Common mistakes when building an iOS app
You have probably gone through our list of top 7 mistakes when building your first mobile app. If not, you should definitely read that (link at the bottom). This article covers a few more mistakes specific to the iOS platform that you should look out for.
To iPad or not to iPad
Statistics show that, where they have a choice, users prefer to use different apps on different devices. For example, social networking and music apps tend to be used on smartphones even when at home and a tablet is available, while games and video related apps are preferred on tablets. Of course, outside of the home, users are more likely to be carrying their smartphones, so this is a consideration as well.
In choosing whether to build for iPad keep the following in mind:
- Unless an app is built for iPad, it won’t show up in the Appstore by default (you have to choose ‘iPhone apps’ in order to see such apps – most users do not know this), and even though your iPhone only app can be used in the iPad, it will not be found by many users.
- Look at likely usage patterns for your app and decide if you need an iPad version, or even go iPad only
- Think about having iPad specific layouts, making use of the additional screen space that an iPad gives you.
Copying designs from your Android app or your Website
There are significant differences in the typical user navigation expectations in an iOS app compared to Android, and of course also websites. It is tempting to reuse the same design and user flows when building your iOS app.
An obvious difference is the lack of a ‘Back’ button in iOS. This means that your screen layout, as well as user flows need to change in order to accommodate a back button, or ideally a flow in which you are not more than a tap away from a navigation menu to go to a different screen. In any case, it is good to have a ‘flat’ navigation rather than a ‘deep’ navigation in which it is easy for users to get lost.
Less obvious are more subtle differences in the typical user flows on iOS compared to Android. These differences reflect the flow on heavily used native apps on either platform, which are mimicked by other app developers so that users find the interface familiar. If you do not believe me, check out how different the navigation and options for Whatsapp are on iOS and Android! You’ll be surprised!
Ignoring the Appstore rules & guidelines
The AppStore has a number of strict guidelines with regard to what your app can and cannot do. These rules may seem stifling to you as an app developer (and are certainly more restrictive than the Google Play Store), but
- they are designed with the interest of consumers foremost in mind, and in most cases have a good reason
- in some cases they protect Apple’s interests too
- it’s not like you have a choice, so plan your app keeping these in mind
The guidelines are available on the apple developed portal and are updated from time to time. Do go through these before investing in an app. It could be that the reason why no one has made an app similar to your brilliant idea is because the idea violates the AppStore guidelines!
In general, an experienced app development agency will be conversant with the rules and will be able to guide you on what will fly and what won’t and may be able to suggest workarounds.
Choosing the appropriate account type for your purposes
The AppStore is meant for apps that are relevant to any and every user. If the target group for your app is restricted to a smaller set of users such as employees of your company it is likely to be rejected from the AppStore. Apple does provide alternative distribution options for private apps, including an enterprise developer account, which can be used to publish such apps. Ask us for advice on what type of account is right for you.
These are some common considerations that first time app developers do not realise and can get your iOS app into a bit of a bother. Do also keep in mind our list of other common mistakes that first time developers should avoid.
AppStore guidelines can be App Store Guidelines.