iOS Device Fragmentation, Responsive Design, and Your Team

On Wednesday, July 23rd I had the pleasure of co-faciliting an iOS discussion with Ben Shive at Venturef0rth in Philadelphia. Many thanks to the awesome people at Venturef0rth for this opportunity! The discussion was very casual and focused on how iOS 8 would impact new and existing app development. Chairs were arranged in a circle, there was no slide deck or projector, and the topics flowed from one to another based on the interests of the group. I really enjoyed the discussion and I hope that it was useful to those in attendance. It was also really great to meet a lot of new people. Philly's tech community is amazing and only growing stronger.

During the discussion I got to thinking about two things related to the rumored addition of new screen sizes to Apple's device line-up and iOS 8 app development in general.

  1. Android developers have been dealing with device fragmentation for a long time. There's a lot to be learned from their experiences. iOS dev teams would be smart to bring in some experienced Android developers for consulting on this matter to more quickly adapt workflows. I also think there's a good opportunity for Android developers looking to expand their skills into iOS development to do so based on this experience. They could be immediately productive on an iOS team by aiding in process improvements and UX design (related to varying screen sizes) while ramping up their iOS dev skills.

  2. Responsive web designers also have a lot of valuable experience to help guide UX and UI design across multiple screen sizes. If you're on an iOS team that primarily builds native apps with Apple's tools you may need to seriously think about bringing in some help in this area. I'd imagine that teams working on HTML 5 based app platforms will be much more well positioned in this area.

One of the biggest take-aways from this discussion, for me, is that iOS teams should seriously consider hiring experienced Android and/or responsive web designers to help consult on existing design and development workflows. There's no reason to build this experience from scratch and your team will be able to more quickly meet the needs of your clients or app's audience.