When Apple recently showed how they had redesigned iOS, I was shocked like many other UI designers. Not because it was "flat" (we all expected it to lose some of its skeumorphic elements) but because it looked terrible and seemed so unpolished. I couldn't believe this interface came from Apple, the company that had been praised for so many years for its legendary ease of use. After downloading the Developer's Preview on my iPhone, I was even less enthusiastic, not only did it look bad, but it worked bad as well. The ease of use that defined iOS was gone.
Some would argue that it's just a new style and takes some getting used to. I've tried for several days now to "get used to it", I've used my phone more intensely than ever, but it just doesn't work. The design is bad. Some things, like good symmetry and combining the right colors, never go out of style, it's just good taste.
For that reason, I started creating a mock-up of my own version of iOS 7. This is how I believe Apple should have done it.
Okay, let's get started, this is what the home screen currently looks like on iOS 7. Yikes! What's up with those neon colors and the horrible glyphs?!
This is what I'm suggesting:
A short walkthrough of the most important icons:
Why it's better: By using a more "matte" style instead of flat neon icons, third party apps can still blend in with the default apps. This is crucial if Apple wants the OS to continue to look consistent, because there is no way all developers are going to go back and redo the icons for all of their 900 000 apps!
It's amazing that Apple still doesn't seem to understand the power of having home screen widgets, even after 7 different versions of their mobile OS.
I absolutely love Max Rudberg's resizeable icon concept, so I decided to share some ideas on how Apple could use it in some of their apps:
The first app that comes in mind when you think of widgets is of course Weather. I believe this approach would make iOS 7 feel fantastic:
iOS Widgets should of course have a few standard sizes (relative to app icon sizes) in order to keep the OS clean, like 2x2, 3x1... etc.
Here are some other ideas I came up with:
Why it's important: Widgets are one of the top reasons why many people choose Android over iOS today. By extending the flexibility of the home screen, Apple could do some amazing things and open up an entire new world for developers as well!
All core apps have been completely redesigned in iOS 7. Some ideas are interesting, but many apps now feel incredible unintuitive, and I'm not particularly a fan of the removal of buttons in favor of blue text. Many things that were easy to do before now require a lot of thinking. This is bad.
Here are some redesigns I made:
Why it's better: One of the worst things with the iOS 7 Calendar is that it's incredibly unintuitive right now. They have even removed the little "event dots" in the month view! This means that you can no longer get an overview of your week/month, you have to click through each day separately to know whether you have a busy week or not. This redesign fixes this issue while still maintaining a more modern look and the scrolling feature!
Why it's better: During their keynote, Apple made fun of how they used to use textures on everything in their UI, yet here they have chosen to stick with a white paper texture that just doesn't blend with the rest of iOS 7. Moreover, I think I designed a website back when I was 10 years old that had yellow elements and text on a white background, but I quickly understood that it was a bad idea. Apple doesn't seem to have made that realization yet.
Why it's better: In my opinion, photos and videos should always be shown on a black background in order not to distract you from the content. Besides, isn't that the reason why 99% of all TVs and computer screens have a black frame and not a white one?
Messages & others
Why it's better: These are apps that look OK, except for the header. The all text design makes it harder for the user to distinguish between clickable and unclickable elements. I'd rather have buttons shaped liked buttons.
Reminders & Camera
I won't even do my own version of this because there are already two apps out there that do the same thing in a beautiful and simple way: Clear and Analog Camera. Seriously, Apple should have bought RealMacSoftware already and let them design this for them.
Why it's better: Sure the new iOS 7 lock screen looks good. The problem is the upwards pointing arrow together with the words "Slide to Unlock", which I believe makes everyone think that you have to slide upwards in order to unlock the phone (like on Android), but nope, that doesn't work. The redesign makes it clearer that you have to slide your finger sideways, while still looking sleek.
I really hope that Apple fixes these design issues before the release of iOS 7 to the public this fall.