Bryan Wu





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App Design Notes





Everyone Keyboard

San Francisco, 2017
Custom soft keyboard (design, code), iPhone


“Representation through randomization."

This custom emoji keyboard for the iPhone randomizes gender or skin color at a press of a button. Emoji — “picture characters” — include gestures, professions, relationships, and family units, however, the defaults are often male or female, or of a particular skin color. This keyboard allows users to deprioritize and randomize gender and race, but they will also confront their own biases as they decide to use (or not to use) a particular emoji combination.

Technical notes

I learned a lot about emoji. It's pretty clever: skin color and gender are modifiers. So [skincolor modifier char]+[joiner char]+[thumbsup] = skincolor thumbs up.

It’s basically like Chinese. Radicals [tree] are composed into a single character [tree][tree][tree] = forest.

iOS's string manipulation functions haven't quite caught up to parsing these new emoji — it was actually quite difficult but I ended up writing my own custom code to decompose, then recompose each emoji.

Available in the App Store






Detect It — The Real Fake Geiger Counter

San Francisco, 2015
Application (design, code), iPhone


Many people, especially today, assume that digital devices are objective and infallible.

Detect It is a geiger-counter-like meter that allows the operator to 'detect' anything by secretly controlling the readout with their finger. The detector's label is customizable, so one can detect anything: BS, engrams, mansplaining, etc. The careful viewer will note that readout goes above 100%.

Technical notes

The meter is controlled by measuring the user's finger pressure on the screen, then mapping it to the meter readout and the randomized 'tick' sounds.  For devices without pressure-sensitive screens (iPhone 6 and prior), I map radius of the touch to the meter readout via a curve-fitting polynomial equation.

Available in the App Store






Cross It Off! — Your Shopping Buddy

I handwrite my shopping lists and hate retyping, so after trying countless drawing apps that didn't quite do what I wanted, I wrote this little app.

Fun and simple. I add little things once and a while.

Technical notes

I design apps and other things for a living but this is my first self-designed, programmed, and published productivity app.

I was scratching my own itch but it turns out my friends were also itchy, so with their encouragement I polished it up and published it.

Some challenges, some of which I solved on a retreat in Mexico: zooming, loading and storing image layers, undo/redo, getting it to work on iPad, and feature requests. I tried to keep it as international as possible. A next step might be to translate it into Spanish.

Available in the App Store





Musical Notation Sticker Pack for iMessage

Created for a musician friend, this musical notation sticker set lets you create and send musical notation within Apple's ubiquitous chat app.

Technical notes

Stickers are big business in messaging apps, allowing users to decorate personal chats with virtual illustrations and animations. I noticed that unlike other messaging apps such as Line, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., iMessage's stickers can be placed arbitrarily on the screen. Leveraging this unique feature, I created a library of notes and musical notations that can be placed on a musical staff.

Available in the App Store






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