Working with the Flat Look of iOS 7

April 25, 2014 | By | Reply More

Apple dropped its newest operating system, and some dramatic changes occurred in the switch from iOS 6 to iOS 7. Most apparent is the design shift. While iOS 6 maintained the basic layout that Apple users have grown accustomed to, iOS 7 presents a whole new look that focuses on streamlining pages to eliminate the bulk of buttons and controls while emphasizing the content.

Working with the Flat Look of iOS 7

The New Look

Where iOS6 brought controls to the forefront, iOS 7 offers clean and flat pages with more background space. This change may have caught some users off guard. The control buttons move to the corners of the screen and are reduced to smaller sizes that conserve screen space.

The new operating system brings earthier colors and brighter tones with a prevalence of white background screens. Some of the basic apps which have undergone complete overhauls include:

  1. Mail
  2. Calendar
  3. Game Center
  4. Notes
  5. Weather
  6. Camera roll
  7. Text messaging threads

The home screen, lock screen and contacts also look completely new. Even Safari and iTunes have been given a facelift.

Let the Public Outcry Commence

As with any major change, consumers are quick to weigh in with their thoughts and feelings about the updated operating system. Many feel that the new iOS 7 is not really an improvement.

The artistic design is being seen by some as a failure to provide what works well in favor of what looks different and cool. On the score card of practicality, many users complain that the bright white screen will be difficult to look at in the dark and hard to see in the daylight. The artsy appearance is being chalked up to the unleashing of Jony Ive’s imagination and emphasis on form over function.

Others feel that Apple, usually the leading innovator, has “cherry picked” from amongst competing operating systems with Android well represented beside “Windows Phone, BlackBerry, webOS and even MEego,” writes Android

While the apparent similarities have undoubtedly sent Android and other OS diehards racing to opinion columns to gloat or express their rage, still other techies believe that the borrowing is a good thing for the technology itself as well as the designers.

To Keep in Mind When Designing for 7

Whether you love it or hate it, the “flat design” is here, and this presents some interesting work for developers and designers trying to help their apps utilize all the new iOS 7 features.

One of the foremost differences will be the move away from using so many images for backing views with texture and perspective. Instead, the focus goes towards creating toolbars that push “controls to the perimeter of the screen and thereby de-emphasize the controls and present notes front and center,” explains developer Jess Taylor.

This difference in pulling the content front and center might be both “dramatic and exciting.” But it will require a lot of redesigning as developers work to de-emphasize iconography and work within the flattened look.

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Category: Apple, iOS

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