Android, Streaming, Material Design
A Color Bright, Carhartt Work in Progress
2014 – 2019
What was Karlmax’s role in the project?
Our task was to create an Android app based on the template of the iOS version. Our partner A Color Bright took on the design and project management.
Why does the user need the app?
To get access to exclusive radio programs featuring important artists.
What can the app do?
Carhartt Radio is an app with an entire archive of radio programs to sort through and listen to. With the genre filter, the user can find music and information about artists and labels, a feature unique to the app. The program information page is full of background stories, musical role models, production anecdotes and special questions for the artists—all usually in form of an interview.
With Google’s new Material Design Guidelines, new benchmarks were created for Android Versions 5.0 (alias Lollipop) and above: softer animations, clearer structures on the screen and visual feedback for the user with all interactions.
But we came up against what is a widespread problem for Android: The smartphone and tablet models on the market were still lagging somewhat behind, so we needed a solution that worked for older models as well.
How did we proceed?
To begin with, we built a version that was purely functional, in other words with minimum design. Then we began to support the current generation of devices and, bit by bit, designed the look of the app to fit to them. The final step consisted of readjusting all of this for older devices. Google Support Tools delivered a large part of this functionality as we went. But we had to put in a lot more work on single effects such as parallax scrolling and the seamless transition between list and detail views.
We’d definitely like to highlight the great cooperation we enjoyed with our partners A Color Bright in Kreuzberg Berlin. They earned our full respect for having endured – as designers – our functional prototypes. We also need to say thanks for the interactive sessions in which we worked together to push the app over the finish line.
Behind the scenes – or: How you teach an old Android new tricks
The Parallax animations on the detail page accompanied us through the entire process, and gave us plenty of headaches in figuring out how to make the transitions feel smooth and appropriate. The OS version at that time rendered the system components calculable and good to look at. However, the relevant interfaces didn’t exist on the older versions and so required manual implementation. As a developer, I was often sure that I’d found the sources of all possible mistakes, but with every test, there were new visual shenanigans – the movement of the elements were too fast, too slow, and then with a fast gesture they disappeared completely from the screen… amazing!