Iphone 4s white clear

本文為TNW「Impending’s Phill Ryu on its first app Clear, natural UI and turning passion into product」的訪談部分翻譯,作者為Matthew Panzarino。

Clear是全新的工作室「Impending」的第一個軟體,由tap tap tap的合作人Phill Ryu以及Iconfactory的David Lanham所創辦,並與Milen Dzhumerov以及開發Analog的Realman Software程式設計師們合作。

TNW有幸與Ryu進行訪談,討論他是如何開始開發,以及他所認為的未來軟體介面走向。

TNW: What company were you with previously and what are you doing now?

請問您之前是在哪間公司,以及現在的工作?

Phill: I’ve always been doing my own things. A few years ago I teamed up with a couple friends to create MacHeist, an indie software bundling event that blew up in a pre-App Store world.

MacHeist was an interesting exercise in selling and promoting quality software, but it was always other people’s apps, so it got pretty boring over the years. Making our own apps is way more fun!

More recently I’ve been working on iPhone apps at tap tap tap with the same friends and business partners, but David and I have our own agenda we want to pursue at Impending, our new studio.

我一直都在做我自己的東西。在幾年以前,我與幾個朋友一起建立了MacHeist,一個在App Store出現之前的軟體綑綁套裝促銷活動。

MacHeist作為一個銷售與推廣優質軟體的活動來說,非常地有趣。不過這些軟體都是別人的,所以在經過幾年之後,整個活動變得有點乏味。而製作自己的軟體,是讓事情變有趣的一種方法。

而在最近,我一直在tap tap tap與同一群朋友以及商業夥伴們為了iPhone軟體而工作著。但是David與我,有一個自己的計畫即將要實現,也就是我們的新工作室。

 

To delve a bit deeper into ‘pre-history’, how did you get started in the app development business? How people get from there to here is a subject that we’re highly interested in here. Everyone is interested in ‘what have you done today’, which we’ll get to. But I think it’s worth exploring the paths that people take to working in this field.

更往回一點,請問您是如何開始開發軟體的?我們對於人們是如何走上這條路這點非常地有興趣。雖然每個人都只想知道「現在你們做了些什麼」但是我認為在這領域內工作的人所走過的路徑,是非常值得探索的。

When I was a kid in middle school, my dad decided to pick up Cocoa to help with his simulations at work. (He’s a research physicist.) So that summer we worked on a couple apps together, sitting side by side. I cooked up some crude graphics for ping pong paddles and the like.

Back then OS X was brand new, and there were pretty much no apps out there for it. So when we put out this donationware Pong clone it got disproportionate attention. I remember it was even shown on TechTV’s The Screensavers and I still remember Leo Laporte’s kind of confused look of derision when he saw how simplistic the game was. (He was a PC guy back then I think.)

My dad and I worked on a couple more apps together, but eventually he got busy with actual work, and dropped the side projects as they started eating up his time. I was obviously really upset. I kept on getting into fights with him over cleaning up the interface and adding useful features, but in the context of a hobby project to learn programming, these things struck him as a waste of time. So after yelling over toolbar icons for the nth time one night he fired me, and I started looking for other things to do.

I ended up starting a community site for fellow GUI customization nerds, kind of like grease monkeys but UI, called MacThemes. I hung around there a lot, made a lot of designer friends. And of course I started bubbling up with random ideas for projects and products to design with them.

MacThemes was an amazing, creatively stimulating community to grow up in. But I think I started really getting into product and app design when I became obsessed with developer Adam Iser’s chat client, Adium.

