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Thoughts, musings, and adventures of a user experience designer and front-end developer

iOS7 Phone Application Review

I recently updated my iPhone to Apple’s newest operating system, iOS7. This update brought significant changes to the iPhone, one of which is the redesign of the Keypad Screen within the “Phone” application. However, three changes to the Keypad Screen seem pretty questionable from a user experience perspective:

1. Button availability: In previous versions, the “Delete” and the “Add to Contacts” buttons were always available to the users (see Image 1). In iOS7 those buttons are now hidden to the user, and only become available once the user begins to dial a phone number (see Image 2).

iOS6 compare to iOS7

2. Button location: In iOS 6 the “Delete” and “Add to Contacts” buttons were at the bottom near the call button (see Image 1). In iOS 7 the buttons were moved to the top of the screen near the number to be dialed (see Image 2). This new placement of the “Add to Contacts” button looks squeezed between the number to be dialed and the digits, leaving little room for people with fingers larger than a baby’s to confidently press the “Add to Contacts” button instead of the digit “2.”

3. Different design: Instead of big wide buttons in iOS 6 (see Image 1), the “Delete” button in iOS 7 is now a small icon, and the “Add to Contact” button appears as a link. Although the hit target of these buttons is 44X44 PX in iOS 7, following Apple’s Human Interface design guidelines, they are visually smaller than this target. This can leave a user unsure if they are targeting the right button.

Even I, a savvy iPhone user, was a bit confused when I used the Phone application after installing iOS 7.  I question whether these changes have actually improved the phone application’s user experience, or were just done to follow Apple’s new “flat design” approach.  It will be interesting to see if Apple modifies the Phone application going forward.

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