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Jessie Lacey
by Jessie Lacey
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Reflections on iOS 7 from the Dirigo Design & Development Team

06/14/2013
Reflections on iOS 7 from the Dirigo Design & Development Team

I started an email discussion in the office about the design of iOS 7. Being a designer, my main focus was on design, especially after having just seen the screen shots. I wrote previously about skeuomorphism and flat-design so I definitely had an interest in the iOS design developments, especially since Apples creative team has been looked up to as always having set the standard in design for the past decade. Skeuomorphism being an aspect of the Apple iOS and apps, and Flat-design being the current developers darling and Microsoft pioneering that look, the stage has been set for some strong opinions.

It is important to note in the conversation that the word “design” refers to different things depending on who is talking, whether it is aesthetic design, User Experience (UX) design or product design. It is great to see people conversing about the same thing only relative to their own experience and their contributions on the team. The main themes are design and innovation, and asking if Apple, a normally innovative company, is actually innovative with this release.

iOS7 screen shots with flat design aesthetic

Jessie Lacey, Creative Director

I am loving the new look. It shows a big step away from the impractical (but pretty) skeuomorphism of previous design and a big leap forward to a flat-design INSPIRED look. It isn't flat, technically. It just has that minimal look with very subtle use of gradients, shadows and transparencies executed with an expert design eye. Apple has once again pushed a clean aesthetic that only *looks* effortless…that’s good design.

Those that say it is "flat flat flat"...no. it is not flat-design. It is certainly flat-design inspired. The aesthetic certainly has even a more subtle look of the layered, subtle shadows, gradients, transparency and yes, texture. All things the core of the skeuomorphic aesthetic just made subtle enough to get away with being called "flat design". Beyond the aesthetic though is an even more layered UI! The translucent frosty goodness of a window layered over whatever is happening in the background is a great way to keep the context of where you are in a navigation.

It is their biggest leap [in aesthetic design] but it is no surprise, it is an evolution, not a change. It does not stray from the Apple brand of aesthetics...continuing the minimal, white space, layered, intuitive, clean look they have come to be known for...but refreshed in a big way.

 

JP Berry, Application Developer

It’s a great design, but I think looks and functions too closely to the Android and Windows Phone setup. They also directly copied so many core concepts from Android and Windows Phone that it’s difficult to find any real innovation or differentiation : the new multi-tasking windows, vertical lock screen, notification system, swipe to remove mechanic, auto app updating, built-in camera filters, and parallax backgrounds, just to name a few innovations that Android and WinPhone brought to the table a while back, that Apple is now touting as their own.

I know I know, everybody does it, but I expected more innovation and less re-branding out of Apple. And to call the new features “game-changing” just feels cheap. The game has already been changed. Just not by Apple this time. It feels more like a reactionary move instead of basing their designs on their own core design principles. Maybe if there were improvements to the elements – roller skates to rollerblades – but I really don’t see any distinguishing factors, just branding and a slight coat of paint and polish.

I think Apple tends to focus on refining and polishing while companies like Google and even MSFT are now leading in innovation. Apple leads in having an extremely, highly polished product, but their competitors are no longer looking at Apple for cues. I am at least glad to see flat design cross over to iOS and finally a proper multitasking system in place.

And really, it’s pretty awesome that I can complain about which slick interface looks and works better. Not a bad problem to have.

 

Gerry Shannon, Junior Application Developer

Microsoft’s new slogan should be “riding on the coattails of success.” Or maybe, “Hey, we can do that too.” Microsoft lacks the innovation God gave a shovel. Apple takes a page out of someone else’s book one time and they deserve retribution for it? Ah, but Microsoft can beg, borrow and steal every idea that comes down the pipe and get away with it because their product is cheaper. 

Maybe the new features are “game-changing.” Have you used it yet? Just guessing not. Coffee shop’s claim to have the “best coffee on earth.” Every pizza I buy advertises “made with the best ingredients.” I don’t storm into the pizza polar complaining about their “cheap” slogan. “The game has already been changed?” So I guess everyone should just give up. Well, the pizza has already been made and I am going to eat that pizza, best ingredients or not. I like Apples on my pizza.

 

Bri Garrett, Junior Application Developer

I  love the minimal look, however I don't feel like it is "game-changing" or anything new that other company's aren't already doing as mentioned. Regardless, I don't think they will have to do anything too innovative to get people to buy their product...

I'm personally a bigger fan of Android than Windows Phone or iOS. :P

 

Jessie Lacey, Creative Director

Perfect time to use the table flipping emojis.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

 

JP Berry, Application Developer

While your guess is correct that I have not used iOS7 hands-on, it’s pretty safe to say that none of the advertised features are revolutionary, and really, that’s fine. As long as the new OS brings value to the user then there is nothing wrong with that.

My point was intended to be more about how I expected more out of Apple’s newest release. If android or msft was touting a voice control system similar to Siri as “Game Changing”, I would have absolutely said the same thing.

Apple is usually pushing the industry forward and it surprises me that their newest release felt more like a catch up game than what apple can push out. I still want Apple to wow me like it did with Siri and the first iPod (the dial was an amazing execution in ui) but instead I’m looking at makers like Google with projects like Google Glass and Google Now. I think the good news for Apple is that now that they’ve caught up they can start pushing forwards into more exciting territory.

I’m really not a fan boy of any particular tech company (though I definitely lean heavily towards Google right now, but even then it’s a love/hate relationship), but more of innovation. I won’t buy a product based on its label, but on its features and what it brings to the table.

 

Jamie Ippolito, Interactive

"good artists copy, great artists steal."

The question is, did they improve on what they stole?

 

Bri Garrett, Junior Application Developer

┬─┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ)

 

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