We built the user interface for Roadi in 24 hours
Time lapsed: 0:00 hours.
A Skype connection request comes in. The caller's voice has a strong American accent, probaby from Texas. I am wrong. He says that he is calling from California, a place called Palm Springs, in the US of A.
After answering and agreeing to start an impromptu live call - we hear about our contractor's wish to build a new user interface for his IOS iPhone application.
Time lapsed: 2:17 hours.
Good Lord! Who would have known that you can cram so much information in an hour? Well, now its time to work. The instructions are crystal clear.
The goals are quite straightforward. "Fix this app and make it awesome, I do not like how it looks and how it works." We know what we need to do.
So we immediately get to work. Thuso, our UX whizz, decides that the other guys can call it an evening. He gets to work right away.
Time lapsed: 3:02 hours.
Having downloaded the current app to his phone, Thuso goes on to quickly do a short-list of notes on what is wrong with the current User Interface and what could be improved on the app to make it better.
Just notes. Some of the notes that are written are:
* Poor visual hierachy is in place on the IOS7 App.
* Overall aesthetic appeal of the app is very small.
* Alerts are not co-ordinated well to match the UI.
Highly opinionated notes.
Time lapsed: 4:30 hours.
The User Interface deconstruction starts. Slowly, at first. It is 2:11am for crying out loud. Coffee is still warm. Good. The wireframe of the current app is copied painstakingly, from screen to screen using Adobe Illustrator.
Thuso only uses Illustrator to do rapid sketches. He reckons is too iterative to waste time on a white board, and iteration is the thief of time. When he is building User Interfaces, he reverse-engineers. I think he's wrong.
Time lapsed: 6:26 hours.
Drowsy and drunk from the design marathon, our hero decides to take a nap, or sleep. It does not matter - he closes his eyes and drools on his precious, siver-toned and battered magic keyboard.
Time lapsed: 6:45 hours.
With the cold keyboard keys embossed on his cheek, he snaps out his unplanned dream-state. Quickly presses Command + Z twice to remove sleep-induced key strokes. Then he drags himself to sleep. Pauses midway across the room, slumbers back to the Mac, and sends all the files and notes to his partner in crime, Babalwa.
Some people share everything.
Babalwa wakes up to find an email from Thuso. Coffee and a little splash of water to the face works wonders to shake off sleep. She get to work immediately, taking apart all the work done and imagining
the final product and working towards it. She starts working on the workflow immediately.
Time lapsed: 13:02 hours
Workflows are completed. With Thuso having arrived back at work and approved of the what Babalwa has done - it is time for Babalwa to meet the American client from Palm Springs and get on first name basis.
She introduces herself and explains away what the digiatl workflow diagram is and how it can help us create a winning formula for our app.
The client loves it! Sixteen minutes later, we have covered a detailed explanation of how to structure the app using the first wireframes.The client
is twice as happy. So happy that he gives us a full go-ahead to practise what we call artistic freedom.
Time lapsed: 16:54 hours.
Its been a rush and Babalwa is a bit tired - the rumours that designers have boundless energy are false, after all. Thuso steps in and continues the onslaught. We have done the digital wireframes and have completed
the first 3 screens for the app. Lucky enough, our client is available to meet once again on Skype. We show him the preliminary designs. It seems we are destined for success! This keep getting better
and better. But we know that we have 20 odd our screens to carry out user interface design for. Feel slightly intimidating - but in design, intimidation means extra will to produce the amazing. Tension is good.
We both take a break.
Target before sleeping: First 5 high-fidelity screens, to be done and dusted.
Thuso and Babalwa get cranking switching files and pointers rapidly. Working like their lives depend on it. Its getting late, but all humans know that all hard pays. But what they don't know is that if you
love design as much as we do, we are not working at all. we are simply connecting dots and having a jolly good time doing it. There is no element of work at all - its almost like a waltz. Push pixel, pull
pixel, delete pixel, undo and save. User interface design can be awesome or dreary - we chose a long time ago to make it awesome.
Time lapsed: 19:49 hours.
How about that?! We have just cruised past 12 screens - much more than we had expected. The screens look good but we are not too sure that the contractor will love them. We send them through and the
client is completely impressed. Thuso and Babalwa end the night with one last visit to see how far they have come and make mental notes on what is pending. This is the toughest part of any project and
they know it.
We decide to have an early breakfast so we that we can focus all our attention on these crucial last moments of the exercise. We are now in the final moments to launch and we cannot make mistakes at this time.
So we enter into what we call the finer moments of collaborative design. A process that sets User Interfaces designers in the world apart. One designer takes the lead. That designer works on reviewing and refining the design at
a breakneck pace and the last designer follows behind, closely ironing out kinks and ensuring that everything is pixel-perfect and will guarantee that 100% approval from any client. This is something we have
perfected to an art. Yes, we are awesome and we know it!
Time lapsed: 24:53 hours.
We are done. All 26 screens have been completed. All the missing interface screens have been touched up and made to look super-awesome. Perfection has been achieved. The new interface just seems
so much better and what matters most is that we have made one company in Palm Springs, very happy.
The client signs off on the designs.
We open the last surviving bottle of champagne - it never tasted so sweet. We are done.