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Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps [Paperback]

Josh Clark
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Technology Books from O'Reilly Media
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Book Description

June 28, 2010 1449381650 978-1449381653 1

So you've got an idea for an iPhone app -- along with everyone else on the planet. Set your app apart with elegant design, efficient usability, and a healthy dose of personality. This accessible, well-written guide shows you how to design exceptional user experiences for the iPhone and iPod Touch through practical principles and a rich collection of visual examples.

Whether you're a designer, programmer, manager, or marketer, Tapworthy teaches you to "think iPhone" and helps you ask the right questions -- and get the right answers -- throughout the design process. You'll explore how considerations of design, psychology, culture, ergonomics, and usability combine to create a tapworthy app. Along the way, you'll get behind-the-scenes insights from the designers of apps like Facebook, USA Today, Twitterrific, and many others.

  • Develop your ideas from initial concept to finished design
  • Build an effortless user experience that rewards every tap
  • Explore the secrets of designing for touch
  • Discover how and why people really use iPhone apps
  • Learn to use iPhone controls the Apple way
  • Create your own personality-packed visuals
Ten Tips for Crafting Your App’s Visual Identity

  • Choose a personality. Don’t let your app’s personality emerge by accident. Before you start designing, choose a personality for your app. The right personality for the right audience and features makes an app irresistible and creates a bonafide emotional connection. Tapworthy designs have the power to charm and beguile.
  • Voices (left) has a Vaudeville personality appropriate to a funny-voices novelty app. iShots Irish Edition (right) creates a gritty dive-bar ambience for its collection of drink recipes.

  • Favor standard controls. Because they’re commonplace, the standard set of controls is sometimes dismissed as visually dull. Not so fast: commonplace means familiarity and ease for your audience. Conventions are critical to instant and effortless communication. Before creating a brand new interface metaphor or inventing your own custom controls, ask whether it might be done better with the built-in gadgetry.

  • A coat of paint. Standard controls don’t have to be dreary. Use custom colors and graphics to give them a fresh identity. This technique requires a light touch, however; don’t distract from the content itself or drain the meaning from otherwise familiar controls.
  • Wine Steward uses standard lists (known as table views in iOS) but creates a vintage ambience by draping a backdrop image across the screen. The app adds a parchment graphic to the background of each table cell, making each entry appear to be written on an aged wine label. The burgundy-tinted navigation bar maintains the app’s wine flavor.

  • • You stay classy. Luxurious textures applied with taste increase your app’s perceived value.

  • • Keep it real. Realistic lighting effects and colors create elements that invite touch and create an emotional attachment. They also provide subtle guidance about what your audience can interact with.

  • • Borrow interface metaphors from the physical world. Lean on users’ real- world experience to create intuitive experiences. People will try anything on a touchscreen, for example, that they’d logically try on a physical object or with a mouse-driven cursor. Besides these practical benefits, using an everyday object as an interface metaphor imbues an app with the same associations that folks might have with the real McCoy--a shelf of books, a retro alarm clock, a much-used chessboard, a toy robot.

  • • Don’t be afraid to take risks. Make sure your interfaces are intuitive, sure, but don’t be afraid to try something completely new and different. Designers and developers are hatching fresh iPhone magic every day, and there’s still much to explore and invent. While you should look hard at whether you might accomplish what you need to do with standard controls, it’s also worth asking, Am I going far enough?

  • The app icon is your business card. The icon carries disproportionate weight in the marketing of your app, and it’s important to give it disproportionate design attention, too. Be descriptive more than artistic. Make your app icon a literal description of your app’s function, interface, name, or brand.

  • Use a dull launch image. Disguise your app’s launch image as the app background for a faster perceived launch. Always cultivate the illusion of suspended animation when switching in and out of your app.

  • Be kind to new users. Provide simple welcome-mat pointers for first-timers. Beware of more complex help screens; they’re warning signs of an overcomplicated interface.

