Zeitnot is a minimal, distraction-free, and utilitarian chess timer.
Product Design, Engineering
React Native, Expo
Chess is a game that has always been something I have found enjoyable, yet extremely challenging. It’s quick to pick up and difficult to master. As a casual player, I typically played online and occasionally on a physical board. While playing on a physical board, many players use a chess timer to help keep track of turns as well as track time.
After downloading a variety of chess timers, it was clear that few were designed in a simple and intuitive way. There were also few standalone chess timer apps available. So I began with creating a new app with the principle of utilitarianism at the core.
With utilitarianism being the core principle of the design approach, the visual design had to emphasize the core functionality of the app. There was no room for any embellishments or distractions from the core of the experience.
The entire color scheme of the application was black and white to indicate the current player’s turn, as well as a play on the color of the two sides. Bold typography promoted the main focal point for the user: how much time they have remaining. Additional touches like haptic feedback and subtle sounds provided the user with some optional feedback that helps users interact with the application while playing chess.
The end result of the design choices provided users with an experience that can easily go unnoticed while using the application. The design theory of “Good design is invisible” is present throughout the journey of using Zeitnot.
The King from a chess board is a significant and iconic symbol that is quickly recognized from those who are familiar with chess. The app icon was a fun opportunity to bring some life into the utilitarian designed application.
When looking at different approaches for the tech stack, I considered the lightweight feature set, as well as the minimal reliance on native mobile APIs. This lent itself well to using Expo as the framework for building, deploying, and updating the React Native application. Building and updating the application could then become automated, as well as distributed through over-the-air updates.
Been looking for a chess timer that stands out from the rest. Found it with this app that announces the winner/loser. Hoping you can add options of a longer beep sound when game is over and having the winner screen flash until terminated. Thanks for a great chess timer!
Awesome chess timer
Very simple app to use. The timer screen is nice and straightforward. The entire app feels so clean and refined. Love the minimal interface. The ability to add custom timers would be a really nice addition!