Although Android developers have been developing for larger screens for a few years, the release of the new iPhones are bringing Apple and iOS developers into the “phablet” market. Now that the “phablet” is officially mainstream, all app developers should start thinking about developing apps optimized for these new, larger screens.
A Localytics report indicates that large-screen devices have a noticeable effect on in-app user engagement, an important metric for user retention and monetization.
By studying Android phones with a screen size of 5-inches or higher, it was determined that the time spent in-app is 34% longer on large screens than on small screens. In the case of music and gaming apps, the time in-app is nearly twice as long as music and gaming apps on smaller screens.
Now that you know the reason why you should develop for larger screens, here’s what you should keep in mind when you are optimizing your app:
1. Design to take advantage of the larger screen
You have almost 2 or more inches to work with now! Scale graphics to fit the screen, and scale buttons and whitespace to make the app seem less crowded.
Need some inspiration? Check out Apple’s branded apps in the App Store—each one is now optimized for the iPhoneX. You can get a good idea of how to design for not only a larger screen but also for a more developed landscape mode.
2. Be aware of the drawbacks of larger screens
Usually, users will hold a phone at the bottom. When working with a large-screened phone, the user will have to work a bit harder to reach any buttons or menus which are placed along the top of the screen.
So, when optimizing your app, make sure that any main action buttons are easily accessible along the bottom of the screen. If you have a gaming app, try experimenting with landscape mode; it will make top buttons easier to reach and you can experiment with console-like controls.
3. Take your time
It may be tempting to try and push out your optimized app as soon as possible. However, consider releasing a simple, scaled-up app first and then continue perfecting your fully optimized app.
Take the time to make sure that you are using the entire screen as effectively as possible; it will give you a head-start in a large-screen market that is only just reaching the mainstream.
Now that Apple has entered the mix of large-screened phones, it is almost certain that this is a mobile hardware trend that will stick around for a while. And with those user engagement numbers shown by Localytics, it will definitely be worth it for app developers, and particularly game developers, to get in on the ground floor.