Friday, April 3, 2015

Truncated Text in Mobile UIs

Ole Begemann:

As an app developer or designer, you should treat most cases where you conveniently resort to truncating text as a failure in your design. There are certainly exceptions to this, and especially if you deal with user-generated content you have to set a limit—nobody wants item titles spanning a dozen lines or more. For “normal” content, however, the default should be to display the full text. If that means an item title requires four lines, then give me four lines.


If you really think you need truncated text, you should at least provide the user with a way to see the whole thing without having to leave the current screen. Apple used to do this in the Music app. A long tap on a truncated song title would display a popover with the full title. This feature is gone in iOS 8, however. Another option might be to let users expand text by tapping on the ellipsis, but I still think these workarounds are worse than just showing the full text from the start.

I feel like I spend my day clicking to tell Xcode to show the rest of truncated error messages and unit test failures.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Have you heard of BBUFullIssueNavigator ( It expands issue descriptions in the issue navigator. Very useful.

@Hans Thanks for the link. Although, the description says “Xcode 5.1 fixes the issue navigator, so you won't need this plugin anymore” so it’s probably talking about a different issue than the one I’m facing.

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