Matt Gemmell writes beautifully on one of my favorite topics:
Eventually, I began allowing myself to acknowledge what I’d always inwardly known: that there’s no higher purpose than making an emotional connection with another person. That the success of an endeavour isn’t in the broad strokes and metrics – the sales, or downloads, or ratings, or comments or whatever else – but in the myriad individual moments where someone would be briefly touched, or empowered. Ephemeral, unmeasurable, rarely reported. But critical.
“The mental gymnastics are especially tricky if you’ve built a career from people seeing your work, reading your words, and following along on your adventures. I have many friends that are awkwardly uncomfortable with their audiences. I am, too.”—Frank Chimero, This One’s for Me
StartupsAnonymous is a place for startup founders, employees and investors to candidly share their stories, ask/answer questions and vent.
Similar to the recent iOS hit, Secret, StartupsAnonymous shows that anonymity can be a powerful tool in allowing people to be open and authentic—a refreshing concept in a world of self-promotional social media. I highly recommend this blog to any aspiring or early-stage founders; it shows a side of startups rarely seen in the press.
A cautionary tale of what can (and often does) happen after a company takes it’s second round of financing. I have watched this happen several times, and can’t recommend this article enough for early to mid-stage entrepreneurs. For a more constructive take on the issue, I also recommend The Series B Trap and How to Avoid It (also from Pando, they’ve been killing it lately).
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say standards bodies and browsers (those responsibility for crafting/implementing CSS) are starting to care about designers. Another big win from the Adobe Web Platform team.
If there is a gamut of interface design execution and symbolism where rich, detailed, skeuomorphic design is on the left and flat, robotic, sparse design is on the right, iOS 7 is solidly planted on the right. It’s the anti-iOS 6 and everything before it. Hell, it’s anti-Apple and everything before it.
Apple didn’t get famous by using existing trends to define the look of their products.
Pure text-based buttons with no visual indication of buttonness, that is, no shape around them, really don’t look right to me. They look unfinished, naked, unclear and raw. And what makes a text label look different from a tappable label? Just color? Well I hope no one is using color in their interfaces unless everything that’s not black-and-white is tappable.
I agree, for sure, that adding minimalism means adding constraints, but it’s not impossible. Look at Medium, the web app that your post is written on. No underlines for links, no buttons—and it works. Granted, one could say the discoverability on the web is improved my Mr. White Glove, but still, what’s the cognitive overhead in trying to push a bit of text once with your finger? Not much, especially compared with moving a mouse to position a cursor over some text.
The proportions of symbols within their boundaries (either in a tab bar or in an icon) look wrong, and big things look smushed into small visual containers.
I disagree, but I believe this may be a matter of taste, and also perhaps a bit of it just feeling “new.” Definitely want hands-on time with it to get a sense of the proportions.
Gradients are no longer used to suggest the type of realism that a 90° light source would indicate, rather they’re used in icons haphazardly, sometimes shifting between two wholly different hues.
This may be indicative of a larger conceptual shift. These gradients aren’t here to provide depth as they may have in the past, they’re here for decoration—potentially to bring life to what would be lifeless glyphs in most flat design. The fact that the gradients are still at 90° is potentially more of an attempt to look consistent with existing apps and iOS of yesteryear (though their angle now is far less important on its own).
There are no text shadows or box shadows that I could see. There are no subtle indications of curvature in user interface elements. Everything is black, white, or some vibrant, eye-popping hue.
I think you might just be wrong on this one. I saw subtle shadows in a ton of places. Color is actually much more sparse—typically trying to merge with underlying content. Only place the coloring seems overt to me is the home screen icons (which are the content of those screens).
I really wonder what the Apple designers who worked tirelessly on iOS 6 think. Did they think that everything they were designing looked awful before starting to work on iOS 7? Or were they nudged in the “flat design” direction by Jony Ive and then drank the Kool-Aid only after being prodded for awhile? Are they tremendously proud of their work, which is essentially completely different from all their previous work? Do they think that it’s fundamentally better, or just fundamentally different?
I think they shot for fundamentally different and better. They definitely hit the first, the second remains to be seen.
I really like some of the interactions and transitions which appear to be more physics-based. Blurring out the previous screen when displaying an overlay looks awesome and has been very difficult to do in the past in iOS without diving close to the bare metal of graphics processing frameworks.
To stay true to the title of this post, I will say this: If anything, it looks like Apple may have leaned too heavily on blurring as a means to provide depth within the UI. Looks great in some places, I’m not so sure in others.
I expected iOS 7 to be much flatter than iOS 6, but still with subtle curvatures, inset highlights and shadows to indicate subtlety and realism and that the interface was emulating some physical materials. I was very wrong. iOS 7 is as flat as a board.
Here is possibly where I disagree the most: I think iOS 7 is entrenched with depth and flare. So much so that I actually think it was a bit too rich for my personal taste—But it makes a statement. It looks in the rigid, cold face of Windows 8 and says, “No no, these things are built to feel good.”
But I Digress
By no means am I completely in love with everything that came out today. For one, Control Center gives me anxiety. That’s a lot of buttons and layouts and text, all atop a massive blur. Also, Game Center's switch to glowing orbs doesn't really resonate for me. At least the green felt metaphor applied and connected. It feels to me like they decided not to do skeuomorphic, needed it to feel “fun,” and just threw something together.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that this is a preview and things may change. And neither Mike, nor I, have had a chance to try it on a device—which I’m sure we both agree will provide the real measure of its success (or failings). And now both of us, I’m sure, should probably get back to our actual work…
I could pull an amazing quote from almost every paragraph of this essay. Extremely poignant and, while I haven’t been working with startups as long as Alex, completely in line with everything I’ve seen. Applies just as well to designers.
“I mean, have you seen a 2G, 3G or 3GS screen recently? You’d think you have some kind of eye disease. That screens sits at the bottom of a well with water covering it. No wonder a design made under those conditions is starting too look a little heavy handed.”—Max Rudberg, iOS subdued
Very open and poignant article by Aza Raskin about his experience founding Massive Health. I have been considering a similar path lately, and hearing down-to-earth recounts like this is really eye-opening.
The examples which Hunter describes happen all of the time—but really, what’s the big fucking deal? My problem with this article is in the title: Of course the “Nature of Social Media” is “Back-Slappy.” Social media is a platform for sharing and communication with a proclivity to exercising ego and self-promotion. To pretend the ego half doesn’t exist is phony and, ironically, self-aggrandizing.
Think about what Twitter is: I post things, in hopes that others will follow me. That the random, 140-byte chunks I post throughout the day are just so clever that I people across the world will want, née need, to read them. Now think of the ego it takes to post to Medium—an invite-only publishing platform for writing “things that matter.”
So yeah, when I say “congrats” (or “nice post,” “great work,” or even “happy birthday,”) to people, a part of the motivation may be self-interest. It’s a social dynamic, not an annoying Twitter trend—get over it.
If the first was any indication, this is required reading for both new and experienced designers.
Almost a year and a half after the first release of the PPP handbook - we still love pixels. It seems like you do too as we’ve had some great feedback. We’ve been working hard to make it bigger, better, and more useful.