When creating an iPhone application, there are so many things that people, including Apple, tell you NOT to do, but there is rarely a time that people recognize what an app does right. They look at an app, and say “wow”, this looks pretty. They, however, don’t know why it looks so good. Here are 5 things that you can include inside your next iPhone application to add a little gloss.
1) Use Subtle Textured Patterns
Using a small textured pattern can add a ton of flair to your iPhone application, applying it with a gradient enhances the effect even more.
This picture is from the Instagram application, and you can see, from far away, it is harder to tell the pattern, but looking up close, you can see that noise was added to give it a textured look.
2) Pull to Refresh Internet Things
Twitter’s iPhone application was the first to do it, but soon, all other companies, including Facebook, started to include it inside their apps. If you have dynamic data coming from lists, a pull to refresh button is the easiest way to make your application clean, and still have added functionality. It has become so popular to do it this way, that even though the Apple guidelines do not mention it, the pull to refresh has become a standard that most iPhone users know how to do.
3) Animations to Transition
The coolest part of an iPhone is that for the first time, software is a tangible. You can actually touch the software. This capability can add quality to your application, but remember that tangibility can also take away quality. If the user is not impressed by the touch, then they are going to have a negative reaction towards your application. Facebook’s navigation does a very good job of this. It is a slight animation, subtle, yet elegant. When doing animations, a slight quadric speed is the best, where the animation starts slow, and gains speed more quickly, however, if you want to be conservative, using a linear animation is perfectly fine.
4) Use the Status Bar Activity Indicator when possible
This one is one that is not done as much as it should. When loading data from the internet, you should always use the Status Bar’s Activity Indicator. That little spinning circle thing at the very top. When a user is loading data, that is the first place they look to see when the data is loaded. Go ahead, try it with yourself, fire up Safari and refresh, see where your eyes go first.
5) Swipe to do something
This one isn’t for the common users, but “swipe to delete” on list cells is a feature iPhone power users will love. It is an easy way to hide options and show them with a simple slide of the finger. Most applications can implement this fairly easy, with a slide to delete, where a delete button shows up on the list cell. Some applications, such as Twitter and Facebook use it to display more options like “Retweet” and “Like”.