A face for your field guide

5 August, 2011 15:42 by Simon O

Part Two: Splash Screens and App Icons

In the first post of this series, we illustrated how to create optimised versions of your photos at various required sizes for output. Using these same principles, in this post, were going to show you how to create images for your splash screen and home screen.

One thing to think about if you havent already is the visual identity of your field guide. What will it look like in terms of a logo, branding, colours and featured imagery? This is based on your intended audience and the feeling you'd like to convey. Also give some thought to the consistency of the brand across the various aspects of your app. Using only one or two typefaces and a consistent colour scheme helps your app appear not just professional, but like you've put some thought into how your app represents your content, which you've no doubt been crafting for a long time. If this all sounds foreign to you, its worth getting a graphic designer involved to help you through this process. 

So once you have a look that would make Beyoncé jealous, youll need to think about what it is you want to display when your users start up the app the splash screen or launch image. This is the first thing users will see once they launch your app. It only shows for a few seconds, so keep it as simple as possible. Think of your splash screen as a billboard. If you're driving down a freeway and see an advertisement on the side of the road, you've got a couple of seconds (if that) to read it. So it's best to save that essay for inside the app.

As far as technical requirements are concerned, there are a few versions to consider. For an iPad app splash screen, youll need a PNG or JPEG image with dimensions of 768 x 1004 pixels. The iPhone and iPod Touch splash screen requires a 640 x 960 pixel image for the Retina Display (Apples 326ppi high density display). You'll also need to supply a version at half the size (320 x 480) for iPhones and iPod Touches that arent young enough to have a Retina Display. Here are some examples of the screens we created for the Museum Victoria Field Guide..

 Splash Screens from MV's Field Guide

To get a feel for how your splash screen will look in the real world, you may like to preview these at their native size on the device before you proceed with development. One way to do this is to import the images into iPhoto and then sync them with your iPhone, iPod or iPad.

There is one more image that your users will see before theyve launched your app in fact, before they've even downloaded your app which is the application icon. This is used as an icon on the home screen as well as acting as a badge in the app store. This must be an opaque square image with 90 corners. Apple requires that you provide this with dimensions of 57 x 57 pixels, 72 x 72 pixels for iPad, 114 x 114 pixels for Retina Display and 512 x 512 pixels for the App Store. In iOS, your icon will automatically be displayed with rounded corners and a drop shadow. Your icon will also have reflective shine unless you create a pre-composed image, which you can specify in your apps Info.plist file.

For further information on these image specifications, you can view the Image Creation Guidelines on Apples website.

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Comments (8)

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Peter webster 7 September, 2011 09:10
this looks fantastic shame you hav'nt done it as an android app as most are moving away from apple we do a huge amount of diving and this would be great to have.
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James Peterson 22 October, 2011 16:14
Are there plans to release an Android version of this App ?
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Discovery Centre 23 October, 2011 11:58

We have received quite a number of requests such as yours and have thought about doing this but, unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to do produce one in house. We have recently released the source code and people are therefore doing their own android conversions.

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Tim Stephenson 3 November, 2011 15:03
Is there a forum / mailing list for the mentioned Android port activity? If not, I'd be happy to set one up on Google Code (or elsewhere). Tim
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Tony 22 December, 2012 16:31
I dont own an apple phone so i can not use your Field Guide App :-(
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Discovery Centre 23 December, 2012 11:17
Hi Tony, it’s coming! The MV Field Guide app will be launched on Google Play for Android devices in early 2013. We’re also working on 6 new field guide apps, one for each state/territory in Australia. And we’ll be delivering several significant updates to the existing MV Field Guide over the next 12 months – new species, improved design and some cool new functions. Stay tuned.
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Michael Jefferies 23 January, 2013 09:10
The current app is excellent; being in Queensland do you know if and who is ing one for this State?
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Doug Fargher 11 March, 2013 22:38
As an educator working with preschoolers in a natural bush setting [Bush Kinder] my fellow educators, the children and I often use the MV Field Guide. I love to see children watching bugs crawl over their dirty hands. As caring adults our natural inclination is often to say "don't touch".However most bugs wont hurt us. I am comforted by the app info on whether the bugs produce a bite or not. I would like to see more creatures and more photos. A field guide on identifying Fungi would be great. A field guide on identifying Indigenous Plants as well Both with their traditional uses, dangers and the wildlife that surrounds them. Congratulations from Bush Kinder
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About this blog

We've released the source code for MV's Field Guide Project under a MIT style license. This blog will help you identify all the material you need to collect so that you can publish a field guide of your own.

MV's Open Sourced Code on Github

View all Museum Victoria's apps

Blog authors

Simon S is the programmer behind the field guide app.

Simon O is the designer behind the field guide app.