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iOS 7 design changes remain in flux, likely to see major revisions before release - Page 2

post #41 of 164

 

This Lineup shot really shows the across-the-board inconsistency, and poor quality, of the iOS 7 system design.  I remain stunned that they actually published this work.  I'm glad they are walking back the design 'finality' of what they showcased.  But being that UI is the primary headline feature of this release it indicates to me that they are severely behind schedule.  I am worried, and I urge them not to release iOS 7 until it's ready.

post #42 of 164

My main problem with iOS 7 is that it introduces a lot of ambiguity into the UI - it's not as clear how you're supposed to interact with it - and it does it solely for reasons of style. That, to me, is a huge step backwards. I think much of the skeuomorphism had to go because it was unnecessary, and also to make the UI framework more flexible so they can explore new functionality, but I think they went too far. Somewhere between aping print design and over-the-top skeuomorphism is the sweet spot of UX and they've leapt from one extreme to the other.

post #43 of 164
I like it. I wonder, however, what 3rd party icons will look like with the new ones....
post #44 of 164
YEEEEEESSSS!!!!
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #45 of 164

Simply awful. I agree with the sentiment that it looks like bubble gum garbage, designed by the Chinese for 10 year old girls. I've been an Apple loyalist since the release of the Apple ][. I even stuck with them through the PowerPC days. But if this is their look of the future, they are going to lose me as a customer. I just can't envision myself looking at that cheesy crayola color pallet on a daily basis. So long, Apple, it was fun while it lasted.

post #46 of 164
Here's a great article that puts iOS 7 in perspective.

http://furbo.org/2013/06/11/been-there-done-that/

Another reason I think a lot of things are being refined is we don't have an iPad beta yet. And it could be several weeks before we get it according to the keynote.

One question I have is who pushed for this complete re-design on such an aggressive timeline? Did Ive and Federighi bite off more than they could chew? Or were they getting pressure from Cook or others to have something major to show off at WWDC?
post #47 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by krabicka3 View Post

Biggest problem is that new icons look like from very very cheap Chinese copy of some Android phone (the icons are seriously ugly). irked.gif

Another thing is that new GUI is quite bright and option to choose the Theme between "Bright" and "Dark" would be nice to have ("Dark" would look better on black iPhones).

Yeah the icons are as ugly as sin. I love the apps however. The dark theme idea is a killer idea! Imagine you could set it to auto-switch to the dark theme after sunset?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #48 of 164
Oh lawdy, please PLEASE please allow folders to be dragged into and out of other folders, and the creation of subfolders. Halfway there now with the toy limit of 20 objects in a folder removed, give us subfolders and we can actually organize our stuff.

Oh please.

Puh-lease!
post #49 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by september11th View Post

Good to know they will work on the icons. The only other thing that stood out to me is the rightmost image in this article, the way tabs are handled in safari. The 3D file system feels out of place with the rest of the OS, don't understand their thinking on that one. Reminds me of coverflow, which I never personally liked.

Almost everything else looks great to me, cant wait to use it.

It reminds me of the Evernote app. Cover flow was horizontal. There's a big diff between this and Cover flow. CF felt like a gimmick. This feels practical..
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #50 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

There will undoubtedly be rapid iterations on the UI front during the beta cycle. Personally, I find myself liking a lot of the changes but many are still unrefined. Color schemes and icon designs are largely subjective.

The ugliness of these icons is not subjective. Most die hard Apple designers dislike the majority if the new app icons, but love everything else. It's pretty unanimous.
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post #51 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mookiemookie View Post




This Lineup shot really shows the across-the-board inconsistency, and poor quality, of the iOS 7 system design.  I remain stunned that they actually published this work.  I'm glad they are walking back the design 'finality' of what they showcased.  But being that UI is the primary headline feature of this release it indicates to me that they are severely behind schedule.  I am worried, and I urge them not to release iOS 7 until it's ready.
I will be very shocked if iOS 7 is released exactly as it looks right now. As I've said before I have no doubt the higher ups at Apple are aware of some of the negative feedback. I'm sure this is a work in progress and the teams are probably working overtime to get it ready for the fall. We had rumors of it being behind schedule. Those rumors now appear to be accurate.
post #52 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by c4rlob View Post

The Safari navigation icons immediately struck me as half-baked (especially the Share icon that looks more appropriate for an elevator) and no where near a design language that Jony Ive would let out of Cupertino.

