Aside from technical considerations with the move to iOS 7, your app’s interface will undoubtedly need to be tweaked. Unlike previous iOS updates, 7 has changed many frameworks that directly impact the usability and look of your app design.
Toolbar and Tab Controller Buttons
iOS 7 has introduced a simplified interface guideline for toolbar buttons buttons. What used to be bold, often white icons in previous releases have been replaced with thinner, smilier forms of system icons. The thinner icons are almost exclusively hollow with a 1 px thickness. These new toolbar icons share iOS 7’s new system color scheme, which highlights all actionable buttons with the same color throughout the app.
Tab controller buttons look similar to toolbar buttons but the selected state is solid fill with the system color.
Pre-iOS 7 navigation (nav) bar buttons were traditionally the same color as the nav bar itself, but with a touch dark hue. For a designer/developer, the approach was to assign a string or image of a contrasted color to occupy that nav button. The system would create the button with shadows, highlights and was a fairly straight forward process in XCode. Even the user has become accustomed to visual queues of buttons as being rounded-corner rectangles.
Now, iOS 7 has done away with rectangular buttons for “floating labels”, or buttons with no visible border. These new floating labels now benefit from a system action color that should be consistent for any actionable button in your app. The system color should certainly contrast well with your nav/toolbar colors and should identify with active tabs of a tab controller, navigation buttons, in app purchase buttons, toolbar buttons and other contextual action buttons like “send” in the messages app.
For many interface designs, the largest change will be to unify all action buttons to one theme color. This color will need to be contrasted against the app’s tint color (the main color of the app) for readability.
Highly customized apps will be faced with an adoption crunch. App designs that have fully adopted custom buttons via artwork may only need to consider choosing a thiner typeface for button labels.
Many apps, however, may have enough hybrid-implemented designs where the path to 7 is less clear. For Film Genie, we had icons in the nav bar buttons that we replaced with labels (words). Ideally, labels would be localized beyond english and if you have even a fraction of users abroad you will especially want to localize for those markets.
Regardless of which path you choose to update your app button design, committing completely to iOS 7 system or fully custom interface elements will minimize fragmentation hassle. Depending on button count, your developer may not be too happy about conditionalizing buttons for 6 or 7. Instead, your team may wish to focus on embracing 7’s new influence or carve its own button design.
I expect Apple to backpedal on the navigation bar buttons soon after iOS 7 launches to include the framing of rectangular buttons.
The leading consumer technology platforms have opposing development philosophies that parallel the world’s largest economies. China’s growth is largely enabled by rapid and consistent adoption of governing philosophies that also align with the state’s proletariat’s agenda. The West’s modern economic dominance has been enabled by a steadfast governance based on a increasing social freedoms. Both governing philosophies have strengths that can be mirrored for developing successful consumer products.
Single-Party State: A Stubborn Walled Garden
Much is misunderstood about how the People’ Republic of China governs its people. While Communist is the most accurate description of its proletariat’s philosophy, its fundamental approach is to align the country with any philosophy quickly and completely. This absolute control governance model is plagued by abuses and leadership missteps but what China has been refining for decades is an agile, economically prosperous model that is quick to adopt new ideas that maximizes efficiency. This has recently been rewarding effective, competent officials with greater responsibilities. Moreover, China’s single-party state represents a communist approach to product development.
There are indeed many parallels with China’s approach to governance and Apple’s product development philosophy. Both are quick to adopt technologies and processes that align with their goals. China, for example, has been aggressively installing high-speed rail accross the country to better connect its huge population. Right-of-way acquisition does not appear to be a concern for any project because land usage is at the state’s discretion. 60 Minutes has reported on disenfranchised citizens becoming homeless after major contrition efforts displace them and their occupations. China seems to be fine with displacing a minor of citizens for swift projects that are expected to benefit the majority of its citizens.
In 1978, China introduced economic reform that incorporated Capitalism, entrepreneurism and the dissolution of state-owned markets, such as agriculture. Since then, China has become the second largest economy in the world. This reform was possible because of the proletariat’s ability to adopt new forms of governance quickly and absolutely. Since this reform, China has reversed some original reformational measures and adopted new strategies. Currently, China promotes proven government officials based on competency and efficacy–not unlike any successful corporation or business. While this approach to appointing officials is not democratic, it does enable accountability and efficient governance–unlike democratic republics.
Apple is able to swiftly adopt technologies that enable product design and experience goals for all their products. A focused, philosophically ideal proletariat at Apple can make similarly absolute decisions about the direction of their products. No bureaucracy, no compromise and no unnecessary deliberations are required of the single-state approach to development. This maximizes efficiency which is a market advantage.
Since 1997, Apple has been led by a single-party proletariat focused on simplicity and premium hardware development. While the decision-making process at Apple is opaque to outsiders, its product designers have historically been specific about the vision of each product, adamant about what any product does not do as much as what it was designed to do. While there are many reversals to most product’s feature implementations due to customer requests, Apple has been consistently stubborn with its product design decisions and reluctance to implement features simply because its customer request them. While Apple’s products do not inherently have to be proprietary and its business operations opaque, there is a market advantage in product differenciation and financial benefits when leveraging economies of scale. Regardless of the motivation for any given feature implementation, Apple is able to move swiftly and absolutely on any decision made by its leaders because of its single-party product development system.
