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Usability, not 'flat' design, key to Monday's iOS refresh

Gregg Keizer | June 11, 2013
14-year veteran of Apple UI/UX design calls flat a fad

While iOS 7 won't be put to the test until customers have it in hand — and that won't be until this fall when Apple launches a new iPhone — Tognazzini hoped to see a revamp that stressed usability as much as design.

"I think the highest grade I'd give Apple [on UI and UX] would be a "B" at this point," Tognazzini said. "There are too many loose ends, and decisions made for that 15 minutes [in the store] when those decisions carry over into the next 10 years."

There's a lot on the line with iOS, which powers the two largest money makers in Apple's stable, the iPhone and iPad. The changes, if as widespread as rumored, will be the most significant made to Apple's products under the watch of CEO Tim Cook. A misstep could damage the iPhone's reputation and have long-term ramifications, just as the ones made by Microsoft with Windows 8 echo eight months after its debut.

But Tognazzini was optimistic. "The potential [at Apple] is there for great work ... they have the best people in the world [in design]. I think Apple can be a lot more creative [in UI/UX] than before, when everything had to go through Steve [Jobs]," said Tognazzini, explaining the past failures to that bottleneck.


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