Frequently Bought Together

Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps + App Savvy: Turning Ideas into iPad and iPhone Apps Customers Really Want + App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life, and Let Technology Work for You
Price for all three: $65.82

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I'm blown away by Josh Clark's deep understanding of the iPhone user experience. This is an important read for everyone thinking about iPhone apps." Jürgen Schweizer, founder of Cultured Code

"It's rare to find a person like Josh Clark who speaks so intently to the topic of interface design and mobile devices." John Maeda, president of Rhode Island School of Design

"Having been completely immersed in iPhone UI design for the past 2+ years, and even writing on the subject myself, I was excited to review an early copy of Tapworthy, but didn't expect any grand revelations. Boy, was I wrong. Tapworthy not only summed up just about everything I think I know about iPhone User Interface design, but challenged me to think about the typical iPhone user in new ways. This book is an invaluable resource to ANYONE working on mobile apps." David Barnard, founder of App Cubby

About the Author

Josh Clark is a designer specializing in mobile design strategy and user experience. He's author of Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps (O'Reilly, 2010) and Best iPhone Apps (O'Reilly, 2009). Josh's outfit Global Moxie offers consulting services and workshops to help media companies, design agencies, and creative organizations build tapworthy mobile apps and effective websites, with clients including eBay and Nokia.

Josh is a regular speaker at international technology conferences, regularly educating designers, managers, and developers about mobile strategy and designing for phones and tablets.

Before the internet swallowed him up, Josh was a management consultant at Monitor Group in Cambridge, Mass, and before that, a producer of national PBS programs at Boston's WGBH. He shared his three words of Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev, strolled the ranch with Nancy Reagan, hobnobbed with Rockefellers, and wrote trivia questions for a primetime game show. In 1996, he created the uberpopular "Couch-to-5K" (C25K) running program, which has helped millions of skeptical would-be exercisers take up jogging. (His motto is the same for fitness as it is for software user experience: no pain, no pain.)

Josh holds a B.A. from Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (June 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449381650
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449381653
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josh Clark is a designer specializing in mobile design strategy and user experience. He's author of "Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps" (O'Reilly, 2010) and "Best iPhone Apps" (O'Reilly, 2009). Josh's outfit Global Moxie offers consulting services and workshops to help media companies, design agencies, and creative organizations build tapworthy mobile apps and effective websites, with clients including eBay and Nokia.

Josh is a regular speaker at international technology conferences, regularly educating designers, managers, and developers about mobile strategy and designing for phones and tablets.

Before the internet swallowed him up, Josh was a management consultant at Monitor Group in Cambridge, Mass, and before that, a producer of national PBS programs at Boston's WGBH. He shared his three words of Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev, strolled the ranch with Nancy Reagan, hobnobbed with Rockefellers, and wrote trivia questions for a primetime game show. In 1996, he created the uberpopular "Couch-to-5K" (C25K) running program, which has helped millions of skeptical would-be exercisers take up jogging. (His motto is the same for fitness as it is for software user experience: no pain, no pain.)

Josh holds a B.A. from Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're a startup, get this book. Now. June 26, 2010
Format:Paperback
Here's why: it's not only a great guide to what makes iPhone apps successful, but what will increasingly be the way to make successful software for any platform. Josh does a fantastic job of getting the reader into the right mindset for creating successful apps.

This is an interface, big-idea, that's why that design works book, not a coding book. Nor is it a "how to market your iPhone app book". That said, the interviews alone with designers of big important iPhone apps about how they really designed those apps is worth the price many times over.

Warning: you will probably spend more on buying apps Josh uses as examples of what he is talking about than you will on the book itself - I guess the skills he developed writing his last book, "Best Iphone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders", gave him five star ability for picking great to awesome apps.

Also, while I almost never buy anymore actual paper books, this one is worth it - the color, gloss stock, painstaking layout and content structure would not be done justice as a .pdf.

I could write a longer review, but I'd rather go back to reading, re-reading, mulling and thinking about the what Josh covered in this book. Can't wait for the iPad book!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I've worked in mobile for several years now, on iOS, Android, j2me, Symbian and Windows Mobile (to varying degrees), both native and web apps and I have to say that I'm totally impressed by this book. There isn't a chapter or even a section that doesn't have insight.

I've been reading iOS/UX-focused blogs for a while (Marco, Daring Fireball, Ignore the Code, Dustin Curtis) and I've got a lot of views at various aspects of what makes iOS so wonderful, but this book is closer to giving me the complete picture, rather than just glimpses of various aspects.

