Images from Apple iOS7 website. ©Apple

Things I wish iOS7 to change

At least before it reaches its final release

TH Chang
TH Chang
Jun 12, 2013 · 4 min read

I watched the 2013 WWDC Keynote. The upcoming iOS7 is really brilliant in features — but the brand new look isn’t that exciting. Here are some problems I wish Cupertino can deal with, to turn iOS7 into a more fascinating upgrade.

Inconsistency

The direction of gradient differs from icons.

iOS7 brings a whole new set of App icons. They’re flat, and features simple gradients. But the new set of icons are not consistent.

Most of them maintained the same feeling of previous iOS icons: an convex plate receiving a light source right above. But the icons of Mail, Weather and Music does not reflect the same conditions. They look more like concave, compared to other icons.

That’s pretty ok if you look at them seperatedly. But when you put them together: you know something’s not right.


Confusing Metaphor

Can you get the ideas of the two icons at first glance?

An app icon works best if you can tell what app they’re standing for at the first sight.So it would be really confusing if the icon of an app is too abstract or lack of hints to its purpose, especially the app used to have a great icon before. I think the two apps above do face such situation. Can you tell what they are when they were introduced in WWDC for the first time?

They are Game Center and Photos, from top to bottom.

The old icons did a great job at telling the purposes of the apps. The icon for Photos in iOS6 is a big, vivid flower with clouds as background. That looks at least related to a photo. And Game Center features an icon with symbals of chess, baseball, space advnature and archery. They just make you think of games. Very clear, very intuitive.


Icons becoming… less attractive

The new icons simplify the old ones, but maybe less adorable.

Let’s make it clear: some icons just become less attractive, especially compared to their previous (ok, that’s current) designs. The previous ones are wonderful examples of skeuomorphism: an address book, an (Internet) navigator, a camera and an a place to tweak something inside apps. The new ones still convey the same metaphor, just in a more boring and less adorable way.

The icons on top shows enjoyable details. The texture on the address book cover, the compass on a globe, the lens that looks like real, and the metal gears. They are beautiful to look at, yet they are still very simple to understand. I don’t think the new ones are doing a better job on these: attractiveness and conveying ideas.


Bad Readability

Thin typography and thin strokes on complex background made it hard to read.

The super-thin Helvetica Neue UltraLight and icons with clean strokes make iOS7 look neat and elegant on clean backgrounds, but turning to be a mess when it comes to a more complex ones. The typography on lock screen and Control Center is too thin and too light to read, because they are hard to distinguished from the rich colors behind.

Icons at the bottom row of Share Sheet are, however, hard to notice.

They have only very thin strokes, and they don’t have even a color fill. That made the icons look like disabled, or something not ready for you to tap on. It’s because when you’re comparing them to other action buttons in the same Share Sheet, you’ll notice that the user heads in AirDrop zone and the sharing buttons in the middle row all have vivid colors, making them look more tappable then the last row.


The new look of iOS7 is undoubtedly a radical revolution of iOS itself. Although I’m a big fan of Skeuomorphism, I do agree that Flat design can be beautiful and enjoyable, too. As Apple claims (and promotes):

When something is designed to work beautifully, it tends to look that way, too.

I hope iOS7 won’t let us too down at the time of final release.

I. M. H. O.

The Editorial Page

Thanks to Scott Cheng

    TH Chang

    Written by

    TH Chang

    Front-end Web Developer. Taipei, Taiwan.

    I. M. H. O.

    The Editorial Page

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