Cut the animation times in half, and you're wasting only half the time. It will be too fast for some people, too slow for others.
Instead, avoid _blocking_ animations. Some animations are great as long as they don't prevent you from doing the next action.
Don't treat the user like an idiot. If they tap again before animation finishes, skip to end of animation and perform the action for that tap.
With iOS 6 folders, for example, I often tap a second time just a moment before the animation finishes, and my tap is ignored. It gets very frustrating when you're trying to be fast. Imagine a keyboard that would block your keypresses if you exceed 60 WPM.
You reminded me of a feature I've been dying for though, semi-related: the ability to control tap-speed, similar to double-click speed on the desktop. I'd love to be able bring up the text selection menu more quickly.
Edit: To your main point about caching taps -- I feel like while in some case that would be straightforward to implement, it could get pretty hairy for most average users.
On my iPad mini there is also a noticable lag when you slide up the control panel and slide down the notification panel, particularly on the first swipe. And swiping down on the springboard to reveal search drops a few frames too so it's a jerky jump at the end of the animation. And god damn, I wish they would just make it so you can swipe the lock screen in either direction to unlock, the number of times I've swiped the wrong way (since there is no longer a button to slide) is crazy and pointless.
I guess I should file some radars or look these up :)
>It’s pretty cool the first time we see all of the icons fly in.
>But do we really need to sit through that every time we unlock the phone or leave an app?
>These animations in iOS 7 feel like its designers are showing off their cool new abilities, and we’re just along for the ride.
>After sitting through all of these, day after day, it’s no longer impressive — it just feels needlessly, artificially slow.
(Summary from http://textteaser.com/)
Personally, I like to only use animations for things that don't happen very often at all, they help make those particular experiences more memorable.
While I'm here, I might as well call out my primary OS X UX bugbear (in the hopes that some wise soul has found a solution for it). If I hold Cmd, press Tab a couple of times, keep Cmd held down, and mouseover the icon box, the active icon "jumps" to the icon under the pointer. This can lead to the counter-intuitive experience of "Hold Cmd, press Tab, realise you want to stay on the same program, press shift-tab, release Cmd" NOT being a no-op. Equally, I'll sometimes start moving the mouse to the right position on the screen before, or while, pressing Cmd-Tab - if the mouse path intersects the icon box, I end up on the wrong program. Anyone know how to disable this?
You can hit escape regardless of where you are in the switcher
While this may not have worked, ( iPhone 5 still has a lag after the animation ), may be iPhone 5S could manage to do without the lag.
On MacOS menus appeared instantly and faded out when you've made a selection.
On Windows the menus faded in and disappeared instantly.
Didn't take me long to find the option to turn it off, but it was quite annoying.
It has created a lot of work for me to put things back where they belong.
In "Thinking, Fast and Slow", Daniel Kahneman talks of the two modes of thinking as System 1 (automatic, fast, involuntary cognitive processes like face/pattern recognition) and System 2 (conscious, attention-requiring processes like multiplication).
"System 1 runs automatically and System 2 is normally in a comfortable low-effort mode, in which only a fraction of its capacity is engaged. System 1 continuously generates suggestions for System 2: impressions, intuitions, intentions and feelings. If endorsed by System 2, impressions and intuitions turn into beliefs, and impulses turn into voluntary actions. When all goes smoothly, which is most of the time, System 2 adopts the suggestions of System 1 with little or no modification...
When System 1 runs into difficulty, it calls on System 2 to support more detailed and specific processing..."
A good principle of usability is to keep both systems humming in the manner described above, reducing "page faults" into System 2 to the minimum.
The realism and skeuomorphism of old Apple design (reaching godawfully kitschy heights in leather-stitching and reel-to-reel tape) with the 3-D buttons and shadows had this in their favour: they made it very easy for System 1 to parse the landscape. Navigating an Apple UI felt smooth and intuitive; never effortful.
But now, struggling through the anorexic fog of iOS7, I guess they've thrown the baby of usability out with the bathwater of realism. System 1 is often forced to fault into System 2 to make sense of patches of stark, undifferentiated space, a mess of thin fonts, single-pixel-wide, poor-contrast UI elements. The more attention you have to divert into basic navigation, the less you have to focus on the content. Most system apps (Notes, Mail, Calendar...) suffer from these issues. Plus the eye-wateringly terrible icons and saturated colors (seriously, who came up with the Safari and Game Center icons?) and poor readability of app names. Change the background image from the default of Dark Nebula to one with sand and the readability gets much worse. I waited to see if it was one of those things which you get used to, but no luck.
Not everything's bad: the layering effects, blur, control and notification panels sliding in from top and bottom are all great improvements from iOS6. But surely it's possible to create a UI which is navigable by System 1, which ruffles the minimum of aesthetic feathers with re kitschy realism? IMHO, Mountain Lion has done exactly that: Gradients, shadows and colors have acquired a quiet, subtle elegance which are a far cry from the days of lickable buttons.