In sixth grade, my friends and I would write notes to each other in class, as did your typical junior high girl (pre cell phones). Boys would then try to steal them or our teachers would catch the note. So we invented a secret alphabet. Only a select few of us had the original translation to decode the notes.
Fast-forward 20 years, this led to the creation of CIPHER; an app where you can custom make a coded alphabet with your friends, downloading a keyboard or private message in the app. An app where every word is encrypted.
After some research to see if such an app existed, I was surprised to find there was only 1 app that was similar in nature. Even this app seemed a bit bland for the context of creating your own language. I was looking to make something fun - that had that shared secret excitement.
As far as design was concerned, I looked at language learning apps as well as simpler coding apps. I loved how a lot of them put the full emphasis on the letters themselves. The beauty truly was in the typography and the creation of the words. I also loved looking at the color choices; a lot of orange and purple existed but none that married the two complementary colors. In color psychology, orange can mean creativity and energy while purple alludes to mystery and intrigue. Perfect for a coded alphabet app.
So I sketched out my designs to walk through what an alphabet creation might look like:
After walking my classmates through my sketches, they loved the idea, however, there was concern that the screens were a bit busy. Some simplification would go a long way. In addition, because this would be catering to a younger audience, (12+), a reminder to keep the look/feel vibrant.
The final result? An app I would still play with today. Now who can I sell this to make CIPHER real?