Recently I was asked to plan for a redesign of our app to incorporate the new iOS8 features. Immediately I found myself in some weeds on where to start researching what I could do. Most sites say not many “design updates” are needed to accommodate larger screen sizes since scaling the screens is already built in. So I set out to review the new features offered by iOS 8.
With iOS7 we saw many aesthetic updates, which as a designer is easier to visualize how to update the look and feel of your own app.
With iOS8 there are more adaptive UI updates and less aesthetic changes. There are a few subtle changes such as icons changing from outlines to solids. But nothing as drastic as the iOS 7 update.
Control Panel iOS 7 (left) and iOS 8 (right)
The 1st obvious place was to take a look at the iOS Human Interface Guidelines. This is a great place to start for visual suggestions.
It is hard not to stumble upon the many news articles that review the update. Here are three that provide a good overview.
Why iOS 8 is an important update:
What’s new in iOS 8:
Details on UI in iOS 8 (plus a comprehensive list of links to other features):
Getting into more details, I found talking with one of our app developers was a key component to learn about what changes we should make. He was much more familiar with how the new native features will function and will compliment design needs. Getting his recommendations on what I should learn about is helping me to not go down a path where the design looks great in concept but ends up in a poor experience.
He pointed me in the direction of several WWDC 2014 videos. A few speak more towards developers work flow and a couple are more design oriented. Designing with these features in mind should result in a much more efficient creation process.
o Building Adaptive Apps with UIKit
o View Controller Advancements
o What’s New in Table and Collection Views
o Designing Intuitive User Experiences
o Prototyping: Fake It Till You Make It
Last I wanted to view some examples to see in practice how the new features are being implemented in other apps. Since iOS8 is fairly new there are not many examples that have been released yet. However there are more and more showing up so I will keep my eye out as I move forward with my designs.
The home page of http://beautifulpixels.com has several reviews of apps that have iOS8 updates.
Luke Wroblewski http://www.lukew.com has created some valuable videos and presentations for up to date best practices.
Mercury.io has a free .ai download of an iOS 8 UI kit. Here you can see and get started with your designs using some of the UI elements from this kit. They also have a kit for iOS 7 if you want to make direct visual comparisons to get a better feel for the update.
Throughout my research I’ve sketched a few ideas, taken loads of notes and have plenty of ideas. I'd like to take a look at various places we could take advantage of the size classes and possibly the split view. We do not currently support a landscape view and some of these new tools might help us design that into our experience.
My next steps will be to reconnect with my team discuss their ideas as well and decide what's next.