A few months before the release of the iPad, I helped Liquify Digital design an app development platform aimed at nontechnical creative professionals. Alongside a Mac publishing tool, I designed a sample iPad app to demonstrate the potential of the platform. My work helped to secure early development agreements with multiple major (Big Six) film studios.
Given the glut of publishing tools for branded content, I conducted extensive competitive analysis to understand how we could differentiate ourselves through design. I realized there was an opportunity for us to scale in complexity alongside the customer’s design aptitude, rather than their development prowess. Whereas other tools attempted to simplify programming concepts to make them more accessible to a wider audience, there were fewer app publishing tools available to offer skilled designers the visual flexibility they needed.
I also noticed a tendency for branded content to assert a user-hostile level of control over the overall experience. For example, links to social media and external websites would often open in a poorly designed proprietary browser, just so the user would stay within the app. With this in mind, I designed modular social media components that could pull in third-party content while still maintaining a consistent experience.
Liquify Digital was a distributed team working on tight project deadlines. In this environment, it could be difficult to efficiently present complex design concepts to colleagues. (This was before the advent of tools like Framer and Principle, and before I mastered rapid HTML / CSS prototyping.) Eventually I ended up recording video walkthroughs of paper prototypes, which I could easily create, present, and iterate upon.