We’ve been exploring some design enhancements to our mobile version of Xero. Our plan is to build it in HTML5 using Sencha. We also plan to make device specific versions available for Android and iPhone that will offer some additional functionality.
Obviously the form factor and touch interaction of phones is radically different to standard web design, so I’ve had to adapt my design process slightly.
I found a really excellent prototyping tool called LiveView (it’s free) that let’s you display whatever is on your Mac screen on your iPhone. It even lets you tap on the phone to trigger mouse clicks on the Mac. That way I can simulate real app navigation and interaction.
It’s so effective that I managed to fool Craig, our CTO, into thinking I’d actually built a working version of the app.
Considering the uproar about iPhones and Flash, it’s pretty ironic that I’m using Flash to design our iPhone app and thanks to LiveView, technically speaking, I’ve got Flash running on the iPhone. In all the bashing Apple has dished out regarding Flash (most of which I agree with), I wish there was some acknowledgement about the influence Flash has had on the design language and interaction experience of the iPhone. The iPhone’s animated interfaces and massive success with casual games owes a huge debt of gratitude to the extensive history and evolution of Flash mini games from the likes of Orisinal, Miniclip and the early generation of animated interaction design experiments by Praystation.
Also, thanks for your feedback on our direction with the mobile version of Xero Personal.