Speckyboy Design Magazine » Mobile http://speckyboy.com Web Design News, Resources & Inspiration Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:57:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 12 Great iOS Photography Apps for Pros and Beginners http://speckyboy.com/2014/06/12/ios-photography-apps/ http://speckyboy.com/2014/06/12/ios-photography-apps/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 10:54:04 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=49297

We all know that smartphones don’t exactly have the most best cameras in the market, but there are a number of great apps to make your photos look awesome. For both the avid photographer and...


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We all know that smartphones don’t exactly have the most best cameras in the market, but there are a number of great apps to make your photos look awesome. For both the avid photographer and the mature alike, these iOS photography apps are becoming increasingly powerful, to make any photo look amazing. As more and more come on the market, photo editing apps are becoming cheaper, but how do you filter through thousands of them to find the one that’s right for you?

Here are some of the best apps, and a brief description to guide you in choosing the one that suits your needs.

VSCO Cam

VSCO Cam is relatively new compared with some of the apps favoured by iPhone photographers, but it has quickly garnered a following as one of the best available. It provides a level of control over your photographs that exceeds that of long-standing favourite Camera+, but takes a while to get used to. If you’re looking for power user features, VSCO Cam is free and has heaps of in-app feature packs to purchase as you go.

Camera+

Camera+ is on any iPhone photography hobbyist’s app list, and was one of the first apps to receive wide acclaim for bringing a professional touch to smartphone shots. While it may not allow the minute control that VSCO Cam does, it sets the standard for pro mobile photography apps without sacrificing its usability.

Slow Shutter Cam

If you like taking long exposure shots, you need an app like Slow Shutter Cam. This is probably the most popular option, and costs only one dollar. Once you get the technique down pat, photographs of moving objects come out brilliantly.

Facetune

Facetune is a really simple app that’s is great for close-up photographs. It will let you smooth out skin tones, whiten teeth and touch up hair and eye colours. This powerful app is one of the more expensive on the list, but still only costs $2.99.

Facetune is a really simple iOS Photography Apps that's is great for close-up photographs

iPhoto

By now, you’ll probably have a growing collection of photos on your iPhone that is hard to manage. While iPhoto for iOS offers editing and sharing features, the app hasn’t been received all that well. Regardless, it’s ability to tag, group, flag and favourite photos is useful when working with a big library. This one will cost you: $4.99.

iPhoto ability to tag group flag and favourite photos is a useful iOS Photography Apps when working with a big library

TiltShiftGen2

Like Slow Shutter Cam, TiltShiftGen2 is a tool for a specific kind of shot that you might want to take every now and then. Tilt-shift photography is a way to make life-sized objects look like toy miniatures, or just appearing further away than they really are. It’s a very cool, but niche, effect. TiltShiftGen2 costs $0.99.

TiltShiftGen2 is a tool for a specific kind of shot that you might want to take every now and then

Photoshop Touch

You might be tempted to run straight over to Photoshop Express for the iPhone. It’s a free app and is reasonably solid for a bunch of basic editing tasks, but it really doesn’t provide much over VSCO or Camera+. But if you’ve got an iPad handy, the $10 Photoshop Touch app is worth a look. It brings a bunch of desktop Photoshop features to the iPad, such as layers, that will let you make more advanced edits, without the need of your computer.

Snapseed

Snapseed is worth a mention — it’s a free photo editing tool that offers a bunch of features and enhancement presets. What it does best is being easy to use. Despite the competitive market, this app has received high praise from reviewers by combining solid editing features and accessibility.

Snapseed is a free photo editing tool that offers a bunch of features and enhancement presets

Mextures

If you’re a fan of the filters phenomenon in general, you will love Mextures. It’s preset and filter enhancements on steroids, offering a huge range of textures and allowing you to stack them infinitely, adjusting their opacity, location and rotation and so on. Better yet, it allows you to build your own workflows and save them as presets that you can apply to photos instantly in the future. It’s $1.99.

