This was very useful as it highlighted to me that I needed to add a reset button on the screen where the user adds a face to the food, in case they don’t wish to save what they have created. Next time, I’ll make sure I do this exercise before creating the mockup, so I’ll know how many elements to include in the designs.

flowchart

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03 Mar

Creative Design Lab: Mobile app week 4

This week, we all took the basic storyboard from last week’s Creative Design Lab, and added extra elements, and designed different ways. We all sketched out different ideas and built off each other’s work.

My version is below, followed by Amber James’ version, which has an added social element that allows the user the option of making a profile before beginning the game.

Scan.1Work by Amber James

We then began to get to grips with the process that the user would have to go through to work their way through the game. The following chart shows the sequence of events that would happen, and the basic level of interaction between the user and the app.

Scan.2As another way of envisaging the way our app would work and interact with the user, we acted the process out in front of others who had no previous knowledge of our app. This was useful to find out what the target demographic, in our case children, would gain from using the app. Our answer was primarily entertainment and education.

There was an issue highlighted though. There wasn’t an obvious reason for the child to continue the ‘sorting’ element of the game as there was no indication of how many they had done and how many were left to do.

I resolved this by adding a counter, as a method of informing the user where they were in the game. I found this a useful task, and one that helped my creative process.

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24 Feb

Creative Design Lab: Mobile app week 3

As a group, we decided that the mix of “education” and “food” was an idea we wanted to experiment with further. We produced the following mind map on all the things we could think of relating to an app of this nature.
Scan 24 Feb 2014 14_56
We then can up with a snappy description of our app; something that would be shown in the app store to sell our app. We came up with the words “Did you know, bananas grow upwards? If this kind of information is a-peel-ing to you, find out more on Food-For-Thought”. I think, at this stage, we didn’t really know which direction the app was going to go in.

We toyed around with quite a few ideas, including healthy eating apps for adults, and an app that could find a recipe using an ingredient, from a photograph taken by the user of that ingredient. We eventually decided that we would target the app at children, and turn it into a game to encourage children to play it.

I created the following storyboard as a basis for our app, which was based on many of the ideas that we came up with and bounced off each other during our group sessions.

scan storyboard
As it to be designed for children, I took inspiration from existing material aimed at children. It is particularly helpful that I have a pre-school child that I can draw inspiration from. I observe the things he likes, his preferences and images/designs he is attracted to.

Mr Potato Head One of his favourite toys is the Mr Potato Head, a version of which was first distributed in the 1950’s. Young children are naturally and instinctively drawn to faces, and I wanted to exploit this in my app design. All the features are exaggerated to epic proportions, and infants and young children seem to really love this.

I also took inspiration from my son’s magazines, including the popular Bananas in Pyjamas franchise. The colours are also very bright, using a lot of primary colours and the font is very playful and rounded.

I’ve also noticed, everything is either illustrated or accompanied by an image. As in the example below, the list of ingredients isn’t just text; each element has a picture of the food item. I think it is important to not give children too much to read, as this will quickly lose their attention.

Bananas in Pajamas

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17 Feb

Creative Design Lab: Mobile app week 2

Incase you missed week 1 of the creative design lab, view it here.

To begin the creative process this week, I drew shapes related to specific emotions. (I find it interesting how anger and excitement are quite closely related). This was an example of synectics – “the fitting together of seemingly diverse elements”. Emotion doesn’t have a shape, but somehow I couldn’t see happiness as anything other than rounded and circular, and excitement as being spiky.

Scan 17 Feb 2014 13_39

“Embrace the seemingly irrelevant”

The next stage of our mobile app project involved combining seemingly unrelated topics, to generate new ideas for apps. We focussed on quantity, didn’t criticise each others ideas, developed on each others ideas and welcomed more unusual thoughts. The following is a collection of completely uninhibited app ideas, from the mundane to the insane.

Scan 17 Feb 2014 14_03 1We then picked three ideas to take a little further using analogies to look at the problem differently. We generated direct, personal, fantasy and symbolic analogies for each of the three ideas below.Scan 17 Feb 2014 14_40 Scan 17 Feb 2014 14_41 1 Scan 17 Feb 2014 14_41I found the fantasy and symbolic analogies the most useful in this context. I was quite surprised at how effective this activity was. I found myself looking at the app idea from a completely different angle than before.

We decided that we were going to take forward the idea of an educational food app.

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10 Feb

Creative Design Lab: Mobile app week 1

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 19.07.11Learning techniques to work creatively is invaluable in the design industry. As an introduction to working in this way, I took  two main points moving forward; to aim to think in an imaginative and innovative way, and to be unafraid of failure.

Phase 1: Promoting Individuality

The first experiment involved my subject describing herself to me, beginning with a few trigger questions, such as “what do you do for fun?”. It is interesting to hear how a person thinks of themselves, and prioritises parts of their lives. Notes from this conversation highlighted that sleep was a big deal.

Scan 17 Feb 2014 20_57

I then went on to Phase 2: Communicate Information were I used this information to make apps specifically for her. I firstly focussed on sleep, with a fantasy app that you could plug into your body to recharge yourself as if you were a robot or machine that had batteries. As the creativity flowed, I also noted that it would suit her very well to have an app that could pause time. Then I decided to link in sleep with her long-distance relationship, to create an app that could send her an alarm when her partner woke up in the morning so they could arrange to speak.

The next app idea was a potato recipe app, because her favourite food is potatoes. It could also show arts and crafts ideas and songs – anything fun to do with potatoes in one app.

Another thing she likes is puns – a pun generator was my next idea – something to make her smile on the bus to town.

I also came up with a dictaphone app to aide creative writing and an app that plays a collection of calming sounds like sea and white noise. My initial icon design ideas are below, followed by a representation in Photoshop of my ideas. I used an app icon template available for download and use.

Ci138 app ideas

app representation

 

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