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Should Apple put usability requirements on ads?

There has been a lot of discussion online about how apple (ab)uses their power as a gatekeeper to the App Store. But lately I've been thinking there's one area where they should maybe exert some more of their power, ads.

I think it'd be nice if they'd reject apps with ads that don't follow rules like these:

  • Buttons in interstitial ads MUST follow the HIG, they must be large enough and have good contrast.
  • Buttons in interstitial ads MUST be accessible using VoiceOver
  • Ads MUST NOT interrupt audio playing in the background
  • Ads MUST NOT use confusing tactics like putting the close button on the left while a video is playing, and then on the right on the screen after the video.

I'm not sure about the audio rule here, as it can be an integral part of the ad. On the other hand, there should then be a mechanism of automatically restarting the audio that was playing before the ad started.

Thoughts?

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Ben Halpern

I would say absolutely. I’m shocked they don’t already have a higher quality bar. Shared screen real estate like this should be heavily scrutinized by the platform.

Ads are also a lot less complicated than applications fundamentally. It’s much easier to determine their validity and the validation process could be automated fairly deterministically.

This strikes me as common sense. I’d want more scrutiny of ads than application features.

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