Doug Bowman, one of the lead designers at Twitter gave a presentation during last year’s FOWD convention called ‘Designing to Delight‘. It was an inspiring talk and focused on the finer points of Web and User Interface (UI) design. There’s so much clutter on the web and in App Stores nowadays that developing something that stands out and differentiates itself is more critical than ever. According to Doug, “We need to remember that users are human. They have emotions. They have passions. We should be spending more of our time building moments of delight into our designs and into our products.”
Well, every once in a while an app comes along that imbues those qualities into its very core.
The National Parks app was developed from the ground up to “delight” its users. Put out by National Geographic, sponsored by Canon, and developed by the incredibly talented folks over at Rally Interactive. They not only designed a gorgeous app, but developed new interaction patterns in the process. Some of these little moments of delight will certainly be copied by other designers/developers for years to come. And the elegance of the UI is belied by it’s inherent usability. Users are encouraged to learn, explore, and share on multiple levels. The more time you spend going through the app, the more subtle nuances you discover. Features as obviously delightful as the jump-shot fade-out effect (where the foreground content moves to the background and charts/graphs animate in front of you)
are obviously brilliant, but equally rich is the activity filter effect slider.
There are also multiple ways to view/navigate through the rich images, search/save/rate places of interest, and learn pretty much everything you need to know about our amazing National Parks. And it’s all done in a stunning, fun, intuitive and of course, “delightful” way.
If you haven’t already downloaded, installed, and spent a ridiculous amount of time going through the new National Parks app, do yourself a favor and check it out now.