Man, iOS 7 feedback is incredibly frustrating for no reason that actually matters.
I feel like I spent the past few years falling in love with flat design, on mobile and on the web -- and I read article after article from historically pro-Apple bloggers/authors explaining that no, flat design was fundamentally a bad move: the strongest metaphor is that of the phone as a tool -- that we needed skeumorphism, we need hints for interactivity, we needed polish.
And now iOS 7 is out! And I'm excited, because the flat (okay, 'mature') design philosophy that I've been told is a bad idea is finally here -- and now it's suddenly a great leap forward because Apple decided to do it? When Microsoft decided that the average consumer understood what a smartphone was for and no longer needed the physical cues, they were wrong and fools -- but when Ive decides it, its because its time to move to mature and modern?
Here's the thing, though: I think iOS 7, on the whole, looks worse than iOS 6. The stock icons look outright ugly; interfaces like the call-answer screen and the calculator look poorly designed, and everything has the sense that it just needs another run or two through the review process. Not that it's irreversibly bad, but I don't think it's executing as well as WP or MIUI are. (With exceptions, of course: I think the translucency paradigm looks great, as well as the changes to the UI Kit.)
(People arguing 'its just a beta, it'll obviously change over time': what happened to Apple's relentless pursuit of quality before introducing something to the public? What's the point of secrecy if you're showing off v0.8 and not v1.0?)
I imagine actually using the new iOS won't be bad at all. It's just reading about it that frustrates me, which is definitely a sign I should be doing less of it.
It's a common mistake on the web to take entire groups of individuals, with varied and nuanced individual opinions, and to group them together and then complain about inconsistency and hypocrisy.
People say things like, apple users are foo or the new york times is bar or americans are baz. Well, of course any large group of people with divergent opinions will be self-conflicting when examined as a whole.
I understand why we do it; our brains pattern-match people into camps and construct narratives on our behalf to make sense of the world.
But, in general, I think it's a waste of everyone's time to complain that Apple bloggers all hated flat design before Apple decided to use flat design. Instead, perhaps you could show an example of an individual who has frustrated you in their inconsistency.
2) We want to call out people who were wrong (huge thing on the internet is not ever being wrong; nothing is worse than changing your mind), but it's too hard to keep track of everyone you disagree with, and worse you can't as easily get away with calling out an individual as you can a group.
I don't think those are the reasons, but rather the negative side effects. I think the reason we stereotype is because historically is has been extremely advantageous, biologically/sociologically speaking, to be able to predict certains things based on someone's appearance or background.
Thank you for explaining exactly what the parent's comment made me feel better than I could. If you read a bunch of different people's opinions, then you shouldn't be surprised that what you get is a bunch of different opinions.
Furthermore, why is the parent so interested in this idea of "Apple Users" as a group, anyway? There isn't really any such group (or, to the extent that there is, it's a very small group).
There was a significant group of vocal "Apple Users" who have spent a great deal of time over the last couple of years slagging off WP and Android for "bad design" and "stealing". It's to be expected that when Apple borrowed so heavily from WP and Android in this release that there are going to be strong reactions.
It's perfectly normal for companies to be inspired by eachother and to incorporate the best elements of rival platforms (and Apple have done a good job in many respects, particularly the default apps), but Apple's litigation and the comments of the most vocal Apple supporters meant that they really have invited this backlash.
The only interesting criticism I've seen of Windows Phone's design language is that by eschewing most forms of visual affordance, it erases a lot of distinctions between actionable and non-actionable elements onscreen. I don't personally see this as a good or bad thing, though; it just requires a different set of conceptual tools to build affordance.
Maybe I don't spend enough time in the forums, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone say anything bad about windows phone, other than the lack of apps, which really isn't the fault of the OS. I've seen pretty universal praise.
Here's an example of inconsistency from the the very article under discussion:
Why did Android and Windows Phone move away from photorealistic buttons? "partly just for differentiation’s sake".
Why did Apple (eventually) do the same:
"... we’ve grown up. We don’t require hand-holding to tell us what to click or tap. Interactivity is a matter of invitation, and physical cues are only one specific type. iOS 7 is an iOS for a more mature consumer, who understands that digital surfaces are interactive, and who doesn’t want anything getting in the way of their content."
Got that, this is the way forward, it's the right thing to do, it's better than what iOS < 7 was doing, and it broadly reflects design trends in other fields like the web but we can't quite bring ourselves to admit that the competition might actually be able to hire a random interface designer that is aware of this. No, they have to accidentally stumble into a better way to do interfaces just because they were trying so hard to look different from iOS6.
This childish sophistry is SOP for Apple blogs, it's the number one reason I (someone who adopted OSX and iPods as soon as they were available) think the Apple-sphere is mentally diseased and worth distancing yourself from.
