I’ve mentioned my upcoming metronome app a few times before on the blog here, but now that I’m getting closer to completion, I thought I’d take a moment and give it a formal introduction. It’s still very much a work in progress, so don’t take this as a press release or a marketing video. It’s more like, a behind the scenes intro from a developers perspective. So, without further ado, here we go!
“Click,” or perhaps with a subtitle, “Click – Metronome” is the title of my new app. Honestly, I’m not 100% happy with this name. To the general population, it’s probably pretty ambiguous, hence the subtitle. But among musicians – who would be the majority of those purchasing this app – a “click” is a common way of referring to a metronome. Basically, there’s a lot of metronome apps out there, and this was one of the only non-corny, non-“punny”, simple, to-the-point names that was not yet taken.
It’s easier to show you this than to try to explain it – so jump to the video if you want – but I want to share some of my rationale/process of design for this app. There’s lots of metronomes out there (are you seeing a theme yet?), but from a design perspective, most of them are just plain crap. Now, I’m no design expert by any means – it’s only been in the process of making this app that I’ve begun to truly dig in and study principles of UI and UX design. So, that being said, if even I can see – and articulate why – these apps are crap, then they must actually crap!! Seriously though, there are some good metronomes out there, but there’s definitely room for more quality ones.
One of the issues I see, even with the good ones, is that they want to be powerful and give the user a lot of options, but in doing so they sacrifice usability. Even the easy to use ones still end up filling the entire screen with buttons and cram the visual part of the metronome itself into a small section of the screen. So first and foremost, I wanted to find a way to give plenty of options, but still leave lots of screen space for the metronome itself. In that respect, I’m very pleased with how the circular menu/selector has worked out for this.
As far as the actual *look* of the design goes, I’m shooting for something with both realism AND digital “flexibility.” It’s realistic in the sense that the app looks like a real object – with shadows, highlights, texture, some physical buttons and handles, etc. But, it’s not overly skeuomorphic and doesn’t necessarily directly resemble any real-life metronome. The main controls and the central view are basically just “screens” upon which I can display anything I want, completely unrestrained by what would or would not work on a physical device.
Another thing I wanted to do with this app is minimize the use of words or labels. Obviously, there are a lot of numbers used – no way around that really when you’re talking about setting specific tempos and time signatures – but there’s very few words. As long as I can find appropriate symbols to communicate what each thing does, I think this will give the app a nice, clean, accessible quality. Not to mention how much easier localization will be when there’s only a handful of words in the whole app!
Enough talk, just watch! Not everything is working yet, and even the working things are still in progress, but this will hopefully give a nice preview of what’s coming up. I’d love to hear any feedback you’ve got, positive or negative! Thanks for watching.
—- Yikes! The video quality did not turn out too well after compression. Oh well, you get the idea. It looks *great* on the device, I promise 🙂 —-
P.S. – Wanna Help Test?
If you’re interested in helping beta test Click, follow the link here to Test Flight. I may not be able to take everybody – Apple’s 100 device limit is turning out to be more restrictive than I realized at first – but I will take whoever I can. If you’re a musician or otherwise particularly “qualified” to test this app, that will help me narrow it down if I need to, but it’s not a requirement. Thanks!
Test Flight – http://bit.ly/zjcd0g