As we get close to the release of a new version of Comic Zeal for the iPad it's a good time to reminisce about what the earlier versions looked like. Comic Zeal was the first comic book reader on the iTunes App Store. At that time, just a few months after the store launched, iPhone user interfaces were still relatively new and expectations... low.
Let's start off by looking at the screen that has seen the most changes. Does this look familiar to you?
Pretty shocking huh? I'm not going to pretend that the text-only view was state of the art even back then. I will however say that it wasn't too bad for the time. A few weeks later we added an indication of how much of each comic had been read:
The comic reading view was also fairly agricultural:
Everything a comic reader needs is right there. You can change pages (in both directions) AND go back to the menu. The buttons stayed on the screen all the time.
In the few weeks after launch we changed the button behaviour and implemented something that was to set Comic Zeal apart from other comic readers for many months to come; persistent zoom. Back then, if you used Apple's zoom control, every time a new image was displayed the zoom level was reset. Every time you turned the page you'd have to zoom in again. We developed a method to keep the zoom level consistent between page turns without breaking Apple's rules. We were the only ones with that feature for a few months after other comic readers appeared on the iTunes Store.
There was one place where Comic Zeal V1.0 displayed comic covers, and shelves:
Beautiful (for the time), but a bit of a cheat. It's a web page, accessed from within Comic Zeal. It did however make it very clear that the comic selection screen in Comic Zeal would one day have to look like this.
What happened when the user picked a comic to read? They got to see this:
Next time we'll look at the changes that version 2.0 bought.