Thats's really not fair to Gemmell. If you read the augmented paper article he links (from a year ago), you'll find him very positive about this stuff in Metro and much more sympathetic to the design motivations behind it (and Android).
I agree that the snarky comment you quoted isn't that helpful, but it's clearly an aside, tucked away in parenthesis, not his main thoughts on other platforms' aesthetics.
Fwiw, most of what I imagine you mean by the 'Apple-sphere' (Gruber, Gemmell, Marco, etc) have been generally positive about Microsoft's new design ethos. Criticisms have tended to focus on its implementation, not the design itself.
I just assumed they didn't feel threatened by it due to its paltry sales, and if anything hoped it would distract potential Android customers.
But I've been reading this stuff for so long I remember when Gruber was railing against Mac OS X for straying from Aqua and embracing brushed metal, now apparently we're not allowed to criticize iOS 7 because, unlike Mac OS X, even though that's the cited precedent they give for their argument, it's guaranteed to simply get better with no potential for mis-steps along the way.
what happened to Apple's relentless pursuit of quality before introducing something to the public?
I has never existed.
The secret is to not focus on versions. In time the quirks will get sorted out and if your users don't know when or at what version it became better they will assume that it has always been working well.
First OS X? Terrible, barely usable even if there had been any applications for it. Current OS X? Decent. But since they have the same name it has always been decent because people can't even distinguish between them. At best they know the code name for the up and coming version or the previous one but definitely no more than that.
Remember Vista? Yeah, people still believe windows 7 was a big leap and Vista was just some candy on top on XP. But only because you can refer to it as Vista people remember it as a failure. If windows 7 would have been a service pack to Vista (which it, compared to the XP-Vista leap, kind of was) people wouldn't have so strong feelings about it.
I agree, that Of course, Apple doesn't have a "Relentless pursuit of quality" before introducing something to the public. They ship Operating Systems fast, and fix problems as they discover them.
I'm still stuck on OS X 10.7.5 because of how screwed up my Operating Environment became when I (idiotically) upgraded from a wonderfully stable 10.6.8 to 10.7.0. So traumatized was I by the six months of kernel panics, hard freezes, and application problems (Mail, Finder, Spotlight - you name it) that were only mostly resolved by 10.7.4, and now, with only about 3 exceptions, 10.7.5, that I won't even consider upgrading to a new OS X until it's been out for at least 6-9 months AND has had a 90 day window with no major reports of problems. The 90 day clock just started for 10.8.4 on June 3rd - I'll consider upgrading in September.
I disagree, because clearly the versions "10.6.8", "10.7.0" and "10.7.5" are burned into my poor traumatized brain, and I continue to be nervous about 10.8.x - though there are a number of features I'm looking forward to (Better Exchange Support, iCloud support, messages, syncing with reminders (which I use quite a bit on my iPhone), Safari Syncing with my iPhone, etc...)
It's been true of their second-Jobs-era mobile gadgets though. The first iPod and iPhone both delivered a polished experience from day 1, and their successors did too. The same was true of most Apple products since Jobs' return, including the Mac hardware. OS X was the big exception, but that was partly because Apple didn't have the luxury of time: it had to get out OS X as quickly as possible, while also continuing to patch up MacOS, in order to save the company.
Most people are saying the same things about Apple as they said about Microsoft with the flat design stuff. This is one of the few positive articles I've seen on HN about iOS 7. I don't understand why you are frustrated reading about this OS when the vast majority of what's been written so far essentially agrees with what you've said. You'd prefer no dissenting articles rather than a handful?
Anyway, even if Apple were broadly being lauded for it now, that would be expected. Microsoft pioneered this look in the mobile space. Obviously they were going to catch more flak for it. The first one to try something new always gets criticism from the essentially conservative press and public.
I don't understand why you are frustrated reading about this OS when the vast majority of what's been written so far essentially agrees with what you've said.
Perhaps our browsing history is different: I've read negative feedback about iOS 7 but it's mainly from the Dribbble crowd. I'd say the majority of the feedback from the tech press/blogosphere has been gushing.
Anyway, even if Apple were broadly being lauded for it now, that would be expected. Microsoft pioneered this look in the mobile space. Obviously they were going to catch more flak for it. The first one to try something new always gets criticism from the essentially conservative press and public.
I completely agree, but this is what frustrates me so much.
The "dribble crowd" isn't going to like the new iOS because it's going to make their role in app development mostly obsolete. Developing apps is going to require much more programatic design, instead of chopping up photoshop comps.
The new visual language means design is more important. You can't hide bad design with gloss and shadows. This is obviously bad for the Dribble crowd who often seem to favour style over substance, making the common mistake that design is about making something look good.
