UI Stories May 9, 2016

Concept imagines a simplistic iTunes/Apple Music redesign for Mac [Gallery]

If you haven’t heard, iTunes and Apple Music are about to get a refresh from Apple that will hopefully fix a lot of our ongoing issues with the apps while also introducing some fresh visuals. This isn’t that redesign, but a concept from graphic designer Thadeu Brandão showing how Apple could revamp iTunes on the desktop while integrating Apple Music and simultaneously getting rid of much of the clutter in the current design.

UI Stories November 16, 2015

Early Mac UI designers say Apple has abandoned many of its human interface design principles

Two of the early Mac user-interface designers argue in a lengthy FastCo piece that Apple has abandoned many of its original human interface design principles in both OS X and iOS, and a switch to an alphabetic rather than hierarchical list seemingly puts aesthetics above all else.

Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini say that five of “the most important principles” are now “largely or completely missing in iOS”:

  • discoverability – having all possible actions be visible
  • feedback & feedforward – making it obvious what a function will do, and what it has done
  • recovery – the ability to undo a mistake, or get back to where you were before
  • consistency – using the same gestures across platforms and hardware
  • encouraging growth – helping people tackle more complex tasks when they’ve mastered the basics

Norman and Tognazzini also say that Apple violates many of Dieter Rams’ design principles, a German designer who Steve Jobs has said greatly influenced his own thinking. They say that Apple prioritizes Rams’ 10th principle – “good design is as little design as possible” – over the other nine.

I’d note that iOS 9 tackles one of their criticisms, offering an easy ‘Back to’ function when a link has taken you out of the app you were using, but it’s an interesting read.

UI Stories October 25, 2015

The Logic Pros-Delay Designer-016

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we are continuing our tour of some of Logic’s most powerful in-house effects and tools. Delay FX are one of the most commonly used and versatile options in any producer/programmers arsenal, and Logic Pro X’s built-in Delay Designer happens to be one of our favorite options out there: expand full story

UI Stories October 4, 2015

In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we are looking at one of LPX’s most over-looked features, the MIDI FX Arpeggiator. A somewhat new option for Logic users, these FX offer a number of interesting ways to create patterns, sounds and more on any Audio Instrument in your library: expand full story

UI Stories September 1, 2015

Concept imagines Apple TV 4 UI w/ Siri, App Store, and more ahead of next week’s refresh

Ahead of a next-generation Apple TV expected to get an official unveiling at Apple’s press event next week, this concept from Andrew Ambrosino imagines a revamped user interface for the device.

We’ve reported extensively on the yet-to-be-announced, next-generation Apple TV and much of the concept from Ambrosino takes into account our reports regarding new features for the device. Most notably, we reported that Apple is currently planning Siri support, a new dedicated remote control, App Store access, and iOS 9’s improved Proactive search features.

The concept considers many of these features for the new Apple TV that will inevitably include a new UI to accommodate new functionality and navigation. However, with that in mind, we reported earlier that the overall aesthetic of the new Apple TV’s software will largely remain the same.

Earlier this month we reported that the fourth-generation Apple TV would arrive for customers in October for under $200 while Apple plans to keep the current, third-generation Apple TV around minus some of the new features included with the new hardware.

Apple is currently planning to unveil its next-generation Apple TV alongside new iPhone hardware and more at its press event scheduled for September 9th.

More images from Ambrosino’s concept below:

UI Stories August 13, 2015

antonio-de-rosa-iphone-7-concept-3

As regular readers will know, it took a little while for the Apple Watch to really grow on me. But even back when I wasn’t convinced I needed a smartwatch, I still had to admire the design. And the Digital Crown was a large part of how Apple got the smartwatch right when others hadn’t yet cracked it. A fundamental problem with a small touchscreen is that touching it covers up much of the content. The Digital Crown overcomes that, allowing us to scroll content without our thumb getting in the way.

But while today’s iPhone screens may be larger than they used to be, they are still pretty small in the scheme of things. Scrolling with a thumb still covers up a chunk of the content. Worse, it’s easy to accidentally tap on targets accidentally including ads. There have been numerous occasions since using Apple Watch when my thumb started absent-mindedly reaching for the non-existent Digital Crown on my iPhone …  expand full story

UI Stories July 1, 2015

applemusic1x

Like many other people, I signed up for Apple Music yesterday because it was intriguing and free. Having skipped earlier subscription music services, I didn’t have Spotify playlists to worry about losing or importing, and I hadn’t experienced truly unlimited access to a giant music selection before. Apple Music’s sign-up process turned out to be great: attractive, simple, and just personal enough to learn my tastes without feeling creepy. It’s also likely to win long-term customers: sign up your family, and after 3 months, someone’s going to insist on keeping Apple Music (or just forget to cancel it).

