Tot, a scratchpad app for macOS and iOS, has graduated from a side experiment to an essential part of my workflow in a matter of weeks. I highly recommend giving the app a try on Mac (it’s free), and if the design works for you, buy it on iOS.
Admittedly, when I first saw Tot pop up on social media and sites like MacStories, I was skeptical. There are already hundreds of note taking apps available on the App Store. Given several options like Bear and iA Writer nail the basics so thoroughly, with strong aesthetic design and years of iteration, it’s hard to see how any new competitor can stand out. But I’ve always had longstanding respect for The Iconfactory in terms of their attention to visual design. $20 later (more on that price in a bit), equipped with Tot’s iOS and Mac apps, I dove in to give it a try.
Normally I don’t post about yet another Photoshop and Sketch friendly iOS UI set. But this is different; it’s made by the UI8 team, which already has a reputation and history around well done icons, wireframes, and general UI work (I own two paid web wireframe sets from them – the quality holds up.) Most importantly, it’s completely free as long as you provide an email address; it runs normally $78 on UI8’s own web site.
I found these tips on the InVision blog a bit more centered around general productivity apps with Sketch more than centered to just prototyping. But the recommendations are all useful, especially those centered on duplicating and measurement (a.k.a. the option key is your best friend.)
I’ve been trying to practice my writing more frequently, mostly in the form of longer blog posts on this site. It can occasionally be a struggle, but I’m seeing a slow improvement that’s impacting my communication and thought process elsewhere. iA Writer Pro is my main writing app, and this informative post by Sayz Lim helped me use Syntax Control, one of Writer Pros most compelling features, to write stronger essays.
Another few months, another Sublime Text icon replacement. This one, put together by designer Rafael Conde, is really gorgeous in its simplicity and subtle grid pattern. And Rafael mentions in the Dribbble comments, it flows especially well with stock icons in OS X Yosemite.
Cool online book by author Dan Zambonini on getting a web app off the ground successfully. As he writes:
You’ll find processes, statistics and resources that you can use for the entire lifecycle of your app, from developing the seed of an idea to post-launch promotion. Rather than getting bogged down with unnecessary detail and opinion disguised as best practice, this book concentrates on the critical points of each topic to ensure a well-rounded app that’s equipped for even the most demanding users.
That’s the key – it’s short and very much to the point. And it’s completely free.
If you’re an iOS user there’s a lot of app sales going on for the holidays. But there’s no better single sales grouping than over at App Santa. Very respected iOS dev teams with some excellent apps. I use Tweetbot, Clear+, One Password, and Launch Center Pro daily. I only use Scanner Pro every so often, but it’s essential for keeping track of receipts, especially on business trips.
During the holidays I tend to travel more and rely on my iPhone and iPad for blogging and social media. But there’s a big problem when you find a cool link on RSS or Twitter: the URL is often littered with proxies, tokens, and other junk that’s unnecessary. Enter the free Clean Links app. Just copy whatever the URL is to your clipboard, open up the app, and a “cleaned” version of the URL is pasted back on your clipboard for use elsewhere. For those that want a faster workflow, Clean Links supports the X-Callback-URL scheme for use in apps like Drafts or Launch Center Pro.
For things that scroll or zoom, touchability means that the content under your finger moves with your touch, without any lag or jitters…
…For buttons, touchability requires something different. Touchable buttons need borders. By “borders” I don’t mean outlines, (although outlines are included in my usage of the word). I mean borders in a broader sense. A button is a tappable area, clearly delineated from the un-tappable content around it by an obvious border.
Native app design isn’t my background, but the switch in iOS 7 from clearly defined buttons with borders and gradients to raw text labels always rubbed me the wrong way. Jared makes a strong argument why. (via Jeffrey Zeldman).