Color Browse is an iPhone application that allows you to easily discover the huge archive of the poster collection of the University of the Arts Zürich. As the average user is rarely familiar with the exact artist names or other search criteria, I decided to pursue an approach that let’s the user sample a color to discover posters containing mainly that sampled color. This approach makes it possible to surf endlessly through the posters and discover new posters and artists at the same time. If a user is interested in a poster he then can retrieve more information about it. Using the iPhones touch screen the user can move his finger over the surface of a displayed poster and a display shows the color currently below the finger. When the user removes the finger the color is selected and a new poster is loaded that has an average color value of the selected color.
The user interface design concept is very minimal. Intentionally I only used little color to not distract from the posters. Additionally it was very important to me to design a usability and interaction model that is self-explanatory. Hence the user interface is very reduced and very simplistic, kept in bright colors to put the posters in the foreground.
For the implementation of the iPhone application, I used the iPhone SDK using Objective-C and the Cocoa Touch Framework. Diving into a new programming language, being a beginner again, is always hard. But soon I was able to apply the already familiar object oriented concepts and was able to get around the language fairly quickly. I will definitely implement more projects in it in the future using Cocoa Touch.
The goal is to release the app in the iTunes AppStore. For that a couple of hurdles have to be mastered. One would be to clarify intellectual ownership legalities with the department of the university. Another one would be to optimize the server side application for better performance to make sure the server won’t go down should there be high volume traffic. Also on the application I have to do an optimization pass to make sure the memory is managed properly and remove any further bugs. And of course a thorough testing needs to be conducted on all current iOS devices.
Developing iPhone app is a very interesting subject and has big potential for interaction designers. With the Color Browse app i managed to create a different way of navigating a vast library of posters of the museum for design and I hope that its exploratory nature was and will be a lot of fun for the users.