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I'm currently designing my first iPhone application, and I've decided to go with a UI using the default UIKit controls, but customized with my own colors and textures.

One area where I'm having trouble making a decision is whether or not to use a typeface different from the default Helvetica Neue in the navigation bar. My instinct at first would be to leave the default, but I've seen several apps with different typefaces that pull off the effect very well (namely: Camera+ and Everyday). Here's where I currently am in my Photoshop comp:

What do you think of this, from a User Experience standpoint? Would it be alienating for users of this app, or would it add to the overall design feeling of the app (I'm going for luxurious but easy to use)?

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What kind of app is it? The name and typeface have got me curious :) – Rahul Jul 9 '11 at 23:00
It's a flash cards app, where you can create and study from groups (called "Stacks") of flash cards. If you're interested, I have more of my design work on the app viewable on Dribbble. – maxluzuriaga Jul 10 '11 at 18:33
up vote 2 down vote accepted

iOS has established a strong design-friendly ecosystem where apps are expected to follow standard UI guidelines for usability's sake. But they're also encouraged to stand out from the crowd of "boring" apps that just use Apple's default style by using design to their advantage. Some of the most popular apps even deviated from Apple's standard, such as Tweetie, Convertbot, and more recently, Aelios.

So in terms of user experience design, it's clear that the iOS ecosystem can be very flexible if you step away from the blue hues and do something different. iOS is arguably a platform where great UX is rewarded with sales more directly than other platforms (like Windows) because the app store promotes great looking apps, the community buzzes about them, and as a result, the audience has come to expect great looking apps to work well (which is also a pitfall of the ecosystem).

But your priority should lie with a great app first and foremost. So although different typography looks good, make sure your app works well first. Beyond that, I say go for it, and let us know when it hits the App Store!

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