I think the new share icon makes more sense; if you look at it and think about what's going to happen. It's probably that it's just so different to the curves action button you are used to. What I do dislike about those new buttons however is how thin their iconography is. I don't mind the thin fonts.
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post #53 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

The ugliness of these icons is not subjective. Most die hard Apple designers dislike the majority if the new app icons, but love everything else. It's pretty unanimous.
I'll eat my hat if some or all of these app icons don't change prior to release. It almost feels like they were placeholders put there in a rush to get something done.
post #54 of 164

I was hoping for more of a classy design motif after hearing of the "flattening" of iOS. The current lollipop colour design is hopefully just placeholder art and will be changed through the betas. Shoot for a design that enterprise users would like and the regular consumer user will follow. Keep repeating "elegant" and "classy" over and over again while re-designing.

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post #55 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Yep and then they would have waited another year and people would have complained that the UI looks the same, and Apple can't innovate, is doomed, etc.

I think we need to reserve judgement until closer to release. If we get a final beta that looks exactly like this then yeah I will grudgingly agree they should have waited until it was more finished,

 

- I don't think it would take another year, but another 4 to 5 months would probably do it.

 

- Fair enough.

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post #56 of 164

I'm a developer, usability professional, and UX architect.  I design and code software for the major platforms, including IOS, Windows8, etc.  I happen to have devices running all of these major operating systems, and I use them regularly.  I've been using IOS7 daily.

 

One of the subtle aspects of IOS7 that troubles me most is that, frankly speaking, it is just so derivative that it is hard to tell you are using an Apple product.  As a matter of fact, when using it, I find it disturbingly easy to think I am using an Android device.  It feels like an Android product - it has the same c=kind of unfinished, haphazard, and sloppy feel of Android... which by and large is an operating system lacking in thoughtfullness.  And, at a time when IOS7 needs to strongly differentiate from its competitors, the UI layer is becoming much less distinctively different.  That's a problem if you are a company that is used to commanding massively higher margins than your competitors, because when your product stops being obviously different in look and feel to its target demographic, it stops being something they will pay more to acquire.

 

Ive once said that he hates it when he gets the feeling that a designer is wagging their tail in his face.  In that comment, he was touching on gratuitous design flare that serves no useful purpose in a UI.  But I find that stance ironic when juxtaposed against IOS7, which is imbued with clearly design driven choices that do not make the operating system easier to use.  For example, take the fonts used in the UI: the use of very small, very thin fonts... in colors that vary from their backgrounds in insubstantial ways, is virtually everywhere.  And this makes the operating system much more difficult to use.  I have dozens of screen snaps I have taken over the last few days where fonts essentially blend into the background such that the text cannot be read at all, or with great difficulty.

 

For another example, consider the icons themselves.  They are often so minimal that they completely fail to communicate in a meaningful way.  They are desaturated and they have no edge treatment.  The result is that they bleed into the visual field and as meaningful points of communication in the UI, they are degraded.

 

One of the things that irritates me most about IOS7 is the virtual elimination of shadows of any kind.  It's like someone said 'get rid of the shadows' and some junior designers went and made it so in an absolutely thoughtless manner.  The reality is that shadow is one way of separating figure from ground in a user interface.  It is a method of making the important visual stimuli stand out from the nonessential stimuli, so that a user can more easily disambiguate that stimuli in a complex visual field.  IOS7 combines small, exceedingly thin fonts with a shadow that is so diffused it provides no edge distinction for the font.  The result is that the fonts tend to blend into the background in ways that make text very hard to read.  This is true of icons as well.  I have tried almost every wallpaper that comes with IOS7, and all have the same problem; I have many screen snaps where icons and text simply disappear.  I've seen pundits here argue that the user can change the font size, but no amount of size change will make a white font easily readable against a light grey or cream background.  There must be a way of clearly separating the font (foreground) from the wallpaper (background) and because if the interplay of font color and the variable colors of a wallpaper, there needs to be some layer of neutrality in between the two.  That's why IOS6 and earlier give fonts an obvious shadow.  It is an effective and necessary visual treatment.

