The Facebook Camera Login Screen

The Facebook Camera Login Screen

Much like Mr. Siegler, I too was taken aback by the initial launch screen of the Facebook Camera app. Although not established at the system level à la Twitter, Facebook has evidently worked through some intelligent loopholes in order to achieve this astoundingly useful login screen.

Regarding this novelty, M.G. writes:

But how on Earth did the app know my name? I assumed, of course, it was related to the fact that I also had the main Facebook iOS app installed on my iPhone — but still, how did those two apps talk to one another as neither is system-level?

Here’s how. (And here’s Apple’s documentation on it.)

It’s a smart way to do it (though it may get a bit of backlash). And it will allow Facebook to continue to build separate apps for key features — perhaps an Events app next? — that are quick and easy to install and use. Now just imagine if this was baked into iOS itself so other apps could use it (just like the Twitter iOS integration, but actually even a little more seamless). It would save a lot of typing and/or a number of clicks for app switching (Single Sign On). In my mind, this “hack” shows why Facebook eventually needs to do their own mobile OS. Deep integration and seamless use are paramount in mobile.

The last sentence is an astute observation.

Upon opening Facebook Camera, the immediate greeting of your own name, and, indeed, the effortless login, is an utterly welcome and important characteristic to boast. Perhaps asking for login details is an expected inconvenience, but the psychological ramifications of foregoing such a step are positively extensive.

Regardless of your feelings towards Facebook, I highly recommend dabbling with Facebook Camera for a short while. Unlike the vast majority of Facebook’s mobile endeavors, the Facebook Camera app demonstrates a distinct feeling of polish that irrevocably alters and disguises the perception of Facebook as the bloated entity that it has become.

Subtleties such as this, whether cognitively noted or not, are of the utmost importance in design, and it’s certainly encouraging to see Facebook adhering to such a philosophy.

Svpply for iPhone


Following the April 13 release of Svpply’s official iOS app, Bobby Soloman writes for The Fox is Black:

There’s an elegance to the app which comes across in the interactions. A simple navigation, easy to access sharing tools, and the ability to buy the products straight from the app make it both genius and dangerous. Pay attention to the subtle interactions, how buttons tend slide on and off with ease. I’ve found myself browsing through Svpply while I wait in line places, taking a place next to Twitter, Instagram, and Flipboard.

Creating such an experience should be of the utmost importance for all competitive entities.

Rather than recreating a web-centric experience, Svpply has created an experience characterized by delightful interactions and attractive visuals. In doing so, as Soloman highlights, the app’s icon sits as a constant reminder of the experience therein.

For a service reliant upon shopping and consumer interaction, such novelty is of visceral and financial importance — not just a frivolous luxury for existing users.

Solely based on what I’ve seen of the app’s design, I fully intend to experiment with the service in the coming days. I’m not fully aware of the app’s functionality, nor am I fully versed in the extent of Svpply’s services, but such is the power of an attractive and thoughtful user experience.

Svpply for iPhone is available here.

Augmented Paper


Reflecting upon the current state of mobile applications, Matt Gemmell has written a thoughtful treatise on the topic of user experience, and the best experience therein. Matt writes:

For me, software experiences that feel like Augmented Paper are those that second-guess our (developers’) natural tendency to put functionality first, or to think of our apps as software. Apps are only incidentally software; software is an implementation detail. Instead, apps are experiences.

Design an experience. Make it as beautiful - and as emotionally resonant - as it can possibly be. Then adorn the core experience and content with only as much functionality as is absolutely necessary. Functionality - and software-based thinking in general - is like seasoning. A little is an enhancement; any more destroys the flavour, subsumes the artistry of the chef, and may well be bad for you.

I couldn’t agree more.

Developmental improvement in user experience directly correlates with the increased happiness of the end-user. Rather than being tangled in cruft and unnecessary distraction, the user should be placed into an environment as interactive and connected as needed. And nothing more.

It’s worth mentioning that the aforementioned passage from Matt’s article is an excerpt from his conclusion, but the entire article is endlessly quotable. If you are interested in development and the intersection of design and practicality, I suggest you read the original in its entirety.