Data modeling the iPhone

Why not.

If you happened to catch our presentation on Zen Flash Application Development, we showed a few slides of interfaces broken down into the 3 general kinds of UI.

We used green to show collections, red to show items, and yellow to show UI that was neither an item or collection. The idea is that you can create a very accurate sketch of a data model based solely on UI.

I believe that the easier you can breakdown your UI into the data model components, the easier that piece of UI is to use. When you’re more connected with how the data works underneath, you’re more confident in what’s going to happen when you interact with the UI at the surface.

Here’s how you can break down a few screens on the iPhone. Notice as you traverse the interface, you can uncover more information about the data model.

The iPhone contact list as items and collections.

Click an album item in the album collection…

Now we uncover more information about the album. Click the playlist icon at the upper right…

Now we uncover a new relationship between albums and a collection of songs.

Granted, all this “uncovering” is kind of obvious. Who doesn’t know an album has a title and a collection of songs in it? But, the core idea is that we can do this kind of data modeling with any kind of application interface. And, it becomes particularly benefitial to interfaces and data models that may not be so familiar to us.