The problem with iOS 7 and iOS 8: bad design

Discussion in 'iOS 8' started by El Tuga, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. El Tuga macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2009
    This recent buzz on the Internet, exponentially reinforced by Marco Arment's recent article “Apple has lost the functional high ground”, is that Apple has lately reduced their famous attention to detail which may have put their “it just works” moto at risk. In particular, the latest iOS and OS X releases are seen as somewhat buggy. I believe that that is not the main issue, at least with iOS. The real issue is that iOS 7 is poorly designed (and iOS 8 hasn’t changed that).

    Let me start by saying that the first time i saw an iPhone I fell in love with it immediately. The same has obviously happened to many people around the world, which explains the huge success of the iPhone (and iPhone like smartphones).
    The reason for this is iOS (or the original iPhone OS) was magic. Every time I pressed a button, scrolled a list or even just looked at a beautiful iOS screen, it felt like magic. That magic illusion comes from both great engineering and great design (and also good taste). My passion for iOS was such that it led me to learn software development and create an app myself, currently available on the App Store :).

    Well, I believe that magic was lost in iOS 7 and 8. Not only because of the bugs but mostly due to the inferior experience caused by weak, uninspired designed. You may say that design quality is subjective, and good taste even more. Is it really? Than go back in time and compare Windows 3.1 with Mac OS! If someone thinks Windows is better designed, I rest my case.

    Anyway for the sake go argument, let me just pick one of the several severe design problems in iOS 7/8:

    The text, borderless button. In fact buttons were not redesigned. They were simply removed and replaced by text or a chevron. These are not buttons anymore, just text links to an action. Apart from looking ugly (like 90’s html links) these “borderless buttons” have a few other design problems.
    First, they do not invite touch. If you read Apple’s development guidelines (at least up to iOS 6), they rightfully say that a button has to have a minimum area of 40x40 points, because thats the size of a fingertip. If you see anything smaller than that your instinct will tell you that’s to narrow for you to touch it, and you loose at least some of the will to do it. Honestly, text does not invite touch (even click with a more precise mouse is debatable). So that’s plain bad design.
    Second. Graphically, text poses some problems to a well designed screen or app. Lets say that you have to put some longer than usual text in a button (you may not even be aware of that, but it may happen an app is available in non-English language countries). Than iOS will truncate it or reduce it’s size. If you have a left button with a regular size text, and a right button with reduced size text, you know what will happen. Since there are no borders or anything to give a a similar size to the buttons other than text, this buttons will seem misaligned and tour screen will look like garbage.
    Third, buttons will be confused with other text in your apps, even if you tell the user that text of one color is a button and of another color is not, that’s too much thinking required. And again, text of different sizes on the same screen, without any visual contours, just looks confusing and really bad.
    Fourth, a mobile OS has to be intuitive. If you have lots of text in a screen (some that you can tap, some not), that will be confusing, specially since apple now usually gives the same background color (usually white) to toolbars and content.

    This is just one of what I consider to be a large number of design problems that plague iOS8/9, and I’m not a professional UI designer, would love to hear from them on this.

    Unfortunately I could go on and on…I still hope that Apple takes iOS to the drawing board again and redesigns it completely. With the loads of cash that Apple has, it would not be difficult to hire the best designers out there and make iOS jaw dropping again!! Just look as apps lake Paper from 53, Clear, even Yahoo news Digest. and an endless list of outstanding design Apps…
  2. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    I've gotten used to iOS 7/8 and don't mind it much anymore, but I still look back at it and realize that yes, this was indeed very much a "change for the sake of change" thing, and was completely unnecessary.

    iOS 6 only feels "outdated" now because we haven't used it in a while. If iOS 7 hadn't redesigned, the UI probably wouldn't seem outdated. They could have tweaked and improved it gradually overtime, rather than taking the nuclear option.

