#ProTip: One simple secret for designing better things

Dave Wiskus thinks many designers are in need of an attitude adjustment.
Dave Wiskus thinks many designers are in need of an attitude adjustment.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac is at WWDC and AltConf, fishing for ProTips. The world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers is a rich hunting ground filled with alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

SAN FRANCISCO — Designers can be a picky bunch, always ready to pick apart a colleague’s creation or slap down an idea with some withering snark.

But interaction designer Dave Wiskus is prescribing an attitude adjustment for his fellow creative types, especially those who seem to be engaged in some sort of bitchy competition to come off as the smartest person in the room.

“Just say no to cynicism,” he said Thursday during his talk at AltConf here. “It’s the enemy of everything.” (You’ll also want to avoid irony, sarcasm and passive aggression, which Wiskus called “gateway drugs” that can lead to full-on cynical addiction.)

#ProTip: How to get users in the habit of using your app

Sally Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.
Sally Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac is at WWDC and AltConf fishing for ProTips. It’s a rich hunting ground — it’s the world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers, the alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

It sounds counterintuitive, but for many iOS developers, the easy part is getting people to download their app from the App Store. The hard part is getting people to use the app. Ideally, developers want them to use the app regularly. They want them to get into the habit of using it.

How do you do that? Sally Shepard, an app consultant who spent many years working with big publishers, has a great little tip.

Repeat this simple mantra if you want to make killer Apple Watch apps

Joe Cieplinski, a designer with Bombing Brain Interactive, shares his knowledge about design at AltConf 2015.
Joe Cieplinski, a designer with Bombing Brain Interactive, shares his knowledge about design at AltConf 2015.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — The key to crafting great Apple Watch apps can be summed up with a simple mantra: “Make the user happy.”

That’s designer Joe Cieplinski’s approach to all design, really, but the precept is even more important than ever for developers making apps for Apple’s new wearable. Instead of attempting to cram all the features of an iPhone app onto that tiny screen, devs need to focus as much on what they leave out as what they include.

“That’s how you get a successful product,” Cieplinski, who works for Philadelphia-based Bombing Brain Interactive, told Cult of Mac after his AltConf panel here Tuesday. “It’s not just trying to be philosophical.”

Master Apple Watch App development for only $19 with the WatchKit Course [Deals]

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Unlock the secrets of developing apps for the Apple Watch for only $19 with the Mammoth Interactive WatchKit Developer Course from Cult of Mac Deals. Saving 93% on the retail price, you’ll learn how to create a variety of essential app types, showing you how to get the most out of the technology and kick-start your development future.

AppSeed Instantly Turns Your Napkin Doodles Into An App’s Interface [Daily Freebie]

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Just as easy-to-use creative apps like iMovie and GarageBand have made it easier to craft music and videos, so AppSeed is poised to make it much easier to build iOS apps. Simply using the app to snap a photo of a rough sketch scribbled onto a notepad or napkin will turn that sketch into working, interactive interface pieces that can be arranged, re-arranged and tested.