Party (Mode) On

At most parties I’ve been to in the last several years, the music source was one or more iPods. For this reason, a Party Mode would be of some use. Locking your iPod while it is being used for playback prevents other people from playing DJ, which might make sense if you’ve carefully constructed a playlist, but if you are open to letting others choose music from your library there should be a middle ground.

  1. iPod Settings: Party Mode off

    iPod Settings: Party Mode off

  2. Party Mode Settings: off

    Party Mode Settings: off

  3. Party Mode Settings: on

    Party Mode Settings: on

    1. Wi-Fi toggle for battery conservation.
    2. Though not depicted, Brightness controls might also make sense.
    3. There is a good argument for allowing action-specific sound toggling. My thinking is that for the time the iPod is in Party Mode, it’s just a music player. You don’t want spam landing in your inbox to interrupt a jam.
    4. Enable a Passcode if you want to retain iron-fisted control.
    5. Restrictions would allow you to hide any individual app other than Music and Settings. For example, you might want to block those with personal information such as Contacts and Mail while the iPod is sitting unattended.

In my experience, iPhones users don’t offer up their devices for party music, which is understandable given that you might need your phone to take calls from guests, etc. Were a Party Mode offered on the iPhone, options to silence the ringer and send calls directly to voicemail would be useful.

Tomorrow is the Question

Rescheduling an event to another day using the mobile Calendar app on the iPhone requires at least six taps across four screens. The method depicted below reduces the minimum taps to two with the number of screens depending on how many days the event is moved.

  1. In Day view, tap and hold the event.

    Event pressed in Day view

  2. With your other hand, tap the forward (or back) triangle button in the date bar.

    Tap forward button while holding event

  3. Alternatively, while still holding the event, swipe from right to left to go to the next day (or vice versa for the previous).

    Swipe while holding to move forward or backward

  4. The event is moved to the next (or previous) day at the same time. The event box would always remain beneath the tapped spot, nudging overlapping event boxes aside if necessary.

    Event displayed on new date

Problems with the Method

  1. Not easily discoverable
  2. Requires two hands or Evgeny Kissin-level finger dexterity
  3. Only works cleanly in Day view, though variations for List and Month could work

Indra Raj on MySpace

Child is Father to the Man

I find the dots below days with scheduled events useful in the mobile Calendar application. They should appear in iCal’s mini-calendar as well.

Mobile Calendar displays dots below days with events scheduled

Using a few different size dots based on the number of events scheduled would allow users to see which days are particularly busy without having to switch the main view mode to Month or view the particular day — without adding much visual clutter. Granted, I don’t have the busiest schedule.

Be the Lord of the Ring!

Generally, you have some idea as to the expected social etiquette during an event when you are adding it to your calendar. Is it a meeting with a potential business partner? A date? Would it be irritating or embarrassing for your phone to burst into the latest Top 40 hit in the midst?

All phones have a way to switch them from audible to vibrate, but do you want to deal with that in the middle of a proposal?

A phone ringer setting in iCal's event details editor

The three options would be:

  1. Phone default
  2. Ring tone
  3. Silent ringer

A ringer configuration interface should also be available in the iPhone’s calendar application. Event ringer settings would be synced.

Events that occur within a longer event (e.g., multi-day events) would override the enclosing event’s setting. If events overlap, the setting for the latter event overrides that of the earlier unless the earlier is set to silent ringer.

This would also be great for concerts, either because you don’t want to interrupt a violin solo or you won’t hear an audible ringer during the shred guitar solo (depending on the music). Also, finding what may be a physical switch is not necessarily easy in a darkened venue.

Reading at 160ppi

Prior to the unveiling of Books.app, a book reader for the iPhone, I’d begun working on my own design. I figured the iPhone would be fairly comfortable for extended reading due to the bright display and high pixel density (which allows it to render text closer to print quality). Thanks to Chris Messina for the Keynote template with basic iPhone images he posted.

Book List

The screen you initially see after pressing the Books app icon on the Home screen:

iPhone books sorted by author

Pressing Title switches the sorting method:

iPhone books sorted by title

Searching

Pressing Search on the bottom button row triggers a sliding transition; the navigation buttons are replaced by a search field and Search button. The keyboard appears below.

iPhone book search

iPhone book search results

Pressing Books returns to the list with the last active sort in effect.

Table of Contents

Nothing too special…

Dune table of contents

Book Info

Additional book details such as the original publisher and publication date. I haven’t settled on exactly what metadata should be displayed here.

Book information

Pressing the cover overlays a large version. The two-fingered spread/pinch gesture could zoom in and out.

Enlarged book cover

Index

Assuming an index is embedded in the book file (or automagically generated), this would be an alternative to Search.

Alphabetical book index

Pressing on a index entry displays excerpts of sentences containing the phrase in order of appearance. Pressing one of these navigates to the page.

Index of Baron Von Harkonnen

The Book

The page structure of the physical book should be retained, but a continuous scrolling interface sounds better to me than using paging. Pages are an implementation detail (unless you are reading scrolls). The pinch/spread gesture could be used here to decrease and increase the text size, automatically reflowing the text (minding widows and orphans!). Pressing on illustrations would either overlay them similar to the cover in the Info view or open them on their own screen. If the illustration has a title and caption, a separate screen with a Go Back-type button would probably be preferable.

Book text content

The zipped Keynote ’08 file has links set up to give some idea as to the flow. Keynote’s animation tools have improved, but they are not yet to the point where I can comfortably create the transition animations that I have in mind for a book reader.

Yes, there would be a Cover Flow view when in landscape orientation. You can mock that up with your imagination. No, I do not have an iPhone. I hate phones, but I do like books.

How about an SDK, Apple?