    It's too late to complain about it now, but I still occasionally wish the iOS 7 redesign hadn't happened. Especially when I play with an older device and the old interface; I miss it.
  3. Rodster macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2007
    I still have an iPad 3 running iOS 5.1.1 and have several iPad's running iOS 7. Personally, i've gotten used to iOS 7 and tried iOS 8. There are some design changes I don't like in iOS 7 carried over to iOS 8 while there are several design changes I have welcomed.

    The change from iOS 6 to iOS 7 was as striking as Microsoft going from Windows 7 to Windows 8. At first the basic reaction is WTF and WTH were they thinking. After using the OS and it applies to both MS and Apple, you get used to it.

    If I had my choice and I do, I prefer iOS 5. It has better function, better flow, better choice of logical colors that don't have you second guessing if the CAPS key is in shift or ALL CAPS mode.

    But with that said, I have enjoyed Yosemite more than the previous versions of OS X and I go way back to Classic 9 and the 1st edition of OS X. So it's a preference thing.

    IMO, Scott Forstall whether you liked or hated him, understood UI design. The OS performed smooth out of the box unlike iOS 7 on an iPad Air that made you shake your head when you rotated the screen and it was a stuttering mess and even more so in the Apps store.
  4. El Tuga thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2009
    Exactly the same feeling I have: "change for the sake of change", but I find it revolting. iOS 7 is just a major re-skin of iOS 6, and a poorly designed one. I say re-skin because all the basic aspects where not innovated. Lists work the same way as before, toolbars and navbars are still on the same place, the main screen still shows app icons, etc. Just a re-skin while trying to pass by as a great innovation, a great departure from iOS 6, which it was not. Just a lower quality iOS.

    And while IMHO iOS took a step back, and spent huge resources at that, android is gaining ground with "material design", etc. While previously iOS was recognized by most as a superior OS, now it's just another OS. In fact it took many of it's cues from the then inferior android, which is just sad.

    Scot Forstall, please return!! :)
  5. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    Dec 28, 2009
    Many people have gotten use to the hideous ios 7/8 look, that's why its so popular now. People should have boycotted it, like myself. Then maybe Apple would think twice about restoring that classic look.

    I am go grateful there are others who appreciate iOS for what it use to look like. So much better and easier on the eyes.

    Because all you people just "accepted" iOS 7/8, we are all stuck with it now.

    I wish iOS 7 looked more like this, with the exception of the freaking signal dots. IF it did, I wouldn't have such a problem with it.


    And any sane person would pic the calendar app on the left and its more clean and easier to view.

  6. Cassady macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    Seriously? Seriously??!! Another one sprouting why Apple got it wrong/boycott-boycott-boycott/turn back time!! Good grief - try adapt to new things every once in a while. It's good for you. That's how we all came down from the trees.
  7. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    Isn't there already a current ongoing discussion about this whole "design" thing at

    Seems like just repeated rehashing of the same old things from a couple of years ago. Hard to see the point of talking about the same thing over and over and over again for years now.
  8. Mascots macrumors 68000


    Sep 5, 2009
    I thought of a lot of these things when I first saw the iOS 7 refresh, however, a lot of this is knee jerk and after both using and designing for iOS 7-style for two years now, I can say it is a much needed improvement to the ideals originally laid out by Apple. It is an evolution to the design language which accepts that iOS (and other touch devices) are finely used and understood now.

    I quite enjoy look but you seems really caught up on a specific element, though.

    At one point Steve Job's described buttons as "so good you'll want to lick them."

    However, that is not the case anymore because it isn't needed. iOS has strictly established guidelines on where buttons should be placed (since 1.x) and now distinguish themselves as targets by introducing a static color (and removing color from the surrounding elements). You are correct in the HUG saying the tap targets needed to be 44pts - but this area doesn't need to be mapped out to the eye anymore which helps to clear UI clutter and to focus on content.