當我還在中學時,我的父親決定使用Cocoa來幫助他在工作上的模擬需求。他是一個物理學研究者。所以在那年夏天,我們一起開發了一些軟體。我做了一些乒乓拍子的粗糙圖形,以及之類的玩意。

在當時,OS X是全新的東西,而且幾乎沒有相容的應用軟體。所以當我們把這套Pong的複製版釋出之後,獲得了不成比例的關注。我記得軟體甚至上了TechTV的The Screensaver,至今我也還記得Leo Laporte在看這這個簡單的遊戲時,露出那嘲笑的眼神。(我想他以前一定是PC那邊的人)

我父親與我在之後一起製作了更多的軟體,不過最後他的本業開始忙碌,於是停止了這些花時間的專案。我當然覺得很沮喪。我一直與他一起努力地清理介面,並且加上有用的功能,但是在這些以興趣為出發點,用來學習程式撰寫的專案,對他來說只是浪費時間而已。所以在某個晚上,當他對著工具列的圖示喊了九次之後,他把我解雇了。於是我開始找其他可以做的事情。

最後,我開始建立一個自定GUI介面的網站社群,就像是grease monkeys的UI版,叫做MacThemes。我花了很多時間在上面,交了許多設計師朋友。當然,我也開始不時提出許多專案與產品的想法,並開始與這些設計師們合作。

MacThemes真的很棒,用創意刺激了整個社群的成長。但是當我開始著迷於Adam Iser的聊天軟體Adium時,我開始想真正地進入軟體設計以及產品化。

 

Adium has long been one of our favorite apps, it still gets bug fixes but hasn’t had a major update in a while.

Adium長久以來都是我們最喜歡的軟體之一,也持續進行bug的修復,不過也已經有段時間沒有重大更新過了。

Back then, there was no iChat. Chatting applications were shit, the official AIM app was a piece of shit, still is. I tried this app called Adium. It had multiple tabs for different conversations. It was genius. I found the developer’s screenname and started chatting with him everyday.

He was in the process at the time of rewriting the entire app, and starting over from scratch. Adium 2 would be entirely plug-in based and designed to scale to fit its users needs and whims. Everyday he would be working on re-imagining a new piece of the app, and we would pick through usability issues and perks, and the pros and cons of various approaches, or going Aqua vs. brushed metal. And then blow off some steam sometimes with matches of Warcraft 3. It was just awesome.

So I think at this point I was just completely addicted, bitten by this bug of working on products used and beloved by tons of users. And around then Tiger was announced with the Dashboard.

Something about the Dashboard completely lit me up. I think I was a freshman in college at the time? But the idea of this brand new platform for a new class of app, completely clear of entrenched competition, rules and guidelines, etc. was unbelievably exciting to me, and I convinced a bunch of friends to get together to produce quality widgets for it, which we would sell for a price.

在當時還沒有iChat,聊天軟體也都很糟,AIM的官方軟體也很差,直到現在也是如此。我當時試了這個叫Adium的軟體,這真的很棒。之後我找到了開發者的ID,並開始每天跟他一起聊天。

當時他正在從頭開始設計並編寫整個軟體,Adium 2將會完全成為以外掛套件為基礎,並且可以配合使用者需求與想法的設計。他每天都會重新想像一個新的軟體,而我們會其中找出有用部分,討論各種方法的優缺點,或是爭論著Aqua與金屬拉絲兩種介面。

於是,在當時我已經對製作一個能被許多人喜愛並使用的產品上癮了。大概也在這個時候,Tiger發佈了,同時也出現了Dashbard這個東西。

Dashboard的某些東西完全點燃了我的熱情。我記得當時我還是大一新生,但是對於這個新類型軟體平台的概念、從零開始的競爭環境、規則以及指南等等,讓我覺得非常地興奮。我說服了一群朋友一起製作高品質的Widgets,並且可以拿來銷售。

 

So the excitement of a new platform was what jump started you here.

所以,對於新平台的刺激感是你目前能跳到這個位置的原因?

Yeah, there was that frontier spirit, the feel that anything was possible.

So we made some beautiful widgets. Panic even called us up before we released them, interested in maybe buying them out. We went ahead on our own, and I think our best moment was having our VoiceNotes widget featured for a full day on the Apple.com frontpage.

Of course, the Dashboard never ended up blowing up to the degree I had hoped. And I don’t think almost anyone ever bought widgets. But, if anything, it was a nice practice run for the real thing to come in a few years. I could go on, much of my life has been driven by this unquenchable thirst to produce awesome apps and products. Curiously though, the talented group of designers I worked with on those widgets… we’re all still working together today.

