The iPhone and Android apps are unique in that they took everything we’ve learned about Tumblr and forced it into a restrictive environment. On the web, you have the freedom to do basically whatever you want. You’re not expected to follow the architecture and layout of other websites like you are in a phone’s operating system.
On the phone, there is a lot of direction that comes immediately from the OS and from other apps before you. I mean, there’s just a way of doing things. I think the best ones are still inventive and it’s nice to see Apple and Google adopting those things.
I think most designers coming from the web welcome it. The architecture is mostly good and you end up seeing your product as a list of essentials that you may not have seen before. For me, building the apps has crystalized the way I see Tumblr and it’s made us more critical of our work on the web.