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The Pull Digital Satellite App has landed
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The Pull Digital Satellite App has landed

It started off as a poster and turned into a fully fledged interactive app built in Unity. Read the story of a man, his app and outer space.

Space. The final frontier.

These are the voyages of Pull. Our continuing mission: to explore new digital worlds, to seek out new content and new ways of communication.

Our latest mission: create an “interactive presentation or app type offering” for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

The whole concept began as a printed poster, which then grew into a fully-fledged interactive iPad app.

Lift off and initial ascent.

Initially we stared at the poster and tried to visualise “minority report style” how we could bring it to life digitally as an interactive piece. (Challenge accepted)

Could it be a standalone micro site? Could PowerPoint or Keynote achieve the desired outcome? They would both probably suffice, but we envisaged a more intuitive, educational and creative solution….so we took a leap of faith and began looking at designing and developing an app to bring the poster to digital life.

Rumblings of a 3D Games engine called Unity began to surface that could be just the ticket. It combines a video games environment with coding to achieve layouts you can export to any device.

Would a video game engine be the best solution to use though? ... The simple answer was a big fat ‘yes.’

At this stage, creatively we had dissected the poster into 4 user journey scenes and plugged these into Unity to bring them to life. Unity allowed us to add behaviours such as rotate on touch, swipe gestures, tap & zoom and with the added benefit of code we could program in behaviours too such as automatic scene changes. These features are all must haves for any modern day app so were getting excited about the initial ascent.

We’ve landed and it’s time to explore.

The best apps these days are the ones that don’t need any self-explanation or instructions screen. Users should know where and when to swipe, what to tap and be taken on a simple intuitive journey they don’t have to stop and ask directions for.

We had to get the balance right here, the realm of satellites (and lots of them!) with pages of content about each of them combined with all the interactive in app behaviours could create a complicated mess. So once we had the user journey mapped out we began to build, keeping in mind at each stage to keep the design and layout of the app interface simple and informative. As a team we worked like a modern day Picasso and Stephen Hawking. It took a few weeks, and the occasional mission aborted temporarily to get client feedback and input, but the app was progressing nicely and functioning well on our test iPad. The features of rotate, tap and scroll give the app interactivity the client asked for, and the educational content keeps the user engaged. The client was very happy with the outcome and is in the process of showing it off at expos (phase 2 at the ready).

Mission Completed

On deadline day we had a fully functioning native app with 14 Satellites rotating the orbit safely. The year by year scroller and slideshow flow nicely, and users can travel the journey scene by scene effortlessly.

This was a real print to digital application success story. Pull are now well and truly navigators of the app world. Taking forward our learning from this inaugural mission, our next app should be even bigger and better.

So talk to Pull about creating your app!

Posted 21 July 2015 by