iOS Calculator App
I designed and coded a simple iPhone app to learn more about the developer toolset and what's involved in launching an app on the App Store.
Design and code a simple app and launch it in the App Store.
I wanted a deeper understanding of the process engineers go through to implement designs.
This was a solo, self-directed project. I did all the work from design, to code, to deployment.
I settled on a calculator app because structurally it’s simple. I wouldn’t have to deal with navigation controllers and passing data between views.
To start, I researched existing calculator apps to see how they approached the placement of the controls and the look and feel. The layout of the number pad was pretty universal, but the placement of the zero and the decimal varied, as well as the operator and other function buttons.
An Opportunity for Improvement
Most of the calculators on the App Store looked pretty bad and seemed thrown together. I was excited by the opportunity to make a stand-out visual design.
Research in hand, I sketched multiple layouts to explore button placement.
Then, I wireframed the layouts and previewed on device in order to simulate how easy or difficult it would be to tap different buttons.
With a preferred layout, I explored different visual treatments, settling on the darker style.
Congruent with design, I studied iOS development through resources like the Big Nerd Ranch, Udemy, and the iTunes Stanford course. Using a handful of calculator tutorials I put together a working app.
Interface Builder is one of the most impactful skills I learned in the process. In some ways, it’s very similar to how a designer lays out an app in a program like Sketch or Photoshop.
Learning Interface Builder gave me a real appreciation for how elements are added, measured, spaced, and constrained to a view and what a developer goes through to get it done.
App Store Submission
I also found it interesting to learn about Apple’s submission process for the App Store, including preparing screenshots and artwork, writing descriptions, and classifying apps.
In April of 2016 I launched CalcCalc on the App Store. I learned a ton in the process, including how to layout an app, some basic coding, and the App Store submission process.
I feel a lot more empowered knowing it’s possible to build and launch a simple app and am hoping to use this knowledge to empathize and communicate better with developers.
In early 2019 I updated CalcCalc, refreshing the visual design and fixing some bugs.