So I got about 60% of one app working on my iPhone to a satisfactory extent. I still need to add a couple of features before it can used as an app. I thought this is perhaps a good time to think about and generally fix the horrible UI that I have created so far.
Thinking about it, I suck so bad at UI that I have never written a GUI application all my life. I briefly dabbed with GTK, PyGTK, PyQT, Tk-Wish, WxWidgets and a bunch of others (including VB and VC++). I failed at each one of them. As in the buttons usually clicked and the labels and tables got updated as needed always. But I was never proud of how it looked. I almost hated myself for this failure. But then I stumbled upon websites of many programmers (friends, some times stuff that I just stumble upon) and found that most of them were really bad. And they didn’t seem to have a problem with it. That is when I started feeling very good about myself – at least I could see that my work is not presentable, even if it was worth presenting.
For web development, it was quite easy. I started using open source CSS templates and mostly got away with decent looking stuff. If I tried to fix a color or two, I’d definitely leave a patch. So I never did that. I usually told people that things couldn’t be changed and that it was too difficult. In reality, the change itself was extremely straightforward. But matching the UI was a big issue. And UX was something I never heard about. And as the guy who wrote it, I always am able to use the tool like a pro. So I always found it completely usable. Until about 4 years back when I started learning usability. But because of these issues, I largely stuck to CLI apps. But I usually take care to handle reasonable UX in the CLI apps.
I have written a handful of apps, so far, on ios. Nothing that I am proud enough of to try to put on the app store. Now I have an app that I want used by Noni. Of course, she can understand where the bad UI/UX is coming from. And maybe she’ll find it thoroughly usable since she works day in/day out with engineers like me. I don’t know if I should procrastinate further to try and get a reasonably good UI or just give her the damn working version first and then worry about the UI later.
I’ll give myself another day or two to make the decision. And yeah, I’ll make another post to show you how bad the UI can be..