Design is how it works and functions, yes. But visual design is a major facet of that too. A large part of app design is the visual aesthetics. It's what helps make people download your app. It's most of what keeps them coming back for more. It matters too.
> I'd say the majority of the feedback from the tech press/blogosphere has been gushing.
I've only talked to programmer-ish, long-term Apple fans about iOS 7 and they aren't gushing about the interface at all (new APIs are a different story).
In fact, I felt that iOS 7 was trying to woo the "Dribbble crowd" if there is one - I have never seen another website that was so obsessed with weather apps & widgets. It felt like a parody of designer narcissism when the iOS 7 weather app was demoed, and feedback about that bit has been positive.
What Apple bloggers have you been reading? John Gruber, who is arguably the most famous Apple blogger of all, has always been a proponent of the Metro look, as well as an opponent of the kitschy skeuomorphic elements in iOS. I mean, he's been anticipating the "flattening" of iOS7 ever since Forestall went out the door!
And personally, I love the way iOS7 looks and feels from the videos, way more than my current iOS6. (Except for Game Center, don't know what's up with those bubbles.)
>> "(People arguing 'its just a beta, it'll obviously change over time': what happened to Apple's relentless pursuit of quality before introducing something to the public? What's the point of secrecy if you're showing off v0.8 and not v1.0?)
They haven't really introduced it to the public. They introduced it to developers at a developer conference so they can prepare their software for it. Every single iOS release has been like this. Buggy as hell for the first few betas with several feature changes along the way. When it's released 4 months down the line it's usually solid (excluding Maps).
I'm not FireBeyond but I've been using iOS 7 effectively all day yesterday (I'm in Australia) on my primary phone (iPhone 5) and it's crashed to reboot maybe twice, that's all. The majority of apps I use work perfectly or have tiny things that don't and some visual aberrations. Date picker, for example, has been fine in the instances I've used it. It's very stable and there is little lag. There's a ton of small bugs around the place like music controls and the time on the lock screen sometimes overlapping and they'll be fixed in time.
How does 'crashed to reboot twice in a day' convert to 'it's very stable'?
It's this wilful disregard of negatives that bugs me about Apple culture. The good things are lauded, the bad things are ignored, unless they're bad things in other OSes, then they're highlighted as why Apple stuff is better.
It's like at my last workplace, the Apple fan who was always getting another box from Foxconn telling me that Android was crap because he occasionally saw me swipe twice on my phone - ignoring that he was doing the same on his iphone. He didn't realise it until I pointed it out to him that he was doing it. It's a really odd cultural phenomenon.
Seriously? This is the earliest beta of this release. Only bricking twice a day sounds "pretty stable" to me.
I've had an iPhone5 since it came out and I've had one instance of needing to hard-reboot the device. Can't remember the details.
OTOH, My previous phone, a Galaxy S2, had far more issues. Multiple times in my ownership -- at least 4 that I can remember -- I literally had to remove the battery to restart the device.
In many ways I wish I had a hybrid device. The fit and finish of the hardware itself is much better from Apple. Some OS features and especially Google-provided web services are much better on Android. (Speech-to-text for one..) But having owned an Android for 2 years and an iPhone for 8 months, the iPhone is definitely, definitely more stable.
In some ways it seems like Apple v Microsoft on the desktop again. Apple controls the OS and the hardware so yes it BETTER be more stable. And it is.
Can't speak for FireBeyond or dorian-graph but I too am running it on my regular, everyday iPhone 5 and have found it surprisingly stable.
Any actual crashes seem to be a result of doing too many things at once, particularly during an animation (eg: close out of an app and double-click for multitasking before the animation is finished). The crashes seem to cause a restart of the Springbord app rather than a complete system reboot, so it comes back within 10 seconds and hasn't lost any data (it even keeps the same song playing in the background).
Before I had an iPhone 5 I used a Samsung Galaxy S which crashed much more frequently on stable versions of Android. I had to remove the battery at some points too to get it to start. I've never owned a Windows Phone so I can't comment on them.
I'm not apart of the Apple culture—I've had an iPhone for about 6 months and before that I used Android for ~ 2 years and had never owned any Apple products aside from a MbP—and I am not disregarding bad things. You've read a single comment of mine which was made in the context of using iOS 7 Beta 1 as a daily user. I've only made comments on iOS in 2 locations on the internet, once on this HN story and once in an invite-only forum. In the forum I listed many things that I don't like at the moment and feel needs polishing.
What's hilarious about your comment is that by a couple of ultra-geeks at uni I was called an Android fanboy because I used my SGS a lot, modded it, etc., haha. It would be hard for you to have been more wrong in your assumption, in regards to me. You will forever find in every group/culture people that ignore bad things and laud the good things, I've seen the same when I used Android regularly and elsewhere.
