Monthly Archives: February 2013

iOS Menu Design

I think user interface (UI) design is really important.  While well-designed menus & gameplay UI can’t save a bad game, they can make a good game feel even more polished.  And luckily, I really like doing UI design – the functional part, that is.  I’m not an artist and don’t try to make things pretty, but I can handle usability and layout.

I’m done fleshing out the functional mockups for Project Smart Birds’ menus, so I wanted to share them and the rationales for many of the decisions I made.


My process for functional mockups is pretty simple.  It’s all pen and paper until I’m done, then I scan it for a digital copy.  First I use a lot of “scratch paper” to narrow down what to do.  Then once I know what I want, I draw each screen’s mockup into a pre-printed rectangle of the appropriate dimensions.  My iOS templates have 8 rectangles per sheet of paper, with each rectangle a little larger than an iPod 4’s screen.


My high-level goals for the menus are few and straightforward:

  • Menu layouts should be appropriate for iOS (mobile & tablet) AND for other platforms like PC and console.  I don’t mind making tweaks later, but I want a solid base that won’t need to be completely redesigned.
  • While still meeting the above, try to stick with solid iOS standards & conventions.  Since iOS is my lead platform, I want the interface to be familiar and friendly to iOS gamers.
  • Consolidate info where possible, and try to minimize clutter.

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