Recently, Apple launched a App Accelerator in Bangalore. Phil Schiller tweeted about it:

App Accelerator Bengaluru - now open for iOS developers

I signed up for a couple of sessions on the first day of sessions:

  • Designing Great Apps
  • Advanced Swift

The sessions were held at Apple’s offices in RMZ Galleria.

A couple of people on the Swift India Slack asked me to take notes during the sessions and share them since not everyone who wanted to attend could attend. I figured I’d start with the first session in this post: Designing Great Apps.

Designing Great Apps

This talk was given by the resident “design guy”, Karthick Gopal. The goal of this talk was to highlight what makes great apps (was also referred to as “next generation” apps).

To start off with, ask yourself this:

What does your app make your users feel?

It’s not just about what features it has, what it looks like etc. It’s about what it makes users feel.

Great apps are:

  • Inviting. This is done with judicious use of colors, contrast, etc.
  • Accessible. 1 in 7 Indians has a disability. We should cater for them in our design. Use technologies like Dynamic Type to do this.
  • Engaging
  • Intuitive
  • Specialized
  • Personal
  • State of the art

They also stand out, and provide clear value to their users.

3 Steps To Make Great Apps

  • Use state of the art technologies
    • Use the latest and greatest frameworks and extension points provided by Apple. However, do not blindly just integrate everything - think about what makes sense for your apps.
  • Optimize your apps
    • Think about which devices in the Apple ecosystem your app makes (iPhones, iPads,  watch, Macs) sense to be on.
    • Think about how your apps will work on the specific devices your apps will be on.
    • As you design your app for a device, also think about whether your app could work on other devices in the future, even if that is not your current focus.
  • Specialize your apps
    • Use  frameworks.
    • Particularly extension points.
    • However, do so judiciously.


Karthick highlighted a few apps in his presentation for having great design.


Ixigo has a fantastic on boarding experience, making it inviting for new users. It uses delightful animations to draw you in.


Bear focuses on the task at hand: taking notes. Icons and actions are very subtle. They use colors really well. It’s also fun, and engaging. There first note you see when you open the app has a cute bear in it. It also looks similar on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, while still staying true to each platform.

Mr. Crab 2

Mr. Crab 2 is a fun game. Not crammed with all kinds of buttons and features. Optimized for each platform it is on.

Not On The High Street

This is a premium shopping app in the UK. It is highly visual. Focus is on the item, and it’s photos. They have high fidelity photos everywhere. Very little text.  TV app is video intensive, since video is most used on  TV. However, since people are not used to buying stuff on their TV, it uses handoff to allow the user to purchase an item being viewed on the  TV on their iPhone.

Night Sky 4

Night Sky 4 has fantastic user interaction. Super smooth, and performant. Does not distract you with information you don’t need until you ask for it.

Field Day

Field Day is a game designed specifically for  Watch. Designed for kids, so has a lot of cute animations, transitions, and graphics.


Karthick summarized with these points:

  • Have a great on boarding experience
  • Exhibit a clear and precise design language
  • Leverage key iOS technologies
  • Exist on the platforms where your users do
  • Surprise and delight users over time
  • Deliver clear value

Overall, I quite enjoyed the session, and learned a few things from it. Hopefully this is useful to the people who weren’t able to attend this time around. Feel free to hit me up on twitter @gopalkri if you have any thoughts, comments, feedback, or questions!