If you're a fan of the filters phenomenon in general you will love Mextures

Image Blender

Image Blender is great for blending two images together. You can do a basic blend using a slider to set the balance between two photographs, or mask elements of one photo to pop into another. Simple, but effective and costs $2.99.

Image Blender is great iOS Photography Apps for blending two images together

Hueless

Hueless is designed specifically for that moment when you want to take a shot with the gravitas of black and white. Most photography apps have a black and white option — or a couple of different presets. Hueless is a black and white guru and lets you take control from the very moment you’re trying to capture, by providing a black and white viewfinder. It will set you back $1.99.

Hueless is designed specifically for that moment when you want to take a shot with the gravitas of black and white

Big Lens

Big Lens is an app that allows you to manipulate the depth of field in your shots at an advanced level. You can use basic tap-to-focus functionality, or shapes and lasso selections to select your focus. There are a range of depth of field effects that you can apply for extra creative effect, such as ‘bokeh’. Big Lens is $0.99.

Big Lens is an app that allows you to manipulate the depth of field in your shots at an advanced level


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Speckyboy iOS App Updated, and Our Android App Has Arrived http://speckyboy.com/2014/06/05/speckyboy-ios-app-updated-android-app-arrived/ http://speckyboy.com/2014/06/05/speckyboy-ios-app-updated-android-app-arrived/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:12:08 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=49417

Back in 2012, we launched our very own mobile app for iOS devices. Developed by Mobiloud, our mobile app helps you get the latest updates from your favorite design magazine, straight to your mobile device,...


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Back in 2012, we launched our very own mobile app for iOS devices. Developed by Mobiloud, our mobile app helps you get the latest updates from your favorite design magazine, straight to your mobile device, be it a tablet or smartphone!

Recently, our iOS app received a major facelift. The new, improved and revamped design of the app features a cleaner and niftier user interface as well as many new additions, such as:

  1. An all-new side menu for easier navigation
  2. Image galleries right inside the app
  3. Featured images on article screens
  4. Enhanced social sharing features
  5. Cleaner article list UI
  6. And many more!

Don’t trust me? Need a demo? Sure, here it is: iPhone 5 and iPad.

speckyboy ios app mobile iphone preview demo
Speckyboy app preview on the iPhone, try the demo via app.io.

speckyboy ios app mobile ipad update preview demoSpeckyboy app preview on the iPad, try the demo via app.io.

To cut the long story short, it is time to update the Speckyboy app on your iOS device! Also, just in case you have not yet downloaded the app, feel free to do so and grab it here.

However, that is not all. Thankfully, this time Android users (myself included) have a reason to rejoice too: we have launched our new Android mobile app as well which brings to you quality content from the world of design and development. You can grab it from Google Play.

Hope you have a good time using our apps on your mobile devices. Feedback and suggestions for improvement are always welcome!


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The Smartphone Revolution Infographic http://speckyboy.com/2014/04/01/smartphone-revolution-infographic/ http://speckyboy.com/2014/04/01/smartphone-revolution-infographic/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 14:45:27 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=47792

The following infographic provides startling statistics on just how many consumers are using smartphones today, and–more importantly–the way they use them. It will give you more information on how consumers are using apps, scanners and...


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The following infographic provides startling statistics on just how many consumers are using smartphones today, and–more importantly–the way they use them. It will give you more information on how consumers are using apps, scanners and their phones in general. Knowing that as of two years ago, iPhones sales outnumbered actual human births will convince even the staunchest opponent of smartphone technology that the future is now.

Has your business joined this smartphone revolution and started mobile marketing? If you haven’t, now is definitely the time to start.

The Smartphone Revolution

The Smartphone Revolution infographic

This infographic has been provided by 1800numbernow.com.


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Well Designed Enterprise Mobile Apps http://speckyboy.com/2014/02/24/enterprise-mobile-apps/ http://speckyboy.com/2014/02/24/enterprise-mobile-apps/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 08:36:36 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=47071

The consumerization of enterprise applications is a strong trend on the hi-tech market. After years of pushing hardly usable apps on innocent corporate employees, the tech world finally realised that the users of enterprise products are...


