In an attempt to encourage and inspire iOS developers to create more immersive, well-designed applications which fit in with the ethos of Apple and iOS 7, Cupertino has published its “iOS Human Interface Guidelines” on the iBookstore, meaning anyone – regardless of whether they have a paid developer account or not – can download, read, and learn from the document.

The 20 megabyte guide, which was previously available to access on the Web from Apple’s Developer website, more importantly takes full advantage of Apple’s iBooks format. Besides supporting the iPad’s horizontal two-page layout, animations and video usefully appear alongside formatted text. Users can also customize the appearance of the iBook to suit their individual preferences: the size of text can be altered, the background can be changed, and more.

iOS Human Interface Guidelines.

The first two pages of the iOS Human Interface Guidelines iBook explain:

Designing for iOS 7

iOS 7 embodies the following themes:

  • Deference. The UI helps users understand and interact with the content, but never competes with it.
  • Clarity. Text is legible at every size, icons are precise and lucid, adornments are subtle and appropriate, and a sharpened focus on functionality motivates the design.
  • Depth. Visual layers and realistic motion impart vitality and heighten users’ delight and understanding.

Whether you’re redesigning an existing app or creating a new one, consider approaching the job in the way that Apple approached the redesign of the built-in apps:

  • First, strip away the UI to expose the app’s core functionality and reaffirm its relevance.
  • Next, use the themes of iOS 7 to inform the design of the UI and the user experience. Restore details and embellishments with care and never gratuitously.
  • Throughout, be prepared to defy precedent, question assumptions, and let a focus on content and functionality motivate every design decision.

You can pick up the iBook, iOS Human Interface Guidelines, now on the iBookstore free of charge, and it’s optimized for iOS devices running iOS 4.3.3 or later and OS X Mavericks-powered Mac computers.

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