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Evolution of design and UX through iOS

| Wednesday, August 29, 2018

With iOS 12 getting debugged and finalized for public released, it has been interesting to see how iOS and its design element has changed over a decade since unveiling of the original iPhone. Before it was even called iOS, the operating system that powered iPhone was just simply called iPhone OS. Its user interface was based on skeuomorphism and design cues were taken from real-life objects to imitate its appearance. Anyone who has owned an iPhone 5 or earlier generations of the iPhone can probably remember how the ‘Notes’ app was designed to look like a legal pad or the ‘Game Center’ center that looked like a pool table with faux felt texture and glossy wooden finish. Now if you open up the ‘Notes’ app, you will just see a minimalistic design with white background and yellow accents for special navigation or task buttons. The same minimalism approach applies to the ‘Game Center’ app. It no longer has any textural element to it. These two are just a few of the changes since the skeuomorphism days of iOS. Obviously, the entire sets of icons, as well as fonts and user interface such as device unlocking, have gone through a major overhaul.

Now, iOS wasn’t the only operating system that went through a minimalistic design change nor was it the first one to do so. There was Windows 8 that horribly tried to transition to flat UI from Windows 7. There were also a bunch of earlier websites and graphic designs that reflect upon the global change towards minimalistic design. However, iOS is more intriguing to observe because it is like dendrochronology, or tree-ring, dating of modern day technology and design. Unlike Windows phone or other technologies that have been short-lived, iOS has become a modern day tool and necessity that won’t die anytime soon. In the future, it can be used as a measure of technological advancements and evolution of design by looking at features such as voice assistant (Siri) and series of UI changes that have been made to iOS.

It is interesting to see the future of iOS and how it will impact our lives. iOS used to have a ‘Slide to Unlock’ feature on the lock screen with a realistic looking button and a glossy texture. It eventually got removed once Touch ID, the finger print security feature, became prominent in how we control our phones. Face ID is now the new thing and iPhone X users don’t even have to physically enter in a passcode because their face is the key. With the removal of the home button, people no longer double press to view recent app or press a button to go to home screen. Instead, they have to slide up to reveal a card stack of recent apps or slide up further to go back to home.

Who knows how iOS will evolve or what new features it will bring to its users? We will have to wait until the next Apple event in September.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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