Designing for the iPad

Designing for the iPad: Building Applications that Sell by Chris Stevens
$24.34 from Amazon

My wife and I are in the process of designing our first iPad game; while we have plenty of books on coding the app (some of which will be reviewed here), we were looking for something on how to design good apps: how do you do the layout to make it easy to use? Unfortunately, this is not the book we’re looking for.

First off, the good stuff: this is a pretty easy book to read, and interesting. We picked it up after dinner yesterday and I finished reading it this morning. The author, Chris Stevens, was the designer of an interactive storybook for the iPad that apparently sold hundreds of thousands of copies, at $9 apiece. I purchased the app (Alice for the iPad) as well, and honestly, wasn’t that impressed; I suspect much of its success (the author says it had the #1 spot in the app store for books for nearly a month) was due to the novelty factor as the first interactive storybook for the iPad, and the extensive media coverage it generated. The book is very colorful, interesting to read, and even has a few shots of my favorite puzzle app (Cut the Rope).

So what didn’t I like about it? The retail price ($40) seems a bit expensive for what you get, which can pretty much be summed up as “keep it simple, make sure it has a point, design for the hand (not the mouse), and start with a marketing plan (that includes youtube)”. (I doubt that appearing on Oprah hurt, either!) In many cases, there are a lot of pretty pictures of different apps that don’t really add much to the topic under discussion.

I don’t regret spending the $40 for this book, because it reinforced a couple of important ideas that I want to keep in mind in designing my own app and it was an entertaining read; just be aware that it’s more about marketing your app (and choosing an app to build that will be easy to market) than anything else.

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This entry was posted by William on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 at 3:06 pm and is filed under Technical . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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