“People appreciate iOS apps that feel as thought they were designed expressly for the device. For example, when an app fits well on the device screen and responds to gestures that people know, it provides much of the experience people are looking for.”
Consider customisation early in the design process
Customising the user interface is not suitable for every app, and remember it can be costly. However, good customisation can enhance a user’s experience in the correct context. By considering it early in the design process ideas can be refined to the most elegant, natural solutions according to the platform the app is designed for.
Realism isn’t everything
Sometimes the native user interface is more efficient. The user is already used to the interactions and switches, and they have been designed and developed especially for the type of handset and the job they perform.
Realism can speed up recognition in some cases. For example, if you use the spirit level app, you quite often will have used a spirit level at some point during your life and the user interface mimics the real tool.
Customisation provides an immersive experience, and gives an app originality. It allows branding to show through – but be careful not to allow branding or customisation to overshadow content. A customised app can improve marketability as it become more unique.
Care must be taken to consider how often a task is performed and whether customisation will detract or slow the task. If customisation frustrates users or increases the number of mistakes, it needs to be removed. This is why customisation needs to be considered early, so the context can be examined.
When Not to Customise
If you app enables your user to manipulate a lot of data, customisation may not be suitable as it will get in the way. Users also hate a user interface overshadowing content they are reading or photos they are viewing due to the size of the screen. Between screens, keep consistent and do not be tempted to redesign a standard control.
“The best iOS apps balance UI customisation with clarity of purpose and ease of use.”