IPad User Experience Guidelines as Everyday Design Tips

The folks over at UX Magazine have posted up Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for the iPad and it’s a quick but interesting read. I thought some of their guidelines could really be used in design in general and specifically, web design.

Enhance Interactivity (Don’t Just Add Features)

The best iPad applications give people innovative ways to interact with content while they perform a clearly defined, finite task. Resist the temptation to fill the large screen with features that are not directly related to the main task. In particular, you should not view the large iPad screen as an invitation to bring back all the functionality you pruned from your iPhone application.

I think this goes for design in general. To sum this up it’s saying don’t add a bunch of useless crap to what you’re doing. You could be painting or designing a blog it doesn’t matter, the ability to edit yourself as an extremely valuable skill that allows you to see your own missteps.

Flatten Your Information Hierarchy

Although you don’t want to pack too much information into one screen, you also want to prevent people from feeling that they must visit many different screens to find what they want. In general, focus the main screen on the primary content and provide additional information or tools in an auxiliary view, such as a popover.

This one is mainly for web designers but could also relate to those who do environmental graphics. A lot of people seem to have this idea that you can put everything you need to know about a site on a front page, just cramming it full of shit. Instead though you should really focus on what’s important and display that prominently and allow that secondary or tertiary information to float to other pages. This ties back in perfectly to the first point as well, that being able to edit the unimportant parts out is critical.

This last one is my favorite:

Enable Collaboration and Connectedness

Think of ways people might want to use your application with others. Expand your thinking to include both the physical sharing of a single device and the virtual sharing of data.

I think this is a great point just in general, no matter what creative endeavor you pursue. The idea that whatever you’re making is for other people is something that greatly interests me. When I started Kitsune Noir I made it for myself, which in some respects is still true. But I’m also quite aware of the large number of people who visit and expect something from me as well. It’s why I started the Desktop Wallpaper Project and and Mixtapes & Mixcasts. It was a way for me to give back to you and to share my ideas.


February 3, 2010