Marketing page with: http://mobilappsfloatinginspace.tumblr.com/ + over done, random animation, thrown in for no reason
...made me not want to spend the time installing the product.
I don't believe in throwing animations for no reason. It gives focus to the content that you're viewing and add a fun element to the design. Ripple has very little content and is mainly just a site that presents an App. If it was something that people use regularly, I would definitely put less animations.
But I do agree that it's easy to go overboard. It's one of those things that needs just the right amount. I mean, a lot of people hate the Zoom in animations on iOS 7, but I love it.
Pretty app. I don't have much of a use for it, but it looks nice.
That said, isometrically transforming those screenshots does absolutely nothing to show me what the application does, and the blur effect does little besides make my page scrolling slow to a crawl.
These sorts of effects need to be used to ENHANCE, not to DISTRACT.
I think it still tell the visitor something: how simple the app is and how it works from the screenshots. I agree that there are better ways, but I wanted to make it feel like a design presentation/hackish project.
The scroll will definitely be improved. Thanks for the feedback! :)
I actually strongly disagree.
Normal screenshots, or even better a video, will tell you how the app works better. If the goal is to get designers excited about using your app, then the isometric "works"—and lets face it: they'll download it anyway. If the goal is for normal people to use the app, well, as a normal person I don't give a shit about every state in the app. You need to sell me on the user story and why this app is going to change my life. An isometric grid of screens doesn't tell a story. Its kind of the opposite, actually; it is the lack of storytelling.
THAT BEING SAID, kudos on shipping! I haven't gotten to use it yet but based on all your recent blog posts on Xcode and Storyboards and whatnot, I'm looking forward to seeing how you put all those techniques to work.
You are correct, a video or clearer screenshots are better at telling a story. The perspective mockup is lazy and not very telling how each screen feels like. It's pretty much a design hack. In fact, I think I did that partly to experiment with the SVG animations.
I'd say you don't need to tell what each screen feels like or does, as long as what you do show clearly demonstrates what the app does for the user and, if necessary, the positive outcome it will have on the user's life.
I remember your story on Medium, good job!
Ha, we came a long way from that Medium post. It wasn't all that easy to gather and work on Sundays. Luckily, we managed to ship it before I have to move to another part of the world!
Well done, I'm happy for you guys!
My first opinion upon opening the app and really understanding what it is is that its an excellent product idea, but the execution is mediocre-to-okay (and that's okay! its v1 after all).
Context: I grew up in the 90s so I love chatrooms, forums, and all of that archaic internet communication technology. I also love geo-enabled stuff. This is perfect for me.
Here are just some random thoughts:
There's lots of really great broadcasting and discovery features—as there should be, since its the core to the app. Making it easy to share (or rather, making it easy to go viral) is surprisingly challenging, so its refreshing to see this done right. Keeping the in-app discovery local, but letting users share chats out to social media is smart. Letting users share chat over AirDrop is ingenious. I wish that the app recognized its own URLs in chats so that it didn't kick you out into Safari, then back into the app in the proper view. This is probably really difficult, so I don't really blame them.
I personally find the visual and interaction design to be overly blurry and a lot of the interactions are just one step too far beyond iOS standards. For example, when you swipe on a row to leave a chatroom, the row scales backwards in space until it disappears. Swiping the row out of the list to the left probably would be a bit more intuitive. Swiping to reveal a button that you tap to delete would be even moreso.
One of the more interesting ideas is holding on a link to choose which browser to open it in. A single-tap action just shoots you into Safari like normal.
I wish that the animation transitioning into the image lightbox from a chat were a little more smooth. I generally just want all of the blur to go away. The swiping up and down to show/hide the keyboard is actually really distracting.
Still, I'm super impressed by this just being a (multiple) Sunday hackathon project and I'll probably see if I can get some friends using it.
Wow, I am humbled by such constructive feedback.
1) I also used IRC quite a bit back in the days. I loooove chatrooms. It's such a serendipitous way to meet people. I was hoping to bring some of that beauty to mobile.
2) Yep, we really want to make it easy for people to share their chatrooms through links, Airdrop, Maps and through Search (coming). We don't want this to be just an overnight success. We want this app to be really useful and for people to be active on it. Anytime there is an event or a meet up, we want them to want to use it.
3) We experimented a bit with the animations and blurriness. After all, this was my first real iOS 7 design. People still love and hate iOS 7 for some reason. Can't blame them. :)
4) The lightbox is actually a Cocoapods library. Hopefully we can painlessly customise the animations to be smoother. We're adding some functionality such as Save image.
5) Swiping up and down keyboard isn't perfect. I am not completely satisfied with it. Tapping outside the bubbles should discard keyboard and when you swipe up, it shouldn't affect the bubbles scroll. This is the kind of things that take time to perfect.
