App developer: iOS 7 commits an ‘unjustifiable’ crime against good design

iOS 7 Criticism

When it comes to Apple’s huge redesign in iOS 7, feelings have certainly been mixed. iOS 7 is a huge renovation of Apple’s popular mobile platform and while we found it to be the perfect blend of new design and familiar functionality, others were not so impressed. The new mobile software has taken several beatings from respected designers, and some app developers and user experience experts aren’t terribly fond of iOS 7 either. The latest critique comes from Jared Sinclair, who has released several sleek iOS apps including Riposte and Whisper for App.net, and he doesn’t mince words at all. Sinclair has many complaints about iOS 7, but there is one in particular that he describes as an “unjustifiable” design error that forgoes rudimentary design principles and makes for a very bad user experience.

Sinclair says that iOS is all about touch and earlier versions of the mobile software always made touch targets clear. Buttons, for example, looked like buttons. But in iOS 7, Apple removed all of the platform’s button borders and instead uses only text and icons to indicate button locations.

untouchable-implied

“iOS 7’s designers have abandoned bordered buttons in favor of borderless colored text,” Sinclair wrote in a post on his blog. “I think this choice is unjustifiable. It is the root cause of my deep dislike for how it feels to use iOS 7. It introduces unnecessary tension and makes everything less usable than it ought to be.”

He continued, “Color alone simply cannot be the way to identify a button. You don’t touch a color. You touch an area. To activate a button, you must touch a spot inside of its boundary. Text floating in the middle of vast whitespace doesn’t define a boundary. Only borders define boundaries.”

The developer goes on to compare iOS 7 to iOS 6 and he makes a very strong argument that Apple’s new design is a serious step backwards where logic and usability are concerned.

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