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5 Tips for UX Design on iOS Apps

02 Apr 2021 Developer News
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For most iOS users, UX might be a critical reason for owning an iPhone. Even if they are not aware of the concept, UX makes them choose to buy an Apple product in the first place.

Spotting such behavioural tendencies is of benefit to creators. When combined with a solid understanding of the target audience, this can help you develop an effective marketing strategy and achieve a good ROI (return on investment). Whether you aim to hire UX designers or build an app yourself, this article will be useful as it covers some fundamentals.

Should you develop your app on iOS?

Think of your target audience. For example, Android users tend to avoid being similar to others and are less concerned about having a high-status phone. iOS users are more inclined to be early adopters as well as have a slightly more optimistic disposition. They are more willing to pay for downloading an app or trying out something completely new.

Consider also how you will capitalize on your app. If downloading is free, and you want to make money from ads, Android might be a better option as it exposes you to a wider audience. If you want to charge users for each download, iOS is a great option. In-app purchases might provide additional revenue, depending on your marketing strategy.

Tip #1: Make it easy to navigate

This sounds like a no-brainer, but reality often proves to be more complex than anticipated. Moreover, what works for one app will not necessarily work for another.

Rethink the hamburger menu

The so-called “Hamburger Menu” is favoured by many developers. It usually consists of three horizontal lines in the upper corner of a screen. If you click on it, it will expand to show you more options. It is highly recognizable and is a great space-saver. On the flip-side, hamburger menus tend to have lower engagement levels than other buttons on the screen. There are two main reasons for this trend. First, as phones are getting bigger, the upper corners of the screen, where hamburger menus are typically located, are becoming harder and harder to reach. The second reason is that when a user doesn’t see the navigation options, they are less likely to engage with them. Hamburger menus add extra steps to the customer journey.

Consider tab bar navigation

Tab bar navigation is highly encouraged by Apple. Tab bars help users understand where exactly in the app they are now and how to navigate to other parts. They are highly customizable, albeit translucent by default. Apple guidelines recommend avoiding too many tabs, as it increases the general complexity of an app.

Prepare for 3D touch

 Many popular iPhone models, such as iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, support the 3D touch function. It enables users to access additional functionality by applying various degrees of pressure to the screen. Apple is likely to encourage the adoption of this technology in the future.

Tip #2: Present textual elements in a digestible way

Size and spacing

It is recommended that no text is smaller than 11 points. Otherwise, it might not be legible at a usual reading distance and thus, will require zooming. The legibility can also be improved by the increase in spacing.


Classic iOS font choices include SF Pro, SF Compact, SF Mono, and New York. SF Pro and SF Compact are system fonts used in Apple products. SF Mono is peculiar for being monospaced, and New York — for being relatively new. All four fonts support Cyrillic and Greek scripts in addition to a Latin one.


When choosing the colour of your text, don’t forget to consider the contrast between it and the background. For example, a combination of white with black, dark blue, dark green, or another dim colour is usually easy for human eyes to perceive.

Tip #3: Create a user-friendly layout

Make your app suitable for different devices

It is advisable to configure the layout and interface elements of your app. Make their sizes and shape fit the dimensions of various devices automatically. Even though you are planning to design an app suitable exclusively for iPhones or iPads, remember that the more users you can reach, the more engagement your app will generate.

Avail yourself of the opportunities provided by Auto Layout

This is a tool used to construct adaptive interfaces. With its help developers set certain rules, also called constraints. According to them, an app would adjust the components of its layout to different digital environments. Auto Layout helps spot distinctions between various resolutions, sizes, orientations, and modes (e.g. split view, multitasking, etc.).

Keep in mind the size of the controls

It is advisable to create controls that are at least 44 points x 44 points. This way they can be accurately tapped with an average-sized finger.

Tip #4: Choose the visuals carefully

Use high-resolution images

Displays with higher pixel density require pictures and photos that can provide the users with the most immersive and realistic experience. For example, iPhone 6s requires pictures measured at 200px × 200px, while iPhone 8 Plus — 300px × 300px.

Don’t forget also that you must have a legal right to use each photo that you choose for your app.

Use animation but make it optional

Smooth, appealing animation can enchant the user, improve engagement levels, and enhance the overall user experience. Animation helps users observe the results of their actions. It attracts their attention to the essential features of an app. At the same time, it is worth remembering that overly animated resources tend to distract, and can even avert some users. Strive for consistency, realism, and credibility — these are the pillars of a great user experience. Some people choose to reduce motion animation in their settings for various reasons. Apple encourages developers to create applications with this in mind.

Tip #5: Test it

This is one of the most important steps on your journey to creating sublime UX. Test your app, collect feedback, and fix whatever issues that may arise. Do it during all stages of the development and marketing processes, including after the release. Don’t get discouraged if not all initial reviews call your app perfect. Use criticism to improve it.

Creating a supreme user experience is rarely a straightforward process. Reading as much information pertaining to user experience in general, and your niche, in particular, is a solid way to get ahead. Research your target audience, your competition, and the market. And remember that the essentials usually are simplicity, immersiveness, and intuitiveness.

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