是啊,新的平台有種開拓的精神,讓人覺得任何事都是可能的。

所以,我們做了一些漂亮的小Widget,Panic甚至在我們正式釋出軟體之前,就有興趣把整個给買下來,不過我們決定繼續自己前進。我覺得,最棒的時刻就是我們的VoiceNotes被放到Apple.com首頁一整天的時候。

當然,Dashboard從來都沒有成長到我所期望的境界。我也不覺得會有多少人肯花錢去買Widget。但是,這對於數年之後的事情來說,是一個非常好的練習。我也可以繼續下去,讓大部分的人生都由產出超棒軟體的渴望所驅動。而更奇妙的是,當時曾經與我一起製作Widget的設計團隊,現在仍然與我一起工作。

 

So lets jump past MacHeist, I’m assuming it was the same desire to make good apps and that ‘new territory’ vibe that made you want to pounce on iPhone apps?

讓我們跳過MacHist這段。我想也是因為製作好軟體的慾望,以及新領域的氣氛,讓你想要往iPhone App的方向前進?

Yeah, my friend and developer Andrew Kaz and I were working on a cool Mac app at the time called “Rock Show”. I can’t go into detail with that but it was a pretty cool project. But then the App Store came out for iPhone and we needed to get in on that.

So I was playing around with my new Kindle I had just gotten that day, and I was like “Kaz, this thing feels like a piece of shit. We can do this so much better.” And we spent the next 3 months making [Classics for iphone].

I know it’s commonplace now, but a touch-responsive page flip, following your finger…when we first prototyped it, I sat there stroking the screen for hours.

And that’s the awesome part about technology, suddenly you have this new amazing touch input that’s in everyone’s pocket
and you can latch onto that and create completely novel experiences. I don’t know, there is somethiing just magical about that.

是的。我的朋友,同時也是開發者的Andrew Kaz與我當時一起做了一個很酷的Mac軟體「Rock Show」。我不能透露細節,不過這是一個相當棒的專案。不過在那之後,App Store在iPhone上出現了,我們需要進入這個市場。

當時我正玩著我在當天新買的Kindle,並說著「Kaz,這玩意感覺就像是台廢物,我們可以做出比這要好太多的玩意。」於是,我們在之後花了三個月的時間來製作「Classics for iPhone」。

我知道現在已經變得稀鬆平常,不過當我們第一次做出頁面隨著手指觸控而翻頁的原型之後,我花了好幾個小時的時間就只是在那邊不斷地摸著螢幕。

而這也正是這項科技驚人的地方,突然之間,每個人的口袋裡都有了一台觸控介面的裝置,你可以掌握這項技術,並且創造出全新的體驗。我也說不明白,這就像魔法一樣。

 

So your first instinct was to utilize the natural UI in a way that felt different. Not just emulating physical buttons, but translating touch.

所以,您直覺感受到的第一件事,是利用自然UI的不同感覺?不僅只是模擬實體按鍵,而是去解讀觸摸?

Buttons are about the most unsatisfying interaction you can have in a touchscreen device. Just think about it. At least when you’re using a mouse, you click a button, and you’re clicking a button. When you’re using a phone you are smudging glass, and there is absolutely zero feedback.

I think when you have a new platform with all kinds of new possibilities, you are really doing yourself a disservice by not exploring these new paths and sticking to worn grooves you’re familiar with.

按鈕大概是在觸控螢幕裝置上,最不讓人滿意的互動。只要想想,當你在使用滑鼠,在按按鍵時你可以清楚地感覺到按鍵被按下,而當使用手機,你只會弄髒螢幕,而且完全不會有任何的回饋反應。

我認為當出現了一個擁有各種可能性的新平台時,如果還是不去探索新的途徑,堅持使用熟悉的方式的話,那就真的是在幫自己倒忙了。

 

Like emulating physical buttons

像是模擬物理按鈕?

Yes, I’m not saying there’s no place for them in mobile app design, but you are designing for the past if you can only think in buttons.

是的,我並不是說移動軟體的設計用不到按鈕,但是如果只想的到按鈕的話,那你做的就是過去的設計。

 

And that’s the kind of mentality that went into the design of Clear?

