As an intern at LinkedIn, I helped craft LinkedIn Groups 2.0 for iOS. Interface “delights” to make Groups smooth and attractive were my main focus. From slick transition animators to custom UI components, I created UI to be styled & reused inside all of LinkedIn’s iOS apps.
Our transitions were a bit of a mess. Sometimes screens popped up vertically, other times we shoved things in from the right. Groups had cards, pages, navigation controllers, and more. A consistent experience would guarantee better usability for our users, and less work developing/designing.
I worked extensively with just-released Apple APIs like
UIViewControllerAnimatedTransitioning to make it so. A key part of these delightful transitions were also making them interactive. I introduced hierarchies of layers, so the top-most view “pops back” to present a new page.
When you scrolled to the top of the page, you could actually pull the whole page down and dismiss it. Easier to use bigger phones without having to reach into the corners to hit the buttons. Another favorite: the compose button radiates outward when you tap on it to uncover the compose screen hiding “underneath” the button.
My second focus was creating standardized, reusable UI components through an Objective-C framework. At the time, there was no one library of components to use when creating a new iOS app. There were a lot of LinkedIn apps that felt off-brand because they used Apple’s standard UI components or the wrong colors and animation timings. My favorite part was an exact API replacement for
UIAlertController to style and brand more interestingly. Building an exact replica of a
UIControl was definitely not easy. Another fun favorite was a loading spinner that was also interactive to replace Apple’s standard. It had slick animations, but it was never shipped.
As I bundled the transition animators and UI components into a shared Cocoapods library, all LinkedIn iOS apps could more easily include it in their code. The framework,
LIDelight, is still used to this day. If you open up the main flagship consumer LinkedIn app, most dialogs use a
LIAlertController rather than Apple’s.