January 14, 2014

Get Real: iOS7 Product Improvements and the User Experience


Hostway Team

ios7It’s been a few months since the release of iOS7, and most Apple customers have upgraded their mobile devices. Whether you love or hate it – or simply just grin and bear the new interface – it’s worth looking back at the rationale for the radically new design and its impact on user experience.

Apple’s redesign goes deeper than aesthetics. The interface itself shifted from static to dynamic – the parallax platform is not controlled by pre-programmed animation and graphics, but by physical behavior controlled by the user. The result is a visual bouncing between screens as they shift, slide and zoom. For some Apple users, the effect induces a bit of motion sickness.

The reason for Apple’s shift in iOS7 is a sound one – parallax not only opens the door for better compatibility across mobile platforms, but also dramatically improves user experience. Rather than leveraging technologies such as Flash – which Apple does not use – parallax deploys true animation. This translates into apps that are more dynamic, more flexible, and controlled more thoroughly by user interaction.

Ideally, we’ll soon see iOS and its associated apps begin exploring these new capabilities. Whether you’re planning version 2.0 or 10.0, you should always remember:

Beta Testing. Test, test, and test some more. The closer you are to a project, the larger your blinders are. Solid feedback from a variety of customers can be the difference between a solid launch and a major flop.

Don’t Fall in Love. It’s easy to get caught up on one specific feature. Sometimes that feature is the death of the project. If it’s not working, let it go. You may be surprised at the result – you may even like the product better without it. If that feature is still vital to retain competitiveness or customer loyalty, it can be worked into subsequent releases.

Remember the 80/20 Rule. You’re better off launching a product with 80% of the features functioning in precision than not launching at all. That extra 20% can cause unnecessary delays or scope creep. In some instances, that extra effort can delay a release indefinitely. There’s always going to be room for development, and you have to be wise enough to know when to proceed. Baby steps forward are better than no steps at all.

Development is a marathon that often takes unexpected turns. Prioritizing features is a delicate process that requires compromises. A balance between requirements of the competitive landscape and customer loyalty must always be taken into consideration, but so should realistic expectations. Apple’s iOS7 release may not have been perfect, but it laid a very solid foundation for the next phase of development.

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