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!

  • The answer likely depends heavily on how the carousel is implemented.
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


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).

  • 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!
    – andycam
    Commented Aug 12, 2012 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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.