 

In general, the contrast between figure and ground in IOS7 is so narrow that elements of a design simply blend together in ways that make the important control points very difficult or impossible to disembed.  That proclivity is made worse by lighting condition; looking at springboard in sunshine is essentially a wasted effort, because the fonts and icons all blend with the wallpaper so badly that it is very difficult to use.

 

I cannot imagine what thought process went into such a wholesale elimination of the meaningful visual cues in a software UI.  Well, actually, I can... but it is one more thing that disturbs me.  In Ive's blurb-spot, he talked about harmonizing the elements of the design.  And that sounds nifty, really.  But actually, it isn't; UI design is not about composition.  Not just about it, anyway.  The things that make a composition good - like harmony of the elements such that they flow together - are not effective strategies in UI design.  UI design is about effective communication, and one of the most important jobs of a software UI is in reinforcing separation both conceptually and logically - the act of grouping, clarifying, and making the differences between logical and operational components obvious.  And since a UI is in essence a visual language, it must employ methods of making such distinctions obvious.  That's the only way that a user can come to understand a UI.

 

The thin fonts of IOS7, the lack of shadow, the way that the UI diminishes visual tension between elements... all of these are excellent compositional efforts.  But they suck at being effective usability mechanisms; they erode the usability of the operating system rather than improve it.

 

I wish I could get Ive to read this.


Edited by tt92618 - 6/12/13 at 5:31pm
post #57 of 164

To those that don't like the new UI design, can't you just get a different launcher from the app store if you don't want to use the stock one?  Problem solved.  No need to get worked up.  Besides, I think the new design looks good.  Give it a chance and you may end up liking it.  I'm not really a fan of the wallpaper they're using, but that's easy enough to switch as well.

post #58 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post

I'm a developer, usability professional, and UX architect.  I design and code software for the major platforms, including IOS, Windows8, etc.  I happen to have devices running all of these major operating systems, and I use them regularly.  I've been using IOS7 daily.

 

.... (snip)...

 

The thin fonts of IOS7, the lack of shadow, the way that the UI diminishes visual tension between elements... all of these are excellent compositional efforts.  But the SUCK at being effective usability mechanisms; they erode the usability of the operating system rather than improve it.

 

I wish I could get Ive to read this.

 

You make some fine points. Like I say, a hardware designer cannot become a seasoned graphic designer overnight, much less in one or two years. It is a lifelong commitment, same as industrial design, if one intends on mastering the craft. We know Jony Ive has good taste, but Jobs provided the final stage of approval. Is he exploring endless iterations with no end game in sight? I have no idea, but there is a lot of room for improvement over what we've seen.

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post #59 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Ive needs to poll pundits and industry analysts, and get 100% quorum before iOS 7 is released.

Two letters: B; S.
post #60 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Most die hard Apple designers dislike the majority if the new app icons, but love everything else. It's pretty unanimous.

Any evidence/poll you can cite, or did you just pull it out of your....hat?
post #61 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


People seem to be forgetting about some of the great new functionality that's finally coming to iOS. One I just found out about today is Notification center providing traffic information based on places you frequent. Federighi seemed like he was rushing a bit during the demo so I'll bet there's a lot of cool features (especially for 3rd party developers) that he didn't get a chance to show off. 

Speaking of maps, there were unmarked cars zipping through town today making streetview photos ... I wonder if they were from Apple or Google...?

post #62 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeetime View Post

why not bring back scroll arrows to those of us who still use a mouse?  Every time I try and work on a spreadsheet and have to drag the scroll "thumb" just the right amount to do what I could've easily have done with one or two clicks of a down/up scroll arrow.

