At the start of all projects perfection is far from the first thing in the developer’s mind. The key is to get things out there. And that’s important. Because if we don’t err, we can’t recover and if we don’t recover from mistakes, we don’t learn anything. And well, if we don’t learn anything in life, then that’s quite a waste.
When the Android app for Wattpad was first crafted, placeholder icons from the native icon set were used with added titles to aid the user’s understanding of the process. The focus here was making a working product - not necessarily the one with the perfect task flow or user experience.
Now that we’ve amassed a huge number of users on our Android app, however, we have time and resources to actually spend time looking at the little details that make a big difference.
For starters, the “My Profile” icon on the app was an image of three people. Why? Because that’s the closest as the native icon set got. From the user’s perspective though - the icon makes 0 sense. It was an easy fix though, we simply removed the two additional persons and voila - a regular profile icon.
Wattpad has a “library”, where users store their to-read stories. It’s a pretty important piece in the puzzle that is eReading. For this central location, we previously had an icon that looks… well, like a portrait. But we realized a portrait did little to depict a library and so we learned from it and changed it to a set of three books. It’s a pretty standard icon. We just adopted it for our icon set. So far so good.
There are several actions related to the library that a user can perform on the app, however. For example, adding a book to the library. This feature is brand new, so it made a nice, solid transition into existence looking similar to the “My Library” icon, but with a “+” sign on it. Straight forward, does the job and looks pretty. Next!
A much older function on the app is updating the library. Wattpad stories are all written in real-time, so authors are uploading chapter by chapter and you get to read an update from them every week or so (dependant on the author’s pace). Imagine if George R. R. Martin was on Wattpad - we’d get our hands on his latest chapter as soon as he uploaded it! Now this update library icon was a lot more relevant than its counterparts. It showed a list with a check on it. It worked. But we changed it anyway. Why fix it if it ain’t broke? Well, because we had a new icon set for its counterpart features. Relevancy is good, consistency is better. At this point, it was important that we make the users comfortable recognizing icons that make changes to their library. So we swapped the old, working icon with a new, consistent icon!
It was fun, quick, and easy for the most part. The gradient on the Android OS gave me a little bit of trouble, but that comes with the Open Source nature of the platform.
These changes are all coming up in the new update, so keep an eye out for them!