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Louie Mantia on the State of iOS UI Design

Deeply insightful thread from Louie Mantia:

People think iOS 7 killed superfluous things like wood textures, but more seriously it downplayed visual design. We lost things like shadows and lighting. This stuff isn’t just a veneer. They are tools. They were used to indicate so many things like inactivity or focus.

In 2020, iPadOS doesn’t convey app focus in split-screen mode. But window focus was apparent over 35 years ago on the original Macintosh. It was only black and white! But today when we have millions of colors, we don’t indicate focus well.

So perfectly said. Post-iOS 7, Apple has been obsessed with not indicating focus. A clear indication of input focus is so helpful to everyone from novices to experts.

The lack of focus indication is much more of a problem on iOS (iPhone and iPad, but especially iPad simply because the displays are so much bigger) than MacOS. But even Apple’s Mac apps often hide focus — I wish the text input field in Messages had a focus ring (like Safari’s location field does — or Message’s own search field), for example.

Monday, 3 February 2020