There’s been much controversy (among developers and designers, anyway) regarding the completely redesigned iOS 7. Whether it be Jony Ive’s fancy new grid system, the icons, or the complete lack of skeuomorphism, the design has people in the Apple community talking.
A great area of discussion is about how third party app developers will react to the iOS 7 design language, and implement it into their apps. For example, many apps found in the App Store today use standard
UIButton classes, which in terms of design, have practically remained unchanged since the debut of iOS in 2007.
Recently, we’ve seen a few apps totally think outside of the box, using custom, even buttonless interfaces. Take a look at Realmac’s popular app Clear, for example. Clear uses a series of gestures allowing you to navigate the app and create items. Apps like Clear defy the trends of the operating system, and create an experience of their own.
With the release of iOS 7 in the fall creeping up, I think we’re going to see even more of these unique, custom apps. While hoards of apps using non-standard interfaces could potentially be confusing to the user, it allows developers to create their own design language. What benefit does this have? It helps developers better establish their brand. This is especially important for cross-platform apps.
While most cross-platform apps today generally retain the same name, color scheme, and feature set, the design language between iOS & Android apps can be quite different. Not only is this difference more difficult for developers, but for users. Users can be much more comfortable switching to a different mobile OS and discovering some of their favorite apps, knowing that they’re already familiar with them.
From a design aspect, more developers that set their own design trends can not only set themselves apart from other apps, but break free from the traditional design language of the operating system. Obviously if overused, this practice is sure to grow confusing and tiresome for some.
So far, Apple is standing strong by iOS 7 and it’s design. It’s likely to remain the same for the time being. It’s hard to predict which direction many popular and notable apps may go, but the future is bright. There’s a plethora of incredible apps out there, with incredible developers to refine them. iOS 7 isn’t the end of stellar software design, but a new beginning.