The design process would prove to grueling and exceptionally challenging. Given our tight deadline ( what else is new!), we had to get all the work done before San Diego Comic-Con.
INNOCEAN’S CHOP SHOP DESIGN TEAM
- Scott Muckenthaler, CD
- Derek Arzoo, ACD / AD
- Charles Gerstner, ACD / AD
- Jeff Chin AD
- Andrew Kapamajian AD
- Nate Manchester UX
- Big Block, Santa Monica
Once we were able to get all the appropriate parties on board, our team began concepting various different looks for the app. We were led by our creative director Scott Muckenthaler and Tom Pettus. Scott had an encouraging way of working with us. We would come up with with numerous executions of how the app should look and he would always bring us back to usability. This was a good thing. I would fight hard for the look that I wanted. At the same time, he would remind me of how important it was to be clear and concise with function. Tom would help keep us on track with simplicity. He impressed upon on the importance of simple messaging that everyone could get.
We must have gone through hundreds of rounds until finally we were able to settle on the current design. It is easy to get lost in the artwork and forget usability. Fortunately, we were able to check and balance one another. We also had our UX director, Nate, available to vet anything he might deem not user friendly.
My approach was simple. I was always attracted to the use of dials. We agreed that the app would have to run in horizontal mode. Thus, your thumbs would do the controlling. Also, we wanted IOS but new that Android would follow shortly thereafter. We arrived to the distinction of car zones on the left ( hood, bumper, etc.) and parts on the right. I pushed very hard to have dials or gears as our controllers. Charles, however, came up with the nice idea of tapping through the parts. The zones would remain the same but his innovation was to tap through all the regions, not dial through them. Both Brian and Andrew came up with other interesting concepts such as immersive environments or expanding menus. Again, the tapping was always a hit with the team and would ultimately be the mechanism we go with.
The look and feel was to be gritty. We wanted to convey a dark, grimy feel alongside controls that were crisp reads. The buttons needed to be clear and precise. However, the environment would be dark and foreboding.
Initial Design Stage // Concept 1
I started off with the idea of gears much like you would find in an engine. More so, I wanted to give a video game feel. The design was to be select a zone, enter a section, learn the part, and finally add it. I managed to study several video games for inspiration including Grand Theft Auto and Gears of War 3. I was intrigued not only by their storytelling but how they translated their spirit and voice to the controller. What I didn’t want to do was make it too much like a video game and make sure it could live in the Walking Dead universe.
The process was to continue for another 6 weeks until we fell in love with an app design we could all agree on.