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I'm developing an iOS app, and I'm conflicted on which is the better UX choice to make. The main screen displays a nicely arranged carousel of objects, with just a few core details. The user can edit these details, but to do that the 'pretty' arrangement of fields needs to be adjusted. The use of an image should help here:

Transitioning between Display and Edit modes

So the display mode should switch to the edit mode (and back again after editing).

My question: Is it better UX to 'shift' the elements around (using smooth animations) and turn them into editable fields, or just present a modal view controller that contains the fields to edit?

Perusing the Apple Human Interface Guidelines doesn't give much insight into this specific design choice, and I appreciate that both styles could work fine if implemented properly, but I'd love to know if there's a guideline on which one works better in a UX context!

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The answer likely depends heavily on how the carousel is implemented. –  DA01 Aug 10 '12 at 18:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Presenting an editable view seems more appropriate in the situation. User has a goal to edit an object and showing animation that might introduce a delay can go from cool to annoying, especially, if the user is editing a lot of items. Animation makes more sense if you are trying to imitate physical world e.g.dropping and item into a trashcan, adding a picture to a carousel. In iOS opening an edit window is often just done by a slide left (see settings or contacts app on iPhone or iPad).

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Great answer. Whilst it'd be cool and memorable to have a unique interface feature for editing objects in a saturated mobile market, I can't trade-off usability for a gimmick. I implemented a prototype of the shifting view, and even on my iPhone 4S it caused a delay when performing a bunch of animations/resize calculations in bulk. I'll just have to stick with the boring but proven seperate views, the hardware isn't quite there yet! –  Andeh Aug 12 '12 at 12:17

The considerations I would undertake are:

a) Is the switch to a new modal view necessitated due to space constraints?

b) How much of a switch in context I want the users to experience.

Even when going to a new modal view (if desired) you could "ease" the user into it. You might not desire to ease them into the modal view if a very drastic distinction is required between editing and non-editing mode of the application. For example if there's a lot more functionality to be had besides just filling out a couple of fields during editing.

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