These suggestions avoid adding extensive UI customization on purpose. I will add photos/video at a later date.
Add precise input option with Pencil/Stylus when interacting with UI
The Apple Pencil is the default precise input tool for iPad. However, Affinity Designer implements a deadzone for the Pencil that acts almost like a finger. While this helps with finger input, trying to use a precise input in a manner that is less precise is frustrating. This comes up as a hindrance when trying to select nodes on the canvas amongst other nodes, adjusting handles when transforming objects, when trying to adjust sliders, or doing precise work with stroke input tool. Yes, you can zoom in to adjust but the precision of the Pencil should not require this.
Expanded panels for granular control
Relating the previous paragraph. There are instances when you want to have better control over the tools that you have at your disposal. e.g. Colour selection, sliders, stroke weight, typography, history, layer properties, etc. I suggest a button to extend the panel into a larger interface for better control.
“Always show advanced features” toggle
For larger devices, especially the 12.9” iPad Pro, the amount of taps required to navigate the UI can be more of a hindrance than it needs to be. Many times I am selecting a panel to try and get into a controller within an “Advanced” part of the UI, like stroke settings. This is easily 2 taps within each time, tens to hundreds of times per project. An option like this would massively reduce the number of taps I need to do (and time) per project.
Duplicated items should have a string differentiator from their original copy
Straightforward. Duplicated items currently share the same name as their parent. This makes artboard navigation a little tricky within the UI and annoying when selecting the desired artboard for exporting. Yes, it can be solved easily by renaming the artboard (another 10-30 seconds of your time) but this should be something that is done automatically when duplicating.
Unlabelled icons in bottom bar should be labelled by the question mark/help button.
Unlike desktop, there is no hover option for revealing the functions of unlabelled icons on the bottom bar. The help button does nothing and is frankly confusing to use the UI when all you see are symbols that don’t really mean anything. I only know what they do on desktop because I’m able to hover and read their function. See: node tool.
Layer properties should be accessed by swiping left on the layer. Swiping right should select it.
This would reduce taps and speed up the workflow while bringing the gestures inline with Apple’s design considerations. It matches the UI animations already with fewer taps needed to get to the same screen.
Common actions like cut/copy/paste should be less buried in UI
Cut/copy/paste are common actions that need a better implementation than reaching to the top of the screen, and doing two taps on the screen in a list of other commands. They would be better suited as icons in the sidebar, as gestures, or as a hovering set of buttons.
Better feature surfacing akin to the Desktop version of AD
iPads do not have any UI that is used to surface features of the tools you’re using, unlike the bottom bar that surfaces commands on desktop. AD is powerful but many users could miss features without better surfacing of the UI. For example, I know I can do shear transforms on objects with my iPad but it is incredibly difficult to figure out how and I still don’t. In contrast, shear transforms are very easy to figure out on desktop.
Boolean tools could be more easily accessed in another toolbar or in the right sidebar.
These is another common feature hidden within the document settings while building shapes. Would like to see the top bar expanded to the right of the Personas for commonly used items like the Boolean tools.
“Touch for gestures only” should let touch interact with the split element.
The split element is not part of the document, and should be able to be interacted with by touch.
Document settings list could include a button to app preferences
Not a major suggestion, but would be useful to get to preferences from directly within a document instead of having to back out of it. Very useful for testing out keyboard shortcuts.