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The following article is a chapter of a free ebook by UXPin – Mobile Design Trends 2014.

The consumerization of enterprise applications is a strong trend on the hi-tech market. After years of pushing hardly usable apps on innocent corporate employees, the tech world finally realised that the users of enterprise products are… human beings. And, like every human being, they enjoy well designed products (well to be honest, I guess enjoyment wasn’t as decisive a factor here as the opportunity to save some money, but anyway…).

In 2013 the consumerization of enterprises trend reached mobile apps. Since the industry agreed that corporate workers are people… it just couldn’t miss the fact that human beings love their smartphones and tablets. What is even more important, smartphones and tablets can make people very productive.

This thesis led to the creation of dozens of enterprise mobile apps. We’ve chosen 10 well designed apps to illustrate the basis for our prediction for 2014 – enterprise mobile apps will go wild.

Enjoy!!

Box (iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry)

Box screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Yammer (iOS, Android, Windows)

Yammer screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Intercom (iOS)

Intercom screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Desk (iOS, Android)

Desk screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Weave by Intuit (iOS)

Weave by Intuit screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Quickbooks (iOS, Android)

Quickbooks screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Base (iOS, Android, Windows)

Base screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Hubspot (iOS, Android)

Hubspot screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Podio (iOS, Android)

Podio screenshot enterprise mobile apps

GoToMeeting (iOS, Android)

GoToMeeting screenshot enterprise mobile apps

Grab the ebook here:


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Reimagining an iOS App for Android http://speckyboy.com/2014/02/12/reimagining-ios-app-android/ http://speckyboy.com/2014/02/12/reimagining-ios-app-android/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:44:12 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=46821

It’s one thing to make a great iOS app, but oftentimes the next step is to reproduce the experience for Android. It’s no easy task. After gathering experience in that process at Two Toasters, I’ve...


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It’s one thing to make a great iOS app, but oftentimes the next step is to reproduce the experience for Android. It’s no easy task.

After gathering experience in that process at Two Toasters, I’ve put together some fundamental principles on reimagining an iOS app for Android.

1. Treat your Android app as a new product.

Despite the temptation to port over UI elements from iOS, it’s important to start from the ground up. Both platforms look, feel, and perform separately from each other.

Step one is to determine how many Android users you could have. If your app has a web counterpart, this part’s easy. Simply segment out the unique Android visitors and there’s a number you can start working with. If not, it’s still worthwhile to try surveying Android-specific users on places like Reddit or Android forums to get an indication of interest in the problem you’re solving. Why go through this effort? The truth is, you could be saving yourself a ton of effort and headache if now is not the right time to think about Android. Just like with any other product, a “we will build it and they will come” mentality isn’t a healthy mindset.

Next, it’s important to define the primary goal of this app. Remember, treating your Android counterpart as a mere copy of your iOS app won’t go well with your potential users. Perhaps your Android app will function differently than the other? Are you seeking to increase conversion? Maybe your goal is simply to grow your user base? It’s not necessarily a given that this goal be the same as your iOS app. The app needs a reason for existence according to your overall business strategy – so identify that reason before you get started.

Last, examine your iOS app and re-evaluate your feature set with your goal in mind. This part’s a bummer, I know. You’ve already spent so much time perfecting your iOS app. But here’s why it’s important: First, you probably have limited resources. The longer you wait to get your product out, the more you stand to lose market share with competitors. Equally important, your Android and iOS customers are different kinds of users. Sure, they’re both humans; but consider the two differing ecosystems. What your app offers may have redundancies on the Android platform as opposed to iOS. Identify how your app fits on the platform, then build accordingly.

2. Design your app to adapt

It’s no secret that device fragmentation on Android is a big challenge. But tackling adaptive layouts that uniquely target varying resolutions can be a Sisyphean struggle. Instead, design an aesthetic and layout that can expand and contract gracefully. Then see if you can optimize experiences around the more popular resolution blocks.

