I want to create an app for iOS sending (virtual) greeting cards to other users. Since the app is iOS only I thought about using a Cover Flow like representation of the various cards to provide a common UI. But after I did some research I found out that Apple removed this from iTunes 11. I know that iTunes is desktop and iOS is mobile but I am afraid that Apple is dropping the cover flow design completely in the (near) future.

Is there any hint that this will happen? And would this be a reason to avoid using it? At the moment I want to use iCarousel to implement the feature into my app.

Last but not least since I am new to UX design: Is there any better way to represent lots (about 30 cards per category) of images to users?

2 Answers 2


The cover flow responds well to hardly any real use case. Sure, it's visually nice effect to browse the items, but when designing for reality, there is no such use case as "a user browses the content." They are always making decisions on some criteria, whether actively or subconsciously.

You could start by getting to the root of the user's decision making process: why is the user "browsing the cover flow"?

If they are looking for a specific card they already know, showing all the cards at once is the most straight-forward way - requiring only a glance and a single tap.

If they have never seen the cards before, but they generally "know what card they want when they see it", the cover flow might be ok, as it allows a large image to be examined in greater detail and the user can stop browsing at the card when they get to it. Note, that this still adds a lot of unnecessary user actions. The same examination aspect can also be incorporated to the all-cards-at-once view with only the cost of a few taps (enlarge a card - back to view-all).

If they need to compare multiple cards to decide which of them is the most appropriate, having to swipe the cover flow back-and-forth - maybe multiple times - is an awful design.

If the comparison of a few cards is essential but you really want to use cover flow, you might support the use case by allowing selection for comparison in the cover flow and show the selected items for comparison afterwards.


Take a look at what your users want to get at.

If you are breaking these down by category and it's a simpel iOS app, then consider doing a card sorting similar to passbook.

Even iTunes and the Newsstand offer a much more streamlined approach over the cover flow.

If users are sorting out available cards in a various category, it would be better to display multiple pieces of information on multiple cards at once. Otherwise you're forcing your users to swipe through each cover flow image to take a look at the card before making a decision on if its a card they want or not.

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