iPhone App Site – Design Trends and UX Patterns
The iStore has a directory of iPhone and iPod applications. But outside the iStore, the application’s dedicated website is an important selling point. To drive the traffic to iStore a well designed site is a necessity. These application sites follow a set of style guide. The target audience for the website are Mac, iPhone and iPad users. The website will appeal to them, if and only if it renders user experience similar to Apple products. They must be clean, uncluttered, simple, minimalistic yet rich and straight forward. Here are a few of the design trends that are followed in an iStore application’s website.
The navigation is usually by the top menu. The information architecture is minimalist and the navigation menu has very few items in it. The typography in the menu is usually a sans font with a large typeface. Breadcrumbs are not present, because the app sites have a maximum of 4-5 pages. Many of them are happy with a single page as long as they convey the message. Bottom Navigation is also not a necessity for app sites. The footer is predominantly used to display copyright information.
The app sites generally have an image of iPhone with the application screenshot in it. The images used in the sites are life-size and rich in quality. Some sites have animated movies running in the life-size iPhone image. Invariably all the app site offer screenshots of the application under various use cases. To display the screenshots, lighbox style is preferred. Some sites also provide screenshots in a lighbox window with an iPhone frame. These sites are purposefully built to serve as an eye candy and their target audience are expected to have a high-speed internet connection with a high-resolution monitor.
The content is concentrated within the fold. The user isn’t going to spend too much time on the site browsing for extra information. During the short stay, the user will glance at the key features and head to the iStore, if interested. So its logical to give all the vital data to the user at the first glance. But some users may want to read the application specifications. So the extra details are pushed below the fold.
Tags and Badges
Link to app store, Compatibility info, price and offers are the key links in a iPhone app site. These links are represented as images. Some sites follow the apple standards for the images, but many sites add their creativity to these images. These images are the eye-catchers in the site and a key decision-making aid for the user.
Social networks are no more a luxury. It’s a necessity and its need is exponentially on the rise by every minute. Application developers post details like upcoming releases, version updates, patches, tips, offers etc in social network sites to lure users to use/buy their application. Most of the application thrive on word-of-(social)mouth publicity and its important to have links to the custom social network page from the app site. These links are found as text or image links anywhere in the site. Some sites have it in main body or in the footer.
a few iPhone app sites for design inspiration