Currency conversion is nothing new on mobile and there is a galaxy of apps in this domain.
We took this precise topic as a first exercise in a long series: "How can we re-invent such a conventional topic?"
First of all, we needed a demo app of Xloudia. People we daily meet have no idea about what do do with this technology. We do have many. We are not app developers, we are technologists in computer vision and we are technologists with vision. Mobile apps are just a way. We won't make money with this app.
The main objective of this exercise was to create the simplest link between a real object, money, and digital content, to make the user experience simple, fast, smooth and pleasant.
Then, we wanted to demonstrate Xloudia capabilities: its speed of recognition, its capability to sort a bill from thousands, its accuracy.
Of course, we wanted to make it available to Android and iPhone users.
The task of giving the value of thousands of banknotes is more challenging than it looks as banknotes are very similar, within their country but also from country to country. They feature complex and subtile patterns which can confuse algorithms. A recognition error is immediately visible as the exchange value appears wrongly on the application.
The other challenge is of course to get the reference images of banknotes without infringing the laws.
I designed the interface to be as simple as possible and using motions as the main design feature (my trademark these days): graphics are over simplified but motions make them interesting.
A second choice was to make the camera flow as the permanent background of the application. I like the idea as it is how future devices will work (Google Glass, etc..).
Menus are contextual and semi-transparent. Their shape remains unchanged while their purpose and contents change in time.
Fonts are elegant so that users have pleasure to come and come again.
Direct access to the main feature was a priority. Users must be able to access instantly to the app function.
We selected 11 currencies out of the 126 which are recognised by Xloudia Converter. The 12th currency is Bitcoin, the growing digital currency. The exercise is interesting as it allows people to visualize the value of a Bitcoin to their usual banknotes.
The result is a very smooth flow: