Flat designs and pitfalls

Discussion in 'iOS 7' started by VinegarTasters, May 3, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502


    Nov 20, 2007
    I'll be quick on this one. Flat designs have inherent problems...

    1) You can't tell if it is something you can click on like a button, or just a decoration (a box design)
    2) The only way to differentiate between different boxes is only through color (since you are making everything flat).
    3) Too many colors makes the screen confusing.


    DON'T COPY WINDOWS 8! That thing is terrible terrible. You have no idea if it is just a decoration on the box or something you can interact with. BAD BAD design.

    The flattest you can go for buttons is one pixel to show depth (first tried on the old AmigaOS 4.0 I think). If you get rid of that depth, the design is trash. Look at Windows Phone 8. So many colors, so confusing, boxes the have colors that distracts, not knowing if you can interact with it or not. Requiring memorizing by shape (and the shapes are customizable).

    Windows Phone 8 flat design is NOT the way to do it. Too flat, and you ruin it... PERIOD.

    The best flat design is this... Buttons must show depth. There must be a differentiation between what is just text, and what is click(touch click) able. You can do this be either making them underlined, different color, etc like in web browsers, or provide some sort of marker (sometimes I see an arrow graphic, sometimes a box around it), but THERE MUST BE A MARKER. If not, people end up wasting so much time flipping through testing if it is a link or not. If it can be clicked on or not.

    So Ive has from now until iOS7 release to make sure this design does not make buttons purely flat. And add markers for interaction links. If he makes all the icons flat, you won't be able to tell if it is just a decoration or something you can click on. BAD BAD BAD.

    Similarly to the small screen size iPhone. They will pay dearly for keeping it small (until 2014). I hope the flat design does not follow in the same footsteps.
  2. macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Flat design is subjective and can mean a variety of different things. Personally, I trust the guy that designed freaking amazing hardware if the iphone 5 :D
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think we need to reserve judgment on the UI until we actually see it.

    One thing is clear, it will be a lot different then what we are used to seeing, it will tick off some users and Ives has a great track record for design.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2010
    Using OSX's UI development through the years, I think iOS:7 isn't going to be the dramatic change a lot of people are thinking/hoping for. But as you said, we won't know until we see it.
  5. macrumors 65816

    Aug 17, 2008
    Flat means flat, not 'without details' like Windows 8.

    There are lots of ways to make flat designs.
  6. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    Do people really believe Apple is just going to copy Windows 8? Already in the App Store there are lots of beautiful easy to use apps that eschew the skeuomorphism and gloss. There's plenty Apple can do to get rid of the ugly bits of iOS without it turning into Windows. Microsoft didn't invent "flat" design.
  7. macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2011
    It is funny how people have all these opinions about iOS 7 when we do not even know what it will look like. If the flat UI does happen, do you really think Apple would implement it in a way that might confuse people? Let's just wait to see what it looks like first before throwing out opinions.
  8. macrumors 601

    Jul 11, 2008
    I love all those posts and threads about people criticizing flat designs as if they have a clue what this will look like for iOS7. Chill the heck out and just wait. :mad::cool:
  9. macrumors 68040


    Dec 16, 2011
    Pandora, Dropbox, Soundcloud, and many other apps have a very flat design and it works just fine.
  10. VinegarTasters, May 3, 2013
    Last edited: May 3, 2013

    thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 20, 2007
    He does not. He has some hits and some misses. Sometimes living in a bubble is good, but sometimes it is bad too. So someone needs to rein him in at times. Look at the small screen iPhone, and the insistence of using thumb as screen width. Behind the times (2 years!).

    Even google has their problems. Interpreted languages in android? Really? Can't even take advantage of multi cores. Needs twice the speed twice the memory just to match a native C (non interpreted) app. Also, it will mean no market for apps except to take iOS apps and port it. Why? Because you would need to use native C code for speed and native code does not mix with Java very well, making all games incompatible and difficult to program that people just simple won't do android apps. So Google will end up financing people to just port iOS apps to java. But the thriving market is still on iOS because that is where all the new development is going. Android is like watching TV versions of movies from theaters. About a year late and modified for general audience.

    As for windows phone, I've used it, and let me tell you, purely flat design is NOT good. In a normal browser, sometimes if you hover your arrow over a link, at least the link changes to an underlined word so you know it is clickable. But touch based screens don't allow this. So there MUST be a generic indicator for interactive components. And it must be consistent. It is so confusing. No markers or anything. You must memorize behavior for different apps, because basically there is no difference between what is static and what is interactive in flat designs. In iOS 6 at least all the icons have 3D look, so you get used to knowing about them and what to expect (you can click on them).

    So the major point? You read it here. No consistency and requiring memorization is NOT good. Look at the touch pad. Requiring four fingers, three fingers this and that? Stupid, and terrible design. There should be indicators on-screen for initiating things based on interaction, not memorizing sign language hand motions (no offense to the deaf).