 

Consider using a mouse with a built in scroll wheel or use the up/down arrows on your keyboard for smooth scrolling. Both solutions are more efficient than moving your cursor aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way over to the corner of a window, aiming to hit a tiny button and then move it aaaaaaaaaaaaall the way back.
post #63 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by cygam00 View Post

Simply awful. I agree with the sentiment that it looks like bubble gum garbage, designed by the Chinese for 10 year old girls. I've been an Apple loyalist since the release of the Apple ][. I even stuck with them through the PowerPC days. But if this is their look of the future, they are going to lose me as a customer. I just can't envision myself looking at that cheesy crayola color pallet on a daily basis. So long, Apple, it was fun while it lasted.

Well, don't let the door slap your ass on the way out. What an Apple loyalist, this was your first post. Have you been asleep for a number of decades?

post #64 of 164
Quote:
I hate to keep going back to the well, but if Steve Jobs had one thing going for him it was his being a major stickler about the tiniest of details, even down to the icon level. Steve had a point of view. Jony Ive has a point of view and philosophy that applies to industrial design and his ideas on usability that must be translated into the graphics side. There might be time, but graphic design for Ive is like learning a new language in a very short amount of time. It's not possible to become fluent compared to someone who has been doing the job for 20 or 30 years. It would be fair if Ive gave the final sign-off (remember Jobs' only art training involved typography), but primarily relied on a very experienced UI and/or icon designer to do the necessary groundwork.

 

I totally agree. Jony Ive is brilliant as a hardware designer, but that is not the same skill as a graphic or web designer. I do graphic and web design and for me working in 3D is a challenge. I can do it, but it takes a different perspective and my designs are not in any way as good as someone who does that sort of thing as their forte. Laying things out in a flat 2D layout is my strength. And as a graphic designer, I think the new IOS layout is boring. I like the layering, how the top layer floats over the bottom and that has tons of potential. But overall it is TOO white!! Yuck. I hated how they were dissing the previous look, "there is no wood, leather" etc. I thought the previous design was okay, I didn't hate it. I think a middle ground would have been nice. Hopefully the design team is listening to feedback so there can be more choices in the colors and icons. I don't like what they have now. The functionality is wonderful. But Ives should have not tried to make the interface seem so machine-like and boring. Looks like he needed Steve's perspectives to balance his design taste. Steve may have only had training in typography (that we know of) but his sense of design was natural, he really knew how to balance everything.

post #65 of 164
Quote:

<snip> I wish I could get Ive to read this.

I wish you could too, you made some excellent points!

post #66 of 164
The whole ios7 design is a misdirection. While the androids start to copy, apple will release an entirely different design.

Or not.

And does anyone think Jonny Ive gives a rat's ass what anyone thinks?
post #67 of 164
Quote:
The whole ios7 design is a misdirection. While the androids start to copy, apple will release an entirely different design. Or not.

Interesting thought, most likely not. Though one can hope


 

Quote:
And does anyone think Jonny Ive gives a rat's ass what anyone thinks?

Of course not, he is a designer, why should he? The answer is... he shouldn't to a point. If the majority of users thinks your design totally sucks, it is time to listen up.

post #68 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I hate to keep going back to the well, but if Steve Jobs had one thing going for him it was his being a major stickler about the tiniest of details, even down to the icon level. Steve had a point of view. Jony Ive has a point of view and philosophy that applies to industrial design and his ideas on usability that must be translated into the graphics side. There might be time, but graphic design for Ive is like learning a new language in a very short amount of time. It's not possible to become fluent compared to someone who has been doing the job for 20 or 30 years. It would be fair if Ive gave the final sign-off (remember Jobs' only art training involved typography), but primarily relied on a very experienced UI and/or icon designer to do the necessary groundwork.

