What iOS 7 Should Look Like

iOS7 home screen

Sigh. Apple’s garish new iOS 7 is deservedly getting terrible reviews all over designer-dom. Here’s one, with suggested redesigns from TristanEdwards.com:

When Apple recently showed how they had redesigned iOS, I was shocked like many other UI designers. Not because it was “flat” (we all expected it to lose some of its skeumorphic elements) but because it looked terrible and seemed so unpolished. I couldn’t believe this interface came from Apple, the company that had been praised for so many years for its legendary ease of use. After downloading the Developer’s Preview on my iPhone, I was even less enthusiastic, not only did it look bad, but it worked bad as well. The ease of use that defined iOS was gone.

Some would argue that it’s just a new style and takes some getting used to. I’ve tried for several days now to “get used to it”, I’ve used my phone more intensely than ever, but it just doesn’t work. The design is bad. Some things, like good symmetry and combining the right colors, never go out of style, it’s just good taste.

For that reason, I started creating a mock-up of my own version of iOS 7. This is how I believe Apple should have done it.

The home screen

Okay, let’s get started, this is what the home screen currently looks like on iOS 7. Yikes! What’s up with those neon colors and the horrible glyphs?!

iOS homescreen

This is what I’m suggesting:

iOS homescreen redoA short walkthrough of the most important icons:

  • Photos: This one was largely inspired by Philipp Antoni. I think it looks so much better without all the white space, it feels more like a flower, and less like the NBC logo.
  • Weather & Clock: Both should display live data like widgets. The clock icon actually does this in iOS 7, but it still looks bad.
  • Notes & Reminders: These ones seem almost too easy, but Apple still managed to blow it. A post it note for Notes, and a checkmark for Reminders, it’s so simple!
  • Game center: I don’t really get the colored blobs, but I guess they’re supposed to be “playful”. However, Game Center is all about ranks so I believe the icon should reflect that, hence the use of a trophy.
  • iTunes Store & App Store: The circled icons that Apple used in iOS 6 aren’t bad, but I think a subtle awning makes them feel even more like shopping apps (+ they look cleaner!).
  • Settings: This one also seems impossible to mess up if you’re going for a “simple” style, but Apple decided to use… something really weird instead.

Why it’s better: By using a more “matte” style instead of flat neon icons, third party apps can still blend in with the default apps. This is crucial if Apple wants the OS to continue to look consistent, because there is no way all developers are going to go back and redo the icons for all of their 900 000 apps!

Widgets

It’s amazing that Apple still doesn’t seem to understand the power of having home screen widgets, even after 7 different versions of their mobile OS.

I absolutely love Max Rudberg’s resizeable icon concept, so I decided to share some ideas on how Apple could use it in some of their apps:

The first app that comes in mind when you think of widgets is of course Weather. I believe this approach would make iOS 7 feel fantastic:

iOS7 Weather widget

iOS Widgets should of course have a few standard sizes (relative to app icon sizes) in order to keep the OS clean, like 2×2, 3×1… etc.

Here are some other ideas I came up with:

iOS7 Stocks widget iOS7 Maps widget iOS7 Newsstand widget iOS7 Calendar widget

Why it’s important: Widgets are one of the top reasons why many people choose Android over iOS today. By extending the flexibility of the home screen, Apple could do some amazing things and open up an entire new world for developers as well!

[Full article]

Smartphone Tracker Gives Doctors Remote Viewing Powers

Why It Matters: Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes could benefit if doctors had a way to tell when they stopped taking their medication.

This novel way of keeping tabs on patients is one of several studies of an app called Ginger.io taking place at hospitals in the United States. Once installed on patients’ smartphones, the app silently logs data about what they do and where they go. It’s looking for signs that something in their life has changed.

The company that makes the app, also called Ginger.io, was spun out of MIT’s Media Lab in 2011 from a group that applies computer algorithms to mobile-phone data to learn about the health of individuals and entire populations (see “Big Data from Cheap Phones”). That work, sometimes called “reality mining,” has shown that shifts in how people use their phones, and where they go, can reflect the onset of a cold, anxiety, or stress.

Anmol Madan, cofounder and CEO of Ginger.io, says that research suggested a new, inexpensive way to automate monitoring of people with conditions like diabetes or mental illness. They generally care for themselves, taking drugs at home, but they often stop taking medication if they get depressed. Then they run up medical bills when they have to see a doctor.

The Ginger.io app doesn’t diagnose patients directly. But it does warn that a person’s behavior has changed in ways that are linked to what doctors call “noncompliance” with a drug or treatment plan. With the app silently logging those changes, says Madan, “now the doctor or nurse can get a sense of the patient’s life and help as needed.”

Ginger.io is available in both the Android and Apple app stores, but it can be activated only by a hospital or health-care company. Once installed, Ginger.io takes a few days to record the normal patterns of a person’s life. It collects motion data from a phone’s accelerometers; notes the places a person visits; logs the timing, duration, and recipients of phone calls; and records patterns in text messaging. After that, algorithms watch for any significant deviations and notify hospital staff if they occur.

Why It Matters: Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes could benefit if doctors had a way to tell when they stopped taking their medication. One of the hospitals and health-care companies testing Ginger.io is Novant Health, which operates the Forsyth Medical Center and 13 other medical centers across the Carolinas and Virginia. Matthew Gymer, Novant’s director of innovation, says his group approached Ginger.io because it wanted an “early warning system” that could cut the number of times patients came to its clinics. Gymer declined to say how many patients are involved in Novant’s trial, but Madan says tests of Ginger.io typically start with hundreds of patients.

Eight months after Ginger.io was installed on the smartphones of some diabetes patients, it’s still too soon to say what the financial and health effects have been. But Gymer says patients “love the app because they have quicker access to caregivers” and that Novant is considering expanding the test to patients with heart problems or chronic back pain.

In the Novant trial, nurses respond to alerts generated by the app, but Madan says his company is working now on how to automate interaction with patients, too. For people with Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, an automated message might ask about stomach pain, which may be an effective way to catch people on the verge of a flare-up. Other automatic responses the company is testing are a bit further from the methods of traditional medicine. “We’ve also explored the idea of sending a funny picture,” says Madan, “or messaging a patient’s friend suggesting they call.”

[Full article]

Interactive Map of the Internet App by Peer 1

Map of the internet

Map of the internetFrom laughingsquid.com:

(Click here for interactive map)

Peer 1 Hosting has created an interactive Map of the Internet app that lets users explore the internet’s infrastructure. The app displays a global view, a network view, and a chronological view that shows the evolution of the internet from 1994 to today and even predicts what the internet might look like in 2020. The Map of the Internet app is available now for iOS and Android in the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

[Full article]