The Appedition: Kickstarter

Curator: Mark Pollard
date: February 28, 2014
Categories: Experience Design, Information Design
Tags: App, mobile app, mobile website app
Kickstarter app—Loading screen

The app that makes ideas like yours happen—Kickstarter.

I umm’d and ahh’d about which final app to leave you with.

IFTTT will help you tidy and automate your digital situation

Dark Sky is well covered (you need it if you live in a weather-prone city)

Behance is beautiful (no doubt many of you use it to manage your portfolios)

Airbnb is incredible eye candy and would make anyone’s thumb happy

And then there are apps that are on the way up in usefulness but that could enjoy a facelift:

Quora is an excellent Q&A community. I feel the experience stagnated for a while but over the past 12 months Quora has started to surface interesting and useful content very well.

Quibb is a good companion to Quora. It’s a members-only social bookmarking service. A little elite in its FOMO-based signup approach, if you’re into tech and startups, Quibb will help you see what others like you are reading.

LinkedIn has also stepped up its game in the past year. It’s slowly becoming more visual and work is obviously happening on its algorithms as the platform tries to surface great content to keep you there.

I decided to focus on Kickstarter.


What’s to love about the Kickstarter app experience:

1. Great content

If you want to get funded, you need to get noticed. To get noticed, you’ll need a compelling idea plus a great story. Yes, Kickstarter videos have become their own sub-genre but the storytelling isn’t just about the video. The storytelling involves the the written story, images, perks, community interaction and any social media a creator makes. Kickstarter puts pressure on this all to be good.

2. Simple color code

Other than the navigation screen, Kickstarter is a subdued affair. Lime green makes things stand out.

3. Space for the text to breathe

The leading looks like it was done by a designer who cared about the words. As someone who really likes words, I appreciate this.

4. Consistent experience

There’s not a lot to the app, which is why I like it. With pressure on Kickstarter to show themselves off with great content and with Kickstarter putting pressure on possible patrons to find the most relevant and highest quality projects by surfacing the best content, the experience is consistently good. That last sentence would have made more sense with a Venn diagram but if you read it a few times you’ll know what I mean (pressure to make good stuff + system that shows the best of the good stuff).


Popular screen

When you open the Kickstarter app, it takes you to Staff Picks. Kickstarter tries to control much of the experience by getting you straight into the best stuff. The Staff Picks and Popular screens are essentially the same—an endless scroll of projects with each project featuring a video, the pledge status, the number of backers and amount of time remaining for the backing to happen. These are all good uses of behavioral nudges to get people to find out more and hopefully shell out some digital coin.


The navigation feels a little out of place in the app (if you look at the screens on the Kickstarter website, there was a version of the navigation that was much lighter—this feels more in keeping with the rest of the app). Whatever you click on here, the experience doesn’t introduce significantly different templates.

Category screen

If you select a category such as Art, Comics or Technology from the navigation, you’ll see the same template as Staff Picks and Popular with the subtle addition of sub-category navigation (for instance, in Technology, you’ll see Hardware and Open Software).

Search screen

When you click the magnifying glass, the screen clears and the top navigation area reveals a search box. This makes complete sense and allows for that consistent experience again. For some reason, I feel this approach is a little understated and shy.

Activity screen

The Activity screen shows you the official activity of projects you’ve interacted with. From here, you can add your own comments to the posts.

Profile screen

Finally, there’s this. The screen that helps you access your settings, messages and backed projects.

Kickstarter app—Popular screen

Kickstarter app—Navigation

Kickstarter app—Category

Kickstarter app—Search

Kickstarter app—Search results

Kickstarter app—Activity

Kickstarter app—Profile


Kickstarter shows how a simple design can really make an app work when there’s pressure on content makers to make great content and pressure on the business behind the app to make the best content succeed.

Earlier in Design Envy - The Appedition:

The Hype Machine iOS app

Keezy – the soundboard app

Zite – The best way to read news

Headspace – for meditation

You can find me here:

Work @ Big Spaceship

Tweet @ @markpollard

Write @ Life. Then strategy
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