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The iOS Launch Image is Not a Splash Screen

Published on Thu, 8 December 2011

At work we’re currently having an iOS app that I’m working on styled by a designer. The second screen we were supplied was a pretty splash screen with a big logo on it. We responded saying that we didn’t want to use the launch image like that. Our designer responded saying that was fine but the majority of the clients nowadays require heavy emphases on corporate branding therefore it was a standard practice to cater to those requirements. It’s a shame that this is what people are are asking for since its is not the intended use of the launch image.

Justin Williams recently had the following clear-cut words to say on the topic of splash screens in his On Magazines and the iPad article (emphasis from the article):

Remember, kids. The first rule of mobile development is that no one gives a fuck about your brand. A splash screen with a giant logo is something that makes editors and marketing directors feel good, but to a user it just feels like a meaningless delay. You know that feeling of frustration you get each time there’s a 15-second preroll before a video on the web? That’s what a splash screen with logos and advertisements is.

The Apple iOS Human Interface Guidelines include the following suggestions:

Avoid taking space away from the content people care about. For example, displaying a second, persistent bar at the top of the screen that does nothing but display branding assets means that there’s less room for content. Consider other, less intrusive ways to display pervasive branding, such as subtly customizing the background of a screen.

Display a launch image that closely resembles the first screen of the application. This practice decreases the perceived launch time of your application.

Avoid displaying an About window or a splash screen. In general, try to avoid providing any type of startup experience that prevents people from using your application immediately.

Supply a launch image to improve user experience.

Avoid using your launch image as an opportunity to provide:

Because users are likely to switch among applications frequently, you should make every effort to cut launch time to a minimum, and you should design a launch image that downplays the experience rather than drawing attention to it.

The launch image is designed to make the perceived launch time of you app feel faster by showing something resembling the interface that will be loaded as quickly as possible. Displaying a logo does nothing but draw attention to how quickly your app loads and adds nothing to the user’s experience.

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