2020 | App Design and Development
ISS Finder is an app that we designed and developed to help people to see and learn about the International Space Station (ISS). ISS Finder shows you the upcoming visible passes with details like the altitude and direction so that you can watch the station pass overhead at night. ISS Finder also lets users get automatically notified of good passes in their area, shows the current and past crew of the station, and includes a livestream view of the view of Earth from the station.
We designed ISS Finder to be fun and informational. The app is primarily used at night when you don't want a bright white screen to ruin your night vision and hamper your view of the station so it was important to have a dark mode. We took inspiration from retro interfaces in sci-fi movies and video games and adopted primary color blocks and used outlines to segment content.
Above is a side by side of the light and dark mode versions of the app. On the pass detail page we wanted to make it as simple as possible to understand everything you need to know about the pass. You can see on the compass which direction the pass starts and ends, and how high in the sky it will be. Below that is a breakdown of the star rating for the pass which shows you why ISS Finder considers a pass good or bad. Other astronomy apps use words like "visual magnitude" for brightness, and don't include things like the weather forecast which all increase the barrier to entry for newcomers to see the station. We want space to be as approachable and understandable as possible and are always looking for ways to make the information clearer.
In order to make it as easy as possible to see the station we also added automatic alarms. Users can set a minimum star rating, and input what time of the day they're okay with getting notified, and ISS Finder will continuosly schedule notifications for you.