iBeacon Design Paradigms: TabViews and Cards


How do you present content on an app that interacts with Bluetooth LE or iBeacons? In most demos, the apps generally present a new view when the user comes within range of specific beacons. Think of this approach as the “pop up window” for a world of beacons.

But we’re always interested in new ways to design the user experience.

Twocanoes has given us an example, with a demo app available on GitHub that uses a TabViewController as the central paradigm. As you move from one beacon (or “station”) to the next, the app flips through the tabs.

While the app has been developed to work with the Bleu Station beacons that Twocanoes provides, there are some valuable lessons in how they set up their app, and some code snippets that are worth diving into in order to understand how a beacon-based experience can be designed.

The team put together a video that demos the app:

What’s Your Design Paradigm?

There are, of course, unlimited design paradigms for beacons. We’ve seen apps that use CollectionView controllers which “shuffle” based on how close you are to a specific beacon – a really effective approach because there’s nothing invisible to the user.

Embience is using the metaphor of cards to drive beacon experiences and have built a really wonderful back-end that integrates the Gimbal beacon and services with an intuitive content management system.

It’s still early days, perhaps, but as we see more examples of creativity meeting code I’m sure we’ll continue to see beacons push in the direction of delight and not just act as a modern-day pop-up that acts more to interrupt than engage.

Get Your Imagination Fired Up!

So, how about taking your imagination for a drive? Friday is the start of an iBeacon Hackathon in San Francisco that I think will end up being a seminal moment for beacons. With close to 200 people (or more) attending, and folks flying in from across North America, we expect to see some really brilliant thinking – and perhaps the start of a host of new iBeacon-based businesses!

I’ll be judging (reluctantly from a distance) and can’t wait to see what people come up with!

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