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Nat!

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Cpt. Obvious compares the iOS7 and iOS6 weather app

If you're writing an iOS app, you should occasionally look at the guidelines. Well I started my current project when iOS 5 was just at the end and iOS 6 began. So I read the iOS 5 and iOS 6 guidelines, but so far I didn't read the iOS7. (Here is a link to the current iOS guidelines.)

Anyway on the first page there is the comparison between "Weather in iOS 7" and "Weather in iOS 6", and here are a list of my "obvious" observations about the differences taken just from those two screenshots.

image: ../Art/weather_app_7_2x.png image: ../Art/weather_app_6_2x.png
  1. The iOS7 screenshot looks very washed out compared to iOS6
  2. iOS7 goes for a HUD display kind of theme, whereas iOS6 looks like a "Dashboard Widget" (device within a device)
  3. In iOS6 because of the colors and the space covered by the graphics and the contrast, you see two stripes of suns and a large sun on top
  4. in iOS6 The weather is the primary focus.
  5. In iOS7 there is some competition between colored areas in the middle and bottom and the large square area on top, where I think the large square area wins, because of the space around it and because it's on top. But because the font is so thin it looks almost ornamental getting a bit lost in the photorealistic background.
  6. in iOS7 the temperature is the primary focus.
  7. iOS7 doesn't show the ° on smaller numbers, but it does show them on the large number.
  8. iOS7 is missing the H: L: prefixes for the local current weather high and low
  9. iOS6 inconsistenly missed the ° on the H: L: values
  10. iOS7 weather graphics look more like regular colored text then pixeled graphics.
  11. iOS7 is missing the "Updated" information
  12. iOS7 adds a "Mostly Sunny" to the display
  13. iOS7 shows the sunset time
  14. iOS7 shows 6 hour/sunset values completely
  15. iOS6 shows 5 values completely and 1 partly
  16. iOS6 displays "local weather", where as iOS7 displays "Tuesday" Today
  17. in iOS7 due to the missing labeling, the line "Tuesday Today 72 52" by color shading suggests, that 72 is for Tuesday and 52 stands for today. It's not even clear that these are temperatures.
  18. iOS7 displays the temperature as NOW a second time, prominently in bold
  19. iOS6 uses a lighting model with at least two light sources, one from above and one from below
  20. iOS6 uses ornamental pin stripes for sub separation and a separate background color for separation
  21. iOS7 uses ornamental pin stripes for separation and just space for subseparation
  22. iOS7 has some lensflare going, suggesting a light source in the upper left corner
  23. iOS6 has a paging indicator at the bottom
  24. iOS7 has no shadows
  25. iOS7 has a photorealistic background

Critique

My stipulation is, that when people look at the weather widget, they want to know if there's gonna be a change in weather. The temperature is comparatively secondary. iOS7 reverses this by putting the intended prominence on the temperature. It's interesting to see that iOS7 adds a "Mostly Sunny" to the UI, indicating some kind of indecision about the use of the background as a primary source of information. In terms of pixels painted, iOS7 makes more room for the background than the foreground, due to thinner fonts, smaller fonts and less space covered by graphics. The washed out look, further enhances the impression, that the background is supposed to be the most important past of the UI.

I think it's a bad idea, because every human brain has been trained to shut out the background to stay focused. The mismatch of "Mostly Sunny" and 70° shows that the app is more focused on "Temperature" now instead of "Weather.", losing the app's focus as well.

In my opinion both apps suck, but the iOS7 app is now worse than the iOS6 app. The device within a device widget of iOS6 is just a bad look for a iOS device (would be OK as homescreen widget for Android). The iOS7 app goes crazy with the idea that the background is king and forgets UI and psychology basics. A mixture of photorealistic backgrounds mixed with stripped down UI elements, makes no sense to me.

That this is the prominent example of the "iOS Human Interface Guidelines" for iOS6 to iOS7 conversion, leaves me wondering...