Hi, I'm Hwee-Boon Yar

I write, ship and sell software products. iOS/OS X app developer based in Singapore, working remotely. This is my blog.

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Image courtesy of Redmond Pie

2 years ago, many UI changes was introduced when iOS 7 was announced. One of the things that stood out was how the home screen was going to be changed — the icon language has obviously changed; the radius of the icon rounded corners, the background of the dock will have flat but frosted glass effect. I was just starting to explore RubyMotion at that time and thought of using it to build an app. The iOS 6 to iOS 7 transition presented an idea to me. There will be a period of time where app developers will build apps that run on both iOS 6 and 7 so their app icons have to cater for both versions and since iOS 7 is new, designers will have to experiment more to get their icon designs right. I decided to build an app that help designer do exactly that.

The goals are simple, to let designers:

  1. Get many variations of an app icon quickly onto their iPhone
  2. Visualize how the app icon variations look on the home screen
  3. Set the icons on top of wallpapers of various colors and contrasts

1. Test App Icon Variations

I decided to support Dropbox as it is commonly installed and uploading small files to Dropbox is fast. There is a one-time set up on the Iconica+ iOS app to connect to Dropbox. On OS X, the designer can create all the icon variations that they want to test, save it to a Dropbox folder and browse Dropbox in Iconica+ to pick out the icons to choose from. Iconica+ automatically adds a rounded corner to the icons. There is no OS X version of Iconica+ needed. Only the Dropbox client needs to be installed on OS X.

2. Visualize on the Home Screen

The icons are laid out on a simulated home screen, with the first 4 icons also appearing in the dock. I took care to match the margins used by the actual iOS home screen. (The original version of Iconica+ that worked for both iOS 6 and 7 gave designers a choice to switch between a simulated iOS 6 and iOS 7 home screen which has different rounding radius, dock and layout margins. This has been removed from the released version of the app.)

3. Different Types of Wallpapers

Swift left and right to switch between the included wallpapers to get a feel of how the icons look against wallpapers of different colors and contrast.

Iconica+ was rejected from the app store for various reasons. I worked with app store reviewers to get the app on the store. 2 years and 2 major iOS version later, Iconica+ is now available on the iOS app store. I hope you like it.

PS: Thanks to David Barnard (@drbarnard) for suggesting I push the app through app store review again a few months ago. I was already going to let it die.

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