Atomicdust Explores Mobile App Design for Legendary Nomads
Every once in a while, we’re offered an opportunity to create conceptual designs that help clients realize their ambitions and turn their dreams into something real.
Jamison Peil came to us with an idea – he’s pitching a TV show based on his career as a semi-professional skateboarder, and he thought there might be something cool he could do with an iPhone app to compliment it. We thought so, too. But with little more than a description of Jamison’s concept for the show (think of a skate-fueled version of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations) and a few loose ideas, we didn’t have a specific end product in mind.
In a way, that was freeing. We could design whatever seemed appropriate and call it a day. In another way, it was terrifying – what if we wanted to make something really cool, but it faltered under too much ambition?
We set off to think about how a phone-based app could enhance the experience of watching a television show like Jamison’s. We looked all over the various app stores to see if there were good examples to follow, we thought about how our own television-viewing habits have changed in the last five years and we started making wireframes.
When we were done, we’d landed on a few core features that would make the app useful even without the accompanying TV show, and a few that would make the show more interesting without distracting from it. We started creating screens, fine-tuning workflows and prototyping interactions. We went so far as to build our concept in Keynote, where it’s remarkably easy to add motion to interface elements and explore interaction ideas.
Our final concept, named after Jamison’s show, Legendary Nomads, is a travel app when used on its own, allowing users to explore each city the show has featured by category or by map. Locations have video content (segments from the show and footage that would otherwise be left on the cutting room floor) and personalized tips, as well as a quick way to get directions on the phone. Skateparks, restaurants and shops can be featured locations, and each can be saved to a user’s profile for quick access.
If paired with the TV show, our Legendary Nomads concept app will act as a second screen – but not in the way most second-screen apps work. We found that a lot of similar experiences require users to actively split attention between their televisions and their devices, which ends up being more work. Our experience is more like the old “Pop-Up Video” treatment from VH1’s early days, offering quick bits of information and links to extended video segments. A user can quickly tap on the tidbit to save for later reading or viewing, keeping the flow and pacing of the TV show intact while offering more information to those that want it.
Needless to say, Jamison was thrilled. We were thrilled, too – we’d helped him take a dream and give it form.