I really can’t add much to this excellent review and analysis of iOS 7 by Matt Gammell. The quotes below are an excellent summation, but what you need to know if your startup is designing for iOS (or any platform for that matter) is in the rest of the article.
Matt makes the point, that this is about removing boundaries and getting users to the task at hand and treating application interfaces as content, not something that needs to be in the users face. We should be treating all of our applications as canvasses for our users rather than our applications that need to shine.
It’s amazing to look back at the evolution of our technology since I began over 25 years ago. Simplicity is not about click this button, but rather about get out of the way and he is right, that the current generation of users has evolved and matured, but I could hand iOS 7 to my parents that have never used a smartphone and they would get it immediately.
What is the end goal of your application’s functionality? What do you want your user to be able to accomplish?
In the field of user experience, there’s a huge and unhelpful overemphasis on similarity, familiarity, and the ability to formally reason about interfaces. People are more nuanced. We respond based not only on experience or reason, but also on emotion and intuition.
Too many interfaces run immediately to the well-worn toolbox of simulation and explicitness, imposing a cognitive straitjacket not only on the user, but also the designer. We too easily forget that the only thing that matters to people are their goals: their own tasks, and content. With limited attention, we want to devote our focus to what’s important, rather than distractions and artifice masquerading as design traditions.
Apple’s philosophy – and particular genius – has always been in sieving the demands of users, technologies and the cultural zeitgeist, and finding the right hundred things to remove for every one thing to keep. I care about what my devices can help me do, and how they can enhance my life. I don’t care about patting a designer on the head, or being distracted from what truly matters.