Apple dropped something of a bombshell back in September when they presented the latest iteration of the best selling smartphone, the iPhone X (AKA the “iPhone ten”). The Apple CEO, Tim Cook, called it the “biggest leap forward since the original iPhone” and, true to his word, the iPhone X feels like a completely different device to those that came before it.
There is a host of fantastic new features, such as facial recognition, augmented reality, and a new display that stretches to the edges of the device. While these features are all well and good for the user, they will prove to be a major challenge for many mobile UX design creators.
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REDEFINING THE IPHONE USER INTERFACE
The biggest, and most noticeable, change is the absence of the usual home bottom that has been synonymous with Apple devices for over a decade. This seemingly small cosmetic change fundamentally alters the way a user interacts with the device and, thus, will have a major impact on the user experience. The simple press of the home button buried in the past. Whereas various swipes or gestures came out and will take users some time to learn them.
Even those who are familiar with the Touch ID of the iPhone 7 will notice the change. Face ID, the facial recognition software that will now unlock the phone, replaced its predecessor. Instead of a sensor authenticating a fingerprint, a user will now need to stare at the device to unlock it. The impact will become obvious beyond accessing the device as there are thousands of apps, such as Paypal for instance, that use Touch ID for user login. Developers and UX designers of these apps will need to incorporate Face ID into the login process to ensure a seamless user experience.
CRITICS OF THE NOTCH
Despite the number of changes to the user interface, it is the “notch” that is arguably receiving the most attention and for which the fiercest criticism reserved. This small black bar at the top of the screen got the feedback of ‘ugly,’ been the focus of a lot of complaints from developers, on the receiving end of a backlash from tech blogs and critics and, of course, obligatory outrage on Twitter. Websites and plugins have quickly surfaced that poke fun at the notch, such as notchmode.com and ‘Notch Mode’ which is a Chrome extension, which displays the wording “giant, ugly notch” at the side of the screen in YouTube.
UX AND THE NOTCH
Okay, so now you know there are a lot of troubles about the iPhone X and iOS11 as well, but how exactly will the notch affect your user experience?
When the device is in portrait mode, the short answer is that it won’t. In fact, it will not affect many app designs. It is in landscape mode, however, that the problems really begin, especially when looking at web pages because the device renders two white bars on either side. This is going present a design challenge to those mobile sites that are designed for Safari’s landscape mode.
There are two options: firstly there is the full-screen option for photos and videos. However, the notch will still be visible on part of the screen. If the user is uncomfortable with that, there is a zoomed out view, though as can be seen in the images online, there is still a black space that can be seen on anything from gaming to looking at photos.
While most people are calling it an ugly feature of the new generation iPhone, UX designers are going to have to find new ways to accommodate the black notch, whether they like it or not. In fact, Apple guidelines specifically warn designers against attempting to mask or highlight key display features.
Finally, if you gave up on iPhone UX design, keep calm and show your client our Five Reasons to Invest in the Android Development.
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