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Oh God why. I've got nothing against flat design done well, but this just makes everything so much harder to SEE.

Look at the example screen for "Control Center" -- it looks like a geometric indistinguishable mess. The line around buttons is the same as the line dividing sections is almost the same as the line in sliders.

The example screen for weather shows thin white text against a light blue background, which I can barely make out on my monitor, let alone on a phone.

If anything, phones need extra affordance as what is a label and what is tappable, since we have fat fingers, hold phones faraway where things are small, and often in bright sunlight where there's little contrast we can make out. Phones need extra contrast, not less.

I'm really not one for hyperbole, but Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave. This isn't about an aesthetic choice, it's just about common-sense usability and quality control. That weather app looks completely useless in the real world, and the fact that Apple's internal processes have allowed this to be launched does not bode well.




At the risk of getting flamed, you haven't actually tried it in the real world yet - you've looked at it on you monitor ...


I have. I'm typing this from iOS 7. My opinion has changed little from seeing it on the Keynote to actually using it. Some graphic details don't seem as bad in person and others are much worse.

On the plus side, it's very speedy. Plus, it makes existing 3rd party apps look glorious, with their attractive, last-generation looks.


I have a theory that the accelerometer-linked 3D "layer" effects might make the flat interface more usable in person. As in, the subtle perspective shift would make it obvious that a button is a button, etc. Can you comment on that? Are those effects extended to all of the UI elements?


It seems like a pretty gimmicky effect right now, although if you hold it in a certain way it does have a cool 3D effect. The scrolling animation stutters quite a bit currently. I anticipate they'll have that fixed by release.


Interesting, thanks!


I personally hope the accelerometer-linked 3D will not also help to make flat the battery which already does not last long.


They aren't, and even the little layer effect on the home screen is nothing but a gimmick. I don't wave around with my phone while I use it and would never have noticed the iOS6 volume slider effect if blogs hadn't pointed it out.


I have the beta, and as of right now they aren't - the effects are only for the wallpaper.


Are you running the same iOS 7 as I am? "Very speedy" is the last thing I would call it. Every animation seems to have horrible lag on my iPhone 5.

This early build doesn't seem to be optimized very much.


Yep, it's much speedier than iOS 6 on my Verizon iPhone 5, and I'm coming from the bias "WTF are you doing Apple?!". Like I said, the only performance issues I've noticed are with the parallax scrolling background, it's still a bit stuttery.


The same can be said for Windows Phone.


That nobody in the real world has actually tried it yet?

Fair enough. But I remember when Apple first made the iTunes icons monochromatic, and everyone complained that they'd no longer be able to distinguish the icons. People seemed to adapt pretty quickly though.


This is because no one gives Windows Phone a chance. I'm now a Windows Phone user and I don't see myself going back to iOS/Android any time soon.


> That nobody in the real world has actually tried it yet?

Surely someone somewhere has bought a Windows phone ;)


I have one :). I will say that it's surprisingly a lot better than I thought it would be.


I haven't met a person yet who hates their windows phone.


Some things, like the alarm app, really annoy me, but overall the interface is nice. If only there were more third party apps, we don't even have facebook or skype on the marketplace my phone supports (which is hardware locked dammit!).


Ah, I only have experience in the US store where there is Facebook, Skype and a ton of other good stuff. I suppose its only a matter of time, but for now I agree that is kind of unacceptable .


The app ecosystem is the only thing that's really missing and I tell my friends; If I had Instagram and Googles ecosystem of apps, I'd be set.


We have full-featured instagram (3rd party app call led instance), we have a Facebook app and you can definitely upload pictures, and there's even a snapchat client too. But I agree, the app situation is undoubtedly worse on WP. I don't use very many apps personally, so it works for me.


Not all markets have these, and some phones are hard coded to specific markets even if unlocked.


I wish I could even get that far. I hear that the WP8 app ecosystem in the states isn't that bad, but I can't experience it.

Really, all I want is a phone that will upload pictures directly to Facebook.


