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Jun 11 13

Perhaps It’s a Bit Too Minimal, Jony

by Sean James McKenzie

I don’t want to get into all of my gripes with the VISUAL design of iOS7, but I do want to address what I feel to be a major flaw. Apple talked a lot today about the importance of how their products make us “feel” and frankly the new skin for iOS made me feel lost. Let me splain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

The major concern I have is in regard to the overly minimalistic approach Ive has taken. His overuse of white and light grey rob the design of their sense of hierarchy. In most apps, the status bar flows right into the title bar. These unrelated elements co-mingle and float about in what end up looking like very “default relative positions”. It’s a design that doesn’t look on purpose, but more problematic is this: By lumping these items together they not only look disorganized but they also project an equal level of imporatance, when in fact the status bar isn’t at all important to the Mail app. There’s no divide. The content doesn’t come forward, it goes back.

Take the below example, showing the current design (mostly white/grey) next to an alternative using a blue accent (borrowed from the new Mail icon). With the introduction of a little color and some boundaries, the minimalist content is framed and feels complete. Your mail comes forward, the nav and status bar (while stronger in color) get out of the way. Content becomes king, UI secondary.

In the current design (left) the overly minimal approach causes elements of different importance to just run together in one bland swath.

In the current design (left) the overly minimal approach causes elements all elements on screen to run together in one bland swath.

I have a lot of issues with the new design, but I don’t want to be the angry user who just complains and cries travesty. I think they’re close and that it won’t take much for them (Ive) to shore up the elements that make iOS7 feel bland and overly homogeneous. Make better use of the grid, define boundaries, don’t be afraid of a few accent colors and for god’s sake find a better option for the dock and folder’s use of the “I-didn’t-feel-like-picking-a-color-so-I-went-with-this-grey” color. But hey, maybe this is all a work in progress and I’ll be having these words for lunch in August. I’ll gladly eat them in exchange for a bit of order.

On the upside, the new features look fantastic and function is far more important than form. I’m sure the late Steve Jobs would disagree, but I’ll happily use a less-than-perfect UI with a great feature set before I’d use a nice looking OS that didn’t work well. If I was in the market for that, I’d be an Android user.

N.B. For the record, I applaud their move towards a more minimal and “flatter” design. I’ve never liked the brushed metal, rounded bubble buttons and overuse of reflections/shine that has been the gaudy trademark of Apple for so long. My gripes with this are not about missing the “old Apple” but are about a move that flies detrimentally close to the other end of the spectrum.

May 29 13

With a Twist

by Sean James McKenzie

I used to run a little webcomic that I called “With a Twist”. I think I wrote around 75 comics for it over the course of maybe 2 years. The site doesn’t exist anymore but I do still have all the comics. I thought it might be fun to post some of them here from time to time. Since we’re right about at the halfway point between Mother’s Day and Father’s day, here’s a comic that was inspired by my folks.

With a Twist #52

May 1 13

Bacon Bytes #8 – If The Ocarina of Time Was Made Today

by Sean James McKenzie