Editor’s note: Sharry Stowell is the editor of Learning Titanium, where he frequently comments on the latest contributions of the Titanium community.
Ever wanted to redesign your app after it’s been submitted to your desired AppStore/Marketplace? Well, I heard that Michael Pauley, who built TweetMic in Titanium last December was rebuilding his app from the ground up using CommonJS approach instead. Last week I got in touch with Michael & asked him a few questions about the processes he encountered along the way during the rebuild & redesign stages. I also spoke to his new graphic designers, Deliciously Digital and how they were involved.
Interview with Michael Pauley
Firstly, what is TweetMic & how did you get the idea for it?
TweetMic is an iOS5 application on how I think social media can become personal. I think tone and emotions are lost in just text. When you hear their voice you can get a better understanding of how the feel about the subject. So with TweetMic you can load the app, press the microphone to record your thoughts, feelings or what ever you want.
The high quality audio file is uploaded to the cloud where I convert it to HTML5 compatible formats and then you can tweet like normal and share the link. The possibilities of its use are endless…Musicians, comedians, proud parent, politicians…
Is it a free or paid for app?
Currently it is a free app. Very soon there will be a paid version and there will be an in app purchase to upgrade. The next update will contain 1 iAd on the record screen and a popup to see if the user wants to purchase the full version.
Why did you redesign the existing app?
I felt the redesign was necessary because it didn’t look polished. I’m not a graphic designer by any means.
Any integration of Titanium modules within your app, if so any tips for Ti developers?
Yes, Ti.storefront and 0×82′s Twitter module. I may also use the Composer module for an easy message window.
Ti modules are a simple way not to reinvent the wheel and support your fellow developers.
“Ti modules are a simple way not to reinvent the wheel and support your fellow developers”
You mentioned uploading to the ‘cloud’, are you using a service like S3 or CocoaFish?
The audio files are uploaded to my server converted and then transferred to Amazon S3. I am looking at CocoaFish as an option in the future.
What’s involved when updating your app in Titanium?
Since this was a total rewrite I generated new projects and started from scratch with a new version number. I used my own MVC layout that starts with app.js and then I start calling the UI and running some functions before that application is displayed in bootstrap.js. I have all of the images separated by window name or in a directory called Shared.
Since I am going from a 1 window global namespace application to a 5 view commonjs app, there were huge changes with the coding. Not having done commonjs before I had to learn everything I could in just a few days and begin implementing it.
Are there any optional extras for the paid version, eg: longer message length etc?
Yes, initially the paid version will have 3 minutes of record time. The free version is being increased from 15 to 30 seconds.
Once the application is out there are some features already planned and being worked on. The big one is the ability to manage your audio recordings. The users of TweetMic+ will be able delete and save your files using File Sharing in iTunes.
Im also working a ‘Timeline’ of TweetMic tweets that you’ll be able to browse, retweet, reply and rate. That will come to both versions with some options disabled in the free version.
Great, loads of the features! When is the new release coming out?
I will be submitting it to Apple this week.
Do you have any screenshots for us?
Yes, here you are:
See a video of the TweetMic+ in action here: Vimeo.
Can I ask who did the design work?
The wonderful folks at Deliciously Digital. Gemma Warren and Steve Wood, have been great to work with. They were able to take my ramblings and ideas and make the app look like how I imagined.
I’ll see if I can get an interview with them too, as it may help others in designing/layout/UI of their app.
That’s a great idea. It’s been a pleasure working with them.
Interview with Steve Wood at Deliciously Digital
Hi, please tell us a bit about yourselves
We are Deliciously Digital – a design partnership made with the combined skills of Gemma Warren & Stephen Wood. We’re brand creators, web designers, print makers & bakers!
We’re based in Daventry, Northants at the heart of the UK. Over the last 10 years we’ve mastered the art of creating design so good you could eat it! The most recent part of our careers has seen us forge our creative skills in the web industry, heading up an agency design team for the past 4 years. 2012 has seen us create new beginnings for ourselves as we strike out on our own creating Deliciously Digital which encompasses many facets of our skills including web & app design, screen printing and baking!
How did you guys get involved in App design?
App design for us is a natural progression from working in the web industry, as we are relying on our good core design principles built up over 10 years.
How did you find the transition from web designer to app designer?
We like our designs to be stripped back and efficient, and where possible every element of the design needs justifying with a balance of form and function.
App design in the mobile form really challenge you to breakdown the user journey through your interface. I would say on the whole it’s more of a considered journey compared to web design.
I think we’re at the beginning of another renaissance in web design, where information architecture is being simplified to it’s purest form which in turn will give us a smoother ride when surfing our devices.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We get our inspiration from everywhere! Not just our peers and colleagues and other great digital designers, but in everyday life. We like to look at good content layout in print, and can even find subliminal influence in Esquire magazine!
5 years ago it was hard to see what everyone else is doing – the web design industry is no longer a walled garden I guess, and I think it’s great that sites like ‘Dribbble‘ have huge contributors openly sharing there work, raising the benchmark of design.
What were the fundamental questions to ask Michael about the redesign?
The most important answers we needed were who would be using it and how would they use it? From there we figured out the app map architecture and how the user would move around within it.
Luckily the core of Micheal’s idea is quite simple – ‘Users recording a vocal tweet and posting it!‘. So the design architecture didn’t hurt our brains too much. Alongside how it works we also talked about the look of it, which is also very important. You could say we’ve based the design skin and brand around the use of the retro mic as our figure head.
By just having a general conversation with Michael about his ideas has given us a good grasp of the project and where he wants to take it.
Looks like you’ve done a great job! The screenshots look brilliant.
Do you have any other projects you’re working on?
We have several promising projects in the pipeline. We’re currently setting up an online bakery called ‘Sweet Robot’ (www.sweetrobot.co.uk). We’re working on a ‘Cupcake builder’ App which will allow the user to create a bespoke product using a combination of set parameters. We’ve had some interesting ideas for the physical nature of the interface, for example shaking the iPhone to add sprinkles to the cake.
Aside from that we’re working with an events and marketing agency to create an App for one of England’s finest Universities for their graduation event. We’re looking at using push notifications and Geo-location technology to reach people who attend the event throughout the day. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
As you can see it’s never too late to revamp your existing app, whether is polishing up the look & feel of the app or even starting again from scratch to help with future updates. Kevin @ Appcelerator recently posted an article earlier this week about using bootstrap & commonJS in the Community App.