But once the sign-up process is over, Apple Music repeats a mistake that Apple made earlier this year with the Apple Watch: throwing users into the deep end of a big new pool without adequate guidance. Despite all the talk of importantly human-curated content, Apple Music is oddly and robotically silent when it should be actively guiding new customers through a brand new service. In prior years, Apple held back products until they were polished enough that anyone could use them immediately. These days, Apple releases major products with enough rough software edges that customers and reviewers are (rightfully) complaining about learning curves and unintuitive interfaces.

As of today, Apple has a new VP of User Interface Design, Alan Dye, who is taking over software-side responsibilities from Apple’s vaunted design chief Jony Ive. In light of the Apple Watch and Apple Music launches, both of which were criticized for unnecessarily complex user interfaces, I’d respectfully suggest to Mr. Dye that fixing this problem should be a top priority…

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UI Stories April 2, 2015

Applewatch2-copy

WIRED has posted a new story on the Apple Watch, which revolves around interviews with Apple human interface designer Alan Dye and Apple’s VP Technology Kevin Lynch, who heads Apple Watch software. The piece shines new light on the foundation of the smartwatch project at Apple as well as some new details about the product — which ships later this month.

Amusingly, Lynch did not know what he would be working on when he accepted the Apple job. He walked into the role with the project already underway; early ‘experiments’ from the iPod team with click-wheels and such. Dye says that the idea for a watch blossomed during design meetings for iOS 7, Apple’s major software overhaul.

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UI Stories October 21, 2014

Vine iPhone update adds iPhone 6/Plus enhancements, iOS 8 share extension, & more

The Vine iPhone app today received an updated to version 3.0.0 and with it comes UI enhancements and full support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users. Also included in today’s update is a new share extension for iOS 8, allowing users to take advantage of the new feature for quickly sharing videos from camera roll or other apps to Vine.

Other improvements include a new “+” button for quickly following channels and having featured posts appear in your home feed. The company said it also “updated the app to look great on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus,” which allows the app to display more content on the larger displays of the new iPhones. 

The updated Vine app for iPhone is available on the App Store. A full list of what’s new in version 3.0.0 is below:

What’s New in Version 3.0.0

This release is packed with updates that help you find great Vines to watch, take advantage of iOS 8 extensions, and improve Vine for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. – Follow channels: Tap the new “+” button at the top of any Vine channel to get select featured posts from that channel right in your home feed! – Share extension: With the new iOS 8 share extension, it’s easier than ever to share videos directly from your camera roll or other video apps with Vine. – Easy on the eyes: We’ve also updated the app to look great on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

UI Stories April 7, 2014

Amazon updates Instant Video iOS app with iOS 7 inspired redesign

Amazon has just updated its Amazon Instant Video app, which provides access to its catalogue of over 40k movies and TV shows, with a redesign of the entire UI inspired by iOS 7.

Amazon isn’t listing any new features in the iTunes release notes other than bug fixes and stability improvements, but you’ll also find a new icon and some UI tweaks that come as part of the new redesign. The overall navigation of the app remains the same but buttons and icons within have been flattened along with streamlining of other UI elements to make the app fit in with Apple’s iOS 7 redesign.

The redesign isn’t just for iPhone users, as the iPad version has been given a similar facelift:

The updated Amazon Instant Video app version 2.4 is available now on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.

UI Stories October 11, 2013

Yelp iOS app replaces Home tab w/ new toolbar for quick access to reviews, photos, and check-ins

Yelp updated its iOS app today with a slightly tweaked UI that makes it easier for users to quickly post reviews, photos and check-in at locations. The app is getting rid of its old Home tab and now by default loads up the “Nearby” tab. In addition, the the tab in the middle along the bottom of the app now launches quick access to Check In, Review, and Photo buttons (as pictured above).

The updated app also includes “larger notification photos, better scrolling performance, updated icons and animations.”

What’s New in Version 7.2.0

New in v7.2 – We said goodbye to our homepage and hello to a beautiful new navigation that makes it even easier for you to discover great places nearby, add photos and reviews, and check in to your favorite businesses. – We also added tons of polish to our app, including larger notification photos, better scrolling performance, updated icons and animations, and a whole lot more!

