The Customer is Always Right

The Customer is Always Right

As creators, we have to decide whether we’d rather win design awards or make something truly useful.

Modern mobile interface design has become a balancing act between exerting your own taste and preferences onto the screen and allowing the customer’s needs and preferences to be respected.

With newer capabilities to make our software more flexible, designers have had to let go of some of the strict control they enjoyed in the early days of mobile design. Thanks to APIs such as Dynamic Type, Size Classes, and more recently, appearance-based color themes, we can no longer dictate a pixel-perfect set of rules for how our software looks and behaves.

And this is a good thing.

While many designers and developers want to anoint themselves the ultimate authority on taste, the fact remains that software exists to serve the needs of those using it, not those making it. We as software creators aren’t here to control our customers. If our software can’t adapt to make our customers more comfortable, we’ve ultimately failed in our jobs of creating something useful.

In this talk, I will walk through some sample design and code demonstrating some modern APIs in iOS and macOS that empower the people using our apps to adjust how the app looks and feels to suit their preferences and needs. These include:

– Dynamic Type for adjusting font sizes globally,
– New UI design patterns for adjusting to different screen sizes, including placement of interactive elements within thumb’s reach
– Color Themes, particularly dark and light mode, which has recently been added to macOS and is very likely to appear in iOS soon

Letting go of your ego and control-freak tendencies is essential to every software creator in today’s world. Putting your customer’s preferences and needs above your own will help you create the best possible software moving forward.

Date: 15 March 2019    

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