Adapter has come a long way since its initial release. Cramming so many features into a single app, while maintaining a simple and intuitive interface, hasn't been an easy task. In fact, it took us four attempts at completely redesigning the UI to get it right. In the latest overhaul of the app we not only redesigned the interface, but also included many new features and even an all-new icon.
The importance of an app's icon cannot be understated. Icons are the first thing you see in a program and, if the app makes the cut (which we're confident Adapter does), then the icon will have the honor of being saved in your Mac's dock or pinned to your PC's toolbar where you'll see the icon every time you use your computer. Some things we look for in an icon are simplicity, professional quality, memorability and that it conveys functionality of the app.
When we brainstormed ideas for the new Adapter icon, the first thing we thought of was a bunch of arrows which could indicate the app was a converter. But then that idea seemed pretty boring and there were already a bunch of apps out there with similar designs. An icon with graphics of music notes, filmstrips and/or other media was another possibility, but not only had those designs already been done before, but they would only encompass part of adapters feature set and required too much detail to look good in a small resolution.
Next we started thinking along the lines of "adapting", or "evolving". The evolutionary train of thought led us to discover the Axolotl, a species of fish which not only appears to be in the process of evolving to a land animal, but also looks awesome!
The final Adapter icon was actually created by the combined efforts of three graphic design artists. The first version of this icon, for use in our app, was developed in a design contest. The winner's entry is based partly off of an illustration from artist Yee Chong (with permission). Our in house graphic designer then took the illustration and touched it up to make the final lovable animal you see now.
If you've been using Adapter for a while, then you've probably noticed all the changes we've made to the UI. Adapter converts video, music and image formats in batches or individually. It can also download Flash video and audio from the web and then output those to any format of your choosing. Initially, we thought separating the source file formats into separate tabs made the most sense, as it would help prevent people from accidentally trying to convert things like an image to a ringtone.
The multi-tab layout worked for a while but then we developed the back-end of Adapter to include a real-time output estimator which detects conversion errors before they happen. With the new output estimator in place we were able to simplify the app down to just one conversion tab without sacrificing functionality, and make the app easier to use for both novice and expert users.
The continuing improvement in computer displays has enabled developers to include subtle textures and graphic effects that wouldn't be possible a few years ago. The latest revisions of Adapter include customized buttons, backgrounds and textures that come together to create a beautiful interface and app experience.
The important buttons will pop out at you, while the less used features are still there but won't distract you if you don't need them.
When you drag an item into Adapter it goes into Adapter's source file queue. When you look at that queue, you're going to want to see more than just a list of file names. Can I convert this file format to this other one? How big is my original file and how big will the converted file be? What are the resolutions and frame rate of the source and output files? Is the file done converting yet? What's the audio track look like that's encapsulated in this video file?
There's a lot you need to know when your converting files, and most apps out there either lead you on a scavenger hunt to find that info or they just keep it to themselves. Adapter's source queue is smart. It tells you what you need to know and presents it in a way you'll understand.
We've put in a ton of work days, nights and weekends developing Adapter and we're very happy with the result. We now use the app outside work and our friends are recommending it to their friends. We love this app and we're pretty sure you will too.
The Macroplant Development Team
If you haven't noticed, this page looks a bit different than other parts of our website. The navigation bar at the top, the way the content has been laid out, and the footer of the page have all been redesigned to better reflect where we're going as a company.
Please feel free to leave some feedback regarding the new changes. If you have any suggestions as to how we can make your experience on our site better, drop us a line below. Also, if you'd like to leave a comment or ask a question about Adapter's new look, you can do that here too.