Yeh, I have a friend that went from a Lumia 920 to an S3 and then an HTC One and he want's to come back. I live in San Francisco so I get joked a lot about my phone until it's time to take a picture :)


I love my new Nokia 928. Windows 8 phone is really smooth and everything can be accomplished using one hand. iOS 7 also looks pretty nice so it will fun comparing the two when it gets released.


Isn't the whole point of flat design replacing the loud superfluousness of skeuomorphism's textures with equally jarring psychedelic colour schemes? That's how designers prove their worth, by adding more stuff, right?


Except neither Android nor WP8 follow that assumption/conclusion.


And neither does iOS 7.

I mean, where do you see the: "jarring psychedelic colour schemes"?

If anything the grant-parent brings up the example of the Control Center, which is the opposite of that, just a two-color subdued thing.


Sorry, I wasn't really agreeing with any of the GP comment - I think iOS7-UI was exactly what they needed. A very modern refresh and I think it's sharp (and I love Holo and WP8 has a very unique style certainly).

I don't like the background of CC myself, but I think that's actually because they're letting the hue of the homescreen icons below bleed through too much. It's "neat" but I think it's kinda visually gross :S


Agreed. Did they do any kind of usability / legibility studies on the thinner typeface? I mean, I mostly use my phone to read email. Why would they reduce contrast on the default text and make it even harder to read?! Just because you have higher resolution screens, doesn't mean you can get away with a thinner sans serif. What's the point if everyone has to increase the size of the text to read it?


> Agreed. Did they do any kind of usability / legibility studies on the thinner typeface?

No, of course they didn't. Apple is widely acknowledged in the industry as having amateurish design and an utter lack of anything resembling perfectionism or attention to detail.

Seriously, this may be a flop from them, but I cannot comprehend the mindset that would surmise they did no usability testing off a few screenshots.


> Apple is widely acknowledged in the industry as having amateurish design and an utter lack of anything resembling perfectionism or attention to detail.

I would love to see your source on this one, because I never stop hearing the opposite.


Whoosh


If they did usability testing with a wide range of people, I am pretty sure one of them would have leaked the design. I'm not sure how would have done usability testing with non-employees.


> Just because you have higher resolution screens, doesn't mean you can get away with a thinner sans serif.

Yes, it does, actually. As resolution increases, so does the Nyquist frequency, which means you can accurately convey higher-frequency signals. In spatial terms, more resolution means finer lines without aliasing errors.


Surely there is a hard limit on this though (unless we have bionic eyes and/or small expanding robot fingers (like in ghost in the shell (http://youtu.be/PkyZGZRnQb4)))


Certainly, there is. Laser printers print at about 300 dpi and most users can't see any visible pixels there, so at normal reading distance, that seems to be close to the maximum resolution you need to visibly pixel-free from the user's perspective.

Going higher than that probably means thinner blank lines will just appear fainter and not thinner.


Are you seriously asking if Apple did usability testing for a design decision? Really?


Comments with "Really?" on the end are extremely disrespectful, and I see it all the time. Just because something is obvious and common-sense to you, does not mean it is to someone else. Offending someone is not a good form of persuasion. Please consider not doing that in future because you probably do have good ideas, and it would be nice if people heard them.

Speaking of this design, the icons are asymmetric. More so by the unharmonious colour selection. However, the notification centre and animations are well done.


Good point about the 'really?', wasn't trying to get that effect.


Rabino - I'm not sure what you are suggesting here. I'm trying to understand if you are commenting on Apple's well known philosophy of not engaging in any form of end-user design engagement, or whether you believe that a company of Apple's stature would absolutely engage in usability testing.

A lot (many? most?) of Apple's design decisions are made by designers who create the best product, based on a combination of their intuition, design sense, and overriding design principles.

Some application (Podcast App) - have clearly never seen any form of usability testing prior to release.


I've seen more than one poorly designed, poorly executed product go to market with lots of user testing. I'd love to have someone from Apple comment on their design process, because it's really just conjecture that they do or don't usability test their products, but I'm not holding my breath.


