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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Rodriguez

How to Improve the iOS Calculator (Daily UI Challenge)

ios apple calculator

How to Improve the iOS Calculator (Daily UI Challenge)

#DailyUI Challenge - iOS Calculator

Before simply redoing a project for the sake of redoing one, research must be performed to determine how (or if) a component can be improved upon. When it comes to the iOS calculator (mock up shown on an iPhone X), there wasn't much that could've been improved IMO (kudos to the designers behind this).

However, after reflection of my own experiences with the iOS calculator and asking my wife what she liked and disliked about it, we had one common agreement...

The lack of a "History Restored" feature!

My wife and I frequently tally our expenses when we are out grocery shopping to make sure we stay within budget. What frustrated both of us was when we would let our phones idle/enter sleep mode for too long, our calculations would sometimes randomly refresh. We would completely forget what our total was before reaching the checkout counter and would reluctantly have to re-enter each food item.

daily ui challenge ios iphone calculator

Since phone usage is used mostly with one hand, I wanted to make sure the history restore button would be within a thumb's reach for the average user. I also decided to make the icon/button the same bright orange/yellow that the typical operation buttons are to help the user understand it's a button to be pressed.

daily ui challenge ios iphone calculator

The second glaring component that was missing was a backspace feature!

I cannot tell you how many times I've mistyped a number when calculating something only to have to start all over. I decided to include this button at the bottom with the decimal and zero buttons since the zero is typically given a larger space on calculators to remain familiar to a number pad on a user's keyboard.

However, as familiarity is important to UI/UX Design, having such a large area for just a zero didn't seem like a practical use of space. The other bonus of putting the backstage feature at the bottom was once again, understanding that the user most likely will use the calculator single handed and will need for it to be within a thumb's reach. Especially since it might be pressed on a regular basis much like the decimal and zero buttons.

Other quick changes and features I included:

- Including a visible history of calculations above the main calculation to remind user's on how they got to where they are.

- A low opacity background that is used as a line separation to show users the current calculation from the previous calculations.

- Current iOS round buttons have been changed to square buttons with rounded corners to show similarity to app icons and increase surface space for pressing.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.


Taylor Rodriguez is a multimedia designer and entrepreneur living out of Central Florida. He received his multimedia design and programming degree from Florida Tech in 2010 and has been working as a freelancer off and on - sharing his time between his multiple businesses as well as helping fellow entrepreneurs and various start-ups establish their unique voice in their respective communities.

If you'd like to schedule a "Power Hour" session to discuss all things design, marketing or networking - email him today at


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