Haiku Deck

We helped design an iPad app for simple presentations that earned them top billing in the app store

Simple Wins. Always.

Creating presentations doesn’t have to be painful and with the Haiku Deck iPad app, it can even be fun. Co-founders Adam Tratt and Kevin Leneway called up Design Commission with a request:

“Help us brand and design the UI for our iPad app.”

We’d worked with Kevin in the past and knew what a brilliant guy he was; we suspected he was in good company so we dove in. They had a name in mind, but weren’t sure how to pull it off, visually, without it being too gimmicky. We iterated on logos a bit and ultimately settled on a mark that told the story of the product appropriately: an origami crane. Like origami, story telling through presentations is a process you work through, all the while striving for simplicity and authenticity.

Design Commission spent a lot of time developing the Haiku Deck logo and brand

Craft the Interface

With a brand and visual language in mind, we set to work on crafting the interface of the app to be a simple, elegant system. Space on any touch screen is limited so you have to be efficient with interface. Additionally, iconography has to be very thoughtfully designed and hiding interfaces can lead to folks getting lost in your app. Our solution was a hybrid of tucking away the less-frequently used UI in sliding trays and keeping the primary functionality front-and-center.

Shape the Iconography

It’s important for the UI in an app like Haiku Deck to tow the line of the product’s image. That meant simple, minimal iconography, dark, elegant colors, and a comforting typographic system which welcomed the user into the app. The result of our collaboration garnered some great press and they began to grow a delighted user base.

Haiku Deck iconography, typography, and photography were crafted to create an instant connection with the user.

However, our story with Haiku Deck didn't end there. In fact it took on a new level of sophistication when they asked us to help them design the experience for creating charts and graphs. Striking a balance between accuracy and effectiveness is a constant challenge in information visualization, especially when you couple the constraints of our big, fat gorilla fingers trying to fine-tune those visualizations. We had some big questions to wrestle: What parts of a graph are really needed to tell a great story? What was the minimum amount of UI and presentation that we could get by with? Should users refine the graph in great detail or in approximation? How can we make inputting data fun? Once we established these constraints, we proceeded to design a UI that was highly physical, allowing users to literally play with their numbers.

Big Results

The result of Haiku Deck 2.0? Major news coverage of the release and 500k delighted users, unleashing stories in a way that's never been this simple before.

screenshot of app

Haiku Deck Awards

  • Geekwire Award


    Winner, Greekwire App of the Year, and Finalist, Geekwire Startup of the Year, May 2013

  • Modev Award

    MoDev Tablet Disruptathon:

    Community Poll Winner and Live Pitch Runner-up, MoDev Tablet Disruptathon, August 2013

  • PC Mag Award

    PC Mag:

    Top 100 Websites of 2013, PC Mag, January 2014

Adam Tratt, CEO

Take it from Adam

“I recommend DC without reservation. They helped us with our logo as well as through several iterations of our product (iPad app called Haiku Deck) which has earned critical and customer praise for its beautifully designed interface. I find the Design Commission team to be thoughtful, hard-working, reliable, and awesome. They say what they are going to do and deliver on-time and pretty close to budget. They're patient. They add value to our brand beyond the work we ask them to do. They're fun. I could hire an in-house designer, but I enjoy working with DC so much that I prefer to continue working with them”

- Adam Tratt, CEO

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