I've seen questions like this one that have no coding implications per se, but revolve around Apple's HIG and as such can only be answered by developers. Are these off topic or not? Why?

  • 1
    Don't we have a UI.SE?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 25, 2011 at 7:24
  • Yes, we do, but that doesn't address HIG per se either. If HIG questions should be there, perhaps all HIG questions (9 or 10 tagged ones) should be automigrated to UI.SE.
    – Moshe
    Feb 25, 2011 at 7:28

2 Answers 2


Have you checked our User Interface Stack Exchange site??

Seems like a perfect fit if you ask me!

  • So then the HIG questions are off topic then. Okey dokey.
    – Moshe
    Feb 25, 2011 at 7:28
  • Well I'm not a user there, but Interface Guidelines smells like UI to me
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 25, 2011 at 7:36
  • In general, the HIG might be a better fit for UI.SE, but this question seems specifically about the App Store approval process, which has traditionally been a legitimate topic on Stack Overflow. Feb 25, 2011 at 12:10

I consider questions that ask about whether the specific use of a control would violate the Human Interface Guidelines to be on topic for Stack Overflow. These tend to be different from your normal questions that ask about ways of improving the user experience, because there are definitive rules that guide their usage, and there's normally a specific solution to the issue that requires code.

The Human Interface Guidelines also shape my answers to questions. If someone asks how to do something in code that will violate the guidelines (like changing the color of alert views), I'm more likely to answer by telling them not to do that rather than just blindly giving them code that I know will cause trouble for them later on.

More subjective questions on user experience might be good candidates for the User Interface Stack Exchange site, but I think these specific HIG-related ones that affect your application design belong here.

  • good answer. btw, how do you change the color of alert views?
    – Moshe
    Feb 25, 2011 at 16:47
  • @Moshe - If you're masochistic enough to try, I used Quartz to redraw the entire look of an alert view in this sample application for my class: sunsetlakesoftware.com/sites/default/files/QuartzExamples.zip (I couldn't resist the challenge by someone from the class). With a little Core Animation to make it pop on the screen, you could change the background color used for that drawing and have your own ugly alert view. There's no way it would make it past the reviewers, thankfully. Feb 25, 2011 at 16:53
  • Are you sure it won't get past reviewers? My game is inherently B&W and this would be the finishing touch. I could show my own custom alert, why is this any different? I just want to make it grayscale.
    – Moshe
    Feb 25, 2011 at 17:08
  • @Moshe - The language "The background appearance of an alert is system-defined and cannot be changed." and "You can’t customize the width or the background appearance of the alert view itself" in the HIG is pretty explicit. However, you might be able to create an alert that is just different enough from the system-provided controls (different border, size, etc.) that they would identify it as purely custom UI and you wouldn't fall afoul of this restriction. Games that have their own completely custom UI don't need to follow the HIG to the letter. Feb 25, 2011 at 18:42
  • @BradLarson - My app is a game (itunes.com/apps/nippon). It uses UIKit but is supposed to be B&W.
    – Moshe
    Feb 25, 2011 at 18:52
  • @Moshe - However, you're still using the standard iOS interface elements, so you're restricted to using those in the way that Apple allows (in the interest of platform consistency). As I said, if you came up with something that was clearly distinguishable from a normal alert in design they probably would not complain. In the screenshot for your application, the alert you're providing would be more appropriate as a sheet anyway, which can be made black and white. Alerts should be rare within your application, and should indicate errors or exceptions, not prompts for more info. Feb 25, 2011 at 19:06
  • @BradLarson OK, are action sheets also modal, like alerts?
    – Moshe
    Feb 25, 2011 at 19:11
  • @Moshe - Yes, and they're intended to be used as prompts for more information, which is exactly what you have here. Feb 25, 2011 at 19:13

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