Forge is about pushing ideas forward. It is a tool for creatives to empower quick sketching and iteration on ideas in the beginning stages of a project. Forge was not intended to create final art work but rather help hammer out and quickly build upon ideas in a rough stage before moving forward so the user can arrive at the best end product possible.
"Brainstorm ideas and fuel your creativity with this powerful sketching tool that offers the perfect digital workspace… …It’s a fantastic way to iterate on a concept and work toward an amazing final product."
See the app in action, by watching the video below. Or, download Forge and give it a try yourself!
In the early stages of Forge the majority of my work revolved around wireframing user flows and assembling tap-through Keynotes to evaluate architecture with users. Interactive prototypes were then utilized to test user expectations followed up with user interviews to insure blockers had been identified and resolved in the current process.
Above counterclockwise from top: Diagram of user flows for pairing a stylus with Forge; An interactive Keynote made to evaluate pairing a stylus with users; A user taking us through their current process; An interactive prototype made to test users sorting colors so we could evaluate their interactions and expectations of ‘moving’ items on a touchscreen.
The goal for the UI of Forge was to make the user created content the focal point. We went through numerous visual styles pushing back and forth until a balance was found. The challenge was to make the users’ sketches the focus of the app — because that is what it is all about after all — and at the same time not sacrifice usability or moments to brand the app. The final outcome is a beautiful, minimal aesthetic that puts full focus on the users’ creations but allows Forge to shine in the in between moments.
Below: An early visual design review session; Three directions of the visual development for the delete project modal; Followed by the final visual style of Forge.
"The Forge app has a beautiful design, using thin lines and drop shadows exactly how they should be used."
As Forge neared completion, it became clear through user testing that Forge was filling a gap for creatives, but like any new tool a little learning or introduction was needed.
We designed and tested multiple options of how we could onboard a new user to Forge. The goal was to not instantly overpower the new user; possibly scaring them away, rather to find the balance of giving them just the right amount of information they need to start using Forge. As we zeroed in on the correct amount of information, we looked for ways to maximize retention of information. The end result is a beautiful quick interactive walkthrough of Forge.
Below: A static screenshot from the interactive onboarding sequence.
"@AdonitNews Just downloaded Forge, it has one of the best intro walk-through designs I’ve seen on an app! UX +1"
As launch approached, and a few last bugs were getting fixed, it was time to get a support page ready. We had a basic understanding from user testing what was going to be important in a support page, but we also did not want to over build the support page before we had a bigger sample set. We filmed several videos and assembled a support site available within the app and on the web.
Forge Goes Live
Within the first few weeks Forge was named App of the Month and received Apple App Store Editors’ Choice.
"Brainstorm ideas and fuel your creativity with this powerful sketching tool that offers the perfect digital workspace. Forge lets you import photos for inspiration, draw and doodle to your heart’s content, and merge layers with a pinch or copy them to take your idea in a new direction. And with Forge’s Project Wall, you can view all your drawings at once, arrange them in collections, and toss your least favorite drafts to the side. It’s a fantastic way to iterate on a concept and work toward an amazing final product."
Forge also received reviews and recognition from a host of online articles: