A Non-Designer’s View of iOS7

*I’m not a designer. I haven’t gone to design school and I’m not on Dribbble

I make no apologies for being a fan of Apple and the prospect of a new look and feel of the famed OS was, well, awesome. When the Jony Ive video started playing showing the new look of iOS I got butterflies and couldn’t wait to see what his team whipped up.

And then…

The screen of app icons appeared and I was kinda left scratching my head. For one, It ‘feels’ like the Safari, App Store and iTunes icons are brushing too close to the constraints of the rounded square container. The circle seems to be oversized for the container, making the icon feel cramped and the round corners seem to be elongated. It just seems off.

home-bar

Another observation that left me wondering was the use of vibrant gradients for some of the app backgrounds and within the icon detail. Again, Safari is the big offender here with a dark blue to electric blue gradient. The white tic marks get lost on the electric part of the gradient. It just seems off.

I didn’t think all the icons were bad, for one the compass app looks much cleaner and much like a techy Suunto wristwatch. The Photos and Clock apps also seem to work better than others, maybe due to missing a harsh gradient.

It’s not all bad…

By and large I’d have to say the demos and screenshots of the new native apps seem to be right on. In an obvious departure from Scott Forstall’s skeumorphic push, content and context are brought front and center for an all digital feel. The Mail app looked great, almost Sparrow-esque and the Weather app seems to be a very immersive experience.

Another upgrade in the new iOS7 apps is how consistent they appear to be. From Game Center to Calendar to Photos, everything seems to gel better than before. No green felt, no fake leather bound journal and no weird weather ‘card’. Every app feels like the same team worked on it, or at least the same design standards were used. It looks clean and crisp.

One personal gripe is the all text header ‘buttons’. I feel obvious click targets help the user experience and reduce confusion. In some cases a left or right caret is found next the text which helps a bit, but I just feel a button would work best.

Part of me hopes there is some refinement to the icons before lunch, but I’m not holding my breath. Do I think this will hurt Apple, no. Do I think it’s hard for them to surprise us anymore, yes. Any re-design of any product is going to bring praise and criticism and Apple isn’t removed from this.

Herefish Colophon