6) You can thank our iOS developer for a lot of the small interactions like long press on the links to pick your preferred browser. He's pretty passionate about those stuff. :D
Again thank you for the brilliant feedback. I am really overwhelmed.
Still, I'm super impressed by this just being a (multiple) Sunday hackathon project and I'll probably see if I can get some friends using it. - set one up at work, I'm across the street and I'll get my team to check it out and we'll see what happens?
Good idea - now I just need some people near me!
Can't wait to see more populated chatrooms out there myself. The Design Talk chatroom has over 200 designers while the custom ones are pretty empty. Hopefully, things will grow more organically. :)
I'm signed up. Looks good and works well, considering your situation. I have a few thoughts:
Mentions. I'm in a chat room with 100+ people all talking about design and there's comments every other minute. Users need to be able to reply and/or mention one another.
Search. I would like to be able to search for conversations that are currently happening. I live in a place that's not very tech-savvy and I can't see any conversations being sparked anytime soon.
Design. Overall, it's ok. I get that you are still probably working some things out. There's a little inconsistency from the Chats page to the Account page, that's all really.
This has potential. Keep going.
Thanks for the feedback!
1) Mentions are definitely something we want since the beta.
2) Search is in progress. Should be out in the next couple of releases.
3) Absolutely, it's very much a side project so a lot of it were small ideas and experiments. I'm sure we can improve on a lot of the designs!
Did you guys throw all this together in a hackathon? I can see you guys are trying out a lot of new techniques with SVG and animations. Hackathons are a good way to try out stuff and experiment. :)
Yes about the SVG. I'm actually write a post about SVGs so this was an experiment for that. :D
Cool, I always liked the idea of local chat and message boards. I remember there were a few message board apps back at the start of the app store that were fun until people got abusive/douchey on them.
That's an interesting thing to solve: keeping the conversations interesting and not distasteful. I think we're blessed that only tech people have heard about Ripple up until now – we intend to keep it that way to ensure the right behaviours from the start!
Downloaded the app. Thought it would be more exciting. Basically only a few design related chat rooms and a Ripple chat room.
Might check back if/when more people are using the app.
Yeah, the App is only exciting if there are interesting chatrooms around you. Please do check back in the next couple of releases. We really want to solve that.
No way our team could use it without an Android or web version but it looks nice!
If we do take this project beyond a side project, we'll make sure to create an Android version!
Nice work Meng. It looks like the app are up a little too much battery. Otherwise, very cool.
Hey Allan, I guess I missed your chat on Ripple. Just wanted to say that it means a lot that you took some time out of your busy schedule to drop a comment there. That's amazing.
We also noticed some battery issue. We'll make sure to fix it in the next release!
App is such a great idea, I can't wait to try it out. I agree with some of the earlier comments. Wasn't too excited by the marketing site but reading your original post on Medium about the concept got me really darn excited! Try bringing some of that passion into your marketing site and I think it will help a lot.
Great work, super impressed :)
Ah, I guess I failed to communicate my passion on the site. I thought the short story and fun animations would convey that. Pretty much hacked that in a day. I'll redesign it when I get the chance.
Let me know once you try the App! :)
The design is great, but my biggest concern is that this will run into the same problem that ultimately led to Color's demise. It's basically a catch 22. You need many nearby users in order to make the app interesting, but no one will use the app if there is no one nearby. It's a hard barrier to break through, but don't let that stop you. See what works and what doesn't, and keep evolving!
Yep, we're well aware of that. The location feature shouldn't be a limitation but an enhancement – a way to easily filter on first time experience. Beyond that, people should easily find the most popular chatrooms that fit their interests the most.
Great design as always Meng. Just concerned about how long until this turns into nipplechat?
So far, people have been really mature about how they use the App. We created 3 Global chatrooms (Design Talk, Feedback and Coders Deck) because we wanted to encourage the right behaviour right from the start.
I too don't want to see misuse of the App. I mean, Apple recommended that we set it 17+, so I get the message. :)
Great work to do this at a hackathon, did you win??
We actually lost, but got a lot of great feedback and support: https://medium.com/design-ux/bb582274b93f
Thanks Murat! I heard from our Design Talk chatroom that designers do use your Marvel App a lot! :)
Damn! The competition must have been serious for it not to win.
I posted Ripple to Product Hunt and it got voted the top app from yesterday http://www.producthunt.co/ so hopefully you should get a few downloads :)
Great to hear Marvel being used!
You rock man! I see you everywhere. :D
personally, i use real life to talk to people near me.
Start a room > 1 people in that room.
We're encouraging people to promote their chatrooms using Airdrop and by sharing on Twitter/Facebook. I don't think at this stage, unless you're living in SF, you will find much success yet.
That is until we improve the Maps by a lot. That means searching anywhere in the world. Also, for some reason we limited the Nearby Chatrooms list to 10km :/
We'll improve a lot in the next update.