It can be a laborious process, but here are some tips to help:

  • Learn about Density Independent Pixels (dp) and Scale-Independent Pixels (sp). This is essential in understanding how your UI elements will be sized.
  • Rely on native elements where possible. They’re already designed to respond to differing resolutions and incredibly easy to restyle by just replacing the default theme assets.
  • Use responsive design strategies such as:
  1. defining layouts with margin insets instead of fixed-widths,
  2. using columns (particularly with grids) whose counts are based on screen-width,
  3. letting images/photography scale-to-fit your UI elements while maintaining their aspect ratio,
  4. having lists expand fluidly, but anticipating where elements fall, and
  5. setting max-widths to portrait and landscape views to keep lines of text from getting too long.
  • Tile background images or use 9patches to stretch them. Minimizing your assets will reduce the memory footprint of your application.
  • Cut assets for at least HDPI, XHDPI and XXHDPI. These are the higher density resolutions–for everything lower, Android will automatically scale assets down.
  • Optimize for a landscape experience. Tablets, phablets; these sort of devices are practically meant for landscape viewing. Think about what information can be pulled into another column, what elements can be consolidated, and if more information can be provided in a landscape orientation.

3. Take advantage of the Android platform’s differences.

Android is characteristically a less limited platform than iOS. So why not re-imagine the app to take advantage of these freedoms? Make it unique to Android users, not just available to them.

First, read the Android Design Guidelines. This will be an invaluable resource in helping internalize Android so you can build a good native experience.

Navigation can be a bit different on Android. Spend some time on the platform and gain a sense of its differing paradigms. An app that adheres to the analogous structure of iOS will surely feel different than the native structure of Android. Of course not all navigation structures should be similar, but figure out if there is one that makes more sense than that found in your iOS version. This is particularly relevant if you’ve decided on a feature set that isn’t a parity for your iOS app. (Hint: pay attention to Google’s own apps. The way they solved navigation problems probably didn’t have iOS navigation in mind.)

Build widgets. They’re an awesome tool to encourage customization, iOS doesn’t have them, they can expand the functionality of your app, and they give more real estate for you to reach your users. But make sure you do it right: Does it just let your user access media controls? Does it quickly throw them into a section on your app? Does it display information? (If so, make sure it stays fresh.) In all these cases, apply the same responsive strategies as before, but optimize for smaller areas. Especially since your user likely prefers that the widget be resizable.

Design your app icon with transparency. It doesn’t actually have to be a rounded square. The guidelines suggest following a follow a three dimensional, top front view. However, you can be creative about the shape, angle and aesthetic of the icon. Just remember that it has to scale down to very small sizes. An icon can be well designed, but if it’s too-reliant on miniscule details, it could end up not looking quite right in practical use.

See if other Android apps could do some of the work for you. Tying in with other apps means you don’t have to build every piece of functionality yourself and makes the Android experience more integrated for the user. For example, if you’re linking to web content, push it to chrome. (Building your own web views can be clunky.) If you need the user to capture audio, photos or videos, link to them to a media recording app that handle these well. Use the native share action provider so that you can easily share out to any app that accepts the style of content you want to share without having to build it out yourself.

Make the app international! For instance, separating copy in a strings file makes it easier to update to other languages. Although, you should remember to design the content and UI elements with added strings of information in mind. It’s possible your content cells may need to have content flow from right to left or even expand to fit longer strings when translated. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about the actual conversion; a recent update to the Play Store has added the ability to hire translators.

Update often. The Play Store allows developers to release updates much more quickly than the iOS App Store. It even allows you to do alpha and beta releases so that you can update a small percentage of users at a time, letting you work out kinks before shipping to everyone. Taking advantage of the Play Store’s update mechanisms will demonstrate to the users your active investment in improving the app.

And speaking of your users; listen to them. This is perhaps the best advice when converting to Android. A user is required to authenticate with a Google+ account when leaving reviews, which means that you can directly correlate the reviewer with their actual identity. So take the time to reply to comments and respond to feedback personally. Dialogue with your users not only helps in building a great app according to their feedback, but promotes a loyal user base that’ll stick with your app as it grows.


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