    Regardless of how big the text is, the negative space around it is still counted in the 44pt, which makes the tap target the same size. A user won't not try to tap something because it seems too small. Size is irrelevant to interactivity in iOS. Even with the chance of tapping something else, as long as its content is distinguished, it isn't off limits to a user. We see this very often when users use Safari: we don't zoom a link to 44pt tap area before clicking.

    In reality, all of this depends on the developer and how high of quality software they are writing (coupled with their skill and familiarity with iOS design). Look at Apple's first party apps and notice the color and placement of interactive items vs "content". The trend does not require much fore-thought.

    And while I know it isn't perfect, I honestly think variability encourages progress, even if it can be really bad in cases. Overall, though, I could never say they went in the wrong direction, especially since we have some road to go.
  9. sunking101 macrumors 604


    Sep 19, 2013
    I don't mind the look of iOS7/8, I just mind the bugs. The 'it just works' thing is dead. It really is. Pick up an iPhone and actually use it hard for a couple of hours. How many minor and how many major, frustrating & work-impeding bugs can you find? The question is, why haven't Apple picked them up?
  10. El Tuga thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2009
    Some people say, yeah maybe ios 7 is a step back, but you should get used to it and stop complaining. Honestly, I tried to do that for almost 2 years, but I can't.
    The original ios was the reason I learned app development. It was great and every iteration until iOS 6 seemed to improve it. I felt like crying when I tried to adapt my app to the iOS 7 looks...everything felt wrong. And I didn't even understand the reason for that "change for the sake of change". It seemed more of the result of internal skirmishes, than a genuine attempt to improve the OS. That's what I find disgusting.


    Rumor has it that ios 9 will be all about fixing those bugs. (As I write this on my iPad, Safari has crashed and reloaded a couple of times;). As for the needed major redesign hope is all but lost...and with that (a low quality re-skin that added lots of bugs, and a new OS that will fix those bugs) apple has lost 3 years to the competition. And probably only because of internal politics...sad!

    Anyway, the reason for complaining is the hope that apple hears our feedback and puts iOS back on track.
  11. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I really like the iOS 7/8 design. It's the slow animations and having to tap on the text of what was a button before that make it awful for me. It lacks responsiveness and I think it's because Ive is too obsessed with showing off transitions and other effects that he's chosen to make them slower/have a longer duration. They need to add padding to text only buttons so the tapping area is the same size as it was with iOS 6.
  12. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    Dec 28, 2009
    Are you forced to adapt your apps to the iOS 7 look? I know Apple sets strict guidelines on developers and apps. I was just wondering if you had to make it look like 7? If not, then continue to make it look like iOS 6.

    The animations in the original iOS 7.0 were even slower than iOS 7.1-8. The animations on iOS 7.1.2 are about half as slow as the animations on iOS 6. But I agree, if they speed up the animations on iOS 8, it will be more responsive.
  13. DoctorKrabs macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2013
    If the design of iOS 7 is still up for debate after nearly 2 years of it being around, I think that means something about it has to change.

    And that's saying something, because it took the iOS 6 design a whole 6 years before complaints were loud enough for Apple to do something. Those complaints weren't so much about it being bad design, but old design. There is no such thing as old design.

    I'm glad that these types of posts are being posted more often, because Apple does see this forum and the complaints on it. It is what dictates the changes they make in major iOS releases. It's probably why we've heard that iOS 9 will be about bug fixes.

    It also needs to be about a more natural and beautiful design like iOS used to be, and OS X Yosemite is.

    Yosemite is really the balance between both design languages and it looks great.

    Speak now before it's too late.
  14. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    Considering how much complaining there was about the design in the iOS 7 days you'd think something would change in relation to it in iOS 8 if Apple really cared much about complaints from a fairly minor vocal enthusiast groups.

    I'm all for updates, but complaining about it all for years isn't what's going to bring anything about, it'll primarily simply be Apple doing its thing as Apple does.
  15. DoctorKrabs macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2013
    Complaining for years is exactly what makes them bring change, that's why iOS 7 happened. People complained about green felt and Craig made that joke about how they "completely ran out of green felt!"

