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What is best practice for styling Action Sheets in iOS? I see examples out there using the simple native iOS component, while others customize it to match their style and brand.

Is there a best practice, and if you do decide to customize, should they be customized in all scenarios or is it okay to have a mix between custom and native?

Thanks.

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Edit (28 May 2024): In response to your query on how to figure out if the customised variant is better:

Personally, I prefer moving in phases, so phase 1, you do the bare minimum, nothing special, but make sure you have KPIs to measure the actions. A simple one is, check how many people open the action and how many click on an option, this is an important metric, it helps measure churn (how many people opened but did nothing) and will be useful in step. Step 2, you start adding fancy stuff, customised looks, animations, etc. then you measure if the churn reduced (this is good) or increased (this is bad).

Not an iOS Developer but I can tell you this, if there's one thing I learnt from Bootstrap CSS' popularity is that too much of something can make it lose it's quality. Following the pack might feel like the safest thing to do, but people will start to get tired of seeing the same UI, and your app will start to look like just another iOS app. In the era where we are in essence looking to get as much of the user's time as we can, looking "samey" can quickly throw you down the "apps I'll use today" list for most users.

But then again, customising using means the effort level just went up, so it's up to you and your team to decide whether this medium-high effort task is of medium to high impact. If not, then it's best you just keep things safe. Stick to the user segments that value what you offer irrelevant of presentation.

As for the question on whether all items should be customised or only some, you want to be consistent. At times users create expectations of what certain buttons or actions should do. These are in truth habits, and if you break the rules, now they have to retrain or worse yet, not trust your UI to be consistent, this will not only affect the user (habits once created can be tricky to break) but also for you (you are seen as inconsistent, a trait that isn't good to have).

Some references for the last point:

https://www.avenga.com/magazine/10-things-to-avoid-in-ui-design/#:~:text=Inconsistent%20UI%20behavior,-Inconsistent%20UI%20behavior&text=It%20occurs%20when%20there%20are,navigate%20through%20the%20various%20sections.

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  • Thanks. For something like this that's purely aesthetic, how can you decipher whether its impact is worth that effort? There are likely no reliable metrics that can say if people are interacting with your action sheet more, and what that data actually means anyway. Seems like just a branding decision? Commented May 28 at 12:32
  • Personally, I prefer moving in phases, so phase 1, you do the bare minimum, nothing special, but make sure you have KPIs to measure the actions. A simple one is, check how many people open the action and how many click on an option, this is an important metric, it helps measure churn (how many people opened but did nothing) and will be useful in step. Step 2, you start adding fancy stuff, customised looks, animations, etc. then you measure if the churn reduced (this is good) or increased (this is bad). @MatthewGelfand Commented May 28 at 13:47
  • I agree that starting with the bare minimum for an MVP is best practice, but does that apply here? The actions a user can take are the same with the native and custom sheet. Only difference would be app branding (color, font) and maybe iconography. Measuring clicks won't tell us anything. It could just be random variance. Commented May 28 at 13:57
  • @MatthewGelfand if you change something you'll see it in the data, it will either improve the stats or drop the stats,. Checkout AB testing, it's a testing methodology you can use to figure out if a switch is good. Measuring clicks will tell you whether the new look is making the experience more or less appealing. Google Aesthetic-Usability effect. Commented May 28 at 17:40
  • @MatthewGelfand the randomness only kicks in until a point. After a certain point your data starts to follow a sort of distribution around a certain percentage. Let's say 30% of users left the actions list without clicking. But then the new designs are received well by users, it could drop to 25% of users. If not received well or it has no effect then you should see either an increase in churn (30%+) or it doesn't change by much. Commented May 28 at 17:44

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