The iOS 7 redesign Apple yesterday released as a beta is a contentious issue. But aside of the subjective discussions about icon design and blurred backgrounds in rainbow colors, is the new flat UI in general a leap forward from the perspective of UX or did they made it worst?

Comparison: Safari in iOS 7 and iOS 6

In my opinion, it becomes much harder to differentiate the elements. If the page has a light/grey background, the bottom bar hasn't any boundaries to the page anymore.

Comparison: Contacts in iOS 7 and iOS 6

The flat head elements of the contacts screen turned into a giant brick with low contrasts.

Comparison: Video in iOS 7 and iOS 6

Same happend with video controls: The button on the upper left becomes nearly invisible as well as the lightweight fullscreen arrows.

In my opinion, the flat design makes it much harder to use the product. So why decided Apple to go that way? Or is it just me not seeing the UX benefits?

  • 1
    It's an interesting topic for discussion, however I'm not sure it's very fit for Q&A since answers most probably will be subject to personal preference rather than fact. In the chat however discussions roam free. Jun 11 '13 at 14:33
  • Did you read ux.stackexchange.com/questions/33197/… ?
    – rk.
    Jun 11 '13 at 14:36
  • I did read it but I'm looking for opinions about this case. Jun 11 '13 at 14:37
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    Join the chat room.
    – rk.
    Jun 11 '13 at 14:52
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    Given that it's 1 day old, I don't think extensive analysis and testing has been performed outside of Apple's own secret data.
    – DA01
    Jun 11 '13 at 15:51

The only opinion I can provide is that Apple will have undertaken hundreds if not thousands of hours of user testing on this design.

Also been debating this myself and wired's article really stood out for me: "The new design is “unobtrusive and deferential” so that the UI “recedes, elevating your content”—rather than competing, for example, against the pictures you’re trying to get to on Facebook and Instagram." (http://www.wired.com/design/2013/06/ios7_redesign/)

Don't get me wrong, Jonny Ive did not design this for "simplicity" (although he mentions it a lot in his usual self-indulgent promotional video) but all it is is a skin, not a user interface. It does add to the user interface but doesn't define it. Read this article at Medium for a better understanding - fortunately, they are more articulate than myself. (https://medium.com/design-ux/3a69c61a8dd2)

So in answer to your question, I think that Apple are introducing a relatively new UI skin that users are not particularly used to. I don't consider it a giant leap forward, or even a leap backwards, but perhaps a leap to the left or right to help define how users SHOULD interact with their devices.


Light gray can be a problem on mobile because it does not provide enough contrast. While use of light gray is part of the Apple look, I do think they've taken a step back from a usability perspective.

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