I have a list of items in an iOS app. When clicking an item you are taken to a read only mode with information. The details disclosure arrow is shown on the items.

Now I need to provide a mode where this information can be edited. Right now I am considering two different ways of doing this.

First I was thinking of having an Edit button top-right corner inside the details view. When clicking this Edit button you are taken to a new view where the information can be changed. The edit mode will look much different to the read only view so I am not sure I can just switch the controls like apple does when clickin gedit inside a contact for example.

Another approach would be to have the Edit button in the items list view, so one step earlier. When clicking the edit button it would show the rearrange and remove icons. Since I have put the user in edit mode I could also build it so that when clicking on the items they are taken to the Details edit view instead of the read only view. A good idea or is it never done like this?

Which (if any) of these would be preferrable, or should I do it in a totally different way you think?


  • Why do you need a read only view?
    – SteveD
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 12:57
  • It's more of a "use or run view" if you will, it's a workout app so here you can add notes, change rep count, weight etc.
    – Johan O
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


Your first option is probably better than the second option for two reasons.

  1. In the first option the edit trigger is in context of the details you are actually looking at
  2. In the second option you will have an edit trigger on every item in the list, which will add to the visual complexity on the page, e.g. lots of repetitive edit triggers, especially if you have many list items.
  • Good answer. Additional actions repeated for every item only adds clutter and distracts visually from the fields that actually change. Only actions that relate to the list (sorting, multi-selection, etc) deserve to be shown in the list; actions applying to only one item should be shown in the drill down. This is a good rule for any such list. Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 18:32

Agree with the above, there will be another item that clutters the view.

Your users' context will be during the workout for them to keep clean and accurate data. Therefore, offering the edits during each exercise seems like the right place to display them.

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