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The iPhone X “Notch” is Posing Challenges for App Developers

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Most of us look at our iPhones and wonder what it can do for us.  I mean, I certainly do.  I don’t necessarily think this is selfish.  I think we live in a world that is centred on the consumer, and technology is no longer a privilege.  It’s necessary for a lot of us.  It’s how we communicate with friends and family.  We also use it as a way to keep ourselves organized, or on track with goals etc.  But, what we often don’t think about is who is developing the technology and what that means for them.  We demand so much out of our iPhone’s, and out of iOS.  But what about the people that are trying to make sure that we can use the technology?  They certainly don’t get a lot of credit.  Or even thought, in terms of what they have to do.

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But iOS developers are creating some waves as they are running into difficulty with the iPhone X’s “notch”.  The notch seems to present some annoyances in viewing video or photos from a consumer perspective.  But it’s also becoming more challenging for iOS app developers.  What’s interesting is that Apple has released a new page to help developers prepare for the iPhone X.  What most developers are going to be interested in is the Human Interface Guidelines (HIG).  Apples HIG includes a set of guidelines for designing software that best fits specific environments.  Please note, these are not requirements.  But with the iPhone X’s notch, many developers are going to have to rethink some of their full screen applications.  And it would seem that this is counter intuitive as the whole purpose of the X is to be completely screen.

Apple’s HIG clearly states:

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.

There are a lot of posts about this on Twitter.  Some developers trying to figure out how to use the notch to their advantage.  While others are highlighting it from an absurdity perspective.  Which I can appreciate myself.  But this happens all the time in technology.  One thing will change, that will cause a ton of other things to change.  I mean, this happens in life too.  But if I think about it only from a technology perspective, I kind of feel like people are complaining a bit too much about this.

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I am not a developer, so I am not trying to be harsh, and I can completely understand your struggle with this.  It does seem “annoying”.  But that shouldn’t deter you from creating the best version of your app possible.  I mean, what were people saying when the iPhone itself was launched?  “Oh no, now we’re going to have to create apps for this”?  No, they were probably saying – what a great opportunity this is.  And – what can we do with all of this?  So I think that this notch shouldn’t necessarily be as much of a hurdle as it seems to be.  Again, I’m not a developer.  I am a consumer and I am saying this from an extremely positive place.  I want people to design the best possible apps for their customers.  And I want the customers to be able to utilize the technology in a way that is user friendly.  Thanks developers!