I think icon design is more about instincts than experience. So is hardware design, but the two aren't exactly the same. I'm personally assuming they were just rushed off their feet. Jobs made weird software design choices too over the years, like green felt and a leather bound find my friends app that's one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. I personally think Ive should hire Loren as his right hand man.
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post #69 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

This is good news.

Impressions after a day of use:

Lock screen is beautiful. The thin Helvitca font variant works well here. The entire screen slides. A larger target is always good.

Password lock screen is elegant. It's grown on me.

Notifications panel looks great. But "all" doesn't really show all (doesn't show "Today.") That's a little odd.

Control centre works fine and looks alright. Though it took a split-second of guessing what a couple of things do. If it takes *me* any time at all, new users will take longer.

Parallax scrolling is sorta nifty.

Safari functionality is great. Design is wonky. The targets are words. Or arrows? Or words? Thin blue font on a white background. Looks oddly out of place and the thin font all-round is infuriating. It all looks too "texty", with ill-defined, poorly contrasted targets.

Some icons are wireframe spectres. Others are coloured. Some wireframe icons are found as targets in menus. Some are coloured. Others are not. At any rate, these icons need work.

Folder backgrounds look ridiculous on the icon grid. Very jarring. Should at least be same colour on grid as when zoomed.

A lot of Android elements look like crap. They've been imported into iOS for some reason.

In terms of functionality, I see some nice improvements. But with only a few exceptions, the OS needs an aesthetic do-over.

Sounds about right. The passcode UI and the dialer are beautiful. The dialer in iOS 6 was the ugliest screen that ever existed.
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post #70 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggbrigette View Post

Interesting thought, most likely not. Though one can hope


 

Of course not, he is a designer, why should he? The answer is... he shouldn't to a point. If the majority of users thinks your design totally sucks, it is time to listen up.

 

You mean like how everyone and their dog hated it, hated it with a deep anger, the design of the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. designed by Maya Lin. Yet she was so certain in her mind that the design was right, she stuck to it. Today it is one of the most emotionally moving monuments in the world. 

 

Great designers can see further then so-so designers, and much further than the average critic.

post #71 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Nope.

The scary thing is I think he's right. Easily the ugliest collection of icons Apple has ever been associated with IMO. But it's a beta, so that opinion can change.

Take for example, the iCloud Keychain icon on one of the main keynote slides: one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen! That's the guy who needs to design these icons. Someone with a truly gifted sense of clarity of design and aesthetic beauty.
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post #72 of 164

The thing is, if this is the 'progress' they've made so far in Jony's 7 months or so on the job, then I fear they have drastically underestimated what they could realistically deliver in the normal iOS release schedule.  Not to mention his inexperience leading UI/UX design.  He is a world-class industrial designer, but in the back of my mind I could not for the life of me understand why they were unable or unwilling unable to retain a world-class UI designer to head up the iOS 7 redesign.  From the outside looking in I obviously don't know their design process, but having lead UI design on scalable websites for several years I do understand what a daunting task a complete overhaul of the iOS design must entail.  

 

They really must have been between a rock and a hard place to be willing to publish this design in it's current condition at WWDC.  It's really hard to show the client (we the consumers in this case) a half baked design.  So I feel for them in that respect.  But they ultimate are the ones who set the expectation. I can easily see 4-6 months more of design work ahead. The client is sleeping restlessly. 

post #73 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post

It feels like an Android product - it has the same [sic] c=kind of unfinished, haphazard, and sloppy feel of Android... which by and large is an operating system lacking in [sic] thoughtfullness.  And, at a time when [sic] IOS7 needs to strongly differentiate from its competitors, the UI layer is becoming much less distinctively different.  That's a problem if you are a company that is used to commanding massively higher margins than your competitors, because when your product stops being obviously different in look and feel to its target demographic, it stops being something they will pay more to acquire.

