Safari Queue for iOS & Android (2015)
While the initial vision for new Safari was to be a platform-agnostic, fully browser based product, we soon found out what other product teams have discovered over the past few years: trying to make a web app feel like a first-class citizen on mobile platforms is a dicey proposition. From our initial experiments with browser caches to enable offline reading, to the lack of access to hardware capabilities or stock OS features, it soon became apparent that we had to invest in native apps for both iOS and Android.
We set about creating an iOS app first. We Spend some time trying to figure out what the app should be, and in the process created many interactive prototypes, from simple keynote animations to full-fledged Xcode projects.
We decided to focus on one particular feature of the new Safari service: the user’s queue.
The Safari Queue iOS app provides a fast way for users to download their queued items for offline reading and watching, as well as a foundation for building out additional functionality in order to eventually reach feature parity with the web-based service.
Like its web-based counterpart, the Queue app provides a beautiful, distraction-free reading interface, which has been further refined from the one on the web, including the same features found on the web, like notes and highlights, as well as additional features like a night mode.
Once we shipped the iOS app, we turned our attention to Safari Queue for Android. Building on some of the lessons we learned while designing the iOS app, we decided to follow Google’s Material Design guidelines very closely when thinking up what Safari Queue would look like on Android. We also took advantage of Googles integration of their App Store with the Google+ social network to develop the app as an open beta, bringing in users early into the process, and letting their feedback and feature requests influence our product roadmap like never before.
My role on both apps consisted of product design, in collaboration with other members of the product team. I also served as lead visual and interaction designer on the projects, putting together not just visual interface designs and interactive prototypes to illustrate interaction patterns, but collaborating with our developers to generate assets, facilitate development, a make the designer/developer communication loop as tight as possible.