Mark Jardine

TiPb Interview: Weightbot Developers Mark Jardine and Paul Haddad Discuss iPhone Interface Innovation

Mark Jardine and Paul Haddad of Tapbots are the breakout designers and engineers behind Weightbot (iTunes link), one of the most original user experiences released on the iPhone App Store to date. Continuing the iPhone blog's behind-the-scenes look at iPhone application development, Mark and Paul were kind enough to take time and discuss their ideas on interface and interactivity, and how what more we might expect from Apple's next generation mobile platform.

TiPb: How was approaching the iPhone interface for this App different than how you would have approached an interface for another platform?

Mark: It was really different coming from a web design background. 320x460 isn't a lot of space to work with and then you have to factor in the huge difference in input devices. A person's finger is a lot less accurate than a mouse cursor. At the same time, I wasn't designing a website so I was freed from a lot of rules and conventions I've been following over the past 8 years. So my initial approach was pretty simple. If Weightbot was an actual physical device, how could I make it usable and fun at the same time?

Paul: The thing I found challenging about dealing with the iPhone interface is that users want a silky smooth and yet the iPhone and iPod touch are both very slow compared to any modern Mac. I spent a lot of time juggling things around in order to get a consistent 60 fps for all the various animations within Weightbot. Coming from our current Multi Gigahertz, Multi Gigabyte and Multi Core world where for the most part you don't have to worry about performance to a platform like the iPhone where every cycle and byte counts is a big change.

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