iOS 7: the minor inconsistencies that I hope to be fixed before official release

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The internet is rife with articles about the design direction that Jony Ive has pursued with iOS 7, many of which are claiming that idea’s were stolen from Android, Windows and even the late Palm OS. Those people in opinion would be correct to a certain extent but that is not what this article is about. No – too many of those already! Instead I would like to offer up an issue that I hope for Apple to address before the launch of their flagship OS. I know for certain that they would not be reading a blog post from an ex University Student who has no more than 300 hits a month, however I felt I should at least mention some of the main issue for personal necessity!

Apple’s greatest strength in the world of software is consistency. Without it they are an average design company trying to catch up with everyone else. Yes it is a strong statement but I believe quite the valid one or at least partially valid. A skill that sets them apart from the rest. Unfortunately there are area’s across the new OS where consistency has clearly been forgotten for which I am going to focus on 2 of them.

+, new, right, left – huh?

The apps in question are the Reminders, Calendar, Photo’s and Notes apps which in someway a user needs to add an item. Eg: add a new reminder, add a calendar event, create a new album or add a note. Unfortunately across these 3 apps the ability to do that works ever so slightly different but enough for me to think that there was not, or Apple did not have time to have an overarching designer to co-ordinate the placement of such actions.

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Each offers a slightly different way of adding a new item within the app which means you have to instinctly remember (which can take weeks) or actually look every time for the rest of your ownership of the OS to know where to add items. So to overview the different ways to adding something:

  1. Plus on the far left (reminders)
  2. Plus on the far right (calendar)
  3. Text based “new” on the far right (Notes)
  4. Text based “add” on the far left

It does seem a little excessive to have so many different options (the contacts app is actually consistent with one of these screenshots). In trying to understand the rationale to the above decisions I would guess that the most commonly used actions that do not live in the main content areas for a particular app always goes to the far right hand side of the app. Thinking like this does give the design some merit. The only one in question is the photos app although working on the above assumption means people out of instinct are more likely to create a new album than delete an album which is preferable!

Even given this I would much prefer to see a + icon in the far right hand side of every app instead include the photo’s app. The edit function in the photos app can then be removed from the top bar and instead be replaced with a swipe with the option to delete and rename from there similar to what they have implemented for the mail app (which is beautiful btw)

Tab or not to tab…

The second issue is also minor like the above. Tabs and titles. Sometimes you have a title, sometimes you have tabs and depending on that particular designers mood will depend on whether they have included both! See below:

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In the iTunes app the tabs are built into the title bar, thus removing the title. In the app store however the title stays and the tabs are included beneath the title. Unfortunately I am unable to even come with some rationale for this one (if you have any ideas leave a comment) but it is a bit confusing! I for one prefer the method of having the tabs beneath the titlebar ensuring some consistency.

The end

Either way, the OS is an interesting change. It’s taking me some time to get used to it and I am finding some apps absolutely beautiful and others down right awful (control centre and calendars make me want to cry). It will be interesting to see how the next few beta’s develop the OS and hopefully improve for a release that won’t make current iOS users want to switch to Android.

As a final question – where do you think the “+ playlist” link should go on this interface?!

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