It would be hard for you to have been more wrong in your assumption, in regards to me.
Speaking of assumptions, I didn't call you a fanboy. I said it was a peculiarity of Apple culture. Given that I only have "a single comment of mine" on which to evaluate, it sounded like so many other comments on Apple equipment, where failures are papered over.
And given that it's a beta, not an alpha, two reboot crashes in one day is still definitely not what I'd characterise as "very stable". I'd even be wary of using that for an alpha - a "very" stable software suite simply shouldn't be crashing that often, regardless of where it is in the cycle.
Calendar.app in OS X now looks pretty much exactly like it does in iOS 7. Same color scheme, same typeface, etc... Notes is still yellow, but the top bar is now polished grey to match in with the rest of the UI, so it really isn't that bad. Game Center looks like it does in iOS 7 as well, and Reminders... haven't checked that out yet.
Agreed, folks are far too critical for a beta release that has yet to evolve. Of course, there are still major improvements that need to be addressed, but people need to understand that Apple will not ship anything shitty when it comes time to release it to the general public.
How are complaints about the new Safari icon different from complaints about leather iCal in its time, or even Ping? This is not a leaked alpha version, this is what Apple is publicly marketing, and I don't see where they have a record of ever backtracking (in less than two major releases).
>People arguing 'its just a beta, it'll obviously change over time': what happened to Apple's relentless pursuit of quality before introducing something to the public?
Nothing. They were always pragmatic about it, not "relentless".
And it's not a beta. The final version is coming in very short time, so it will be 98% the same. What it is is a FIRST version (iteration) of the new design. It will improve in iOS 8 and later versions.
People always go crazy when discussing Apple and forget basic facts.
Like, the original iPhone, and ALL subsequent models, where chastised for this pain point or the other. And all pain points (from lack of third party apps, to multitasking, to copy/paste, to the 4's antenna etc) where addressed, in a satisfying matter, in later versions.
People also forget how OS X went from barely usable (10.1) to highly capable and mature (10.4 and forward) functionality wise, or how the UI changed from "lickable candy buttons, heavy stripes and metal windows" to the subdued 10.8 look we now have.
People only remember "relentless pursuit of quality". But they forget that that "pursuit" comes in iterations and years, not just on every first version they introduce.
Actually, a decade old advice among Apple faithfuls, at least with regards to hardware, is: avoid buying a 1st iteration Apple product -- it will likely have some issue to be fixed in later versions or production runs.
This article gives a lot more context about the icons:
"many of the new icons were primarily designed by members of Apple’s marketing and communications department, not the app design teams. From what we’ve heard, SVP of Design Jony Ive (also now Apple’s head of Human Interaction) brought the print and web marketing design team in to set the look and color palette of the stock app icons. They then handed those off to the app design teams who did their own work on the ‘interiors’, with those palettes as a guide."
As somebody who's been using Windows Phone for the past year or two, I like it. I think it works as a best-of-both-worlds between iOS and WP7. Android is going to look incredibly antiquated in a year or two (especially since tilting homescreen and lockscreen widgets, while useful, made it ugly), and I'm a complete Android fanboy.
When I look compare WP8 and iOS 7 the thing that's the biggest difference is that iOS 7 seems to be much busier. WP8 apps definitely take a "Metro" approach and keep it simple: squares on simple backgrounds, rectangles around buttons that do things, and the buttons that are icons enclosed in circles.
I was on the Montréal metro this weekend and really like the flat design they use which WP8 really took to heart. It will be interesting to see if the way iOS does it leads to more confusion for users or if skeuomorphism was the way to go.
I think it's the backgrounds everywhere that make iOS 7 look so busy, especially the home screen. The screens that are simple text-on-background or boxes-on-background look fine, and the chatbox retains a pure simple white background.
In cases where the white background exists, the stylistic similarities to WP7/8 look more obvious. WP7/8 make very limited use of elaborate backgrounds, preferring to go with jet-black. There's an option to invert the WP7 colors and go with black text on white background... it makes iOS7 look like a complete clone there.
You clicked on the iOS7 article, read it fully an then made a huge comment about it. Every opinion about the design is so subjective that we can't really discuss it. You don't like the design? Well then don't upgrade or buy an Android phone. Lots of people are pleased with it, complaining about it isn't really going to help.
Why do you think that iPhone users were still happy with the design of iOS6. I heard lots of users complaining about how tired they were of the green playfield and that the address book doesn't really have to have the rings in them to know that it's an address book. This was an early trend, now flat design is a trend. Will you then also make a post about how happy people were with the flat design and that they should stick with it instead of upgrading it?
Every app of them is re-written, as a developer I understand the amount of work they had to put in to achieve this, to align every app for the new design, to think about every app. Really I understand the effort they put in to achieve this, but now you want all this with the latest design and you want it without a single bug?
