iPad App Development: Developing A Good Human Interface
As you can imagine, there are many developers all clambering to reach the very top of their league when it comes to iPad application development. But what can make a difference? With more than 200,000 applications (and growing) available today, there seems no end to what is achievable.
So what can you do? Either come up with something totally unique better a version of something someone else has already done. However, do not plagiarize documents or copy outright applications. Remember that this is something that is either going to put you on the map, or leave you sinking at the bottom of the pile.
What is missing with a lot of iPad apps is their usability.
Take the time to design not only the application, but also the human interface. OS 3.2 comes with many enhancements; make use of them!
Remember, it is all about the user experience. If you want those coveted 5 star ratings, you are going to have to work towards them.
First and foremost, you must remember that all applications on the iPad need to be able to run in both landscape and portrait modes. This means giving over some thought to how your application will be developed for being viewed comfortably in both orientations. Those who use your application will expect this, so do not pass it by.
Primary and Secondary Content
A perfect example of how this is handled is by looking at the e-mail iPad app. In portrait mode, you are limited by the width of the screen and thereby show only the information that is pertinent. However, upon rotation, you will see secondary information come into view.
Think very carefully about how you are going to present this because no matter which way someone is using their iPad, the first screen and first impressions are what count. Make sure that at all times, the most important information is viewed first. For example, for a shopping app, this might be a reminder to check for the basics such as sugar or milk in portrait mode. However, in landscape, you could include a snippet of what you last ordered on the right hand side.
More on Orientation
I know we are bringing this up again but here is another consideration text display. As you probably know, the iPad comes with a library of books. The default reader for this is very nice and simple to use. It also formats the text in a very clean manner if you change from Landscape to Portrait modes. Never re-wrap text upon a rotation change as this will make people lose their place if they are reading something. If you must do this, make sure there is a way for them to quickly and easily find where they were up to.
Ensure that once the device is rotated that the same basic information is still there and try not to force too many changes on the user. A big part of the user experience will be on how you cope with and handle turning the device.
The User Experience
Even with more then 200,000 iPad apps to choose from, there is always room for improvement. You need to be creative about how you allow the user to interact with your applications.
As an example, a user may wish to see some supplemental information without being taken away from the main screen. Why not just provide the extra information in a roll-up or roll-down page that only takes up 70% of the screen behind that still has all of the primary information. This would make the user feel comfortable in knowing how easy it is to get back to their original content.
Perhaps on a game, a user wants to see an overview of where they are up to? Perhaps a score or percentage of the game completed? Don’t take them off the main screen, have a semi-transparent overlay screen appear with a very clear cross to close it, showing that to get back, you will be exactly where you were before.
These are just a few examples to get you thinking about how you can become an iPad developer that stands out amongst the crowd.
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