I really enjoyed An Inside Look at How The Omni Group Builds Apps. I’ve been a fan of The Omni Group and their work since the days of OmniWeb on the NeXT platform. They have been among the first companies to believe in the iPad from the very start, and wanted to approach all the design-related issues of that then-new platform in the right way:
The move to the iPad was not only going to be a change for the apps involved, but for the users as well. The idea that a new platform could entice new users was appealing, but it also brought on new problems that needed to be looked at from a user experience perspective.
“Something we realized really early on was that not only do we need to rethink the entire user experience for all of our apps from scratch, we had an opportunity to rethink the entire user experience for all of our apps from scratch,” said Bill Van Hecke, User Experience Lead for The Omni Group.
Knowing that they were designing for a platform that was going to be used by people outside of the Mac platform it had built its applications for up until this point created a whole new challenge for The Omni Group team.
“I think the huge part of it was that we had to throw away a bunch of assumptions that a user environment is when using software,” Van Hecke explained. He says that even when people started to move from desktops to notebooks that designers didn’t necessarily keep in mind where the user would be working (on a plane, on a bus, in a coffee shop, etc.), but when the touch screen came along there was really no choice but to think about that from a design standpoint.