What Apple Wants
The iPhone X has been out now for several weeks, and slowly but surely, I’m seeing app compatibility updates hitting the store. According to Apple and the HIG, the message is a loud and clear, “embrace the notch!” But will designers and developers follow those instructions? Immediately after the initial announcement, there were plenty of ideas (and jokes) about how to deal with that pesky notch. I’ve been a bit slow on getting my metronome app Click ready for the iPhone X. I ended up making some design choices that I thought might make for an interesting blog post, sort of striking a middle ground between the letter of the “law” in the HIG and going completely wild by totally hiding or calling attention to the notch. These decisions were also influenced by the existing style and purpose of the app, so I’ll talk briefly about those factors as well. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Here are the most important official summary statements from Apple about handling the “key display features”:
Avoid explicitly placing interactive controls at the very bottom of the screen and in corners. People use swipe gestures at the bottom edge of the display to access the Home screen and app switcher, and these gestures may cancel custom gestures you implement in this area. The far corners of the screen can be difficult areas for people to reach comfortably.
Don’t mask or call special attention to key display features. Don’t attempt to hide the device’s rounded corners, sensor housing, or indicator for accessing the Home screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Don’t use visual adornments like brackets, bezels, shapes, or instructional text to call special attention to these areas, either.
So, will people follow the rules? How flexible will app review be with apps that push the boundaries? It certainly appears that many people do not like the notch, as evidenced by such sites as notchless.space for creating notch-hiding backgrounds! And, what did I decide to do with my design? I’ll include the current preview video of Click from before iPhone X, as a little intro to the design of the app as it already was. A few things probably jump out to you right away as potentially interesting on iPhone X: the completely black background, and the presence of a LOT of elements laid out way into the corners of the display.