Friday, February 8, 2019

How iOS 7 Changed UI Design

When iOS 7 first released, there was controversy to say the least. Changing the design of something as big as iOS at the time was unprecedented. All of the iconic icons we had grown used to would be replaced with flat imagery. Yet, despite the criticism, every piece of software eventually changed to the flatter design. Today, users seem to like flat, unrealistic assets and design choices, which isn't inherently a bad thing. I personally like the flat vector design when it's done right. The design was an important step for software design.

The unrealistic design makes the software feel like an augmentation of reality, rather than blending with it. Imagine if smart watches attempted to look realistic, instead of using flat graphics. It would look like an eyesore, because it's trying to be something it's not. When design embraces its limitations, rather than mask them, something new and fresh can be brought to the table.

It also brought focus to color and accents. With no more gradients and just solid colors, developers could show off their brand in each app, while keeping a cohesive experience throughout the device. It's the little things like this that bring personality to each app. The sky blue and white of Twitter are perfect examples of color branding done well.

Was iOS 7's design choice better than the previous? That's entirely subjective. But being able to try something new despite our natural fear of change is a risk that can be applauded. Not every company can do that. And thinking of design this way will be important when the next big design change comes. With the increasing popularity of dark mode and less bright design choices, how operating systems will adapt to this will be an interesting story.

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