Yale University School of Art
1156 Chapel Street, POB 208339
New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8339
(203) 432-2600

GRAPHIC DESIGN, Art 752, Mobile Computing

For second-year graphic design students. This course explores the unique opportunities and qualities available to technology-based design when it is placed in the hands and ears of pedestrians, drivers, aviators, tourists, and other mobile agents. From Paul Virilio’s observation that the Walkman provided pedestrians the syncretic construction of their own outdoor realities “in kit form,” to the 25 billion iPhone applications that have now been downloaded, from “glass cockpits” and GPS systems to handheld museum guides, graphic designers now commonly shift the very interface between people and the environments they explore. But how should we? With reference to avant-gardes that have contributed to and predicted today’s state of the art, including Fluxus, outdoor communication through fashion, and science fiction, the class asks students to design their own applications for the iPhone and other mobile devices. We focus in particular on interaction design for public and private contexts, and user experiences that include users, device, and environment. Applications are Web-based so that advanced programming is not required. Students need not own a smartphone. ART 742b or similar experience is strongly recommended.

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Michel de Certeau, “Walking in the City”


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Paul Virilio, from War and Cinema


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Robert Smithson, “Monuments of Passaic”


Read the New York Times article, including its three linked profiles (Oleg, Chuol, and Hana). Watch the linked VR movie using the NYT VR iPhone or Android app.

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Mentioned: Krzysztof Wodiczko, Critical Vehicles


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James R. Grossman, from Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration
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From The Metamorphoses of Ovid (Alan Mandelbaum, tr.)

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Edith Wharton, “A Journey”

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Paul Elliman, “Token Resistance”


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Benedict Anderson, from Imagined Communities

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Thomas Pynchon, from The Crying of Lot 49


This tutorial is good and creates a more polished mobile app than the basic one we’ll create below. But see the note below regarding Swift 3; it’s not covered in the official tutorial and is required for the latest Xcode and iOS versions.

These instructions are for iOS; I’ll follow up with Android instructions.

A briefer version:

Install Meteor and Xcode.

Launch Xcode at least once to accept the license.

Launch Terminal.

Create a new Meteor project:

$ meteor create art752a

Go into that directory and install dependencies:

$ cd art752a
$ meteor npm install

Start your server to test the app:

$ meteor

Visit localhost:3000 in a web browser.

In Terminal, press Ctrl-C to stop the server.

Configure for iOS:

$ meteor install-sdk ios
$ meteor add-platform ios

Configure for Swift 3:

$ meteor add cordova:cordova-plugin-meteor-webapp@1.4.1

Please watch this GitHub issue (scroll to bottom) to see the latest version of the above command; it literally changed during our class (39 minutes ago). Once Meteor is fully upgraded for Swift 3, this command shouldn’t be necessary at all.

Run the app in a simulator:

$ meteor run ios

(for me, the app didn’t properly install on the simulator the first time; I had to press Ctrl-C to stop the server, quit the simulator, and repeat the above command a second time.)

Press Ctrl-C to stop the server. Quit the simulator.

Load the project in Xcode to run it on a device:

$ meteor run ios-device

Set up code signing so you can deploy to your device:

In Xcode, press Cmd-1 to show the project navigator, and click the project name in it. In the column to the right, click the project name under TARGETS. Make sure the General tab is selected. Under Signing, make sure Automatically Manage Signing is ticked. Select your Apple account from the Team dropdown, or add a free account from this dropdown.

Deploy the app to your device:

Plug your phone in and unlock it. You may need to wait a while for it to finish “Processing symbols” in the Xcode status display.

Make sure your phone is selected at the top (to the left of the status display). Press the Play button in the upper left to deploy your app to your phone.

If you get a message on your phone about trusted developer, follow these instructions on your phone and launch the app again from the phone.

If you’ve changed the version of the Cordova plugin you’re using and need to rebuild from scratch for Xcode, then you may need to: Quit Xcode. In Terminal, press Ctrl-C to stop the server. Type “meteor reset”. Then start over from “meteor install-sdk ios”.

Next steps:

More info on Meteor’s mobile capabilities . Includes details about installing and using Xcode or the Android SDK, debugging, app icons, and other details and features.

If your app needs a server (for database persistence or multi-user features), then right now your laptop is that server. You’ll need to deploy the server to Heroku (or Meteor Galaxy), and configure the mobile app to connect to that server’s URL instead of to your laptop. Instructions to come. But Meteor mobile apps do work without a server.

(An interesting feature of Meteor is that when a server is running [which could be your laptop], if you update the .js, .html, or .css code on the server, as long as the app is running in the foreground on your mobile device, the new code will “hot push” automatically to your mobile device and the mobile code will permanently update as well, even without actually deploying to mobile again.)

The To Do’s app linked at the top of this module is an example of a more polished mobile skin.

If you want to share the app with friends, you’ll need to joint the Apple Developer Program ($99/year for unlimited apps). Then you can use TestFlight to distribute it (or release it to the App Store). Of course you should also be able to manually install it on multiple devices through Xcode following the instructions above, without a paid account.

Last edited by: Dan Michaelson
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