I'm going to discuss briefly a concept idea i had recently, replacing full-screen view controllers with a .. fluid layout. Just look at the video first to get an idea of what I'm talking about. Keep in mind that this is in no way a finished/polished app ( and probably will never be one, considering trademarks and stuff ).

Important note: This app and concept is not affiliated, endorsed or sponsored by ikea. But since it's non-commercial I hope they won't shøøt me.

iPad fluid app layout concept from Moritz Haarmann on Vimeo.

So, what's wrong with the classic view controllers on the iPad? Nothing, absolutely nothing. They are fine. I just wanted to try out this idea, and the video is the result. If you want to test it, leave a comment and I'll get back to you ( or not ). I guess it is obvious that I've been inspired by the Twitter-iPad UI to some extent.

Maybe the most important lesson I learned programming this demo was that it's really hard to create an interface that acts in accordance with the direct manipulation paradigm.. when there is no real counterpart. I thought about a stack of cards or some other stack model, but none of those resize their content or just "move out" if there is not enough room. I am still not fully convinced that every interaction is right, but at least it feels right most of the time now. If you are curious, there can be an arbitrary number of panels around, of course only limited by memory consumption, without affecting the UI or overall perfomance.

Since I don't have a phone capable of recording videos right now, you have to believe me that the UI is really snappy on an iPad 2 and yes, it's even fun to use it.

If you are interested in how I got the data you might want to read a previous post that explained how to retrieve the data from IKEA. Was fun :-)

What do you think? Too confusing? Interesting? Let me know!

Update: If you want to test it locally, please enter your UUID here. No guarantee whatsoever, first come, first serve.