“The main thing in our design is that we have to make things intuitively obvious”
– Steve Jobs
This quote represents one of Jobs’ principal design philosophies, and is something that Apple successfully maintained for several years. Apple was one of the main driving forces that led to instruction manuals being excluded from new technology products. Although Apple included a small “Getting Started” leaflet, it was almost unnecessary. Their products were designed in such a way that owners of new devices didn’t need to read any documentation, the products were intuitive in their own right. This is especially true of the original iPhone. If a user wanted to use the phone, they simply pressed the phone icon. Likewise, if a user wanted to access their music, they just pressed the music icon. From there, they could sort their music as they liked with one press, swapping between artists and albums, for example.
Perhaps the best part of the original iPhone’s design is the Home Button. If the user got lost, all they had to do was press the big button underneath the screen, instantly returning them to the home screen. This feature, although basic, was quite intuitive and easy enough for anyone to learn quickly, not just tech enthusiasts. Similarly, a user could double press the Home Button to see all of their open apps.
This is no longer the case with Apple’s latest and greatest iPhone, the iPhone X. After 10 years, the iPhone X has thrown out this, and many other intuitive concepts. Even the name isn’t intuitive. It’s spelt ‘X’, but spoken as ’10’. Although X is the Roman Numeral for 10, a large portion of the population is confused and says the letter ‘X’, rather than the number ‘X’.
Owners of the new iPhone X have to re-learn basic iOS functions, such as how to return to the Home screen. It used to be that swiping up from the bottom of the screen would open the Control Centre; doing this on an iPhone X will instead go to the Home screen. To open the Control Centre you will need to swipe down from the top-right of the screen. Make sure that you don’t swipe down from the top-centre of the screen though, as you will open up the Notification Centre instead. To open the Multitasking screen, you will need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen slowly then stop, holding your thumb on the screen. Intuitive, right? If your lost Apple has created an article to explain all of the new gestures. Although, if the design of the iPhone X followed Apple’s intuitive trend, such an article would never need to exist.
Additionally, to unlock the phone you now need to swipe up, instead of pressing the Home Button or swiping right.
So, what is the solution to Apple’s awful user experience? COPY ANDROID. Seriously. Several Android devices use on screen buttons for home and multitasking (including both Samsung’s and Google’s latest offerings). The Android Notifications Centre and Control Centre are combined under one location. Both of these result in a user experience that is much easier to learn and remember, not to mention that it is much more intuitive.