So, I watched WWDC 2013 last night like everyone else…
After Steve Jobs’ death I am sceptic about Apple’s next moves on software UI, UIX as well as hardware design.
So, Apple is leaving behind skeuomorphism and moving on to a minimal UI design.
I couldn’t help make the connection of relevance between the new iOs7 and Windows UI design.
If you’ve ever designed a Windows UI (former Metro Style) application, you will know that it has particular specs on typography hierarchy (headline, subhead leading, spaces and actual text) and on icons design (vector-shapes only) etc.
Now, if Windows UI didn’t exist I would consider the new iOs7 a beautiful and minimal fresh UI redesign.
But since Windows UI do exist, the iOs7 new interface doesn’t look and feel that innovative.
Icons redesigned on a developed grid system, doesn’t make the icons look fantastic.
When you design something, you have to stick with the specs that you propose, avoiding to get involved with design incompatibilities.
For example, if you’re designing an app with minimal design – no textures, no shadows, no gloss, simple and minimal – and you suddenly use skeuomorphism, that’s somewhat incompatible and should be avoided since the app has to reflect an artistic/visual coherence, harmony and personality.
iOs7 has sporadicly design incompatibility issues of it’s own.
For instance, while the new only-vector app icons are introduced on the new and fresh spring board (yeah, I couldn’t help it making a reference to the oldie by goodie iPhone 2G), the “game center” icon is represented by a lame 3D 90’s colored bubbles illustration. All vector and somewhere a 3D. Okay, bad visual consistence.
The whole UI design is based on monochromatic icons (except the application icons), the use of “Light Helvetica” typography, and a blurred translucent background on multitasking “control center” and app bar – which is nice – but the “Passbook” application has a minimal skeuomorphism UI (with textures and everything). Hello? Visual incompatibility!
Calculator app, is so Windows UI, that it is almost a theft. It probably is.
Using a palette of colors is not a good creative idea. It is a strict, corporate and narrow-minded idea, but not a good one.
Written explanation on every button? Not a good idea either. If you suggest that your target group are smart-phones illiterates, then you were probably not that innovative the past years and you have taught your users nothing.
So please, don’t write “messages”, or “contact”. Use an icon for that! It’s the freaking 21st century for lord’s sake!
Multitasking on iOs7? You could say it’s copy/pasted from Windows UI. Another bad idea (quote: Windows UI is not a bad idea, copying is a bad idea).
Truth be told, SMS sending blurrish animation is pretty cool.
While some things like UI animations and the blur translucent background are fresh and pretty, plus the use of typography is nice (if you forget that Windows UI exist), there are still fail factors to consider upon.
On “camera” app, Apple is using a different narrow caps-lock with more than “40” kerning points font. Why? No idea. The “take a picture” button? A circle with an outer stroke. Wow! Very innovative! It comes also in red if you switch to “video” mode (no shadows and gloss are included)! Just a vector big icon that even my niece can make on Photoshop.
Sure, it’s nice to include an “Instagram-ish” sub-app on “camera” and add vintage filters. Okay, sure, nice but still not innovative.
So, let’s sum up the whole iOs7 interface issue.
– Vector poorly designed app icons (like “settings” and “camera”).
– Use of Microsoft’s typography specs.
– Incoherent UI (most of the times it’s minimal-clean and sometimes it includes skeuomorphism, or some other design technique).
– Written explanation of a function instead of using an icon.
– Using a certain color palette (not creative – it justifies a narrow-minded creativity void which is sad really).
– Multitasking animation copy/pasted from Windows UI.
– Bad UI icons (camera click icon and flashlight icon on multitasking are just horrible).
– Calendar was always a duch, but now it’s gone google-like. Not innovative guys! Hello?
– Blur translucent background and bar that integrates and melts with the environment with over-saturated colors.
– UIX animation, fluid and blurrish.
– New features such as multitasking settings and photo filters on “camera” app.
– Very nice and very minimal – can’t get more minimal than that – the “slide to unlock” screen (stupid grey transparent beveled bars no more).
– Visual depth integration (almost 3D, but still not).
– Small color UI differences depending on your background’s colors (pretty neat)!
– Sharing photo, link, whatever “Airdrop” animation is freaking awesome!
– Safari tabs skeuomorphism animation cover flow looks and feels fantastic (small lame detail: the “x” mark on top of each cover flow page – guys, use something else for heaven’s sake)!
– Siri including Twitter and Wikipedia and changing vocally your settings – so Siri is actually becoming useful.
– iTunes radio, hm… not sure if it’s awesome or just another iTunes web radio streaming.
Truth be told, all those observations and quotes about how lame or awesome iOs7 looks and “feels” like, come only from the WWDC 2013, the videos and the Keynote presentations.
So there cannot be a clear opinion on whether iOs7 sucks or rocks.
The near future will show.