Safari Queue for iOS & Android (2015)
When outlining the initial vision for Safari Flow in 2013, the goal was to build a platform-agnostic, fully browser-based web app. By the time Safari Flow became the new Safari, we knew what other product teams had discovered around the same time: trying to make a web app feel like a first-class citizen on mobile platforms can be challenging. From our initial experiments with browser caching 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 the iOS app first. We spent some months trying to figure out what the app should be, investigating how the features of the existing web service could be rethought inside a native app. In the process we created many interactive prototypes, from simple Keynote animations, to HTML prototypes, to full-fledged Xcode projects.
We ultimately decided to focus on one particular feature of the new Safari service: the user’s queue. On the new Safari web app, the queue is the place where a user saves items that they want to read later. This seemed like a good feature from which to work outward. We could build toward feature parity with the web app after we launched the 1.0.
The Safari Queue iOS app provides a way for users to download their queued items for offline reading and watching.
Like the web app, the Queue app provides a beautiful, distraction-free reading interface. The reading interface includes the same functionality found on the web, as well as improvements that we identified and developed as we designed the first version of the app.
In the months after the initial 1.0 launch, we supplemented the core queuing and reading functionality with the ability to search the entire Safari library, as well as discover newly added books and videos.
Once we launched the 1.0 of the iOS app, we turned our attention to Safari Queue for Android. In terms of features we established a core goal of parity with the iOS app, we applied some of the lessons we learned while designing the iOS app. But we decided to follow Google’s Material Design guidelines very closely when designing what Safari Queue would look like on Android.
We also took advantage of Google's 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.
- product ideation
- product design
- user research
- interface design
- interaction design
- design management