iOS 7 and “Insta-Delete”

There’s a recent post from Dermot Daly of Tapadoo making the argument that if you don’t update your iOS app to fit iOS 7’s new design, it’s going to be an insta-delete.

I think someone needs to take a deep breath and calm down.

Let’s set aside the fact that Tapadoo is a development shop with a vested interest in on-going consulting work, and that a long line of customers reworking their design for iOS 7 could keep them busy for many months. (Update: this reads a touch more cynical than intended. There’s certainly nothing wrong with Tapadoo marketing themselves on their own blog.)

Take a look at the apps on your phone now. How many of them “fit” with iOS 6? For that matter, how many of Apple’s own apps fit with each other? So many of them make such heavy use of texture that their only similarity is the heavy texture style and nothing else. Yes, the more egregious examples are being reined in and there will be more consistency. Does anyone remember the original iPhone and the early App Store? How long was it before apps started experimenting with design and deviating from Apple’s guidelines? Why will it be any different after iOS 7 has been in everyone’s hands for a few months?

Mobile app design has long been about the device itself disappearing, seemingly purpose-built to run your app. There is no standard system chrome anywhere on the screen unless you put it there.

So sure, if you use standard system controls, it’s likely that your app will need a bit of attention to ensure no visual glitches exist on iOS 7, but this is no different than for any other major iOS release.

This “insta-delete” idea is silly, though. Most apps, especially those built by consulting companies for clients, aren’t made for extremely picky people who will be offended by yesterday’s design. If anything, Facebook’s constant redesigns should prove the opposite, that arbitrarily changing a design irritates users more.

Evaluate your app and its audience with a clear head. Maybe it needs a redesign for iOS 7, maybe it doesn’t, but there’s no need to stir up a panic about it.