I was pleased to play a part in the creation of Eyewitness – the Guardian's iPad app – which celebrates the exceptional photography that appears in the paper's centre pages. The series began when the Guardian switched to the Berliner format in 2005. Every day, our picture desk chooses an extraordinary image. This project marks the first time these have been made available on a computer at a half-decent resolution.
Creating the app was an interesting process. Last year, I helped create an interactive retrospective for the photographer Jane Bown. The most popular feature in that piece turned out to be the full screen mode – readers clearly like blocking out distractions and letting the pictures do the talking.When I asked our picture desk what else we could deliver in this format, editor Ranjit Dhaliwal was quick to suggest Eyewitness.
I started prototyping an interface using Flash. By coincidence, Alan Rusbridger walked by my desk as I was finishing the demo, so I gave him a sneak peek along with a number of other folks including Jon Moore, the Guardian’s mobile product manager. Jon was meeting with Apple later that day to discuss what the Guardian might have ready in time for the iPad launch. The Eyewitness idea seemed like a good fit, so we quickly moved from an initial brainstorming session to fleshing out the prototype with some help from editorial designer, Andy Brockie. It's amazing how much framing things with a iPad bevel JPEG adds to a project's credibility!
Once we'd found an iOS developer in the form of Martin Redington, the build progressed very quickly. Four weeks after, Guardian Eyewitness for the iPad appeared on the shelves of the Apple Store amongst the very first crop of tablet apps. A few weeks later, it was projected behind Steve Jobs during the iOS 4.0 keynote whilst he name checked some of his favourite apps. All in all, a good result!