7 Designing Practices to Adopt While Creating Apple TV Apps for tvOS

Ashesh Shah
March 10, 2016

apple-tvDesigning apps for Apple tvOS is quite a different ball game altogether as compared with iPhone or iPad. The one evident difference can be seen in the OS at disposal: tvOS in case of Apple TV; iOS in case of iPhone or iPad. While another macro difference lies in the screen size. When creating apps for Apple TV, the apps get magnified to accommodate the television real estate. For iPad, the size of the app is small, and even smaller in case of an iPhone.

Since Apple TV can accommodate giant size of an app, the expectations of users in terms of entertainment and usability factors go even higher. We are going to discuss some useful tips disclosed by the tech giant itself. At a recent Apple TV tech talks, Apple disclosed how the apps be created by redefining an entire user experience to satisfy the end users.

  1. Reduce On Loading Time

Application loading time is a common phenomena showing up while an app is getting installed, downloaded, or opening up telling users that the app is in process. It is probably the most annoying thing to come across and disturbs the entire user experience. However, things could be settled by providing a fluid like app experience through a decrease in loading indicators.

Try to refrain from providing blank screens within an app. Users must be informed about the background tasks running, especially when they are critical in nature. An activity indicator like above can be provided as the most minimal measure. The modifications you can perform with these indicators could be in the form of feedback as well as time estimation provided with the indicator.

Making use of animations can make a great deal of difference in entertaining the users. This in turn also helps to cut down on the loading time. Think about this. If your app is taking too much of loading time, how about introducing a video game character in a fancy animation representing the indicator. Users will not only be enthralled, but also be able to wait for a while till the app loads completely.

  1. Have A Secured Authentication

Typing information is one hell of a task simply through the remote control accompanying Apple TV. Apple does provide a virtual keyboard, but making use of remote to type is one hell of a task. Hence, try to push the login page as much backward as you can in the series of app screens showing up. When you ask users for a mandatory signing in to use the app, they might feel frustrated or horrified right at the beginning itself.

Ask for minimal information and that too when needed. Ideally, taking their email address and password alone should do the trick. Through a temporary one time code system, you can let users’ access website through Smartphone that will be way beyond easier than typing the same with Apple TV. Enable users to switch between sessions with a great amount of ease, so that they need not to enter their credentials repeatedly on different pages.

  1. Cut Down Onboarding Screens

Avoiding onboarding screens or help screens acting as a manual can reduce a great deal of travelling within the app. Onboarding screens of no use as users have become smarter. They want to learn the apps by themselves and simultaneously get entertained in the process. Let them play around with the app and explore what is in the store for them. In such a scenario, design a user interface that is self explanatory. Specifically, when creating games, explain about the controls, during the game getting paused by itself. This will enable users to learn faster and in a more interactive way.

  1. Refrain From Using Cursors

Users prefer to be entertained on TV rather than working on it for professional use. Letting a cursor show up in your app could let users remind of old ways being on desktops, and slogging hard with every single click. Making use of a focus engine instead of a traditional cursor can help convey feedback to the users in a more communicative manner. Herein, users can conveniently change the navigation, rather than moving around the cursor that is cumbersome to handle.

  1. Tap An Emotional Connect

Imagine a new show launching soon. Where you prefer to watch it – TV, desktop, tablet, or mobile? Especially when you want to watch it with friends or family, what might be the best option? The answer is unanimous. It is television that appeals the most and connects with a wider audience easily keeping them together. Imagine same logic applicable in case of apps. Having apps with static elements but become dynamic while scrolling, could make things even more interesting, and in turn interactive in terms of handling.

  1. Keep App Clarity Intact

It goes without saying that every app needs clarity in terms of appearance and use. However, it is equally important to understand the difference between users interacting with a tvOS app and a mobile app. In a tablet or Smartphone app, the user has absolute freedom to use possibly everything appearing on the screen. On the other hand, between users and Apple TV there is a bridge in the form of Siri Remote enabling users to control TV through this remote. A few simple tips can do the trick such as:

  • Avoid using small fonts for a clean visibility
  • Use fonts not just big but even bold in appearance
  • Let menu button appear as back button so that users do not get lost
  1. Go For Immersive Experience

A TV screen is a lot bigger than you would expect. A resolution as big as 1920*1080 pixels, can act as a major canvas for designing for your apps. Test your application within a living room and then go for a bigger area to see the difference and making it appear amazing irrespective of the area you cover. Gradually increasing the distance will help you know what has to be done to modify things and keep it immersive all the time.

Designing apps for Apple TV require special expertise

Designing tvOS apps requires simply porting your current iOS apps to tvOS App Store. It is a complete different approach to interact with a television, an experience incomparable to approaching a smartphone. Hence, you need to have separate apps specially crafted for Apple TV providing you an experience you might be missing on your smartphones

Fusion Informatics have been designing iOS apps for quite a while now, and thoroughly knows what it takes to build apps for varied platforms. We have already built apps for smart TVs before may it be iOS or Android, and hence we are fully aware of the process. How large or small your apps turn out to be, we have it deployed to you, as we have been doing with iPhone or iPad apps. Trust us and we will not disappoint you.


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