UI Stories October 8, 2013

FireCore announces Infuse 2 with new design coming this fall, 1.5 update available today

FireCore, the makers of the popular aTV Flash Apple TV software announced today that their media player application Infuse will be receiving a substantial update this fall as it hits version 2.0, with a completely new UI to match iOS 7’s design aesthetic, many new Pro features, and more.

UI Stories July 8, 2013

We have already rounded up what’s new in iOS 7 beta 3 with a full change log and screenshots, and now we have created a full video hands-on to demonstrate the interface changes. As iOS 7 gets closer to shipping this fall, Apple continues to tighten up the user interface with subtle tweaks.

Video below:

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UI Stories July 3, 2013

Popular translation app iTranslate Voice adds new languages, updated UI, and more

Sonico Mobile, the developers of popular apps such as Languages and Files App today are releasing an update to one of their most successful apps, iTranslate Voice. This new update adds several new features to make translating easier, faster and more accessible.

One of the first things you’ll notice if you’re an existing iTranslate Voice user is a refreshed user interface. While it’s nothing totally new, the update provides a more modern look, without any excessive UI elements. The title bar has been removed and a new “hamburger button” has been added between the translation buttons at the bottom of the screen which can either be tapped or swiped up to reveal settings and options.

UI Stories July 1, 2013

Apps

The introduction of iOS 7 brought forth a new era of iOS design: one that discards old thinking and draws little inspiration from past designs. While Apple’s included applications in iOS 7 have all been updated for the new design aesthetic, their App Store apps haven’t. Installing any of Apple’s other applications alongside iOS 7 reveals a huge discrepancy between the old, skeuomorphic design, and the new, flatter look. Obviously, Apple will have to redesign all of their App Store applications. So, what will they look like?

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UI Stories June 26, 2013

Google Earth for iOS gets new UI w/ sidebar, Street View & improved directions/search

Google updated its Google Earth app for iOS and Android today with a few new features including a revamped interface that includes the left side panel it has been bringing to lots of its mobile apps.

Also new in version 7.1.1 of Earth is Google’s Street View feature, as well as improved directions and search with the ability to “visualize transit, walk, bike and drive directions in 3D while update search result list will let you browse search results quickly.” Google also announced that it is now making Google Earth available in over 100 countries worldwide:

Also with this release, we’re making Google Earth for mobile available in more than 100 countries worldwide, so you can start their virtual journey in Google Earth from almost anywhere on Earth. To unleash your inner explorer, check out your local Google Play store or iTunes to download the latest version of Earth for Android and iOS.

Version 7.1.1 of Google Earth for iPhone and iPad is available on the App Store now.

What’s New in Version 7.1.1

* Google Maps Street View: With Street View, you can explore the world at street level. * Improved directions/search: Updated directions let you can visualize transit, walk, bike and drive directions in 3D while update search result list will let you browse search results quickly. * Improved interface: Easily browse and enable different layers through use of new left hand panel

 

UI Stories June 24, 2013

Beta

Following its introduction earlier this month, Apple’s newest operating system has fallen under criticism and scrutiny from both designers and casual users alike. Due to both the tight development timetable and the new design direction under Jony Ive, following the removal of former iOS SVP Scott Forstall last fall, iOS 7 is, understandably, the most controversial and intriguing iOS version yet.

In response to much of the negative criticism directed towards iOS 7, some have suggested that iOS 7 will change substantially before it is released to the general public. Looking back at previous versions of iOS reveals a long trend of subtle refinements to the operating system during beta periods, not dramatic changes. Let’s take a look at how each version of iOS has transformed:

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Amazon Instant Video iOS app gets revamped UI with personalized TV & movie collections

Amazon has updated its Instant Video app for iPhone and iPad today with a revamped user interface that makes it easier to find movies and TV shows.

The improved UI includes much faster navigation of TV shows and movies thanks to a new drop down menu on the home screen of the app, as well as “a new navigation bar on the browse screens allowing you to find and switch between the different TV and movie collections.” 

Also new is “more personalized carousels on the homescreen” that provide quick access to TV shows and movies recommended for you based on your previous viewing habits.

A full list of what’s new is below:

What’s New in Version 1.4.3

We’ve made it faster and easier to find the videos you want to watch, adding a dropdown menu on the homescreen providing access to dozens of movie and TV collections. We’ve also added more personalized carousels on the homescreen, and provided a new navigation bar on the browse screens allowing you to find and switch between the different TV and movie collections.

