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Here at FS Studio, we have been playing with the latest Beta of iOS 7 and there's a lot to like.  They are starting to tweak the design a little to combat the initial starkness of the ultra-Flat UI design direction.  The thing that jumped out at me was the re-introduction of some skeuomorphic elements.  There are some that work and some that definitely don't work.  Personally I prefer a semi-Flat UI design over a strictly flat design.  Things like a very subtle shadow or a slight embossment, that works for me.  Check out some of these elements that have popped up:

The Good

Skeuomorphic UI Design Switch:

This is nice a subtle and introduces a little fun into the UX/User Interface.  They have a nice little animation as the switch animates.  It invites you to touch it.

Drop-Shadow:

This is a very subtle treatment of drop-shadow which can make proud elements that you want to highlight or bring to slight prominence.

Embossment:

This is similar to the subtle drop-shadow effect, it helps cue the user into the functionality and implies functionality.  This is one of the issues with a strictly flat design is that distinguishing functional interactive elements from non-interactive elements.

 

The Ugly

Texture:

This just seems a little ham-handed and is a hold over to the pre iOS7 design.  I'm not saying that you can't have texture in a semi-flat treatment, but flat is all about style and polish.  If you haven't noticed already the keyword is subtle.

When designing the Transit & Trails app for iOS devices, we wanted to create a look consistent with the branding already established by the Transit & Trails website. When it comes to designing interfaces, however, you've got to be careful not to come up with totally unfamiliar concepts and run the risk of confusion, a steep learning curve, and an ultimately less usable product. Creativity is necessary for good design, but it has to be balanced with careful attention to the platform and to users' expectations. To that end, here are some thoughts to keep in mind when designing for iOS:

 

 

 

 

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to the concepts mentioned above. You may well run into a situation that calls for a completely new UI element, or you may want to create your own UI from scratch and abandon the established model altogether. Whatever your objective, it's important to consider the habits that users have developed on a platform, and to diverge from the norm with intention and planning.

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