iOS has only changed slightly since it was unveiled in 2007 and many feel that it is long due a major overhaul in it’s UI. iOS has arguably always offered one of the most fluid user experiences and with every iteration as the hardware gets better iOS is further optimised for the faster hardware.
As an iOS user there really is no denying though that iOS could do with a refresh. There are elements within iOS that just scream dated and some major polishing just needs to take place. In this article I’ll be going over some of the changes that I am hopeful for in the next major iteration of iOS.
1. Further Intuitive Use Of Banner Notifications & Removal / Redesign Of Push Notifications
The banner notifications introduced in the last couple of years are fantastic, certainly compared to that of the classic push notification system anyway. The banner notifications were an indirect copy of the notification system from Android. Yes it was originally Android that came up with the idea of a nice simple interactive little notification that flips over at the very top of the screen, Apple seemed to follow suit as they realised that it was an extremely effective way of displaying notifications in a non-intrusive way, so for example, if you’re trying to watch a video, the notification will display briefly at the top of the screen and go away by it’s own accord, as opposed to an annoying and intrusive push notification that pops up over what you’re trying to focus on.
I believe that there could still me more ways that the banner notification could be made more intuitive. For example, the very simple solution of adding more basic and currently intrusive notifications such as calls for example. Say you’re trying to write a text message or doing something else that requires you to focus intently, if you currently receive a call on the iPhone the ENTIRE screen is taken up by the call controls and the contact picture (if you have one assigned for that person) it can get extremely annoying, especially if you don’t want to answer the call but you equally don’t want to hang up on the person in case it comes across as rude.
I also believe that push notifications could be redesigned to be a little more user friendly and if not at least a general UI update. I still find it weird that everywhere else in iOS neutral colours are used for the UI with the occasional glass effect but the push notifications box is blue and looks like the kind of thing that you’d see in an early version of Mac OS X. It’s not terrible, just inconsistent with the rest of the UI.
2. A Flatter Design Would Be Refreshing
Or at least the removal of garish textures from built-in applications. A flatter redesign has already kind of taken place in the form of the music app. With the release of iOS 6 saw the music app get completely redesigned and I like the flatter more clean appearance. No early Mac OS X elements such as bubbly controls & unusual use of non-coordinating colours, just a really nice clean design that should stand the test of time and as usual the neutrality of the design was combated with the addition of small details that people with an attention to detail (like me!) would only notice. Such as the spun metal slider buttons which respond according to your device’s rotation. Seriously try it, move your iOS device around and look at the little spun metal sliders. The light changes according to the positioning of the device. Kinda neat! And small utterly pointless details like that really show you that the UI developer(s) really took their time with it to make it just right and overall adding to a better and more satisfying user experience.
I really would like to see the removal of unnecessary and often garish textures too. Such as the material textures that still exist from when Apple went through a weird “let’s put a leather texture on the borders” phase.
3. Easy Access To Device Settings
This has been a dream for anyone who has seen SB settings on a jailbroken iOS device or the device settings buttons in the Android notification center. It has always been an unbearably slow process to change a quick setting on iOS. Such as switching connections on and off for example. Whenever I want to turn my Wi-Fi on or off I must launch the settings app, navigate to the Wi-Fi menu option and tap the switch to off or on depending on what I wanted it set to of course. It has just made sense for years for Apple to put options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen brightness an orientation lock into the notification center and I would hope that they do or come up with another more intuitive method of doing it. Of course they’ve already somewhat included some quick toggles in the UI such as the orientation lock option within the multitasking bar.
4. It’s An Ambitious Hope With An Unlikely Possibility… More Customisation Options
I know I sound silly saying it and I know Apple would likely never allow personalisation changes more than adjusting your wallpaper but I would love it if there were more options on adjusting the UI, such as the ability to change the colours of UI elements, heavy adjustments of the lock screen and perhaps even the ability to change transitions.
5. Replace The Obsolete Multitasking System
Exposé or Mission Control for iOS? Or something along those lines anyway. Multitasking on iOS is very simple and works well for the most part but it’s really falling behind. Compare the multitasking system to that of the latest Samsung devices or the intuitive multitasking system of BlackBerry 10 and you can see how it really could be improved. After all, Apple have already done really well with the likes of Exposé and Mission Control in Mac OS X it’s a mystery why they haven’t yet added a similar multitasking system to iOS. I would hope at least this is something Apple will work on in iOS 7.
6. More “At A Glance” Information Solutions
Windows Phone has been strutting it’s stuff with live tiles for a few years now and it’s easy to understand why Microsoft decided to take that approach. Information at a glance is just more convenient compared to opening a full-scale app for small amounts of information. Such as the weather or stocks for example. I think Apple could possibly implement this type of solution in subtle and major ways. For example if they wanted a subtle way of implementing it they could simply add the live information only to applications that offer small amounts of information such as the weather app. The weather app icon in it’s current state is always displaying a sun icon with 23° next to it. This could be easily improved by showing the current weather conditions in your area, so if it is raining and cold (usual british weather) the icon would display a rain cloud and the local temperature next to it.
So that is most of what I would like to personally see in iOS 7. Are you tired of the UI of iOS? What would you change if you could?