iOS 10 Beta Usability Issues

Apple has long been the staple of design. They’ve upheld their themes of clarity, deference, and depth with each new release of iOS. They lead the way on trends like skeumorpism and minimalism. When they offered iOS 10 Beta to the public, being a apple “fan-girl”, I jumped at the opportunity to use it. As with any new release, there are things to get used to, and new features to enjoy. But I have to say…as I’ve been using it for the past few weeks, I genuinely question some of the decisions they made in the new iOS. I’ve noticed a few things that clearly are the opposite of their themes they typically adhere to. Apple, which has long been the king of “it just works”, has seemed to deliberately add a few more steps to the most common things to do.

Here are a few usability issues I’ve noticed so far:

iOS9 vs iOS10 control center

Control center

The control center has been the easiest way to control your phone quickly. I typically use it to adjust settings while on the go. iOS10 has split these into a two pane view. I’m curious what people typically use their control center for. Personally, I use mine for music, airplay, and brightness. Where as before I could adjust my airplay/music in 2 gestures. You now need 4 gestures to control music. For my personal usage, I preferred how they were kept together and it just “knew” what I was doing. The hierarchy seems to be a bit messier for my personal usage…as there are now options on the first pane that I would use much less than those on the second.

ios9 messages vs ios10, new finger writing feature

Messaging

While there’s some fun new features here..they’re adding a lot to this tiny little keyboard area. The “send” has changed to a small blue up arrow. I’m still able to tap it..but my thumb gets a little anxiety every time.

There’s also a new feature that allows you to write with your finger if you turn your phone. This was really fun the first time! But as it’s a mobile phone and it’s constantly at all types of angles…I’ve almost sent a squiggle countless times now. As a fun feature that I won’t use regularly…it seems too easy to accidentally access.

Apple Mail putting the most recent message at the bottom of the stack

Apple mail

I noticed something off when I opened an email conversation thread I had been having. Apple mail now places the most recent conversation at the bottom. I would have expected it to be on the top as most design patterns put the most recent on the top of the list. I wouldn’t expect to put a new piece of paper underneath a stack on my desk.

The contact circle icon being interactive in certain areas, but not others.

Contacts

A basic rule of mobile interaction is to have similar things/styles be actionable. Like anything with a blue font color that is underlined leads to a webpage or blue icons are actionable. I noticed that contacts were harder to edit in iOS10. While tapping on the contact circle icon at the top of my message would open the contact, the same interaction would do nothing on the next screen.

Similarly, when I tapped on the circular icon after being in the info section, it went nowhere as well. (the whole row was actually tapable though).

Also, why have the info button in the first place? Why not just combine it with the regular contact information.

iOS9 vs iOS10 expanded folder

Expanded Folders

iOS 9 animated the other folders outwards, providing a zoom-like feel. Now, the background just gets blurred .While this isn't bothering me as much a few weeks in… I distinctly noticed how it had a heavier feel to it. iOS 9 gave a more focused view.

Notifications

iOS 10 now has a middle step in notifications that allow you to view the full notification. Why have a interim step of just viewing the full notification instead of just taking me to the app? The sneak peak view gives enough information to warrant if I want to open the notification up or not. Now there’s one extra step.

Modular components mixed in

Another thing I’ve noticed is the amount of modular components mixed in iOS10. While I’m a little indifferent about this…it actually makes the interface feel a bit heavier when you have multiples of these.

Also, notice the time and date become right justified? No opinion there.


These were just a few UX issues and opinions I’ve noticed with iOS10. What have you noticed? There’s also plenty of improvements to write about, but I’ll save that for another day.

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