- personal website of Stefan Kovachev

eskapism Lockinfo theme

I have to admit that even though I love the iPhone in some aspects it is at a disadvantage when compared with other similar devices. In my opinion its killer feature – the OS and its usability – still lack some things that can be found on high-end Nokia or HTC handsets. One such missing feature is a good lock screen. The vanilla iPhone lock screen shows almost no information (only clock). Compared to Nokia handhelds it lacks things like weather, missed calls, new E-mail messages…

Something must be done! And it has! For jailbroken iPhones exists the possibility to buy and install Lockinfo – an extension to the iPhone OS that shows all that information on the Lock screen. As far functionality goes this was just what I (and the iPhone) needed, but.. from a design and usability point of view it was.. well, not optimal. It was possible to customize it a bit by replacing some images and changing some font colors. That, however, didn’t do anything for its usability. Luckily the creator exposed an API for to implement themes using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. As a result one of the more popular themes emerged – the Gruppled Lockinfo theme. It’s design was better than the native Lockinfo, but naturally it consumed more resources due to the fact that it was a HTML-based theme.

I started using it and for most part I was pleased. There were some things that annoyed me – mainly about the interface and how everything was too small. Then I came across this post. The mock-up presented there looked much better than the theme I was using and I felt that I wanted it. It’s development however wasn’t going very well (at least at the time – now it is available in Cydia under the name Element) and I started thinking if I could implement something of my own. After many design concepts I had a somewhat finalized layout and started hacking at its implementation. As a base I took the Gruppled theme and began making changes.

After a couple of weeks of development in my free time the first version if the theme emerged. Its was very different from the base theme that I took as I had rewritten it almost completely using jQuery. I knew there were bugs and there were still features that I wanted to add, but I decided to release it in beta status for testing. I wanted to get as much feedback as I could so a Twitter account was set up and threads in several of the more popular forums were written. The overall acceptance was high and within only a week it reached 500 downloads (event though I didn’t put much effort into popularizing it) which led to a avalanche of feature requests, bug reports and support questions. I had even more work in front of me but I was glad that everybody liked my creation.

As of this moment the downloads counter is nearing 1000 downloads. You can find the theme and the changes list at the eskapism Lockinfo theme website. If want to know all the news about this theme as they happen follow the Twitter account @eskapismTheme or check out the website at a regular basis. A bit more information about the project itself you can find on the project page. Lastly I would like to point out this demonstration video (for version 1.1.1). It turns out that only a handful of users actually read the information about new features. I’ve designed the theme in such a way that there aren’t any unnecessary buttons and most of it is controlled by gestures. As a consequence many users have overlooked features present in the theme and therefore my advice – read carefully the changes section and check out the demo video!

I would like to end this post with a request directed at all of you – if you like this theme – share it, make it popular! Send suggestions and feature requests using e-Mail, Twitter or whatever you like! Help make this theme the best!

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