Mindarin introduced me to their wonderful new iOS app that I have had the pleasure of using for the last couple of weeks, that not only offers a wonderful user experience, but also features a beautifully minimal display. The app is Luna — a calculator that makes calculations instantly as you type, while keeping your expression clean and readable. It allows you to save your results as well as complete calculations, operate them, edit them, and create lists. The designers explain: We designed Luna to be truly useful. Most iOS calculators differentiate by adding cute gestures or pretty colours, our goal was to create the ultimate useful calculator, one you could use to do a quick operation or keep track of your business expenses. But keep it simple, clean and minimal. Admittedly, there are a couple of minor bugs with Luna, but as with every newly developed app, the more it is used, the better it can become. It is the aesthetics of Luna that leaves me impressed though along with the feature to alternate between black and white themes with a simple shake of the device.
Categorized “iPhone app”
Multerim is a polished minimal timer app, recently released by Evan Gulyas. It is designed for the multitasker and is useful to someone who has to juggle several deadlines at a time. The sleek intuitive interface allows you to set and name multiple timers. It required a bit of a learning curve, but once you have figured out the principle, it is very easy to set up, name, adjust and start up to six different timers. The time is arranged vertically, the upper squares give you hours, the middle ones – minutes, and the bottom ones – seconds. Swipe any square to set up a timer, tap with two fingers to start it, tap and drag to give it a name. And to reset everything, just swipe across the screen with two fingers. A good-looking app with the clear purpose.
Dots is a really lovely gaming app developed by New York based organization, Betaworks, and its task is very simple; connect as many same-colored dots as you can using only vertical and horizontal lines. Dots has three different game modes; connect as many dots as you can in 60 seconds, another one using only 30 movements and a new endless mode, without any limitation. Its interface is incredibly clean and simple and you can compete with your friends by connecting via Twitter and Facebook. Dots has already been awarded the number one mobile game in twenty countries.
Math done simply. Designed in the Swiss style, Sumhold is a calculator that instantly calculates and stores numbers with a fiercely reductive interface and simple swipe gesture. This is the result of a beautifully developed iPhone app by Chad Voss, an independent interaction designer from Seattle. Sumhold, featuring an attractive minimalist design, makes complex calculations and number storage simple. Sumhold is made for those everyday calculations (e.g. groceries and budgets) when you need to do simple arithmetic while keeping track of previous calculations and results. Unlike most basic calculators, Sumhold keeps a running tally of your current calculation at the top and, when calculations become complex, automatically inserts parentheses to keep everything clearly readable. There is no need for an “=” button because it calculates as you type. When a calculation is complete and you need to store the result for later, you simply drag it down toward the keypad into Sumhold’s scratch-line to make a temporary button. Having downloaded this app myself, I must say that it is a joy to use. Incredibly simple both in aesthetic and function. Currently available on the iTunes store.
There is roughly a bajillion alarm apps out there, some of them analyze your sleep, draw fancy diagrams, show twitter streams, news and weather… What I like about this app is the freedom from clutter, both in the UI and functionality. Wake iPhone app, created by Tiny Hearts, does one thing and does it well – it wakes you up. There are three waking modes: slap & flip, which allows you to slap the phone to snooze and flip it over to turn the alarm off; shake, the mode useful to heavy sleepers for it makes you shake the phone repeatedly before turning off the alarm; and swipe, a basic mode that turns the alarm off when you swipe the screen of your phone. The design of the app is minimal and intuitive. I love the dial, which reminds me of the classic iPod controls. Among other features – the ability to save eight repeatable alarms and dedicate them to specific days of the week and the choice of twelve alarm sounds, progressively getting louder as they play. Watch the demo video to see the Wake app in action.
Letterpress – a simple word game for iPhone and iPad by Loren Brichter of Atebits. OK. We probably all know about this one by now, but this game came up in conversation with a friend this morning over coffee in regards to its innovate UI design and I’d like to reiterate here how delightful I’ve found this game since it was released late last year. As John Gruber summarised over at Daring Fireball: [Letterpress is] a cross between a word game like Scrabble or Boggle and a real estate strategy game like Risk or Go. It’s addictive. If you haven’t already given this one a go – I’d highly recommend it. For those of you who have, I encourage you to share your experiences.
The T3 Player app for iPhone has recently taken the internet by storm. And its interface alone makes you see why. Inspired by Dieter Rams’ iconic T3 radio from the 60s, the app is made to appeal to design lovers. Creator of the T3 app Eder Rengifo did not envision it as a substitute for your built-in iPhone player, but rather as a handsome and streamlined addition to it. The app allows you to add your favorite songs, organize them by ranking or alphabetically and enjoy. I like the simplicity of the controls and the fact that this application does not kill you with the excessive number of features. Just a few essentials, beautifully put together. T3 has special support for the iPhone 5 and Airplay. Watch the video to see it in action.
By now, there are plenty of minimalist weather apps for the iPhone, including WTHR, Blue and Solar just to name a few. But here’s another one by Jake Marsh called Conditions. Dead simple, the app shows the current weather and a five day forecast (although this can be hidden so that only the current weather is shown). The app features slightly different designs for day and night; overall the clean design is very pleasant and features Adam Whitcroft’s Climacons. Writing about the app, the developer writes: Many weather apps clutter their interface and overload their users with tons of details that aren’t all that useful. Conditions only shows you the most important information about what it’s like outside right now, wherever you are, anywhere in the world.
Brooklyn based Oak Studios create websites and applications. Last week, Oak released their first iOS app, Blue. The app provides 36-hour weather forecasts relevant to your location in a fast, fun and of course minimal interface. Simply swipe up to see each hour represented in a beautiful, colourful gradient visual – regardless of where you are in the world. The hourly colours are generated based on three variables: temperature, humidity, and sunrise/sunset times for your current location. Temperatures are shown in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. I have seen a few impressive weather apps with a minimalist interface, such as Solar, which is not dissimilar to Blue. Which of them offers a better user experience? I’m going to download them and find out for myself.
Rise is a beautiful minimalist alarm app for iPhone and iPad. Aside from its sleek design, it features a lot of useful functions and perks, including snooze with a shake or the ability create a playlist from iTunes to help you fall asleep. The most notable feature of the app, however, is the fluid gesture-friendly interface. It allows you to set and adjust the alarm time simply by tapping and sliding to the correct number. In fact, most of the actions can be performed by a sliding or pulling gesture, which makes Rise highly intuitive and fun to use. I love how the color of the screen changes from day to night and vise versa as you move your finger… Check out the video to see this and other features of the app in action.
Realmac Software in collaboration with Helftone and Impending have collaborated on a Mac version of the now well-known iPhone application Clear. Popular for its minimalist and gestural interface, Clear succeeds at doing a small amount of features exceedingly well. Suitable for those looking for an alternative to heavy weight GTD systems, such as OmniFocus or Things, or as a sophisticated tool to keep lists. The Mac application will be familiar to those who have used the iPhone application, but includes some features specifically tailored to OS X. Now using iCloud, Clear syncs with the newly updated 1.2 version of the iPhone application.
The Squarespace Note iPhone and iPad app, designed by Squarespace, Inc., is a simple and intuitive way to capture thoughts, ideas, inspirations, and transfer them to various services. The app syncs seamlessly with email, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook and your Squarespace account, should you have one. It does all that in a clean minimalist interface, which is a thing of beauty in itself. What is interesting about the app is that it’s not used as a database, but a passthrough. It becomes the first place you go to send a note or a reminder to yourself. Squarespace Note helps anyone record their ideas on the fly. Writers, bloggers, and others can use the app to record inspiration and ideas as they happen. The lightweight mobile app immediately loads a blank canvas when it’s launched. Unbranded, black and white feel lets you concentrate on content, not presentation. I love how seamless Squarespace Note is. Everything is done with minimum effort on the user’s part. Uncomplicated usability that fully matches app’s minimalist looks.