This was a pet project which proved to be fun and also helped in a lot of learning. The documentation of the entire process can be found in my Medium account, where I pen my thoughts sometimes. You can check it out here as well. I would suggest you go with the Medium Version because it is more organic as that was the first draft.
Human beings are curious creatures. If there was one word to describe me, it would be ‘curiosity’. I love learning new things and try to learn at least one new thing everyday. For this reason, I have an Everyday Art Project where I create one work of art from scratch, everyday. This project is in Day 454 at the time of this writing.
The experiment that I am going to talk about in this writing is of a slightly different nature. It started when I was looking to apply for an internship at a very popular and omnipresent company. My portfolio did not have a project showing my skills at making mobile screens, as the industry demands today. This was not because I did not have work to show, but because I did not find making screens as fascinating as my other interest areas, namely VR, music and art.
I did not want to go back to my old projects and put them up. This being said, I decided that I could make the process of making screens fun for myself if I were to learn something while at it. Thinking about this side project made me start noting down related things that had been on my ‘Things to learn list’ and it came down to two things:
2. Adobe XD
Most of my earlier design-for-mobile projects had me working with or for Android, and I had been pushing for iOS projects, every time. What I had in hand right now was a really good opportunity to learn, and at my own pace, because it was a personal project. I had fiddled around with Adobe XD when it had rolled out, and also when I attended the Adobe XD Workshop at Designup by Eric Snowden.
On to Work
The process I followed could broadly be put together on paper as follows:
2. Sketches & Wireframes (iOS Guidelines)
3. Prototype (Adobe XD)
I know the value research adds to any project and I like taking my time with it usually. But with the limited time I had in hand, I decided to go with something that I am familiar with as a user and also use content that I already have. A lot of secondary research was done, online and offline. Primary research was miniscule in comparison.
The idea boiled to making a Gallery app for my Everyday Project.
Sketches & Wireframes (iOS Guidelines)
Now that that was decided, I got down to writing down features and sketching very basic flows. I did not look at existing apps that I was not familiar with before I was done writing my own interpretations of the Ideal Gallery App.
The iOS Guidelines have been beautifully documented, but I felt that the Material Design Guidelines were more specific when I saw it the first time. This was just an observation.
Prototype (Adobe XD)
After repeatedly questioning my existence throughout the process so far, I settled on features and interactions that I could work with and opened XD. The learning curve was not bad enough to make me stop. Getting to know the software was pretty easy given that I have been working with other Adobe software for around 7–8 years now. The UI was clean(er), and there was minimum fuss.I got reminded of the Designup Workshop where Eric had explained about the reasons for the same.
I was also disappointed when I couldn’t make most of the basic interactions that I had in mind, work. Even interactions as basic as scrolling are not available yet in XD, and this made me stop at a point. I think this is one of the most up-voted feature requests on the Adobe XD Feedback page. I contributed to the voting count wherever I could.
I would usually finish work, then come back and fake it to document videos because I do not like the flow of work getting disrupted. For the first time, I tried shooting simultaneously with when I was working. And this practice actually seemed to help in making things clearer for me, but the quality seemed a little lesser than usual to my eyes.
Like I had mentioned earlier, my idea before starting was to get a grip of the Apple iOS Guidelines and Adobe XD. I wasn’t disappointed by the end of the day. I was fairly comfortable with the flow of XD by then. The Guidelines, as I had expected, hadn’t been nailed completely. I had gotten familiar with the areas that were necessary for the project at hand, and the rest are still at large, somewhere out there. Maybe another day.
Changing my process of documentation also proved to be a ‘different’ experience for me, and I will have to look at it again.
This project has also instilled more confidence in me and my faith in my Everyday Art Project.
The future seems bright for me when it comes to the Guidelines; lots more to learn. And XD has taken a place in my thinking process, and I will keep following the updates and contribute in developing it, mostly through the feedback forums.
However, I am also eyeing other applications, like Origami Studio, “built and used by the designers at Facebook”, as the site says. It seems to have more features and room to explore the microinteractions. It is node-based, which makes the flow a lot cleaner and mathematical, which I prefer. And, it gets feature updates pretty regularly because it is taking from and giving to the applications owned by Facebook, which includes Instagram.
I would like to see what Origami can make possible for this project.
Overall, it was a great experience and Side Projects like these are always fun. I am looking forward to working on more such experiments.