App Design Interaction & Animation

It’s already been too long since I last blogged, I must make an effort to blog weekly!

Today is a short post about a project I’ve been working on this week. I spent some time working on a few concepts for an app for the Natural History Museum. The main purpose of the app being to showcase the museum’s exhibits, and to ‘bring them to life’.

I used this opportunity to experiment with some interaction design — and tried to have fun with some screen transitions and animation.

After some initial UX work, producing a user flow for the app, I produced some flats for the key screens — and then proceeded to mock them up in After Effects to demonstrate how the user would interact with the app, and show the impact some simple transitions can have on the overall experience.

NHM-GIF2

 

A fun little project, you can check it out in more detail on dribbble, Behance and on my website here: Natural History Museum.

Apple Live Event 2014

apple-iwatch-960

 

It’s happened. Last night was Apple’s Live Event 2014, the most anticipated Apple event for some time. And to say it didn’t disappoint would be somewhat controversial — I mean, yes Apple unveiled some great new technology, some exceptionally crafted, and well manufactured products, but we expected all of them. The hype was so great, so big — everyone really wanted to believe they were going to wow the world and deliver us something that we weren’t expecting. But they didn’t. All of the leaks over the past year or so, the rumours, the obsession of the media with what secrets Apple were hiding — we kind of all knew before they were “revealed”.

To make it even worse, the way it was delivered was awful. Apple only let viewers watch their live streams through their own software, Safari. Nice touch, kind of. The stream was awful last night, really awful. Laggy, when it worked — for the first half an hour, we couldn’t really watch anything — the feed kept cutting, there was a Mandarin translator dubbed over the top of the sound. One of my favourite tweets last night came from Aubrey Johnson:

That’s how it felt. Anyway, in fear of writing the longest blog post of all time, I’m going to try and rifle through my opinions on the rest of what we were fed last night. I’ll probably end up writing a few follow up posts on this topic over the next few days… Stay tuned.

Firstly, the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Wow. Beautifully designed, and crafted blah blah blah. It’s Apple, we expect that. But I was really disappointed. I currently have a 4s, and I didn’t upgrade to the 5 at the time, simply because I didn’t need to. It doesn’t give me anything extra that I need (with the exception of 4G). It’s too big. The 5 was a little too big for me, let alone the 6, LET ALONE the 6 Plus. It’s massive! I have an iPad, why do I need a phone that I can’t fit comfortable into my pocket? They’ve had to massively compromise on the user experience, designing a new “one hand” mode — because it’s impossible to reach the other side of the phone whilst you’re holding in just one hand. I can’t wait to have a go of one, and see if it’s able to change my mind. Disappointed.

iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

 

The Apple Watch — inevitably coming, (inevitably?) disappointing. The biggest challenge Apple faced introducing a watch, and the reason I was most excited about this unveil — is the fact that a watch is a fashion item, probably more than it is an actual tool in this day and age. With the Apple Watch, the company is aiming to make it useful again. I don’t think it will be as big as they are hoping in it’s first generation. It’s too big, too clunky — it’s square. I already can’t wait to see what they do with it next, and I am looking forward to designing for it. However, I won’t be purchasing one — I wouldn’t even like to be seen wearing one. They talked about customisation, but being Apple — I guarantee we won’t be able to customise it to the extent we’d like. Maybe there will be Watch ‘apps’ where we can download watch faces from third party designers etc. Who knows, but personally, I’d like the option of designing my own interface — maybe that’s a bit too android for Apple.

A quick thought on Apple Pay — interesting, only available in the States — being Apple they will probably succeed. They’ve been behind on payment systems for a while now in the US, whilst here in the UK it seems like forever that we’ve had contactless payments with our cards. To summarise my thoughts on Apple Pay — I hope they topple PayPal, some competition would be fantastic and hopefully help drive down the ridiculous fees PayPal currently have in place on payments and transfers.

My final discussion point is the all new Apple.com website. Already under a lot of fire from designers and developers around the world, due to it’s limited responsiveness — and some design issues, particularly leading and kerning with the typography. But overall, I quite like it. Super clean, minimal and showcases their products with some gorgeous CGI shots. Yeah it could do with some fine tuning, and perhaps being one of the worlds leading brands — it should have be rolled out as perfect, but either way, it’s inspired me in my work. Nice one, Apple.

Hurry up Spotify!

Both the desktop and iPhone versions of the Spotify app got given a much needed facelift and general update back in April in line with iOS7. More aesthetically pleasing, a sleeker, darker interface — yes it could be a lot better, but it satisfied many a user. They also introduced a few new features, that split opinions, such as removing the ‘star’ feature, and introducing a ‘like’ style feature that seems kind of pointless in my opinion.

Anyway, I’m writing this post out of dire frustration and impatience. Spotify, where is the iPad update?! It’s 5 months later and I still see no sign of it? I’m so fed up of the ugly aesthetics of the current version, and the terribly user UNfriendly interface.

I’m waiting to install my iPad mini into the dashboard of my Golf, but it’s main use is for music — i.e Spotify and it’s darker interface. If Rdio allowed customisation of their UI, I’d be switching around this time.

More on the dash installation when Spotify pull their finger out. Hurry up Spotify.

Freelance Design Availability

Having recently completing the redesign and launch of my new website jakecritchlow.co.uk (all feedback encouraged) — I am in the position to be taking on projects and freelance design work. I’d love to work closely with clients on improving their online presence, and user experience with some web design work, as well as opportunities to develop identities and branding. Be this working directly with clients on design projects, or within a team for a design agency.

If you are looking for a designer to help with your company or brand, or know someone that is — please send them my way, for a chance to sit down and discuss opportunities!

Follow me on Behance!

Behance Profile

 

After recently discovering that I had hit 10,000 project views on Behance — from older work that I’d more or less completely forgot about, I thought it was about time I updated it with some recent work.

After recently relaunching my portfolio site with up to date work, I already had a few projects to populate my profile with — and I am happy to say that I am now back, actively using the site, and interacting with other creatives, providing feedback — as well as being truly inspired by the masses of incredibly high standards of creative work available to view on the platform.

Follow me at behance.net/jakeonamac

Here at last

My New Site!

 

Finally! It’s here — after hours of hard work, frustrations, and learning curves, I have just launched my new website and portfolio.

As you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve already found my new (and first ever) blog via my new website — however, if you haven’t you can view it along with my work at: jakecritchlow.co.uk — I designed and built it all completely by myself, so please feel free to give me your feedback and help me improve it! This was the first fully responsive site I have ever attempted to build, a sort of side project with great dividends — as front end development, and WordPress development are two skills that I aim to build up over the next 12 months.

If you’re interested, the site was built from scratch upon the bare bones of the bootstrap grid — and this blog is running on WordPress. The theme I am currently using is Less by Jared Erickson, which I have modified and tweaked, in an attempt to get it looking somewhere close to my main site. I realise it’s a long way off perfect just yet, however that’s a task for a rainy day!

Anyway, from now on I will be posting on my new shiny blog about a variety of subjects — from projects I am currently working on, to collaborations, to my thoughts on the design world and experiences. I look forward to developing myself, and writing skills via this new venture.

Get at me with any tips and advice — I think I need them!

 

Jake