 

The "value" in iOS is not a thin veneer of virtual ink. Aside from fit and finish the real value is in the ecosystem. Apps you can trust implicitly. Not forcing the user to manage a complex, underlying file system. Cloud services you can rely on to back up your data without a second thought. A virtual assistant who is already the quickest way to achieve certain tasks and will continue to evolve in more helpful ways.
 
The Android is chock full of smoke and mirrors (pentile displays, megapixel myth) and flash-in-the-pan features that don't reach critical mass because of half-baked implementation or multilayered fragmentation issues (manufacturer, formfactor, hardware, carrier update support). I sit on the train and watch young koreans fumble around with Samsung phones. They play freemium games which only take up a third of the comically-oversized screens because the developer had to tailor their code for the lowest common denominator screen sizes. How amazing is that 5.5 inch screen that can't run apps which make full use of the screen really?
 
Anyone can make a phone that outshines the iPhone in one or even a few places. Throw it, market it (loudly) and see if it sticks. Abundance should not to be confused with choice though. While Android manufacturers are scrambling for market share Apple has a clear long term direction and is gradually mapping out a path to take them there. They are cash-flow positive. They top consumer satisfaction ratings and web usage statistics. We have no reason to believe that their rise will be anything other than meteoric.
post #74 of 164
It's too bright, fonts are too thin. This might be a difficult design for people with marginal acuity issues (as in, not worth using visual assistance features).
post #75 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by mookiemookie View Post

The thing is, if this is the 'progress' they've made so far in Jony's 7 months or so on the job, then I fear they have drastically underestimated what they could realistically deliver in the normal iOS release schedule.  Not to mention his inexperience leading UI/UX design.  He is a world-class industrial designer, but in the back of my mind I could not for the life of me understand why they were unable or unwilling unable to retain a world-class UI designer to head up the iOS 7 redesign.  From the outside looking in I obviously don't know their design process, but having lead UI design on scalable websites for several years I do understand what a daunting task a complete overhaul of the iOS design must entail.  

They really must have been between a rock and a hard place to be willing to publish this design in it's current condition at WWDC.  It's really hard to show the client (we the consumers in this case) a half baked design.  So I feel for them in that respect.  But they ultimate are the ones who set the expectation. I can easily see 4-6 months more of design work ahead. The client is sleeping restlessly. 
What expectation did Apple set?
post #76 of 164

'Major Revisions' thats exactly whats needed. This seems like a work in progress rather than a finished product.

I don't understand why Apple would undertake trying to change its UI with only 7 months to do it. Understandably this is a daunting tedious process.

Besides Apple already saw what happened when they tried to do the same thing with Apple Maps

Hopefully by the time this comes out in September there are big changes.

post #77 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


What expectation did Apple set?

Perhaps I should have phrased is as they are ultimately the ones who 'manage' the expectations.  Either way, It's their extensive track record of excellent products and design that sets an expectation. If you ask any designer, most will identify Apple both as an inspiration and as a standard bearer.  Particularly coming on the heels of the Maps fiasco, they should be very conscious of the quality, and public perception, of a major overhaul like this.  I don't think I can stomach another Tim Cook apology, so let's hope it comes together.  

post #78 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Ive needs to poll pundits and industry analysts, and get 100% quorum before iOS 7 is released. He also needs not a single soul not to hate the new Safari icon; he heard one dude in south Nebraska doesn't care for it as it "looks like a bison's ass after it's been bit by a dirigible," and is flying out there to speak with him.

Ive cares very much about what armchair analysts and basement graphic designers with a Wordpress account think. He wants to impress them mostly.

Most well known software designers have already criticised the icons, because they are whack.
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post #79 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I'll eat my hat if some or all of these app icons don't change prior to release. It almost feels like they were placeholders put there in a rush to get something done.

Agreed. John Siracusa went to town on them.
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post #80 of 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post

I'm a developer, usability professional, and UX architect.  I design and code software for the major platforms, including IOS, Windows8, etc.  I happen to have devices running all of these major operating systems, and I use them regularly.  I'
ve been using IOS7 daily.


