Jason VanLue)

On iOS 7

DATE: 06.12.13 • READING TIME: 2.5min

This is another post on iOS 7. Will it be all that different from the others? Probably not. I'm mostly writing it so my kids can see I weighed in 20 years from now. Will they care? Probably not.

Three things upfront: first, we don't know what Ive's (and the team's) goals were starting out. Second, they only had 7 months to redesign an entire OS. Third, it's okay to have an opinion; it's okay to critique—so long as it doesn't distract you from making things.

So here are my thoughts and opinions (coming from a guy sitting in a chair, 6,000 miles away from where all this stuff was actually thought out).

  • I was more impressed with the new OS after downloading it, and using it all day yesterday. Using it, as opposed to just looking at it, makes a difference because design is multi-layered.
  • It seems like the team spend 95% of their time on the UX, and 5% on the visuals. I'm choosing to believe the glaring inconsistencies, and blatant visual failures are because they didn't have enough time.
  • We espouse the "ship and iterate" model, but when someone ships a "beta" so that thousands can use it and offer feedback—with the underlying assumption that there will be iterations—why are we so surprised that it's not completely polished?
  • The lock screen UX is terrible. They have to fix that.
  • The interactions are beautiful. They hit those out of the park.
  • The icons are terrible. They have to fix those.
  • The new Control Panel feature is outstanding. But I never use the World Clock, and rarely use the calculator. Although now I can check the time in Caracas whenever I want.
  • I don't understand the typography choice. I know Helvetica has always been a part of Apple's brand, but Helvetica Neue Light is a jealous mistress. It likes to demand its space while barely being readable at the same time. I love the typeface, but I don't love it in this context.
  • More on the typography. Why didn't they create a custom typeface, like Droid Sans/Serif for Android? That alone would have set the OS apart visually from the other players.
  • Do we remember what iOS 1.0 looked like? I don't. And we'll forget what this looked like when iOS 8 comes out.
  • Software is a living, changing organism. Judging it solely based on static design at one point it time is dishonest. Iteration can, should, and will happen.
  • This shows why consistency in the details is vital to any design.
  • This also shows the importance of creating a consistent visual language. Compose a symphony, not a cacophony.

That's about it. It doesn't really matter anyway. I can still text my wife, FaceTime my kids, and waste time on Reddit. So the world is still as it should be.

These guys write better than me anyways. Read their posts; they're full of compelling thought.