How BIGGER iPhones Will Change App Design

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Hearkening back to the Nokia 8210, consumers haven’t always had the choice between larger or smaller mobile phones. As the years have progressed we have seen a fluctuation of smartphone designs, but most specifically users had the option of smaller iPhone screens and bigger Android screens.

This left app designers content with their design aesthetics because they understood that they were designing for either a smaller iPhone or a larger Android. That all changed last week during Apple’s Big Event when they introduced a larger 4.7-inch screen on their widely-anticipated iPhone 6 and a  5.5-inch screen on the iPhone 6 Plus.

So as the saying goes down in Texas “bigger is better”.

The seemingly little change in the design of the iPhone has now grown into a major shakeup for software developers who aren’t simply tasked with creating larger icons and buttons. The entire design process has to be changed to accommodate a larger screen, where a single index finger no longer rules the day. Now, they must consider icons, buttons, layout, and gestures. Here are some things that are likely to change in the coming months and years now that everything is big.

Dual Screen or Split Screen Options

Whether the content on your phone is presented in portrait or landscape view, the content generally fills the screen with little room for much else. Experts suggest that these options may take on split screen roles to allow multi-functional uses. Those who own Android tablets or iPads may be familiar with this tactic since many apps already employ this method.

Gestures Are In

A lot of the buttons that were used to help smartphone users navigate will become less prominent and gestures will take center stage. Think Stark Industries without the steroids (see Iron Man for the reference). Gestures such as swipe, touch scroll, pressing hidden buttons and eye scroll are undoubtedly going to replace the common buttons in the here and now.

In many cases, moving a button isn’t always going to be the best option. Buttons can get in the way of a layout and block images or require users to scroll to view content that should be above the fold. By utilizing gesture software, user experience will not be impacted by a pesky button. In addition, hidden buttons are still an option, but they will incorporate gestures such as holding a particular spot on the screen and a button appears to ease app navigation.

Sophisticated App Design from Both Apple and Android

There is no denying that Android was the first to introduce extremely large screens, at least in the American market. This has caused some tension between iOS users and Android users who seem to always be in some sort of battle of wills. Despite their differences, when one company strives to create something new and exciting, the other one follows suit.

Since developers design with iOS in mind first, this will give Apple the opportunity to play catch up on the “bigger is better” mantra, while Android figures out ways to build their own apps to mimic or surpass those of Apple.  As a result, consumers, whether they be Apple enthusiasts or Andriod followers, the app designs that come from both of these smartphone giants will be astonishing. That is what makes change so exciting.

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