New UI inconsistency gripes

Discussion in 'iOS 7' started by hipnetic, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    OK, I'm loving much about iOS7, though have mixed feelings about the flat UI. But there are two things which, as a usability nit-picker, have me really bothered:

    1) One complaint I had with my iPhone 5's taller screen was that reaching the back button in the top left corner was difficult when holding the phone comfortably one-handed. I'd have to reposition my hand a bit. So I like the change to just swipe anywhere on the screen left-to-right to go back. The problem I have is that it's not consistently applied.

    Now, I can appreciate the dilemma the developers were faced with. For example, in the photos app, we've grown accustomed to swiping left-to-right to go to the previous photo, and that felt natural and good. But I'm of the opinion that they need to go all-in on the new approach where swiping left-to-right brings you to the previous application screen (i.e., whatever is referenced in the top left corner). Otherwise, it will be difficult for my brain to adjust to the point where it's "automatic" and muscle memory kicks in with predictable results 100% of the time.

    So, some of the built-in apps that are inconsistent with this:
    - Photos app. Very mixed bag. When viewing photos, left-to-right swipe displays the last photo in the list. When looking at photos and lists of photo categories, left-to-right does nothing. When clicking the 'Albums' icon at the bottom, the list mode of Album categories (e.g., Camera Roll, My Photo Stream, etc.) allows for left-to-right to bring you to the previous app screen.
    - Safari. When viewing a web page, left-to-right brings you back to whatever web page led you to the current page you're looking at (like the "Back" function in a desktop web browser).

    If they're not going to go all-in with the new approach, it might be better for them to abandon this new approach altogether. Tapping in the top left corner is still problematic, so perhaps adding a "Previous Menu" icon in a menu bar at the bottom of the screen would be better. That brings me to my other complaint...

    2) Inconsistent placement of app menu functions. I'm seeing three variations:
    - Some apps put menu functions in the top, including the top left where you are accustomed to seeing the name of the previous app window (related to the discussion above). For example, in the Messages app, in my list view of emails, there's an "Edit" button in the top left.
    - Other apps put graphical-based icons in a menu bar at the bottom, with the bar disappearing sometimes and re-appearing if you tap at the very bottom of the screen. I'm talking specifically here about Safari. I like the fact that the bar disappears and can be easily brought back, but some of the icons are cryptic.
    - Others put text-based menu functions in a bar at the bottom. For example, the Calendar app shows me three menu functions at the bottom: Today, Calendars, and Inbox. This bar stays visible all the time. On a side-note: this look brings back nightmares of the old Windows Mobile UI, but it's actually pretty usable.
  2. huschpuscheli, Sep 22, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013

    huschpuscheli macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2011

    it's kinda like jj's nu trek.

    edit: what i meant was: first i liked the trek reboot as i liked iOS 7. but then i learnt about the plot holes, canon issues, unnecessary out of context fan service (khan), plot holes, stupid science (red matter, transwarp beaming, super blood), plot holes... it's almost the same with these ui changes and inconsistencies :)
  3. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Looks more like a The Next Generation OS than anything in Abrams Trek.
  4. huschpuscheli macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2011
    sorry, i didn't explain myself: i didnt mean the ui of jj's fictional computer systems but the nutrek as a whole.
  5. Iphone5preorder macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2012

    I love you. Get a career in user experience. Companies need people like you.
  6. IT Troll macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2012
    I wish they would make up their mind if it is Trash or Delete.

    Hint: It should be Delete as Trash is skeuomorphic.
  7. dirtypaw macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2013
    what about apple adds to the right and left of the home button two additional "touch-buttons"? left for going back in any app and the right for maybe siri or somthing else (btw one of the reasons why most people dont use siri is cuz they have to press the button for to long to activate it).

    if apple comes next year with a bigger 4.5-4.8? iphone, this will even be a bigger problem...

    they have to do somthing.
  8. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    A back button is a much smaller target than almost the entire left side of the screen. Plus if its at the bottom of the screen its harder to reach with your thumb. I much prefer the gesture.

    If you're too lazy to hold down a button for a second or two for Siri, well you're going to be too lazy to do a lot of things.

    I also don't want touch buttons using up screen real estate. Why move to a taller screen to benefit your content if you're just going to use some of that up with buttons? That's one of the reasons why 16:9 Android tablets suck for landscape web browsing compared to the 4:3 iPads. If the keyboard is up, and you're typing fast, you also have a greater chance of hitting those buttons when you want to hit the space bar.
  9. kieranet macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2012
    I noticed a nice little feature when viewing photos.

    As you say, swiping the left half of the screen won't work to go back because that's used to slide between pictures.

    However, if you pinch as if to zoom in on any picture it closes it as if pressing the back button.
  10. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    Thank you for the compliment. In fact, several years back I was intensely interested in UI design and worked on several websites as well as a mobile application, but I've been in a much less creative area of development work for the last several years.

    I intended to update this thread with some specific photos pointing out my issues, and I may still do that later. But right now I'm bumping this thread to state that after using iOS7 for several days now, I've come to really dislike the entire experience, and wish there was an easy way to downgrade to iOS6. Of course, that wouldn't be a very good solution, either. Who wants to be stuck on an older version of an OS? There are a lot of great new features with iOS7 (or coming soon), but I've decided that this new UI is simply awful.