Out of all the 'historically pro-Apple bloggers/authors' John Siracusa stands out as an exception: on the [recent episode of the ATP podcast](http://atp.fm/episodes/17-cant-innovate-anymore) (starts at 34:55) he gave proper credit to Windows Phone for paving the way — even though he's a confessed Microsoft hater.
Matt Gemmell's continual dismissal of the Microsoft designers who created Metro is incredibly disrespectful. He's repeatedly made snide remarks about Metro as merely change for the sake of being different. Given the [sweat, blood and tears](http://mashable.com/2012/03/29/microsoft-metro-is-a-philosop...) that it for the Metro UI folk to convince the execs at Microsoft to take design seriously, it's dispiriting to see a loud voice in the community like Gemmell be so snarky and flippant.
I don't think that's what Gemmell has been saying at all. He has been dismissive of the Windows 8 "No Compromises" approach, but Metro, as found on Windows Phone and the Surface (not Surface Pro), he has always seemed rather positive to me. Some examples:
"It’s not quite minimalist, though; it’s more like finding yourself living inside an infographic. The presentation is flat and high-contrast, but there’s little that’s familiar in the surroundings. It eschews skeuomorphism utterly. It’s hip, razor-edged and as modern as it can be without surrendering to the whims of futurism.
It’s almost perfectly digital, and is focused on information and content above all. Metro presents the device as little more than a viewport into a digital information space – indeed, the idea is immediately shown to the user via the concept of the horizontally moving viewport.
If there’s a current mobile user experience that should most appeal to Star Trek’s LCARS apologists like myself, then it’s surely Metro rather than iOS."
"Much of the lavishness of iOS (and its imitator, Android) feels like an artefact of the desktop era; a time when we were all still learning how to think about computing devices. By contrast, Windows Phone leaps to the other extreme, being as different as possible for the sake of it. Clear boundaries, sleek lines, and a kind of overt zen futurism."
That second one may seem like it's supporting your point, but Gemmell is deliberately contrasting the iOS style as "an arteface of the desktop era", whilst Metro gets "Clear", "sleek" and "zen" as its adjectives. In other words, Metro is clearly the approach getting the thumbs up here.
Yes, but you see that's why I gave you the link, so you could read the words in context and not have to take my word for it that they were intended as positive. If you do read the linked articles, you would see for example that "little that's familiar" is considered a positive, a foil to the over the top skeumorphism of its competitors.
This has less to do with flat design than it does with mismanagement and communication issues. Type flat design in on dribbble and you will be hard pressed to find generic rainbow-barf gradients, and helvetica neue ultra light. iOS 7's default icons were "designed" by Apple's marketing team.This is what happens when you put an industrial designer and marketers in charge of designing an OS.
Your use of the word 'epic' was juvenile exaggeration, or illiteracy. Appealing to 'informal usage' when trying to express criticism is also juvenile or illiterate. And WTF is the free dictionary? The only source you could find to echo your mangling of English?
I don't think it's the color, I think it's the backgrounds. With less spacing between elements on the home-screen, putting a background - even a simple gradient - makes it insanely busy. Spots where they show a more elaborate background are cringeworthy. There's a reason WP switched to solid colors.
I think the bright elaborate icons would look fine on a jet-black or solid white background.
Going back to Vista, Microsoft initially pushed the translucent window chrome with its Aero theme. The borders were increased to provide larger targets for resizing, and the translucency made the window feel lighter.
Even with the blurring that provided a frosted glass feel, it made everything feel busier. Windows 8 backtracked on the looks of Vista and Windows 7 by de-emphasizing the glass. This was done to make desktop apps feel more like Windows 8 apps, to reduce battery use (although they still use a 3d compositing engine, so I don't know that there is actually much of a difference in power use between glass and no glass), and to declutter the experience.
iOS 7 doesn't feel de-cluttered to me. It actually seems to borrow most of the things I disliked about Windows Vista and 7 in terms of visual distraction when they use transparency. And then they flatten the UI so that elements like buttons have less visual distinction from static content.
For flat UI done better, look at Windows Whistler (Windows XP betas) running the Watercolor theme. http://mirror.stisitelkom.ac.id/files/PC%20Media%20Repositor...
While some things have been improved over the past decade, it's interesting to see UI design return to some of the visual feel of this abandoned theme, but with more clutter. I'm not going to say that Watercolor is perfect, but its strength was clarity, something that seems abandoned in most "modern" designs.
It appears that I'm not the only one who sees the similarity... http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2011/046/9/d/windows_phone...
So no then. In fact you don't actually know what you are talking about at all. Whilst you are more than entitled to your opinions on any given subject, saying something like "Apply[sic] (or Ive) simply does not understand graphic design anymore." isn't at all constructive. It's worse than that actually. Casting an aspersion like that is entirely vapid, and no amount of snide logical twists are going to change that.
