Sift, as it stands today is not the same Sift I began working on when the project kicked off in 2011.
Before the app was even named Sift, before it launched in the Apple store in 2012, and before the first round of venture capital was secured, Sift was an idea born in the Bay area minds of two guys that had to be transferred from a firing synopsis to eventually in the hands of people across the globe.
However, one huge problem existed. Neither of the founders were designers. In fact, quite the opposite. And so this is where I come into the picture.
Below is a collection of previous wireframes and visual comps that the project evolved into during the course of a year's time. Some ideas never made it, some ideas, principles, and guidelines made it all the way to ship.
Whatever the fact, the evolving life cycle of an innovative product like Sift has taught me a lot about resilience and perseverance. Also, how ideas build on top of each other, or in any direction for that matter.
Additionally, to proceed in the face of not knowing what wild turn the project will take next, nor if it will even be successful in the end. Working through these unknowns is a learned disciple within itself. That is, staying razor focused on the goal. And that is exactly the goal I accomplished.
Everyone to some degree in the business "does it" off the back of a successful product. That said, I took an inspired "Groupon-ish" approach in the very first iteration of the design. Initially it was met with thumbs up from the team.
This is a notification screen of a more polished visual comp, again taking more cues from Groupon. Can you spot the "similarities"?
After deciding on some newly introduced features, and after some aging dissatisfaction with the previous design, by way of its lack of originality, I took the product into a more original direction. Both in terms of interaction / UX stepping away from the typical iOS paradigm, as well as look and feel.
The overall idea was scalability with the outlook that one day the product would equally scale across the Android and Windows ecosystem.
Once again, not quite reaching the intended interactions and visual look and feel of the vision, I set out to reinvent my approach.
Still staying with the guiding principles, the refreshed dark scheme was to stay original and sleek, but to also hold a high degree of intuitiveness. Thereby creating a feeling or illusion of instant familiarity.
When the going gets tough, designers drink more coffee...Its true.
Taking a bigger visual leap than in past explorations, and using more of a "card style" long before Google adopted it, I decided on minimalism. Not only because it looks cool, modern and fresh. But also because our studies showed that people understood the UI real estate better and navigated the UI faster and more intuitively than ever before. I finally struck the right chord. But I would later discover I hadn't finished the song just yet. At any rate, it was these design approaches that secured the initial investment and got several other Bay area capitalists talking.
As many months spent on honing in the right experience for our perceived users, we eventually had to ship a product. Now, at this point with our first round of venture capital under our wings, it was time to shift into production mode and get V.1 built and in the Apple store.
Below are some final V.1 screens.
SIFT IN ACTION
It's one thing to speak to the product and another thing to show you it in real action. Below is an example of how a user might interact with the Sift UI. This is an early prototype but close enough to the V.1 experience to give you a good idea of it's interaction and look and feel.