這樣的態度也反應到了Clear的設計嗎?

Yeah. The very first mockups started with more traditional and expected features and UI elements. It had a header bar, it had an add button, it had recurring features and lots of other things.

是啊。最初的原形有較多的傳統功能以及介面元素。其中有標題欄位、增加事件用的按鈕、重複事件功能以及許多其他東西。

 

And those were stripped away over a series of discussions? Or was it more of a breakthrough moment where it all went away?

而這些東西在經過一系列的討論之後被刪去了嗎。或是在某個突破點後才全數消失呢?

I think pretty much in our first chat, I was harassing Dan to remove things. That we don’t need almost -any- of this. And we kind of consciously wiped the slate clean, and started over, to free ourselves of unnecessary constraints. If I remember correctly most of it happened in the initial chat. I wanted no header bar, no ‘+’ button, no UI chrome. I was convinced we could do all of this better, starting with this idea of pinching to insert.

Of course the hard work came after, I think we wrote a 2000 page novel over email, figuring out the nuances of how all these brand new interactions would work.

我想那差不多是在第一次聊天的時候,我一直想讓Dan刪掉一些東西。我們幾乎不需要任何東西,就像是自發性的開始將石板给擦乾淨,讓我們從不必要的限制中解放出來。如果沒記錯的話,大部分都是在最早的聊天裡發生的。我想要沒有標題欄、沒有「+」按鈕、沒有裝飾的UI。而從捏掐手勢的想法出現時,我也相信我們可以把這些做的更好。

當然,隨著而來的便是辛苦的工作。我想我們透過mail寫了超過兩千頁小說的量,試著搞清楚這個全新介面設計運作的細微差別。

 

Yeah, that ‘pinch apart to insert’ action is probably the most memorable gesture of the app, a real eye opener when you try it for the first time.

「使用捏掐手勢來插入新物件」的動作大概是這個軟體中讓人最難忘的手勢了吧?當第一次嘗試的時候,的確會讓人大開眼見。

You know, you were the very first person outside of the Clear team to see it. When we got coffee that day, that alpha build, it was literally the first alpha build in my hands. All it had was pinch to insert, and it sort of reduced you to a giddy schoolgirl [ed. Sadly true]. That was definitely the moment where I knew were on the right path.

你知道,你是除了Clear團隊之外最早看到Clear的人之一。當我們一起喝咖啡的那天,當時我手上的是第一個測試版本,唯一有的功能就只是捏掐插入新物件的手勢,不過光是這樣就讓你像個女學生一樣暈眩。而在當時,我也確定了我們是在往正確的道路上前進。

 

Haha yeah, memorable first impressions aren’t easy to make on me either, I’ve seen a_lot_ of apps.

的確,我至今已經看過了許多的軟體,能讓我第一眼就印象深刻的真的不多。

Yeah, I think it’s because it’s so blindingly obvious, yet we’ve all seen 10,000 list-view apps without it. And that is kind of shocking and delightful, when something so obvious and right in retrospect is finally put into place. We intuitively get that I think.

是啊,我想是因為Clear真的非常地眩目明顯,特別是在我們都看過10,000個清單式軟體之後。當事情如此地明顯,而回頭看時終於全部到位,這是既讓人震驚又讓人愉快的。

 

Right, it’s what I call the “of course” moment. Where you accept a new feature as if it was inevitable.

是的,這也是我所說的「理所當然」時刻。就像是無法避免第一班,你接受了這個新的功能。

Yeah. I mean hell, it can even be a bit frustrating sometimes. When you create something that ‘of course’, it tends to result in a lot of people cloning it. Because, how else would you design it better? And a lot of users will never comprehend the hard work put into something that looks and feels so simple and effortless. But at the end of the day, simple and obvious is pretty much always the way to go.

是啊,不過這有時也會讓人沮喪。當你創造了一個「理所當然」的東西,往往也會導致許多人去複製它。畢竟,要怎樣才能做出比這還要好的設計呢?許多使用者永遠都無法理解這些看起來感覺是如此簡單、輕鬆的東西,需要付出多大的心力。但是到最後,簡單明顯幾乎總是最後前進的方向。

 

There are situations that arise where those features get copied, Tweetie’s pull to refresh is one that easily jumps to mind, but it just means that it was so absolutely right in the first place.