I completely agree that the new icons look much worse than their predecessors. Even if they wanted to embrace Flat Design they could have done a much better job. For example, this designer seems to have nailed it: http://www.behance.net/gallery/iOS-7-Redesign/9271243
My impression was that people responded favorably to flat design. Look at the web as a whole and you can see that much if not most of it is embracing flat design. Sure there was backlash for it, but skeumorphism also had tons of backlash as well.
The thing that I have noticed about the iOS 7 feedback is that people think that Apple implemented a flat design in a very ugly way. Maybe it's because they're behind the curve because they're late to the party. Maybe it'll get better, but everything I've heard so far is about the poor use of colors, gradients, and unnecessarily noisy effects, not about flat design being bad.
This is not a fair response to the industry in my opinion.
iOS 7 is not just "flat" - at the risk of sounding like a fanboy, it's so much more than that. You're judging it based on the most obvious first impression - the icons and such.
Those can be improved, yes (especially Safari's...) but you're not reviewing the actual interface. I'm typing this comment on iOS 7 and I assure you it feels smoother. There are kinks to be worked out but the operating system's interface is more intuitive, which allows for more usable space and memory dedicated to features.
You sound kind of bitter about bloggers being fickle; getting past that, I think the design's interface actually looks very polished. It's "smarter" and only has a very small learning curve. Even apps like news:yc (what I'm using now) feel faster and "lighter" despite not yet being optimized for the iOS yet.
The whole thing feels like a more lightweight, versatile experience. I encourage you to download iOS 7's beta and try it out if you can.
To me, this feels like OS X Public Beta all over again. Aqua was polarizing and many of the changes were met with elation, hostility, or utter despair. The stability and UNIX features were welcomed but everything else was shunned.
In about a year when the final release shipped, many things were fixed and polished, but people were still polarized, and many refused to budge from OS 9. About a year later, Jaguar was released, and OS X began coming into its own.
I didn't have the same experience you did. I saw a lot of dislike for the skeumorphism in earlier versions of iOS both online and in real life, even among Apple enthusiasts. Speaking for myself, I was really impressed with Windows Phone when I first saw it, and I'm glad to see Apple moving more in that direction.
Flat vs. Skeumorphism aside -- I agree, those iOS 7 looks like someone's overzealous puke from last night's binge drinking.
I would not mind it as much if they let me tweak some of the colors so I can have dark background.
In any case, eventually, the flat-UI proponents will realize that flat design is a subtle skeumorphism, one harking back to the days when graphics hardware were not capable of rendering more realistic images.
I don't care about flatness or skeutransmogrification or whatnot, but the damn thing must WORK.
Look at his iMessage screen comparison : yes, the old screen looks a bit geocities, but you can actually read text very well; the new screen is almost unreadable. The prime aim of iMessage is to make people read text, not to look cool.
It doesn't matter if there are options to thicken the font -- the whole point of OSX/iOS UI was that you should not need options, because defaults should be good enough for most people. This is clearly not the case with what we've seen of iOS7, and that's a problem.
From a fellow know-nothing when it comes to "flatness" and skeu-something I was a little bit surprised when the author complained that the old "receive a call" interface was full with alert-like buttons. They are supposed to be "Alert" buttons, for crying out loud, as in you're asleep in your bed, the phone starts ringing which means you have been "alerted", you're now woken up and ready to answer the call or deny it.
Which brings me to my second point, that is where is the "Deny" button/action in the new interface.
? I could only see "Answer" and "Remind me later".
> I don't care about flatness or skeutransmogrification or whatnot, but the damn thing must WORK.
Absolutely. I don't understand how so many people are focusing on the highs and lows of the UI but are ignoring serious UX problems like the one you pointed.
Apple says "Nothing we’ve ever created has been designed just to look beautiful. That’s approaching the opportunity from the wrong end." but then they change the perfectly readable Messages screen to a less readable one that has the only advantage of arguably looking better. And it's not the only problem IMHO.
On that screen used to be a send button that invited interaction. You look there and you know that it's "actionable". Now in the new version there is no button, only a gray text with "No Perceived Affordance" that looks more like a description than an "actionable" element. The most important "action" on that screen happens when you press a gray text on a gray background!
And the call screen? On the iOS6 one it was easier to read the name of the person who is calling because the white text is above a black overlay giving it enough contrast. On the new one the text although bigger is lighter (as in less bold) and is directly on the image. Light backgrounds (sky, clouds, etc) will make the text barely visible. Also how can I reject a call? There is nothing on that screen supporting the second most important functionality that is expected from it. Even accepting the call is now more complicated. The size and position of the elements makes more sense now but the text is lighter (less readable) and it's now more complicated to accept a call: before you only needed to touch accept, now you need to slide.