    I see most apple products done by people who just "wing" it. Without thinking of consequences or really understand the audience. Like living in a bubble.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Carl Sagan

    May 31, 2011
  12. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    Speak for yourself. iPhone 5 screen size works for me.
  13. macrumors 68030


    Jan 19, 2006
    I don't mean to be rude but I'm pretty sure apple do spend more time thinking about design than you give then credit for. iPhone screen size case in point, think about all the situations you use your phone. Phone needs to be usable one handed as its primary working mode. This hasn't changed this year or last year. It won't change next year either. You build a phone bigger than the iPhone 5 then it breaks for people without big thumbs. They could do 2 size how much variation in thumbs and that variation would suggest the second size is smaller not larger. That is design that thinks about the use and the user.

    You can break that and say hey you'll need both hands to use this. Or you'll to be right handed to use this. Or you'll need big hands. Or we just like making big phones we done really care if usable. Then that is arrogant design done by people in bubbles.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    This is irrelevant to this topic. I could reply about all the other bigger smartphones out there, you could reply with anecdotal (aka worthless) reference to someone whose hands are too small to hold a five inches phone, I could reply with more anecdotal (and thus also worthless) evidence about someone I know with small hands who can hold a big phone without issues, and so on.

    The point behind the poster you were quoting is that Ive's work can be good, but it's not always perfect. And if you truly believe there is someone whose work is always perfect, you are a fanboy, regardless of if you are talking about an Apple or a Samsung designer.

    I don't like the iPhone 4 design. I also don't like the iPhone 5 design. I am, then, worried about the design of iOS 7 considering how it's the same person building it.
  15. macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2012
    What don't you like about the iPhone 5 design? I'm basically a Windows person who never thought about buying a smart phone until I saw the launch presentation. I pre-ordered one, and have been using it every day since I got it. I think the design is near perfect for a phone, slim and lightweight (I can and do carry it in my shirt pocket) with a gorgeous display. I have quarrels with the walled garden concept and some of the UI choices, but I understand you buy into that when you buy Apple.

    I'm a UI designer by trade, and I think by and large Apple has done very good designs. I trust the new team to come up with a fresh design that will correct some longstanding problematic choices, and will be as elegant as the iPhone design itself. They may not hit a home run with the first iteration, but I think they understand they're designing for the future, not just to catch up.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    Screen size. Reading your reply on the 3GS in landscape mode, from the top of your post, the screen shows down to the end of your first paragraph. On the iPhone 5 screen, the screen would zoom closer to the text due to the increased screen lenght, but since the width is the same, the screen would actually show less text (in other words, it would show less than your entire first paragraph). I could simply zoom out so the same amount of text fills the same width as in the 3GS, but then the bigger lenght of the phone would have been wasted.

    In less words, for the things I use the most in my phone, the longer screen is a bad gimmick. I wish there were a phone with the iPhone 5 design but the iPhone 3GS screen size - that would be good for me.
  17. macrumors 68030


    Oct 22, 2011
    Newcastle, England.
    My mam has just got a Nokia Lumia 520 with WP8 and it's a really nice phone. The UI is really nice and very fluid. It's the first windows phone I've played around with and found it a pleasure to use!
  18. macrumors 68000


    Apr 15, 2012
    United Kingdom
    iPhone 5 design but iPhone 3GS screen size. Buy an iPhone 4/4S.
  19. macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2011
    The iPhone 4 is a glass brick. The glass back is extremely fragile, far less durable than the 3GS's back. The 4 also has the shape of a brick, unlike the 3GS which has a more ergonomic, curved backpiece.

    The iPhone 5 is more prone to scratching, but at least not to breaking; and while it (unfortunately) does not have a curved back, the fact it's thinner helps to make this less of an issue.

    Ironically, the ideal phone to me would be the insides of a iPhone 5 with the outside of the 3GS.
  20. macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2008
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    The 3GS has to be the most scratch-prone out of the four.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2011
  22. macrumors 68030


    Jan 19, 2006
    Who said Apple was prefect?
    They do have a very clear logic behind their design and don't blindly follow trend. Which leaves me cautiously optimistic that with the Flattened UI Apple won't just follow trend but will apply a very sound logic to it.

    That design logic doesn't suit everyone, some people use their phone landscape in two thumb mode that doesn't make the design bad or suggest the designers are "winging it". It's just less suitable for some. If you want a two thumb device the Samsung Note is very good. It seems to be the next logical step up as the smallest practical two thumb device.

    Edit: Or iPad Mini which seems to be the largest two thumb device at least in portrait.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2010
    Agreed with OP, except for one bit.

    WP8 start screen blows because it has too few colors, not too many. All the boxes are the same color. This means that the UI does not utilize one of the easiest and most intuitive ways for humans to distinguish the actions from another. It also does not utilize icons/graphics nearly enough.

    If you have boxes after boxes, each the same color, only text distinguishing them. It means you have to read through each to find what you are looking for. Frankly, I find things very easily in iOS start screen thanks to the great icons. :apple:
  24. CJM
    macrumors 65816


    May 7, 2005
    I prefer the flat design of Windows 8 over Windows 7; it's much cleaner.

    Just sayin'.
  25. thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 20, 2007
    I would agree with you except that the majority of the screens shows so many colors!

    Look at this link:


    How many have multiple colors?

Share This Page