by Ryan Pattie
25 September, 2013
Transiting from one interface to another means learning the dialect for a new visual language. With the release of Apple’s new operation system for the iPhone and iPad, a large portion of the developed world was introduced to a new look and function for the device they spend an tremendous amount of time looking at information and socializing through. iOS 7 marks the transition into the era of Jonathan Ive as he became the leader of Human Interface Design, after Scott Forstall was fired last year.
The new look of iOS 7 uses a flatter, solid style, relying on clean lines and curvatures against a more prismatic color palette. Thinner hairline typefaces show of the hyper-clarity of apple’s screens, and some new programs and functionality were introduced.
Over all, the look and feel of iOS 7 is clean and satisfying as an evolution of apple’s aesthetic. Updated lines and forms are thought out and thoroughly crafted. The visual elements work together to create a solid style that still says apple, but drops some over-complicated attempts to make a digital interface recognizable as a tangible space.
The new motion and transitions work well, with the exception of some knit-picking I could allow myself if I really wanted to (I want to but won’t waste your time). New Parallaxing features make certain elements move with an implied physics that create a tangibility to replace the implied textures and volume of Scott Forstall’s design, but this often seems like an unnecessary gimmick in my opinion.
The color palette is one aspect of the design I find mildly abrasive. The prismatic bright colors are sometimes too vibrant to be part of a standard color scheme on a device used by a wide spectrum of people, and creates some slightly irritating contrast to other bright colors, but the use of lighter colors in the keyboard and backgrounds is a breath of fresh air.
I think that in general, the new design shows that the general public is experienced enough with digital interfaces like the iPhone, that we can drop the implied texture and volume trend meant to imply a physicality in our mobile device interfaces. As someone familiar with the old iOS, I was able to navigate and learn the new language with relative ease and little direction, and I enjoy the eye candy that new technology provides, so in that respect I think iOS 7 is a success. Oh, did I mention I’m viewing it through the device below? Maybe I’m not the best judge.