Where Apple design is headed in 2014

As it stands now, iOS 7 is a series of solvable problems. The things you could label as deficiencies are mostly a result of that swinging pendulum—an overcorrection of skeuomorphism. So what comes next is most likely balance and refinement. Buttons might not need to look like they’re being physically pressed if you tap them, but some feedback is useful. Text-label buttons (such as Send in Messages) don’t need to be visually heavy, but it’s generally better to give users a sense of tap target size.

Dave Wiskus, Where Apple design is headed in 2014.

I’m glad Dave picked buttons as an example of the pendulum swinging too far towards visual minimalism, as they’re easily my most-detested design change in iOS 7. And he’s right that buttons don’t need to be visually heavy. As Jared Sinclair put it so well a while back:

For buttons, touchability requires something different. Touchable buttons need borders. By “borders” I don’t mean outlines, (although outlines are included in my usage of the word). I mean borders in a broader sense. A button is a tappable area, clearly delineated from the un-tappable content around it by an obvious border.

Thankfully iOS 7.1 reintroduces the option to display button shapes, albeit hidden away under accessibility options:

Photo 11.03.14 13 44 25

I’m not the biggest fan of their visual appearance (I think a thin outline might’ve worked better than the grey background), but I consider them a huge improvement nonetheless. iOS 7.1 is already shaping up to be a solid improvement on iOS 7, so let’s hope they continue to refine these foundations in iOS 8.