Apple may not be the tastemakers they used to be: rather than something radical and bold, iOS 7 feels more like something that has brought together a lot of emerging design trends that have been out there for some time. But it’s hard to imagine today’s release still not having a massive impact on the design of not just iPhone apps, but apps developed for any platform, including the web, and web sites themselves more generally. For better or for worse (and let’s face it, there’ll be a bit of both), here’s what you can expect to see a lot more of over the next 6 months.
Helvetica Neue Ultra Light
Helvetica Neue was commissioned by Linotype in 1983 as an update to Helvetica for the digital age. Along with its variant Ultra Light then, you could see it as one of the first classic typefaces of the computerised era. Expect to see it, as well as other fine, elegant and clear typefaces, everywhere.
The Candy-Colored Clown They Call the Sandman
What exactly would you call that color scheme? Candy Store? Bubblegum? Hello Kitty? Kvetching aside though, first of all, on a superficial level, expect to see happy happy happy color everywhere. On a deeper level, the interface design trend here is less use of color as ornamentation and eye, and more subtle use of colors (albeit of eye popping neon and pastel ones) as a tool in their own right only appearing when useful to highlight data or give UX clues in an otherwise black and white context.
Much simpler icons
All those skills you’d perfected in Photoshop to design luscious, glassy, shiny, reflective 3D icons and other tidbits of interaction goodness? Forget them and start learning about 2D icons instead: and do it today, all those people who have been designing for Metro for years have got a massive head start on you :)
Newsflash: earth found to be flat afterall
On a related note, from this day forward, all the worlds you create shall be flat (until we tell you otherwise). Say goodbye to gradients, text shadows, box shadows and their ilk.
“New types of depth”
At first it seems like a contradiction, how can there be depth in a flat universe? But this may be the single stroke of overarching unique interface goodness in iOS 7. Expect to see more use of interface layering, and as you move between layers, beautiful and subtle use of translucency and transparency give context and dimensionality. And yeah, that parallax effect that creates a scarily 3 dimensional space as your peer through the portal of your screen? It’ll be interesting to see what designers might do with that in the web context.
In summary: deference, clarity and depth
These three words are being kicked around a lot. The new one to watch for mine is “deference”. This refers to the idea that the UI defers to the content – it helps users understand and interact with it, but it never competes. This will sound very familiar if you’ve been reading about the idea of the disappearing interface: more on this, and everything else that’s hot about design right now, at Web Directions South 2013 :)