It’s thrilling for any app developer when Apple shines their light your way. It’s great to find something you worked on in an editorial list, or even better if your app is lucky enough to be picked as “App of the Day”. 😍 But I’d imagine nothing compares to winning an Apple Design Award or being picked as an App Store Award winner, though, and this week, Apple shined its light brightly on 15 winners across apps, games, and projects with cultural impact.

I always like to try a selection of the apps that win these awards. Not only are they usually worthwhile and well-made apps, but if you’ve even half an eye on one day being considered to win one, it’s a great idea to look at what Apple values when picking winners.

Look at all this year’s winning apps, and you’ll find clean and uncluttered designs primarily using standard UI. It’s always a good idea to integrate new operating system features or this year’s hot new device hardware feature if it makes sense, but look specifically at the UI of AllTrails, Photomator, SmartGym, and Too Good To Go. They are all well-designed, of course, but look at how simple and “standard” their UI is. Each of them fits perfectly into their platform. That’s far from Apple’s only criteria for these awards, but it’s something that I see happen every year.

That’s not to say that the apps that move further away from “standard” platform UI are being (or should be) punished for it. There are many good reasons to do that, especially with apps like Proloquo, where familiarity with a different set of standard icons and concepts is far more critical. Either way, UI “fit” is fundamental.

Anyway, congratulations to all the finalists and, of course, the winners!

I think it’s likely that we’ll see these awards expand to another platform next year. Will your app be the first App Store Award winner on visionOS?

Dave Verwer  





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And finally...

How about making this year’s advent calendar a Swifty one? ❄️