The home screen: even ignoring the aesthetics that I personally don't like, it's undeniable that the text is much more readable with iOS6. The small border and shadow made it readable with virtually any background. Also the icons were easier on the eyes, the new bright colors tire/irritate the eyes more. Also the relationship between icons and the functionality they represent was already hard in some cases. For instance for someone that didn't know Safari it was not easy to tell which was the browser and which was the compass from just the icons. Also the photos icon was not obvious at all and the Music vs iTunes Store icons are almost the same with different backgrounds but now it got worse: none of the exisiting problems got any better and at least reminders, settings and game center got worse.
Of course there are a lot of screens that got better imho. Music, contact view, the calendar, clocks, compass, weather...
I actually don't have anything to add to your comment, but I just wanted to say I agree 100% with literally everything you wrote here. These are my exact gripes with the new version, expressed better than I think I could have.
I hate posts like this that lay out some first-order criticism of a design as if the designers did not consider their obvious concerns. It also sounds like you are making judgements based upon screenshots without actually using the software.
As far as messages go, it seems that the contrast is appropriate for the bubble at the bottom of the screen. The presumption, I think, is that users will scroll to read previous messages and the contrast will be fine where they are reading. The contrast for old messages is reduced to reduce the distraction from content the user is not reading, since it has already been read. How often do you read previous messages in a conversation vs. the last message? This difference clearly has dictated Apple's design.
Second, the concern about white text above the photo not being readable is laughable. If you really think Apple hasn't considered the idea that some photos will have lighter colors I don't know what to tell you. If you watch some of the intro WWDC videos it's very clear that Apple has thought through very carefully the various automatic treatments and text rendering they are applying to ensure they are readable by the user. Any places where things are not perfect will be corrected later.
If you want to criticize iOS 7 you can do better than conjuring up things that would only be true if Apple literally had zero design skills.
That kind of thinking adds very few to the discussion. I respect Apple and I know they are a reference in terms of UI/UX. This does not mean however that they are immune to making mistakes. Your argument is, from what I understood, that as they are very good they must have thought of it and if they choose to do it anyway then it must be the best way. I do not agree.
Even for the message at the bottom of the screen there was more contrast before when the text was black. In a room it does not matter much but out, in the sun, you can tell the difference. Anyway, even if you read the most recent message most often than others (which is probably true) you often need to read the previous ones for context if the reply arrives some minutes or hours later. If you are out, previously you could read the last two or three messages without problems. No you have to scroll so that the previous message is under focus to be able to read. And what is there to be gained? Isn't the fact that older messages appear before the new ones not enough to hint about their order?
Again you raise the argument that Apple always knows best and therefore it's laughable that I point out such a thing. Of course Apple would never make such a mistake. Just look at both photos and ask yourself which one can you read best. Also look at screen of the (beautiful) weather app and see if you can check your signal or even the time.
Also do you think that yellow text on a light background is a good idea in terms of readability? Because that's the color of the "actionable" elements in the Notes app.
I posted it above but just to re-iterate if iOS 7 ships where background images render the status bar, text, etc, unreadable due to an obvious "white on white" or "black on black" issue, or at least if this isn't somehow addressed otherwise, then I will (figurtively :)) eat my hat.
I'd argue most of my beef with the armchair commentators is they are making what appear to be deep criticisms of iOS 7 without having actually used it, and without taking into account the fact that it's beta 1. They are shipping a new "letterpress" text treatment in UIKit, my guess is that they will apply this treatment to text if it is sitting on top of a similar-colored background, but probably have not worked out the details yet. I could see it being a reasonable technical and design challenge since you may need to apply a treatment to only part of a glyph. I'd ask the poster what their "duh, so obvious" solution is to their "duh, so obvious" observation. (Note: "leave the status bar alone" is not a valid answer here, since the design goal is to have the content in iOS 7 take up the entire screen. If you have a problem with that decision, argue that point, but realize it has nothing to do with status bars anymore. Even if Apple left this pretty glaring flaw in their design, they may have decided to do so because having content take up the entire screen is worth this cost, and the onus is on the critic to explain why it is not worth it, not that they are too stupid to have noticed this edge case.)
Basically if you see something and it's something that 99% of developers would identify as a potential edge case, you can be sure Apple considered it too and at least made an explicit design decision to deal with it or punt for later betas. If they made an explicit design decision, which is assumed, then you should try to understand that decision and then critique that decision and its tradeoffs beyond Comic-Book-Guy-esque "this is so obvious they are so dumb how could they miss my clever edge case I've discovered." Let's say Apple really do see that white on white is an issue, and actually decided to leave it that way and ignore the case altogether. Why would they do this? At least address this question if you are going to critique the design. The OP assumes it was an oversight, not a design decision or technical debt, which is kind of insulting to Apple designers and engineers.
