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Apple’s 27 Guidelines for Mobile User Experience Design

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about a minute.

People appreciate mobile apps that feel as though they were designed expressly for the device. For example, when an app fits well on the device screen and responds to the gestures that people know, it provides much of the experience people are looking for. And, although people might not be aware of human interface design principles, such as direct manipulation or consistency, they can tell when apps follow them and when they don’t.

A great user experience is rooted in your attention to detail.

The user experience of iOS-based devices revolves around streamlined interaction with content that people care about. Below are Apple’s 27 guidelines for mobile UX design:

  1. Focus on the Primary Task
  2. Elevate the Content that People Care About
  3. Think Top Down
  4. Give People a Logical Path to Follow
  5. Make Usage Easy and Obvious
  6. Use User-Centric Terminology
  7. Minimise the Effort Required for User Input
  8. Downplay File-Handling Operations
  9. Enable Collaboration and Connectedness
  10. De-emphasise Settings
  11. Brand Appropriately
  12. Make Search Quick and Rewarding
  13. Entice and Inform with a Well-Written Description
  14. Be Succinct
  15. Use UI Elements Consistently
  16. Consider Adding Physicality and Realism
  17. Delight People with Stunning Graphics
  18. Handle Orientation Changes
  19. Make Targets Fingertip-Size
  20. Use Subtle Animation to Communicate
  21. Support Gestures Appropriately
  22. Ask People to Save Only When Necessary
  23. Make Modal Tasks Occasional and Simple
  24. Start Instantly
  25. Always Be Prepared to Stop
  26. Don’t Quit Programmatically
  27. If Necessary, Display a License Agreement or Disclaimer

You can find more on these guidelines in the iOS Developer Library.

Update 24/05/2012 – As pointed out by Petter Silfver there are 5 additional guidelines for iPads:

  1. Enhance Interactivity (Don’t Just Add Features)
  2. Reduce Full-Screen Transitions
  3. Restrain Your Information Hierarchy
  4. Consider Using Popovers for Some Modal Windows
  5. Migrate Toolbar Content to the Top

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  • http://twitter.com/eskins Richard Eskins

    Would 27 guidelines for good user experience be that different for any device?

  • http://www.simonwhatley.co.uk/ Simon Whatley

    @richard There may be some subtle variations, but in essence, no not really.