Cooking Capsules™ provides an exciting way to cook using your mobile phone. In the Android Developer Challenge the judges loved it (unlike Moseycode). As part of the Cooking Capsules™ team I'm continuing to develop the application after its extremely successful debut.
There are lots of things I really like about the way the application is conceived:
Much of my development work has focused on streamlining the user interface. These are some of my personal highlights:
I'm not generally a fan of splash screens, but I think the one used for Cooking Capsules™ looks good and works well.
The application is actively downloading the latest recipe data while the splash animation is displayed. I think makes the splash screen a strong net gain for the application.
As more information is supplied about individual recipes, its necessary to find a way of presenting that information to users in a way that is both uncluttered and that scales when adding more content.
Our solution was to arrange the information onto cards that the user can move between – more content, more cards, problem solved. The problem is that though tapping left and right to move between cards is straightforward, it also becomes repetitive when the number of cards increases. So we introduced the ability to flick the cards to move quickly over them.
The user can flick for speed and tap for accuracy.
Given the importance of "Watch, Shop and Make" in the Cooking Capsules™ application, it's vital that users have a very direct way of moving between them. Tabs provide the most natural metaphor, but they need to gel with the other recipe information.
The solution we adopted was to animate the tabs, allowing them to be slide up up over the general recipe details. At any time, the user can switch between the tabs or choose to collapse them back down.
For users who fail to recognise this extension to the tabbing metaphor, the back button provides a problem free way to return, and keeps consistency with other Android applications (such as the Home application).
The Cooking Capsules™ application has been designed to work consistently well in either landscape or portrait orientations. This creates difficulties when using tabs – they are relatively high (to make tapping easy) and occupy significantly more screen-estate in landscape.
To accomodate the tabs and maintain a consistent mode of operation, the tab animation is adjusted to slide the tabs off-screen. They are replaced with a title bar that can be tapped to return the tabs.
A translucency effect on the title bar allows us to take this idea a step further and make video playback full-screen in landscape.