One hand operation on iOS (Ongoing project)

The Problem

Over the last few years, iPhones have been getting larger and larger. When the iPhone 5 was announced Apple said that their phone was easy to use with one hand because of its size. "A 4 inch sized screen was the perfect size for one hand use" according to Apple. When the iPhone 6 was announced they increased the screen size to a 4.7 inch screen. Significantly larger than the previous phone. The size increase made the phone harder to use with one hand.

Apple could have improved the one handed usability by adjusting the OS to accomidate for larger screens. A measure Apple implemented to accomidate one handed use for bigger screens is Reachability. Tap (not press) the home button twice or swipe down on the home bar and the screen moves down to let you perform actions on the top side of the screen. However, I think I can do better.

workflow

Reworking iOS for one handed use

The main problem with larger phones in my opinion, is that content on the top part of the screen is hard to reach. We can fix a lot of reachability problems by moving interactive content down.

workflow

Home screen

Apps are placed from left to right, top to botom. This immediately shows the first problem. You need to have apps in the top part of the screen because you can’t place them freely on the screen. If we start placing apps from the bottom instead of the top, they are easier to reach. If users can specify which hand is their dominant hand, it would be even more accesible by starting the app placing in their preferred side.

Left phone are current, right phone is my rendition.

Home screen

Settings

Settings.app is basically a big list. This list extends to the top of the screen, which makes it hard to reach. I pushed the top item of the list down to halfway on the screen, making it more reachable.

The back button in settings (and most other apps) is in the top left hand side. iOS has by default a feature where you can swipe from left to right to go back but this is not clear for every user. My proposal is to move the back button down. In iOS 13 there is an UI element that shows that they’re working on moving buttons lower in the screen, this can be found in the iOS 13 Photos.app. I used a similar looking button for going back and placed it in the lower left side of the screen. 
Additionally I made the menu an overlay on top of the previous menu so that it does not cover the previous menu completely. It is still visible and will slide over, indicating to the user it can be slid back too.

Left phone are current, right phone is my rendition.

workflow

Control centre

The control centre is accessed through a swipe down the top right hand side of the screen. This is a frequently used menu hidden for quick toggles. This could be (and is on iPad) incorperated in the multitasking window. We could implement this on iPhone in the same fashion. Double tap (home button) or swipe up (home bar) and see all your open apps on the left hand side and your control centre on the right hand side. Swiping horizontally would show more open apps or more of the control centre.

Left two phones are current, right phone is my rendition.

workflow

Ongoing project

This is a ongoing hobby project of mine. This page will be added onto and changing as I see fit.

Skills

Affinity designer