We launched an internal app yesterday for the company and of course this was the first time my boss's boss decided to take a look at it. He's one of those guys who comes in, takes a big dump in the middle of the room and then leaves, expecting someone else to clean up his mess. I barely interact with him so it's not big a deal.

Anyway, he had some "design" ideas for us after viewing a demo of the app. I should mention that this is the first app the company has ever launched where the business team felt it was so intuitive to use that they decided there was no need for any training material at all. I've been doing design and development long enough to not let most crittercism bother me but one thing he said kind of did.

We have a couple of tables and the cells for those tables will have either a delete or add button in it, depending on the cell content. The button is on the left side of the cell, followed by the content (a client id and name). He claimed I wasn't following Apple Interface Guidelines because the button should be to the right of the content, not the left.

I'm just curious as to what the herd thinks. If you know anything about iOS development, a UITableViewCell has a default image property, which puts your image to the left of the content. In fact, you can't change it's location, only use or not use it, if you want to put an image on the right side of the content you have to jump through some hoops to get it to work.

  • I think this may be better suited to UX.Stackexchange.com Maybe a mod could migrate it for you.
    – Scott
    Jun 11, 2015 at 20:27
  • i'm active on UX StackExchange and yeah, this is definitely an in-scope question for UX...it'd be good to migrate
    – tohster
    Jun 12, 2015 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


Consider what you're making the eye and the brain have to do. Very broadly speaking, you see and comprehend an action (delete or add) and then you would see the item to which the action would apply. It seems Apple do this the other way round, see iTunes for example:

enter image description here

Screenshot from iTunes.

Ultimately, though, what do your users think as they're going to be using it?


The standard iOS interaction that users have come to expect: when you "swipe to delete" an individual cell, the delete button is indeed on the right-hand side of the cell. So in that case your boss' boss is correct. This functionality is built in to UITableView back to at least iOS5, so you don't have to change any code.

However, per Apple's UITableView Programming Guide, when you enable editing mode for the entire table, the "Delete" or "Add" control appears on the left. So in that case, your existing design is correct.

At first it might appear that Apple itself is a bit inconsistent in this regard (and clearly hasn't updated that document in at least 2+ years), but I'd suggest it's because we're looking at "deleting" in 2 different contexts.

When you want to add/delete a bunch of items simultaneously it's easier to just tick your way down the left side & be done with it. Your main goal in this mode is to "add/delete multiple things," and you've already evaluated the content to help you determine what to delete/add.

This is different from the mental process of "evaluate this single item and then determine what to do with it," in which case the content necessarily precedes the possible actions you can take. Otherwise you see the possible actions, then interpret the content, then bounce backwards over the content again to interact with the chosen action.

So is the purpose of this particular table to help users evaluate individual items & then determine how to handle them (button on the right)? Or is it to sort/filter the data quickly with only a passing glance at individual cells containing content they're already familiar with (button on the left)?

Your Answer

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