Attention to the User Experience

It's almost depressing to see how poor the default home screens appear. With such a focus on the user experience, you'd think that the iOS and Android teams would include additional choices in the base tooling. Regrettably, they do not, so I'm forced to look elsewhere.

I've spent a lot of time using my smart phone, and I've looked at a wide range of apps. In all that time, I've noticed that most of the better looking apps contain artwork, nice looking fonts, and customized buttons. I'll use this as a starting point for fixing the look and feel of the Futile Fishing home screen.

One of the first places I usually visit is Openclipart: http://openclipart.org/. There are other places to go for open art, but this one is my favorite. Most of the content has been well tagged, so it's easy to find something based on search terms like "fishing" or "button".

After a lot of searching and assessing, I'm able to locate a good background image, and a good "skin" for the buttons. Next, I'll use an image editor to make a few changes.

Most digital artists will suggest you use the Adobe Photoshop suite of tools to do your editing. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy, and I'm not willing to spend the money on getting a copy. Fortunately, there are a few simple tools out there that meet my needs. On Windows, I prefer Paint.NET. For the Mac, I use Pinta. The specific tool, however, isn't important. What's important is the ability to modify the stock art to meet my app's needs. (In my case, I changed some background colors, added some text with a nice font, and modified the size of the buttons.)

At this point, I'll turn back to my development environment(s), and demonstrate how to incorporate the artwork into the project.