One of the subtle aspects of IOS7 that troubles me most is that, frankly speaking, it is just so derivative that it is hard to tell you are using an Apple product.  As a matter of fact, when using it, I find it disturbingly easy to think I am using an Android device.  It feels like an Android product - it has the same c=kind of unfinished, haphazard, and sloppy feel of Android... which by and large is an operating system lacking in thoughtfullness.  And, at a time when IOS7 needs to strongly differentiate from its competitors, the UI layer is becoming much less distinctively different.  That's a problem if you are a company that is used to commanding massively higher margins than your competitors, because when your product stops being obviously different in look and feel to its target demographic, it stops being something they will pay more to acquire.


Ive once said that he hates it when he gets the feeling that a designer is wagging their tail in his face.  In that comment, he was touching on gratuitous design flare that serves no useful purpose in a UI.  But I find that stance ironic when juxtaposed against IOS7, which is imbued with clearly design driven choices that do not make the operating system easier to use.  For example, take the fonts used in the UI: the use of very small, very thin fonts... in colors that vary from their backgrounds in insubstantial ways, is virtually everywhere.  And this makes the operating system much more difficult to use.  I have dozens of screen snaps I have taken over the last few days where fonts essentially blend into the background such that the text cannot be read at all, or with great difficulty.

For another example, consider the icons themselves.  They are often so minimal that they completely fail to communicate in a meaningful way.  They are desaturated and they have no edge treatment.  The result is that they bleed into the visual field and as meaningful points of communication in the UI, they are degraded.

One of the things that irritates me most about IOS7 is the virtual elimination of shadows of any kind.  It's like someone said 'get rid of the shadows' and some junior designers went and made it so in an absolutely thoughtless manner.  The reality is that shadow is one way of separating figure from ground in a user interface.  It is a method of making the important visual stimuli stand out from the nonessential stimuli, so that a user can more easily disambiguate that stimuli in a complex visual field.  IOS7 combines small, exceedingly thin fonts with a shadow that is so diffused it provides no edge distinction for the font.  The result is that the fonts tend to blend into the background in ways that make text very hard to read.  This is true of icons as well.  I have tried almost every wallpaper that comes with IOS7, and all have the same problem; I have many screen snaps where icons and text simply disappear.  I've seen pundits here argue that the user can change the font size, but no amount of size change will make a white font easily readable against a light grey or cream background.  There must be a way of clearly separating the font (foreground) from the wallpaper (background) and because if the interplay of font color and the variable colors of a wallpaper, there needs to be some layer of neutrality in between the two.  That's why IOS6 and earlier give fonts an obvious shadow.  It is an effective and necessary visual treatment.

In general, the contrast between figure and ground in IOS7 is so narrow that elements of a design simply blend together in ways that make the important control points very difficult or impossible to disembed.  That proclivity is made worse by lighting condition; looking at springboard in sunshine is essentially a wasted effort, because the fonts and icons all blend with the wallpaper so badly that it is very difficult to use.

I cannot imagine what thought process went into such a wholesale elimination of the meaningful visual cues in a software UI.  Well, actually, I can... but it is one more thing that disturbs me.  In Ive's blurb-spot, he talked about harmonizing the elements of the design.  And that sounds nifty, really.  But actually, it isn't; UI design is not about composition.  Not just about it, anyway.  The things that make a composition good - like harmony of the elements such that they flow together - are not effective strategies in UI design.  UI design is about effective communication, and one of the most important jobs of a software UI is in reinforcing separation both conceptually and logically - the act of grouping, clarifying, and making the differences between logical and operational components obvious.  And since a UI is in essence a visual language, it must employ methods of making such distinctions obvious.  That's the only way that a user can come to understand a UI.

The thin fonts of IOS7, the lack of shadow, the way that the UI diminishes visual tension between elements... all of these are excellent compositional efforts.  But they suck at being effective usability mechanisms; they erode the usability of the operating system rather than improve it.

I wish I could get Ive to read this.

The comment could have bee one sentence long. Ive knows. iOS isn't finished. Relax.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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