I would prefer if before starting a complaint about text legibility, colors, contrast, and so on, if people would include a disclaimer of if they have actually based their opinions upon viewing the design on an actual device.
> The presumption, I think, is that users will scroll to read previous messages and the contrast will be fine where they are reading.
That's a wrong-headed and frankly stupid presumption on Apple's part, if true. You're arguing to make the top half of the messages screen unreadable (or at least more difficult to read) in the name of a gimmicky gradient effect?
> If you really think Apple hasn't considered the idea that some photos will have lighter colors I don't know what to tell you.
They haven't in the beta. Unless you set the image to be basically all white (in which the overlaying text turns black) the text remains white. Even on the default "live" teal background the text is hard to read. Hopefully this will change in the release, but considering promo shots show the lock screen as it is now, I'm not hopeful.
> If you want to criticize iOS 7 you can do better than conjuring up things that would only be true if Apple literally had zero design skills.
Wait, so you are saying that if Apple didn't employ "good" designers, his criticisms about the new UI would be valid, but since they do, his criticisms are baseless? Please go ahead and defend that logic, should be good for a laugh.
My issue is the OP fails to realize design is about tradeoffs, and points out where the new design sucks and where the old design is better, but shows his hand by not considering why the new design may be better. ("arguably looking better", what does this mean? Why does it look better? Perhaps there is a functional purpose to it that he/she is overlooking?)
The new message UI is obviously trying to fade out the older messages since, if you assume the latest message is the most important content by a large margin, older messages are a distraction. I am not going to say this is a wise design, but the blindness the OP has to this dynamic shows they are firmly in the "Apple are idiots" camp, without an attempt to see what is actually in front of them: tradeoffs.
As far as the white on white issue, it's obviously a bug or to-do. Mark this post, I will eat my hat if iOS 7 ships and there are cases where you end up being unable to read text upon user-defined backgrounds like the home screen or lock screen due to some obvious issue like light text on light background.
First off, I don't think they are explicitly trying to fade out older messages. The received message bubbles are gray and don't seem to have a gradient effect going on; it's only the sent ones which are colored (green or blue) and have the gradient. So I think Apple's goal here really was just a gimmicky gradient effect for the colored (sent) messages.
More evidence for that is that the bubbles themselves don't seem to change colors as you scroll; rather they are just sort of a mask for an underlying gradient layer underneath (so you can have one large bubble which fills the screen and is light on top and dark on the bottom).
But even if their intention was to make older messages fade out, it was still severely misguided. It is trivial to discern which messages are older (they are higher in the chain and therefore further from the text input for a new message). Users of iOS have been familiar with this for years (and isn't the new UI supposed to move away from explicit visual cues since the assumption is people are used to it by now?).
Moreover, it actually hurts usability, since users now have to scroll more often to get messages in the readable portion of the screen if they want to read through a conversation.
And, on top of all that, if there is only one sent message in the conversation, there is actually no way to bring it into the readable portion of the screen due to the snap-back! (Further evidence that this was intended to be no more than a visual gimmick.)
> The most important "action" on that screen happens when you press a gray text on a gray background!
The "Send" text is gray because the input box is empty. When you typed in something, it will turn blue. Still not as intuitive as a button though.
> Also how can I reject a call?
It's exactly the same as in iOS 6. There've always been two different call screens since the first release of iOS. One is shown when your phone is locked, where you need to slide to answer and push the power button twice to reject. Another one is shown when your phone is not locked, where you have an answer button and a reject button. The screenshot causes the confusion because it is comparing the second call screen on iOS 6 with the first call screen on iOS 7.
You are completely right on both. I'm sorry, my mistake. Regarding the Send button, or lack of thereof, it is much better blue than gray but, as you said, it is not as intuitive as a button. There is a lack of perceived affordance. It's one of the top 10 mistakes in application design that Nielsen points. Of course Nielsen can be wrong and Apple can be right.
Discoverability has taken a hit, try finding spotlight search, you have to scroll the home screen icons down. Something that makes no sense, and if you scroll from the top of the screen you get the notification centre.
As the messages move closer to the bottom of the screen they become more opaque. So as you scroll, the things that preside close to the bottom of the actual device, that are on screen at that moment, will be totally opaque.
As a counter-example (although I agree with you), the hideous and unusable directions on iOS 6 Maps (the all-capitals blue and white highway sign look) seems to have given way to something more readable.
To me, reading messages is a more pleasant experience on iOS 7 compared with previous versions. It's actually one of my favorites of the new stock apps they created. Sure the design is a little lacking, but as far as usability goes - it's actually quite nice.