Clearly, Josh understands iOS at a deep, deep level. You wouldn't expect this level of understanding from anyone except perhaps the designers of iOS and iPhone.

You'll find insightful comments on various topics like:
- various navigation paradigms and the advantages and disadvantages of each
- how to design your app icon
- theming
- all the major aspects of iOS, like alerts and notifications
- product definition
- when to launch other apps from within yours and when not to.

I plan to read this book again after a while. It's that good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers a lot of concepts. June 28, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pre-ordered this book after hearing Josh speak at SXSW. Well worth the wait. This book covers all of the basics of iPhone UI but *even more important* are the first person interviews with guys like Josh Williams (Gowalla CEO) and Joe Hewitt (Facebook app).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Design January 4, 2011
Format:Paperback
This book does not teach you how to code in Objective C. It was not meant to do that.
What it does, and excellently, is teach you the design. It gets you into the right mindset for creating a successful iphone app. It teaches you the elements of design and art that go into a truly successful iphone app. I haven't read it all the way through yet, but the chapters are excellently formatted. The one I'm on teaches you the size of people's fingers and how that related to where buttons should be placed on the screen and how much space they should allot. If you want to create a beautiful, successful iphone app, this is the book to buy.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You can get most of the info in the book for Free October 4, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Generally an OK book with a lot of fillers and rehashing though. The author mentions HIG which is more substantive than the book itself.

Download the Human Interface Guidelines produced by APPLE at [...] or just Google Human Interface Guidelines

Good luck!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - buy the app March 7, 2011
Format:Paperback
I'm a relative beginner to mobile development but this book does a wonderful job of explaining the key tenets to good design. Instead of getting the book though, buy the app version which $7 in the app store.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book July 14, 2010
By N. WISE
Format:Paperback
Brilliant book, really enjoyed it, and it gave me loads of ideas of how to make my app better - a lot of them little things I hadn't thought about (eg all list items are 44 pixels high. ALL OF THEM).

I'd say this is a fairly non-technical book. I dont remember a line of obj-c in it, but there is plenty of info for anyone who is doing any part of an iphone app - ideas, design, coding, art, whatever.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for every iOS Developer, Designer March 25, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is simply excellent. The author will take you through every single aspect of UX and UI design for iPhone apps, from the placement of buttons, colours of icons, custom gestures, feature focus, etc. I was reading it at the same time that I was developing one personal project app (WeSync - [...]), and could apply so many lessons from the book. For me as an iOS Developer it will definitely be a book that I will constantly consult.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Never received this item
I have actually never received this item...
Published 4 days ago by Gabor Kukucska
5.0 out of 5 stars I gave this book to a friend
It's a great book that teaches you the fundamentals of user interfaces. Also, it's very specific to iOS's UIKit, so if you're a designer, reading this book will allow you to make... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jeffrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Canonical reference for iPhone design - a little out of date but still...
Some outdated patterns since it was written long before iOS 7 and even the iPhone 5, but still a wonderful, wonderful introduction to doing UX design for iPhone. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Strekka Dilbliouzdibov
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 bucks for Typos.
Don't get me wrong, this is a good book by a great author, but every single chapter says chapter one. Read more
Published 8 months ago by G Ethan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight
The flow and content of the book was very thorough. I got some really good insight on how an app I want to develop can be more user friendly. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dave Shaun
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Love this book, so much of quality info to build great apps folks would love, congrats to the author. Well done!
Published 13 months ago by Just90
5.0 out of 5 stars Needed this book badly
As a long time web (and before that desktop) developer I thought I'd seen pretty much everything about interface design and knew it all. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ian Ippolito
5.0 out of 5 stars Great content
If you're thinking about getting into App design from a logical perspective I highly recommend buying this book. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sean Connolly
4.0 out of 5 stars electronic book purchase
I like purchasing electronic books and the price was very reasonable. What I am unhappy with is the kindle app for my iPad. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jennifer Kremer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for mobile design considerations
I am new to mobile world and was fortunate enough to have gotten this book. Have not read through the entire book but loving it so far! Read more
Published 16 months ago by R. M. Menon
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