UI Stories June 12, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 11.15.05 AM

Following WWDC this week Apple’s redesign of iOS 7 and Mavericks have been getting the majority of attention, and rightfully so, but there are a few new big features coming in iOS 7 that haven’t been discussed. This morning we told you about the new MFi Game Controller framework that will make using hardware game controllers a lot smoother in iOS 7, but another important new feature in the update is inter-app audio.

The basic idea is simple: Inter-app audio will allow developers to make their app act as an output and or input for sending and receiving audio to and from other apps. In fact, we already somewhat have that functionality through third-party iOS app Audiobus. However, with Apple’s new inter-app audio feature available to devs, apps will no longer have to use a third-party app like Audiobus to send audio to one another. At first glance it seems to make Audiobus obsolete, an interesting move after Apple just recently implemented support for the third-party service in its own GarageBand app. Either way, it means a ton of new possibilities for creating music and sharing audio on your iPhone and iPad are on the way with the update to iOS 7 this fall.

We dug into Apple’s documentation on Inter-App Audio to find out how it works and also spoke with Audiobus about what this means for them:

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UI Stories June 11, 2013

Aside from the short demos that were given on stage yesterday at WWDC, and the few screenshots on Apple’s website, Apple hasn’t shown off iOS 7 in much detail. Although developers now have access to an early beta version of the software, iOS 7 won’t be released to the general public until later this year, and an iPad version of iOS 7 hasn’t been shown off at all.

In order to give you a better idea of exactly what Apple is cooking up down in Cupertino, we’ve put together this walk-through of every redesigned application in iOS 7, showing off how they look and function.

For all of our other iOS 7 hands-on coverage, check out the links below:

-iOS 7 first Hands-On

-Changes to the camera app in iOS 7

-A look at iTunes Radio in iOS 7 

-iOS 7 first install gallery

-Subtle features and details in iOS 7 and Mavericks

A look at the changes to Apple’s new Camera app in iOS 7 [Video]

Just like the rest of iOS 7, Apple completely redesigned the camera app that it ships on all devices. Moving away from metaphors that resemble a real camera, Apple has reworked the interface and added new features, such as camera filters and a new square photo option.

Also noteworthy is the removal of shutter animation, which has been replaced by a stark fade animation when you snap a photo. Rather then describe it any further, take a look at the video above to get an idea of what you’ll see this fall when iOS 7 is released to the public.

UI Stories May 29, 2013

As expected from a previous leak earlier this month, Google just announced on its official Gmail blog that it’s rolling out a brand new UI for Gmail on both the web and mobile that brings a new Categories based UI for easier organization of emails. The Gmail-App-Categories-01screenshots below line up with the images that we posted last week showing new customizable Categories that users can assign to manage emails according to content. For example: ‘Social’ for emails related to social networks, ‘Promotions’ for promotional material, ‘Notifications’ for reservations, bills, etc, and ‘Forums’ for mailing lists and forums.

On the desktop, the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilà! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when.. You can easily customize the new inbox – select the tabs you want from all five to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab.

The update is not only rolling out to desktop users, but also to iPhone and iPad and mobile devices running Android 4.0 and up. On the mobile apps, users will first see their “Primary” inbox and can switch to other categories using the side navigation bar. Google says the new inbox is rolling out in the next few weeks but users will be able to try it sooner with a new “Configure inbox” option in Settings. expand full story

UI Stories May 22, 2013

Rdio iOS app updated with improved UI, “Find People” feature & record label search

Following a big update to the Pandora Radio app earlier today, the subscription based Rdio iPhone and iPad app has been updated today with UI improvements, a new “Find People” feature for finding artists and friends to follow, and the ability to search by record label to find artists and albums.

The updates to the app’s UI are most noticeable in a “new, cleaner look for sliding side navigation.” (as pictured to the right)

What’s New in Version 2.2

– Find People. New feature makes following friends and artists easier than ever. – Labels. Search for a record label to find its top albums and artists. – Various minor bug fixes and UI improvements, including new, cleaner look for sliding side navigation.

UI Stories May 21, 2013

Jony Ive

When Jony Ive took over the role of leadership for Apple’s Human Interface in October of last year, many speculated that the style of Apple’s design language across iOS and Mac OS X would also shift towards a flatter, more clean style. This speculation was fueled mainly by Ive’s feelings towards skeuomorphism and his minimalist design aesthetic.

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