iOS Launch Image: An Alternate Approach
The launch image is the piece of graphic that is briefly displayed on a cold launch of an app. The recommended approach is to display a placeholder image with things like the navigation and tab bar, but without any seemingly tapable icons. This primes the user for what’s coming next.
iOS 7 added a fade from the icon on the springboard to the launch image, followed by a fade from the launch image to the starting point of your app. This makes for a smooth transition and will gently fill the blank bars with tappable elements.
For a third party apps, the launch image can be a way to extend your branding. This should be done in a tasteful manner, and without any artificial delays. Adding even just a few milliseconds of extra launch image time will frustrate users.
Twitterrific is a nice example of tasteful launch image branding. It has a frosted glass look, with a blurred version of the app icon behind it. “Twitterrific” is shown in see-through letters. The resulting transition from the springboard is that the icon is being zoomed into and blurred.
What’s lacking from this launch image is the priming achieved by placeholder elements. This has bothered me a bit and was reason enough for me to steer clear of a similar approach in our own Filibaba cooking apps.
However, what we’ve done in our recent updates feels like a nice middle ground. The launch image is a combination of an enlarged high definition icon and outlined elements. This way you have something nice to look at, while still primed for what the UI will start out like. The outlined grey visual style more strongly clarifies the inactive state, compared to colored bars.
After the launch image we present each recipe with a scaling animation, which makes the transition from the springboard pretty seamless.
I feel like I’ve found a nice middle ground between branding and priming the user for the starting point of an app.