I called out the Podcast App because it was unusable by almost everyone who tried it after it shipped. I personally spent 45 minutes trying to graph out on paper the interactions between various channels/tuner, and mastering the finicky little switches on it, to no avail.

I cannot believe such an App had even a single "average" user attempt to use it - it had to have been entirely the product of one or two individuals operating in a vacuum.


Apple has significantly invested in accessibility technologies for iOS and OS X. The tail doesn't wag the dog, but I don't think they'll have out and out ignored accessibility concerns (legibility and usability for larger numbers) after convincing developers to go down that route.


One HN posting I just remembered from a while ago - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4590615


Thinner type and fullscreen layouts make the screen "look bigger" since they're too stubborn to make their phones human sized.


Why don't you wait until you have a freakin' phone in your hand and try it?


Because once the upgrade is installed there's no going back?


Backup your device-specific SHSH signatures for 6.x now!

(Or has Apple closed this hole yet with timestamping?)


Of course you can downgrade. You just can't downgrade after iOS 7 goes gold.


The copy right next to the download link explicitly says you can't. Blogs report otherwise, but that is a very fragile "of course".


Its always been possible, in the past (and now - i believe) you just need to enter dfu mode first, then restore it.


Then use one of your friends that has the developer account, or wait till it's on every phone in the Apple Store. Either way, the point is to reserve judgment until you use it. Just like everything else.


Then why do they show it.

"That is iOS7."

"It appears to be different from iOS6."

"That's an iPhone!"

"I see that Apple made this."

"Well this discussion is getting a little bit too heated for me, I think I will go and reserve my judgement somewhere else for a minute."


There is Apple marketing material they've made available. It's perfectly valid to make judgements from that in my opinion.


It's perfectly invalid to make judgements on usability without using it though.


You can absolutely pass valid judgement on quality of usability on sight alone.

If I showed you a picture of a 4 foot wide ship wheel and said I was going to install it in my Mazda Miata - you'd know instantly that it would be unusable, right? How about a screen-shot of a text editor that only shows you one giant character at a time?

Even as we move away from the ridiculous end of the spectrum of examples - you can know how usable something is based on past experience with similar environments.



I'd launch that on Kickstarter.


Those are screenshots of a beta! How categorically can you judge something until you have the final release in front of you?


One of the big reasons to put something through a beta is so people will judge it before its final release


Well, watching the "in action" videos on an iPhone is pretty darn close.

You do realize you are on a web site designed for commentary on tech matters?


Tech commentary used to be more more than baseless hipster-y. Oh the good ol' days.


Because then there would be no comments here :)


Those who knew said it would be "polarizing".

Indeed.


Regardless of what they had put out, is anyone doubting that the top comment of the most upvoted HN comment would be a groanfest?

#slatepitch


That's a pretty easy prediction though, the previous skeuomorphism was already polarizing and thus removing it would also be polarizing.


the white text on light backgrounds is unbelievable


They could have at least added a little shadow or something, like they would usually. I don't know what they were thinking. I usually trust Apple with these design matters.


seems pretty inconsiderate toward those with impaired vision. there's little contrast, lots of light gray on white with pastel accents.


I guess that's why for people with impaired vision, there's always been a High Contrast mode in iOS


They will never see the button to activate it !


Sssssshhhh, let the people whinge. They need to complain about something, don't contradict them with facts.


It gets worse. In their design guidelines they say that instead of visual cues for buttons you should use COLORS. As a colorblind dude I'm fucking apalled.


If only we could get great quality text on all OSX retina display's now.. All my apps lag behind with blurry text on my macbook pro


yeah, the thin, light text didn't look great during the presentation, but i can't imagine they wouldn't test it in bright sunlight/normal mobile phone situations, so I'm gonna wait til its actually out and in front of me to judge.


I'm inside and I find it straining to read the labels of the four dock apps. Of course I know what they are, but I always find low-contrast, Helvetica Superthin designer porn very insulting to the user. Either show something or don't.


That could look just fine on a phone when looking hard to read on a projector in a auditorium




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