How Your iOS App Screams That You Don’t Care About Your Users

How Your iOS App Screams That You Don’t Care About Your Users

By Josh Adams

Why do you hold your app’s users in contempt? A charitable interpretation would be that you just don’t think about them. Yeah, I’m talking to you, “Developer of an iOS app that doesn’t support Touch ID in 2016.”

So your app has a login but no Touch ID support. That shouts to the world that you don’t value your users’ time or security. It is truly egregious if your app has sensitive data or short sessions.

For example, a banking app should be a top candidate for using Touch ID. Yet there are a couple of big players here in the States that don’t support it. I don’t want to engage in “missing feature shaming” but they rhyme with “US Tank” and “Bells Largo.” Those apps are really just the tip of the iceberg.

It is painful to use punctuation, numbers, and symbols on iOS keyboards. The more often the user needs type to a password, the fewer of those characters they will use. They will do the minimum to meet your server-side password requirements. Many passwords like “Spork111!” will be chosen.

If you adopt Touch ID, your users won’t key in passwords as often. They just might choose something more secure. Most won’t. But please follow this basic UX principle:

Don’t make it harder than it needs to be for your users to do the right thing.

Ignoring Touch ID is making your app a poor iOS citizen. Touch ID has been around since the iPhone 5S hit the market in September 2013. It has been on all subsequent iPhones except the 5C. Even the iPad has Touch ID on the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3–4, and the gargantuan iPad Pro. A large percentage of your iOS user base can conveniently authenticate with their fingerprint. Let them do it.

The Local Authentication framework that validates the fingerprint is trivial to implement. Yes, you will have to use the iOS Keychain API to securely store server side credentials. But you’re a professional. You can figure that out. For goodness’ sake there’s a Ray Wenderlich tutorial on it!

Failing to adopt Touch ID is bad enough. Almost as inexcusable is if your app also doesn’t implement iOS 9 multitasking. Thus, security-minded users are unable to put their iPads into split screen with 1Password and your app. Instead they have to copy and paste passwords while bouncing between apps, like an animal that uses an iPad running iOS 8.

I know from personal experience that supporting multitasking will typically require adopting Auto Layout to make the entire app usable in all size classes. That can be a big job. No budget for that? OK, so at least implement the 1Password Extension! That would let your users who value their security to have a measure of convenience.

More importantly it would respect their time and their data.

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