Design Critique: Apple Wallet (iOS App)

To design a product, designers should know first: how to distinguish between the good design and the bad design. As a novice designer, I will follow the key characteristics of good design mention by Don Norman, to analyze my target product: Apple Wallet.

What is Apple Wallet?

Apple Wallet is a build-in app for iPhone. It can help users organize their various cards and passes, and use them conveniently in daily life.

The main Page of Apple Wallet

First, Cards display mapping a real wallet.

The first thing I am noticed is the plenty of cards display in front of me. Each card is overlapped with the next one. This image is similar to how my credit cards display in my physical wallet in the reality. Therefore, through mapping, I can easy to connect the wallet concept in my head.

Then I look a little bit down, there is a huge border clearly separate this page into two sections: Cards and Passes. Each part overlaps their items into a group, just like constraints do not allow all types of cards to be mixed together.

Second, gesture to the cards.
The unended overlapping cards display also provide me another important signifier, expecting that the page is scrollable. And, indeed, the page scrolls smoothly when I using my finger to slightly scroll up and down. When I scroll to the end of the page, the bouncing animation provides me the feedback of noticing that I already arrive at the bottom of the page. There is no more item below.

Then I try to reorder my cards. After I decide to pick which specific card, I tap on the card without leaving my finger for about 1 second. The card I pick floating up in a few pixels that can be recognized by human eyes. This is a very clear signifier telling me which card I actually pick, and also understandable feedback telling me I indeed have picked up a card.

(a) Before tapping a card
(b) After tapping a card and hold it for 1 second

After I make sure my target card, I can start to change the order of these cards. As an Apple user, my mental model has been trained by other apple products. Therefore, I am naturally following the guide same as other products to drag the item I am holding in to change the item’s order. Therefore, I can change the order of the cards successfully without labels.

Last, simple UI create logical constraint

When I try to see the detail and information of a card. I would tap on one card naturally and start to find any clue on the page. This is because I follow the basic guide in the mental model: any item seems items on the screen, just click it!

On this page, the page is very simple. Only the big image of the card, a table shows the transactions, and a button presents an icon with three dots. At first, I don’t know what the icon with three dots means. But with the logical constraint concept, I remove the other parts that obviously have their own functions. Then the icon with three dots part left over, which means it may be the button that allows me to access more information about the card.

However, not every detail has been considered in this app. For example, the payment via the access of Touch ID is invisible. When I try to use apply pay to pay for my daily items. There doesn’t have any hint to tell you what to do. Although it could be activated by simply put my finger on the button whenever I need it. But before I learn to do so, I never try. The fingerprint icon only shows on the page when I put my finger on the button, which presents the process of recognizing. Therefore, I believe it should add some signifier to present the stage that allows the user to pay.


With the aid of signifiers, mappings, conceptual models, and constraints, most of the features in the Apple Wallet App can be noticed by users easily. These characteristics help me understand the app more easily and quickly. As a result, for me, Apple Wallet is a good product.