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user experience & design

Apple’s new iOS features and the importance of a UX redesign

Chris Powers
July 9th, 2020
5 MINUTE READ

man holding iphone with ios14 above macbook air

Back in June, Apple unveiled iOS 14, its latest software for the iPhone—along with updates to macOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS—at its 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). During its first virtual conference, Apple debuted some of the most significant UX and UI changes to an Apple product in recent memory. The iOS 14 announcement raised some eyebrows for longtime users—namely due to the fact that many of these changes appear to be cribbed from that other popular mobile operating system.

That’s right, many of the changes in iOS 14 will look familiar to Android users. First, Apple has finally scrapped its static home screen, incorporating functionality for widgets—a longtime fan favorite for Android diehards. Then, there’s the new “App Library.” Essentially the same feature as the app list view in Android, this allows a user to sift through all apps installed on their phone, even if they are not currently featured on the home page. Apple even unveiled its own Translate app, designed to compete directly with the ever-popular Google Translate. And updates aren’t just afoot for mobile. Apple is set to debut some pretty sizable changes with its new desktop operating system, macOS Big Sur.

Long seen as a trendsetter in the UX/UI space, many see Apple shifting to a more populist approach to user experience. Detractors will say the company is foregoing its historically innovative and au courant approach to design in favor of adopting well-established features in order to stay competitive in the mobile space. A more optimistic view assumes that Apple is simply listening to its users and making changes to suit their needs.

Remember, this isn’t the first time Apple has pushed the boundaries of its bullish design choices. Many forget that Apple was the first to remove the optical drive from its desktop and laptop devices. It was the first to add Wi-Fi to every machine. It was the first to remove nearly all ports from their laptop line. And who can forget the dreaded removal of the headphone jack from all iPhones? From a pure software design perspective, iOS was completely rebuilt back in 2013 with Sir Jony Ive’s flat design that many credit as transitioning modern design away from skeuomorphic realism into subtle gradients, shading, and specific font use. Now, nine years later, with Ive recently departed, his replacement, Alan Dye, is ushering in a new stylistic update that many are referring to as “neomorphic design.”

This stuff isn’t rocket science. Who better to provide input on how your operating system should work than actual users. Apple is practicing one of the key tenets of good UX design: a commitment to continuous improvement.

Good UX is adaptable

This commitment is the foundation of the UX redesign process. Often thought of as a massive overhaul for your app or website, the truth is UX redesigns can vary greatly in complexity. Maybe you need to simply adjust how products are categorized on an eCommerce site to ensure customers can easily find what they are looking for. Or, your entire app may need to be redesigned from the ground up to compliment an overhaul of your brand. UX redesigns come in all shapes and sizes, but the fact of the matter is all companies will have to go through them at one point or another. Yes, even Apple. And all successful UX redesigns incorporate a key set of tactics.

Conduct a UX audit

You know your website or app could perform better, or you need to adjust your UX to comply with new brand standards. But where do you start?

A UX audit provides a detailed analysis of a digital platform’s user experience. It places the entire digital platform under a microscope, sifting through each and every component and documenting how well those components contribute to the site’s overarching goals. UX audits provide designers with essential background on components that are contributing to and impeding on a platform’s usability.

Analyze your brand

In order to ensure your UX redesign is reflective of your brand, you need to know your brand inside and out. Understand your purpose. Articulate your value proposition. Identify your audience. Drill down to the nitty-gritty of what makes your brand tick—and how it connects with your users.

Research, research, research

If you want to understand what your users value most in your app or website—and what they don’t like—you’ll need to contact extensive user research. Conduct a thorough investigation of your users’ wants, needs, motivations, and goals. Use generative research methods like user interviews to gather specific feedback and ideas on what users currently like about your product, as well as what they think needs improvement. Use this information to inform your design changes.

The research phase isn’t over after you’ve implemented UX changes. Conduct evaluative research—like A/B testing, remote usability testing, and tree testing—to analyze how well your design changes solve the issues your users had with your product prior to the redesign. Listening to your users and getting valuable, actionable feedback is at the heart of any successful UX redesign.

Redesigning for the future

A UX redesign in a fundamental component of any digital product’s lifecycle. Take it from Apple, even the best, most intuitive digital experiences need to be revisited repeatedly to ensure they are meeting the wants and needs of their users. Conducting a successful audit of your current UX, ensuring any changes you make align with your brand, and leaving room for extensive user research will help you make impactful decisions that refine, revamp, and reestablish your product.

Interested in learning how a UX redesign could improve your digital products? Talk to Codal today.

Chris Powers
AUTHOR

Chris Powers

Chris is a Content Marketing Specialist at Codal. With a background in journalism and marketing, Chris has written about a variety of tech topics, including open source, fintech, and cybersecurity. Chris loves taking on new challenges with just a pen, paper, and his brain

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