Ask-Sothoth is the culmination of two of my favourite things: Unspeakable Eldritch horrors that lurk on the fringes of human imagination, and the complete removal of culpability. I wanted to create an app that had simple interaction mechanics, could be visually interesting, and included a sense of randomness. I thought about a magic 8-ball and how you can ask it a question and it gives you one of a set of answers. It covered everything - simple interaction in the form of asking and shaking, gives a random answer each time, and it's got the visual aspect to it.
When it came to the design, I didn't just want to create the typical black sphere with a hole that generated answers. I wanted something eye catching, and while I knew buttons can be more flexible with creativity, I knew that there was no getting around having to include the standard horizontal input bar. So I dipped into my influences and experiences to try and give it a unique artistic twist, while at the same time taking functionality and accessibility into account.
The idea of a godlike being answering mundane questions gave the overall concept some charm and flair, so I chose to use one of H.P.Lovecraft's creations, Yog-Sothoth as a stand in for the ball. The Ask Jeeves idea came from wanting to parody old search engines, it also helped pave the way for the layout, giving me the idea to make something resembling the old logo, with the butler, Jeeves next to the input bar. The naming of the app felt like a no-brainer - Ask-Sothoth: an amalgamation of Yog-Sothoth and Ask Jeeves.
I knew that it would make sense to use CSS Grid for the layout, and despite the simplicity of the layout, I was initially reluctant to use it as I wasn't particularly competent at utilising it. Thankfully, I gave it a go, and after some serious toying with the code, I got to understanding it a lot better. Once I got to grips with it, it was only a matter of finding the smoothest way to transition the layout from horizontal to vertical using media queries to accommodate the main 3 screen types (desktop, iPad, and mobile repectively).
Overall I'm OK with the way the whole thing turned out. Sure, it could look a bit more visually impressive, and as my confidence builds with CSS I'll likely revisit this app and tweak it. One thing I'd like to do is animate Ask-Sothoth by making it a .gif file instead of a static .jpeg image. But in terms of what I was aiming to create - a simple app with easy functionality that's visually interesting and is responsive over different platforms, this was a success.