To anyone who has participated in the creation of a mobile app I have a question:

Was it designed/planned for both portrait and landscape?

If not: Why? Did you discuss this with your team? What was the rationale behind this decision?

If yes: Why? How much effort did you put into considering landscape scenarios for each screen? Did you design every screen for both orientations?

Context: I'm designing a mobile Bitcoin wallet on iOS (currently available on Android), and for Android this decision had already been made before I joined the team, but since I'm working on iOS from scratch, I want to answer and address this question with a solid logic. My opinion is that, even though landscape use represents less than 10% of the usage (source at the bottom), no app should determine how you hold your phone. With this principle in mind, I'm inclined to think that apps should be usable on both orientations.

1 Answer 1


Considering both landscape and portrait orientations (perhaps even more: square...or special form factors) is "doing it right". Most designers, developers, and teams don't do it right. I try to get everyone to do it right, that is raising the bar. The result is a more usable app, that works better than competitors, and even runs less risk in terms of being sued for failing simple Accessibility controls. Let's not forget, if you are building a flight booking system and can be sued in USA, then you'd better be getting the Accessibility stuff right first hit rather than pushing the problem to the horizon.

I will typically consider and flesh out designs across orientations very early on so as to get a feel for data and UI needs and how they can be managed across the app - that may lead to navigational or software design constraints/needs that can be accommodated into early foundations, rather than bolted on later on. I also work to make portrait designs work well in landscape by default, that avoids adding extra pain just to achieve multiple orientations and usually sits better with traditional designers who by now are finding this project to be complex. Essentially, if the portrait layouts can't be largely reused to simply achieve decent landscape usability - designs are too ambitious (or forgetful of Non-Functional Requirements) or layouts aren't well made.

"I'm inclined to think that apps should be usable on both orientations." With that mindset, you will be building a better future.

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