    Those green felt complaints started in 2011 and it took a whole year and a firing for Apple to get to changing it.

    People complained about bugs and slowness in iOS 7.0 and it was addressed in 7.1

    People also complained about group messaging problems for years and they added the ability to completely leave group conversations in iOS 8. They added widgets in iOS 8 after years if complaining. Jesus, all of iOS 8 was about "opening up" and that's because of years of complaining. That was one of the top complaints about iOS above its design: openness.

    Now we've heard about iOS 9 being about polish after iOS 8 was made out to be a "disaster" by people on this forum.

    The complaints right now are bugs and a design that is getting stale again, and I can't imagine them ignoring it. It's foolish to think that being quiet will somehow make the same difference as being vocal.
  16. technosix macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2015
    West Coast USA
    I like the look and feel, the changes are refreshing.

    The only issue I have is its crashing and buggy performance, and that's a factory install of iOS 8 on a new iPhone 6 Plus. It's not like it's a current OS on an old phone.

    Seems like we've got an extended wait ahead of us while Apple decides what (if anything) they might do. With sky high sales, they may take that as a sign that mediocrity is perfectly acceptable.
  17. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    I'm not sure there's really any significant evidence that complaining for years got Apple to do something as much as Apple deciding to do it on their own after all that time (and that it was even in their plans for a while).

    Just because people complain about something and it gets addressed doesn't mean that it's directly attributable to those complaints and not primarily onto something that was already in the works even before the complaints our would have been done even without them.

    There's more rationale in saying that a lot of changes that came about in iOS 8 or some other versions was simply due to Apple responding to competition or simply evolving their system over time than to any complaints. If it really was complaints many of those things would have been done years ago, which can be then used as evidence that it was less likely to be because of complaints since those things took years to finally come about.

    Again, a lot of suppositions that simply fit and perhaps even coincidences, but nothing that shows much of anything. It's like numerology or astrology--it's possible to fit various things together to make it look like they are related or that there's some sort of a relationship between them, but it doesn't necessarily mean that there is, or that it's nearly to the degree that it's possible to make it look like.
  18. El Tuga thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2009
    Some measures were taken by Apple to ensure those short term sky high sales, which have nothing to do with the quality of iOS: the expansion to China and the addition of more screen sizes. In the long term however, quality will matter.
  19. Planey28 macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Manchester, UK
    So switch to another platform. These threads are starting to get really annoying, why can't you just add to the existing ones instead of starting ANOTHER one.

    Most people like the look of iOS 7 (these forums are no reflection of the real world), and whether you like it or not it's here to stay. The old design was getting extremely stale and looked very dated in comparison to other platforms.

    If you don't like it, and it bothers you that much, switch to a platform like Android where you can customise the UI to your liking. Apple are never going to go back to their old design style.
  20. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    Dec 28, 2009
    Why should he have to switch to another platform because Apple can't design an OS right? The OS was perfect in earlier versions, absolutely perfect with design. The all white look gives me a headache even to this day. Thank god I still have my iPhone 5 on 6.1.4. Unfortunately, my work phone has iOS 7.1.2 on it.
  21. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    Because why would someone use a system they essentially hate?
  22. DoctorKrabs macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2013
    Most people were fine with iOS 6 when it was current, but Apple changed it anyway. People liking it is no reason to declare it "here to stay".
  23. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sounds to me he only hates iOS 7 and above, like myself. I use 6 all the time. I wouldn't use 7, but its on my work phone, even though I told them not to update it last year.
  24. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    Have Apple ever actually had that motto? Sorry, moto.
  25. El Tuga thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2009
    Won't switch to another platform for one very simple reason: the iOS experience is still slightly better than android's ;)
    My concern is: 1. the distance is getting shorter as iOS took unnecessary steps back, 2. I learned to develop for iOS because I loved the platform, so I want to protect my investment.

    Now let me ask you, if you don't like the content of these threads, why don't you go somewhere else?

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