這種功能被複製的情形已經成為趨勢,Tweetie的下拉刷新是一個容易被聯想到的例子,但這也只是代表這設計一開始就是絕對正確的。

Yeah, and I think that is great. I’m actually really looking forward to some of our interactions spreading across other great apps, and I’m sure Loren [Brichter, the developer behind Tweetie] is proud of his contribution to the ecosystem, and how widely adopted it’s become.

是的,我想那是很棒的。我真的很期待我們能夠與其他很棒的軟體相互作用,我也確信Loren(Brichter,Tweetie的開發者)對於它向整個生態系所貢獻、並且廣泛被採用的設計感到自豪。

 

Do you think that natural UI, specifically the stripped down kind that is on display in Clear, is the next step for apps as we let go of this ‘button’ obsession and move into a new generation of people who are so used to touch screens that it feels like second nature? The way that a small child can use an iPad for a few minutes and grasp it right away. That natural interaction.

您認為自然UI,特別是那些像Clear一樣去除了許多東西的介面,是在我們沉迷於「按鈕」之後的下一個階段,並且通往人們將觸控介面操作視為第二本能的新世代嗎?這種小孩子可以在數分鐘之內掌握iPad操作,自然的互動方式。

Totally. I think what makes that possible, as opposed to a 2 year old mousing around, is it removes layers of abstraction. Pushing an object around on a touch screen, is direct manipulation, and completely intuitive. And for sure, that 2 year old kid is going to grow up comfortable with more gesture based interactions and less comfortable with concepts like hotkeys and right clicking.

Personally though I hope we have mind control input or at the least eye-tracking iGlasses in 10 years.

完全正確。我認為相比於讓兩歲兒童使用滑鼠,只要移除抽象的層面,就可以讓兒童自然地操作。在觸控螢幕上推動物件,是直接的操作,並且完全地直觀。可以肯定的是,兩歲的小朋友將會在更多的手勢介面、更少的熱鍵與右鍵點擊等概念之下成長。

個人來說,我希望我在十年內可以有意識控制,或是至少也要瞳孔追蹤的iGlasses之類的。

 

One step at a time I suppose!

我想我們還是一步一步來吧!

[Laughs] Yeah I tend to think of Apple’s R&D labs as a sort of Willy Wonka factory of fantastical things

是啊,我傾向認為Apple的研究室就像是會做出荒唐事的巧克力工廠。

 

So is using the touch screens, and other sensors, of iOS devices something that Impending will focus on as it gets rolling?

所以,使用觸控螢幕、其他感應器,或是即將出現在iOS裝置上的東西,將會成為Impending的焦點?

To us it’s just a part of doing this correctly, and designing for the platform, so I’m not sure if I can call it a focus. We just have an optimistic vision of the future here at Impending, and we’re trying to pluck some of these apps from there and ship them in the present. That may include some nice jumps ahead in UI design too, after all things generally trend better in the future.

對我們來說,這只是將事情做正確的一部分,以及平台本身的設計,因此我也不確定這是否可以被稱為焦點。我們Impending只是對未來有個樂觀的看法,並且試著將這樣的軟體從未來帶到現在,這也許也包含一些UI設計的躍進。總之,所有的事情在未來都會更好。

 

So to wrap up, is there anything you can tell me about what we should expect from Impending in the future?

那麼在最後,您可以告訴我們在不久的將來可以期待Impending推出什麼東西嗎?

Well you saw the other app we’ve been working on for the past year and a half! But we’re not quite ready to share details on that yet, so I’ll say more news is Impending. Gotta focus on Clear and the present for now.

大家將會看到我們在過去一年半以來一直在製作的其他軟體。但是我們還沒有準備好與大家分享細節,所以我只能說未來Impending會有更多的消息。而現在來說,我們將焦點放在Clear。

via Impending’s Phill Ryu discusses its first app Clear