This iOS7 Core Principle Was the Secret Behind Our Japan App Launch

We’re delighted to be officially launching our iOS7 app in Japan – today! This means “Photo Editor by Aviary” – our Top Ten US App Store photo editing app – is now available for download in the Japanese App Store.


We care passionately about Japan and the millions of digital trendsetters that reside there, and are constantly looking in their direction to spot glimpses of our own technological future. So we wanted to offer our Japanese users a special – and specific – experience from day one. For that reason, this release is so much more than simply taking an app that works “over here” and blindly giving it to users “over there.” In fact, almost everything inside Aviary has been carefully re-imagined for our users in Japan - from language to content to social sharing.

As anyone who has taken their mobile app international will tell you, re-imagining apps for new audiences can be a lot of work. But our experience was significantly influenced and made easier by one of iOS7’s core principles: Deference to content.

Deference to content is an Apple interface design principle that ensures your  “UI helps users understand and interact with the content, but never interferes with it.” There are many types of mobile content today - tweets, articles, videos, etc - but for Aviary, content is always one of two things: 1) A user’s photo; or 2) Something the user can apply on top of that photo to enhance it - like the gorgeous photo filters, stickers and frames we offer in our in-app Shop. So in Aviary’s photo-dominated world, "deference to content" meant simplifying the UI to its most fluid, functional form and putting content in the leading role - a design approach that we took deeply to heart in our recent iOS7 redesign. Now, as we expand our iOS7 app to new markets, this "content-first" method is exactly what's enabling us to more easily create totally custom experiences for global audiences like Japan.  
We understand that the best content Aviary offers delivers an emotional connection with the user (users must want to engage with that content, so the connection is absolutely essential). We also understand that content that connects emotionally with users in the USA might not connect emotionally with users in Japan, which is why the content you can now see in Aviary Japan is completely different than what Aviary's American audiences see. On the technical side, this is supported by Aviary’s new geo- and language-awareness, which defers the app to different content in different locations or in different tongues.

For example, when you open the app in the USA, you might see a new sticker pack celebrating the start of the NFL season, alongside a new pack of photo filters that make Western food pics pop. But when you open the app in Japan you might now see hundreds of new Kawaii stickers or tools to give your photos a perfect Purikura-esque makeover. 

In addition to our in-app Shop playing host to a raft of new exclusive content for Japanese users, we've customized the Aviary experience in the following ways:

  • Launched a new Japanese home page at
  • Translated all our app’s tools and functionality into Japanese
  • Added social sharing options for the most popular social networks in Japan, including Line
  • Localized all our in-app messages and App Store descriptions for Japan

We hope you love it as much as we do - tell us what you think!