UPDATE: I changed a few things in KSLabel and uploaded it to github. This post is still relevant, but a little outdated. KSLabel now supports dynamic outline and gradient colors. Be sure to read the updated blog post after reading this post.
I have run into this problem a couple of times before. My friend and designer creates a beautiful image of an interface for me and I take a look at it and immediately realize that there is text with an outline and/or gradient.
I sigh on the inside because I know it can’t be inserted in the app as an image. The text needs to be localized and IMHO it’s not nice to localize images. I know that text outlines are the most basic thing for someone who is used to Photoshop and the like, but creating those for an iOS app can be a pain.
I proudly present… *drumroll* … my first ever merchandise for my business! It was not at all planned, more of a spontaneous idea we had a few days ago. Today the writing pads arrived. I really like to sketch my ideas before I take them anywhere digital. Now that’s easy as π for me and my clients. But take a look and see for yourself.
Just a quick tip I found out to make better use of space in my iPhone app. Consider the following situation: You have a Highscore View with a couple of stats of the game you just finished. Naturally you would like the user to be able to enter his nickname.
The input box is so far down in the view that it gets covered by the keyboard as soon as its activated. Now the user can enter his nickname but he can not see what he is typing. That is just not acceptable.
If you ever want to create an app with IAPs take my adivce: “Be patient.” You can bootstrap your programming by using the brilliant IAP framework MKStoreKit. Mugunth Kumar was kind enough to release his creation for everyone to use, so you do not really need to dive too deep into Apple’s StoreKit framework. His framework is a bliss to incorporate into your app and configuring it is quite easy as well (see his blog post).
Take your time
When I started developing MatchBalls! I created four In-App Purchases in iTunes Connect and started testing after a while. Yesterday I added an additional IAP to iTunes Connect and suddenly started getting errors with all of my IAPs. I started debugging right away and hit a brick wall. I searched the web for possible reasons of IAPs not working and found lots of checklists (see here, here, here and here) and one superb tutorial. One tip was the golden one. “Just wait”. After 20 hours some magic happened on Apple’s servers and everything works like a charm again.
A simple warning “This action renders your IAPs unusable for 12-24 hours” would suffice to let people know about this. Apple is so brilliant when it comes to guiding users and letting them know about important stuff, but sometimes it seems like they do not really care about their developers (does anyone else play the game “Guess in which corner the action button appears in iTunes Connect”).
This review is long overdue. I read the book a while ago and gave it some time to let the information sink in – and it was a lot of information.
It seemed like an odd choice for me to read because I am not a designer. I am a programmer and I wouldn’t be able to produce something beautiful if my life depended on it. Before reading this book, thats what I thought design is all about, beauty. Now I know that there are more aspects to design and the book also helped me to think more abstractly and (try to) derive interaction patterns from hardware devices and translate them to well designed user interfaces.
If you are interested in design – be it industrial, software or any other kind of design – you probably already read it. If not, you should probably read it.