A plea for human rather than digital authenticity

With iOS 7 Apple famously - and loudly - removed the rich textures of icons and interfaces past and went with the current trend of flatter, more solid, and more type-centric design. Yet with OS X on the Mac, and the just-releaed Logic Pro X, they not only kept a lot of rich design, they embraced all sorts of virtual knobs, switches, and panels. So what's a sane trend follower to do? David Barnard has some ideas:

Many have touted iOS 7 as Apple's break from skeuomorphism, and that's true if we apply its strictest definition, but in iOS 7 Apple chose to double down on physicality and the use of real world metaphors. Creating a physics engine for the user interface is most certainly not digital authenticity. While designing for iOS 7 and beyond, usability should always trump ideology and aesthetic. Beauty can enhance usability, but ultimately we're creating software for people to use, not stare at in awe. That's where texture heavy design went wrong, and that's where "digitally authentic" design will likely stumble as well.

David's absolutely right. Texture or lack thereof aren't important, usability is important. If the richness of design makes an app more approachable and usable, it's good. If it distracts or disorients, it's not good. Likewise flatter design.

Nature is full of texture, but most of the time it isn't noisy or superfluous about it. One of the most important elements in design is contrast, and contrast isn't just light and dark, but solid and textured. iOS 7's texture is in layers of blurred colored, and in movement against stillness.

We'll see what developers do with it soon enough. In the meantime, check out the rest of David's post.

Source: David Barnard