    At this point, I'm giving serious consideration to switching to a new platform, and I never wanted to do that. I love my MacBook Air, and I really liked using iOS6. My biggest complaints with the iPhone had been hardware related: I wanted a physically larger screen and I felt that the iPhone 4 and later were too delicate (with all the glass and metal) and not easy/comfortable to hold. The underlying hardware (CPU/GPU, etc.) were all fantastic, and I appreciated the lack of fragmentation compared to Android. While there were always some usability concerns with iOS6, the usability overall was great. Now that's been destroyed, and with the egos involved (Ive), I don't think any amount of complaining is going to fix this nightmare. Maybe in a year or two, if there's been a hit to their bottom line or it becomes a public joke about how bad the usability is, might we see some relief.

    I think the only thing that might keep me on iOS now is if the competition is just as bad (or nearly as bad), which is quite possible. It seems like Android is pretty flat looking as well, and I always found the Apple Maps app to be superior usability-wise to Google's add-on Maps app (after Apple switched), so if that app is a good gauge of the Android UI experience, then that won't bode well. Then there's Windows Phone, but they're such a small player, and usability may not be much/any better there, either.

    At this point I'm just in a state of shock. A week ago I had a phone that was easy to use, and then an essential OS update damaged it.
  11. mikosk macrumors regular

    Sep 20, 2013
    This. Little things like this or big things like the terrible music app makes iOS7 feel like a beta. How hard is it to put some polish on it?

    And the music app? Apple runs ads about how more people listen to music on their phones than any other device, so they redesign the music app to make the experience worse. Hmm...
  12. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    1. it's up to developers to implement the swipe, apple can't force them to.

    It works in almost all of the stock apps except where it doesn't make sense. I would rather have the ability to swipe between my photos in both directions than be able to only go forward through them and when you swipe back it takes you to a previous screen. Swipe left as a back button doesn't make sense when browsing photos, I'm sorry... I don't care if it's inconsistent, it would not make sense to only be able to browse photos in one direction.

    2. messages shows edit when there is no "previous screen" ie. when you are in the list of conversations. There is no further "back" button to the app, they are allowing you to bulk edit (delete) conversations. This was the same thing in iOS 6...

    cryptic icons in safari??? They are the same as the ones in iOS 6. A back and forward button, a box with an arrow for sharing options, a bookmark icon, and your tabs icon... the biggest difference is that the share icon has an arrow going straight up as opposed to a curved arrow. Not sure what is so cryptic about them. They are literally the same things as iOS 6

    I really don't understand your complaints. Did you have the same problems with iOS 6?? Because the buttons are the exact same in safari as they have always been, but now all of a sudden you are confused by them? There has always been an edit button in the conversation view of messages but now because it's blue words instead of words in a box people don't know how to use it???
  13. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    That sounds great on paper, but it results in me not being able to have automatic muscle-memory knowing that a swipe will bring me back to the previous screen. Instead, it will vary from app to app, and from screen to screen within an app. Sorry, but that's a usability fail, because now I have to stop and think about what app, and what screen within an app, I'm in. The time delay involved probably exceeds the amount of time it would take me to reposition my finger and tap on the upper left corner, and that's most likely what I'll adjust to doing. So it basically means that the full-screen swipe is now just a completely unused waste. Worse than that, I'll likely trigger an accidental full-screen swipe when I don't want to.

    Oh, and I've played around a bit with the Calendar app the last couple of days. What a horrible disaster that is now.
  14. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    I could not disagree more. I do not want to be able to swipe in only one direction to look at my photographs. That would be a design flaw. It works in apps that make sense, and not in ones that don't. Do you want to only be able to swipe forward through days of a calendar??? Only be able to look forward at months, not able to swipe back??? Do you want to only be able to swipe forward through the cities in the weather app? Never able to go backwards, only forwards.

    Apps that have built in swiping from left to right cannot now have their left swipe taken away as a menu back button, it would not work. In the maps app do you only want to be able to browse around the right side of the map because if you swipe on the left side it's going to take you back a screen? You complain about having to learn what each app does, but it's honestly not that hard, if the app has a swipable area like maps or a viewer that swipes from item to item like weather or pictures... then the "back swipe" is not going to work. When you are in an app with menu items like mail, settings, notes, contacts, etc. then the back swipe is going to work.

    Not to mention, if you are swiping forward through a photo album, or a calendar app, when you swipe back it is realistically taking you back to the screen (photo or day) that you were looking at before. If you still want to use the back button great, but I highly doubt you will trigger accidental swipes because you have no reason to be swiping around in the apps that use it. You don't need to swipe left when looking at a contact list, you don't need to swipe left when looking at a thread of messages, that's why they implemented a back swipe feature in those situations. You do need to swipe left in maps, in your photos, that's why they left the back swipe feature out. Because people need the ability to swipe around the left side of their maps app without being taken back a screen every time they do it. You have to understand there are just some apps it simply doesn't work in.

    I agree that the calendar app is worse than the one in iOS 6, but neither were really that great, and luckily there are some awesome options on the app store that you can use instead.
  15. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    xxBURT0Nxx, I actually agree with you, but that's because I've now changed my original opinion about the usefulness of swiping left-to-right to go back to the previous screen. I think that UI change was overall a mistake, because of the reasons you stated. It makes more sense to have the Photos app, for example, allow for swiping back and forth between photos. But I feel strongly that you can't then have a left-to-right swipe go back to a previous screen in 80% of the apps 80% of the time. It's all or nothing, but as I said, I now believe it should be nothing (whereas my original opinion was that they should have gone "all in" on it). It is a shame that having to reach to hit the back button in the upper left corner of the screen can be awkward/uncomfortable, but it is what it is.
  16. Armen macrumors 604


    Apr 30, 2013
    For a change we have someone with intelligent backing of their gripes. Bravo Sir. :)

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