5 iOS Human Interface Guidelines You Must Follow before the Development Process

5 iOS Human Interface Guidelines You Must Follow before the Development ProcessHuman Interface Guidelines (HIG) means gaining valuable information on the Apple ecosystem. It is an essential read for any iOS developer or user interface designer. Beginners with no experience in UI and UX can also benefit greatly.

Apple keeps its human interface guidelines simple and legible. If you decide on creating an app, guidelines and design recommendations will help create features for iOS faster. There are many advantages of iOS app development services as well.


5 iOS human interface guidelines 

Apple packs its guidelines with the latest design systems. It has details like design guidelines, sketch library, design templates, design preview and production templates, badges and logos and much more. The guidelines cover all interfaces like iOS, macOS, watchOS, and the technologies that make everything. The five basic iOS design guidelines in HIG include:


Visual design and layout

This section gives information on how to meet compatibility, layout criteria, and expectations. It helps design an adaptable interface by configuring UI elements and layouts to automatically change the size and shape on different devices, for example, multitasking on iPad, split view, rotating screen, and more.

The iOS devices have many screen sizes and people can choose portrait or landscape modes when they use them. In the iPhone X and iPad Pro, the display has rounded corners that match the overall device dimensions. 

If your app runs on a specific device, the guidelines ensure that it runs on every screen size on that device. Therefore, iPhone-only apps should run on every iPhone screen size and iPad-only apps should run on every iPad screen size.

These guidelines cover compatibility and layout, animations, branding, colors, dark mode, launch screens, content, terminology, typography, and more.


App structure and navigation

It describes the patterns and techniques used to design and build an application. Apple’s app architecture gives you a roadmap and best practices to follow when building an application so that you have a neat app.

This section gives details about the architecture that should be followed while designing and developing an application. You’ll find information about launching, onboarding, loading, modality, navigation, and accessing user data and settings.

The logic behind these guidelines is to ensure consistency in each interface, design, and compatibility of the Apple ecosystem. Robust mobile app architecture is the base of all well-designed software and can provide an excellent user experience. 


User inputs and interaction

This section contains general usability rules and covers user interactions. User interaction is how the user acts on the system and how the system reacts.

Apple Scribble, data entry, 3D touch, drag and drop, feedback, file handling, game controller, gestures, undo and redo, etc. are all covered in this section.

User interaction rules help define UX and provide users with a seamless app experience. This section packs interactive elements intuitively and also covers how to design things better.


Latest technologies

For a long time, Apple has ruled the consumer electronics market and software. They are constantly developing technologies that set them apart from other competitors.

Here, you’ll find everything well explained in Apple Pay, Augmented Reality, CarPlay, Game Center, Health Kit, iCloud, in-app purchases, Live Photos, Machine Learning, Maps, Siri, and more.


Mac catalyst

Following the Mac catalyst guidelines, you can create a Mac version of your iPad app. When you build a Mac version of your iOS app with Mac catalyst, you ensure that your app provides people with a rich experience.

An iOS app that works well on the iPad is a strong foundation for building apps with Mac catalyst. It provides automatic app support for basic macOS features such as:

  • Window management
  • Keyboard, mouse and keyboard navigation
  • Toolbar support
  • Rich text interaction, including copy and paste, and edit menus
  • File management


Design principles and recommendations for iOS

iOS is a huge platform and can incorporate multiple designs. But some of the most important recommendations for mobile designers to remember include:


Design with points, not pixels

A pixel is the smallest physical element you can control on a digital display. The more pixels in a specific screen size, the higher the PPI (pixels-per-inch). Thus, the content rendered becomes clearer.

Points are a resolution-independent measurement. Depending on the screen pixel density, a point can contain many pixels (1 pt on a regular retina display has 2 x 2 pixels).

When designing iOS devices, think about points, but design them with pixels. Create designs in 3 different resolutions (1x, 2x and 3x). Choose an app design software that includes the latest iOS templates to ensure a faster process.


Use single typography

Typography is important for a digital product and also for iOS app design. When selecting a typeface for your app, it is recommended to use the system iOS typeface. The San Francisco font works for iOS. These fonts are optimized to give good readability, clarity and uniformity to your text.

 It’s important to know that when using a system font, you’ll have access to dynamic type which lets the font adjust according to the user’s preference.


Avoid clipping content

All the latest iPhone displays have rounded corners and notches. Rounded corners and notches can clip content. When designing a screen layout, always use a safe area layout guide to ensure that the content will not be clipped.

Usually, 16 points are enough to make a reasonable margin. Plus, the system includes pre-set layout guides that make it easy to apply standard margins around content. You can always define your custom layout guides.


Use vibrant colors

Vibrant colors are a simple and powerful way to direct the user’s attention to a particular UI element. Vibrant colors work equally well on white and dark backgrounds. 

 This system defines colors that look good on the various background and appearance modes, and can automatically adapt to settings. But don’t overdo it with vibrant colors in your UI. Ideally, only 10% of your design should have vibrant colors.


Make your navigation visible

All the latest iPhone models have relatively large screens. In other words, you can use it to create a better navigation experience. Avoid using hidden navigation patterns such as hamburger menus and have an option of using tab bars instead.

The tab bar is always visible and will not confuse users. This pattern is also located in the thumb-friendly area, which makes the conversation more comfortable for the users.


Support dark mode in your app

In iOS 13.0 and beyond, people can use a dark system-wide presence called Dark Mode. It enhances visual ergonomics by reducing eye strain during nighttime or in a dark environment. Here, iOS uses a darker palette for all screens, views, menus, and controls.

If you want to support dark mode in your app, you should test your design in both light and dark settings. Check how your interface looks in both settings, and adjust your design to accommodate each environment.


Optimize for thumb

If small touch targets are located too close to each other, it can make interaction painful for users. What’s more, things can get even worse when users have to stretch their fingers to interact with them.

For convenient user interaction, the size and location of interactive elements should be within a thumb-friendly area. When working on your iOS app design, try to have a minimum tapping area of ​​44pt x 44pt for all controls to ensure comfortable interaction for your users.


All things considered

Comparing the first iPhone with the latest, you will see that the progress has set new benchmarks. The human interface guidelines provide essential information about the requirements of modern iOS apps

Hopefully, now you have a better idea about iOS human interface guidelines. These guidelines provide the basics to get you started with iOS design. And, you might be interested in getting more details. 

Expert iOS development company, designers and developers will help you find answers to your specific questions.

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