Tag Archives: yummy

What is “polish”?

One thing that I hear from time-to-time is that Yummy, my iPhone application, lacks “polish.” But what do people mean when they say that?

When I ask, what I usually find is that these people have never actually used it. They have probably looked at screen shots, maybe one of the screencasts. They can see that there are few graphics and little animation.

That’s fair — it’s absolutely true — but that’s not what I think of when I think of polish.

Instead, Yummy is designed to be quick and convenient to use. It’s modelled more after Apple’s Contacts app than, say, the Camera or Photos. In this sense, it’s not a few well placed graphics that makes all the difference. It’s the fact that Yummy saves your location in it when you exit1, even when you’re in the middle of editing a bookmark. It’s that your searches are automatically saved so you don’t need to re-type terms you use regularly. It’s that you can edit bookmarks even when offline. It’s that if you use a short bookmark (like tinyurl or bit.ly), you can fetch the full URL and the title of the web page.

In short it’s lots of little things that I can’t even begin to list on the features screen in its iTunes store listing. They’re not really features as such, but their absence would make for a much weaker program.

None of these things can be seen just by looking at screenshots. Indeed, some of those refinements may not be noticed at all. But I think it’s this very subtlety that defines polish. Marco Arment touches on this when he says that the best UI is invisible — this is exactly what I was aiming for.

  1. Of course iOS4 does a lot of this for you now, but I first implemented this when iPhone OS 2.x was current. []

My delicious.com bookmarks for January 28th through February 3rd

My delicious.com bookmarks for January 21st through January 22nd

  • NetNewsWire and iPhone-Sized Data – "Lesson learned: It’s not enough for an iPhone app to sport an iPhone-optimized user interface. It needs iPhone-sized data, too." I agree with this in principle but I've been thinking how I'd apply it to my iPhone application, Yummy, and coming up with a blank. How can you decide in advance which bookmarks you'll want to see? Most recent? Those with a particular tag? I can't think of an option other than 'all.'
  • The Inauguration of President Barack Obama – In case you're not sick of the inauguration already, here are some great images of the day.
  • Gordon Brown withdraws plan to keep details of MPs' expenses secret – "The PM said proposals for reforms of MPs' expenses would provide 'more transparency' than in most other parliaments around the world." I'm not convinced that this is a standard we should aspire to. Let's face it, our parliament is more open that North Korea and less tyrannical than Iran's but really that's not much of an achievement.