What I like and dislike about iOS 10 and why

Image source: iOS Human Interface Guidelines

What I like about iOS 10

It finally lets me get rid of all default iOS Apps that I have never opened. The first thing I did after compeleting updating iOS was to delete all defualt iOS Apps. I just hope that Mac OS will allow me to do the same thing in the next release.

As a user, I extremely hate to be forced into doing anything or forced into not doing particular things. Good designs respect users, never force users, and let users make their own decisions. Also by human nature, people hate to be forced into doing things.

There are website where you must sign up for a new account before you can browse full contents and take actions. I find them so ridiculous. Imagine in reality, you meet a stranger on street and he asks “Hey how are you? May I know your email address?” What your reaction will be? Maybe you think to yourself: What? Are you kidding? I barely know you! Same logic applies to web design. How can some web designers be so confident to suppose users are willing to sign up, disclose their personal information without knowing what the website is about in the first place?

Quora.com is such an example. Though I sincerely enjoy reading all high-quality contents and discussion on Quora, I strongly disapprove forcing users to sign up for a new account. When I first realized I must sign up otherwise I cannot view people’s answers. I got angry. However I finally compromised because I knew Quora is good I truly wanted to read high-quality answers. Pinterest is another story here. When I realized their ugly trick, I closed the website and never used it. From a user’s perspective, I see no difference between browsing with an account and without an account. Of course from a business point of view, maybe that’s how they acquire more users though in an ugly way in my opinion.

What I dislike about iOS 10

Card-based design in Notification Center

A card is a major design component in Google material design, and it is gradually becoming a popular design pattern for both mobile and web. It seems like Apple does not want to be left behind, so now we see cards in iOS 10. Though cards are a convenient means of displaying content, I have to say the use of cards in Notification Center may not be a sensible idea. Reasons are as follows:

  1. The goal of Notification Center is to provide an overview of alerts of applications. To most users, when they open Notification Center, they just scan quickly to see if there is anything that requires immediate attention and action. However, the use of cards distract users from doing a quick scan. By comparing the new and old Notification Center, it is easy to tell that the old edge-to-edge grid list is more lightweight, cleaner and most importantly less distractable and easier to scan.
Image source: screenshots of my iPhone

2. The old Notification Center takes up a whole screen itself with solid balck background and white texts. Therefore, it does not matter what the color of the wallpaper is. In contrast, the new Notification Center has white background and black texts, which is totally okay if they exist alone. But note that, in the new Notification Center, cards are like white bubbles on the wallpaper, so the visual effect relies heavily on the color of the wallpaper. If a user has a black wallpaper, the resulting visual effect will be very contrasting. In my screenshot, though my wallpaper has lighter colors, all the white cards still look contrasting and (sorry to say) ugly.

Unnecessary colors and features

As a designer myself, I believe in minimalist design. All design elements have clear purposes, and all purposes should be served by a minimal number of design elements. All unnecessary design elements should be stripped away. That’s why I do not like the 5 icons in control center in iOS 10.

In previous versions, icon with grey background means off and icon with white background means on, which is super clear to users. In iOS 10, adding extra colors is completely not necessary.

Image source: Left: screenshot of my iPhone; Right: Appleapple.top

In terms of functionality, adding colors adds no extra meaning and value. Grey means off, color means on literally has no difference from grey means off, white means on. Why airplane mode is in orange? Why wifi and bluetooth are in blue? Why do not disturb is in purple? Why portrait orientation lock is in red? There is no clear reason why these particular colors are associated with particular icons, so why add them?

In terms of aesthetics, these colors actually do not quite live in harmony with other elements, since all other elements in control center are in white, black and grey.

I have not fully explored iOS 10, so this article will be updated as I discover more likes and dislikes.

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