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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How the author sold his killer iPad app, 22 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Designing for the iPad: Building Applications That Sell (Paperback)
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Chris Stevens is one half of the design team which developed "Alice for the iPad". You can easily find the YouTube marketing video of this rather radical adaptation of the children's classic which allows interactive animation to coloured up versions of the Tenniel drawings. He's the designer and former Telegraph technology journalist. The other guy did the programming in Seattle using Objective C and a freeeware 2D animation program called Chipmunk Physics. As such this book is incredibly useful (and good at pointing out what should be blindingly obvious) at discussing how you should plan the interface from scratch, making design choices which suit how people hold the iPad and resolutedly trying to avoid imitating how a "normal" mouse/keyboard based computer set up would work, and for goodness sake, don't just scale up an iPhone app.

As an ex journalist, he's excellent at pointing out that you should have a marketing strategy in place before you start. Not only did they have conveniently out of copyright illustrations, which were easy to cut up in Photoshop, because of the otiginal thick inking outlines, but there was also the Tim Burton film to tag onto. Mainly he thinks journalists aren't worth approaching initially- why bother when you have YouTube? All excellent advice. He also firmly states that you are going to have to come up with something outside the Apple store to market your treasured software- because unless it hits the top 10, no one will find it there (yep, it's a painful mess!).

There is a small section of code (about 44 pages) explaining how the animation works in iPad-Alice. Which is all very dandy if you want to reproduce his App. However apart from some very sensible advice about navigation, adding sounds, and filming your App in action for YouTube (shiny shiny iPad surface!), this is a book about designing AN APPLICATION for the iPad- HIS. Now as I'm just learning the delights of a hand-me-down iPhone, I do see that traditional reference books can be REALLY given a zing- read out the pronounciation in dictionaries, add bird calls to the usual picture and written habits. We're at the start of something big (probably). This however is not a book describing the potentials. In fact, he's quite down about magazines adapting to the iPad and thinks that reference books will just pursue the dead end design that was factual CD-ROMs.

So, sensible reference advice before you attempt to become the next success story,yes, but definitely NOT a full guide to "Building Application-S". Er and with the release of the iPad 2 just days away, with its two cameras, its dual core processor, emphasis on video calls and image manipulation...things may be a little more complicated.

As this is a very very heavily illustrated full colour book, I don't think the sample Kindle file (also full colour) will be particularly pleasant to read on the Kindle itself with the current monochrome ink technology. It has a horribly disjointed layout on Kindle for PC with graphics hovering in space. Not that all the pictures are actually relevant (it falls into the designers' coffee table book category at times). I liked it, but I'm not sure how many times it will be reread for nuggets.
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Review Details

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Recycled Rabbit
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Warwickshire

Top Reviewer Ranking: 469