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What tools does iOS give us to make great designs?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

In terms of what UIKit and iOS offers us, as developers, what kind of tools do we get in order to make great designs? What systems, what APIs, what frameworks, what design tools are actually out there in iOS to help us make great designs in our apps?

Meng To: Well, definitely all the techniques involved with gestures and definitely explore all of the gestures that are available to us in SwiftUI. They're really, really good. There are so many interesting interactions that are on iOS 13, especially like on the lock screen – you can tap on a button and it does this little morphing thing.

“Definitely explore all of the gestures that are available to us in SwiftUI. They're really, really good.”

If you tap long enough, then you have a long press gesture. Then you also have a progress based on how long you tap it. So the longer you tap, the more than the button expands.

So developers need to explore more what they can do with animation and gestures, because this is so incredibly important nowadays. Because of the removal of the home button, where now have a single screen that directs all of our interactions of our apps.

“Gestures wouldn't have made sense 10 years ago because people were still learning how to use buttons. It was still how learning how to use keyboards, a little bit more than a decade ago. But nowadays there's a learning curve and people have learned that people are born into technology.”

Gestures are going to come into play increasingly in the future because of the learning curve. It took a decade to get here, if you think about it. Gestures wouldn't have made sense 10 years ago because people were still learning how to use buttons. It was still how learning how to use keyboards, a little bit more than a decade ago.

But nowadays there's a learning curve and people have learned that people are born into technology. The kids, they know how to use technology better than us, and they know how to use gestures. And so gestures are becoming more and more important.

Five years ago, people didn't care about gestures now they have to care about it. Yeah. You know, like a pinch, a swipe from the bottom, double tap and swipe down. It's a very common gesture to close a screen and it's so common nowadays that when I open a new screen, I anticipate to be able to swipe down to close it or tap outside on the web, this is a very common gesture. You tap outside of the modal to get out of the modal.

And so developers need to learn those interactions. If you can learn them, you can make them better. You can design better and you can improve the user experience, as a whole, for power users and new users alike.

Paul Hudson: Certainly it's important to remember that UI principles do evolve over time. I was in the crowd at WWDC when Apple announced iOS 7 – it was “bang, what the heck happened? Where did my fuzzy felt and wood Game Center just go?”

They made a really important point there: folks were thinking thinking, “why have we spent such a long time building this very real world skeuomorphic design ethos and everywhere in our apps, now to throw it all away and focus on just pure text and flat colors and similar?” And Apple said it's simply that back then when folks just getting started, we had to give these visual affordances to tell folks, yeah. This is pressable. This is interactable. This is real – tap this thing because we weren't used to these highly interactive swipeable, pinch and zoom touchscreens.

“Developers need to learn those interactions. If you can learn them, you can make them better. You can design better and you can improve the user experience, as a whole, for power users and new users alike.”

Whereas by the time of iOS 7, which is obviously quite a few years ago now, everyone was used to it. They had six years of iOS by that point, and everyone was used to the idea of sliders you can grab and buttons you can press, and so forth. So you can start to remove some things, remove some of that visual clutter, and simplify it. And that's just going to continue. As you said, we know we're always moving forward and always, and you know, soon iOS 13 will considered very, very old.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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