Jun 19, 2013

A few thoughts on the new iOS icons

Apple recently announced the new iOS 7 which features, among a slew of actual features that change the usability of the device, a new visual style for the graphical user interface. Rumors about this change had been floating around the internet for a while before the WWDC event took place.

Many people have praised this so-called "shift" to a flatter look in the interface, saying things such as "It was about time". This blog post by Steve Rose is safely mocking the old style and the new style with keeping his distance to both. These times certainly are uncertain so that is probably smart.

In the WWDC video, you can see Apple employees themselves also throwing jokes about the "green felt" or "virtual cows". I only could think this as a manifestation of their uncertainty mixed with pressure to innovate that is coming from the consumer community. All this is only to show a lack of leadership within the company.

This article brings about the fact that a skeuomorph is actually something more than just visuals, more than what it has been mistaken for in so many channels in these recent months. Taking the word "skeuomorph" and comparing it with "flat design" is not in any means comparable, since icons are icons. A mail icon depicting an envelope in the Windows Phone operating system is still actually a skeuomorph, since it is referring to a real-world object. It makes it easier for people to understand what exactly lies behind the icon.

The discussion about skeuomorph versus flat design has gotten us at PhoneSplurt sick. That is because this "debate" has been producing so much misinformation placing two essentially identical things to face off with each other as the counterparts of one another. That is one thing, and another thing that makes us nauseous is hideous, forcibly new, visual design on user interfaces.

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