While Apple’s customers and China’s citizens undoubtedly inform both parties’ approach to governance, both are stubborn, walled gardens who sacrifice short-term discomfort for the relentless pursuit of achieving their respective goals. They act with their goals being of primary importance, often justifying the calculated disenfranchisement of a minority and limited accountability.
Democracy: A Sluggish Ideal
Many in the West value freedom as the primary right from which their countries should be governed. Moreover, democracy is seen as the most fair and effective means of governing a free people.
The Android operating system was founded, and is currently developed, with the freedom to alter, iterate and build upon a community’s collective work which benefits those in that community. This democratic approach to product development is largely transparent with equal access to resources and vision.
Historically, freely developed software software has created industries and made existing industries more efficient. However, these industries are often plagued by terrible user experiences. High technical proficiency requirements, poor interface design, and lethargic development cycles are common realities in the open-source development community.
The United States of America, and perhaps other Western democracies to a varying degree, often experience legislative turmoil do to a necessity of compromise. Any successful bill signed into law can be seen by many voters as a much smaller step towards the intended change. Law making and software development experience different constraints but the effect is similar: too many (often opposing) interests all vying for consideration at the same time. The result is often a great idea with a diluted product experience.
The democratic model is a sluggish development philosophy that easily slips into conflicting goals with user-alienating compromise. Even prominent open-source development communities such as android.com have established standards which protect the user from unnecessary feature fragmentation.
Open-source and democracy share ideals founded on moral human rights that rarely translate to enjoyable user experiences. Both are slow to adopt new technologies and development methodologies that align with their philosophy do to their communally compromising nature. While any specific product or law can be a champion of democracy, most experiences are plagued by slow compromises that leave the user ever-craving a more effective solution.
Any product development methodology will have varying degrees of the above (and other) philosophies. (Even the above philosophies are not absolute in practice.) Breakthrough ideas and prototypes clearly begin in the open-source community but successful/mainstream and delightful product experiences are brought to market by small, focused groups with specific goals.
Design goals are a requirement to shipping great product. Those goals should be informed by the technologies available, ideal circumstances and decisive action. No product is ever perfect when it ships because really, what does ‘perfect’ even mean?
The solution should be accessible products iterated upon with continued focus on better experiences for the users. Only until iterations turn less productive do we collectively, as builders, seek next generation product paradigms.
- Sam Dominguez
Yankees logo in bottle caps
Technabob is a blog of fresh news and information on consumer electronics, video games and gadgets, and we deliver new content on a daily basis.
Many visitors use the site as a resource as they make purchase decisions, so Technabob is an ideal place for the Square Hoodie to be posted.
We did it! Sam and I finally launched our first Kickstarter project, Square Hoodie! Sam and I feel that Square is the future for mobile payments and we have the perfect accessory to go with it. Please support our project by ordering your own Square Hoodie and spread the word!
Square Hoodie is made of tough silicone that encapsulates the Square card reader which can then be looped on a lanyard, keys and bags!
Comes in 3 colors: green, black and red!
Here is the prototype shown: It is made out of
I would like to start out this blog post by talking about inspiration and how it is key to executing your idea. Having read the book “Rework,” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson they have drilled into the importance of inspiration.
Inspiration is perishable.
We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever.
What doesn’t last forever is inspiration. Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: It has an expiration date.
Amazing piece of art! Being from the west coast, they should have one of San Francisco!
Entertaining the Idea
As creative inventors we all bounce ideas off friends and it always starts as… “Wouldn’t it be cool if _____.” This time around Sam and I started to entertain the idea of creating an iphone stand accessory like the Glif, but I said “Wouldn’t it be cool if it were the glif with a bottle opener!?” The Glif, funded by kickstarter.com, proved that the iPhone crowd demanded a stand accessory–but we wanted to take it one step further. This stand would also have a bottle opener and a key chain. Key chaining made it esy and thoughtless to keep it with the user and a bottle opener because most trinkets on key chains are bottle openers. This would be the most versatile and useful iPhone product ever!
Design Features and Resources
Starting with our design constraints of a bottle opener and iPhone 4 stand on a keychain, we began modeling a prototype in the 3D design program Solidworks. We downloaded Apple’s complimentary iPhone developer case PDF document for exact dimensions of the iPhone 4.
From that drawing, we knew the minimum thickness of our product, 9.34 mm. Here is the link to the apple developer resource page: http://developer.apple.com/resources/cases/
Official Concept: The Tetro
After tons of drafts and iterations we knew the stand portion would have to be two blocks on either side of the iPhone’s thickness. Thinking now of items of our past childhood what was a block like object that would give this concept some life. I thought back to my elementary days and playing Tetris on my Gameboy. Tetris blocks would be our design inspiration.
Sam began to ask me well what we should call this thing. I started to do some searching and on Wikipedia it stated “The Tetris game is a popular use of tetrominoes, the four element special case of polyominoes.” The Tetro name was derived from tetrominoe.
Tetro Revision 1.1
Tetro Revision 3.2
We’ll upload more pics soon and more revisions. But so far what do you all think?! Its a work in progress…
creating of actual prototype