iOS Without Skeuomorphism

iOS7 Game Center Concept

Game Center looks much more clean, crisp and modern without skeuomorphic design.

User interface designer Adrian Maciburko has posted a new conceptual design of what he thinks Game Center should look like without skeuomorphic elements, which are those leather or wood skins you often see in native apps. Game Center has a much cleaner appearance post-skeuomorphism, with sharp, bold lines that aren’t distracting and allow the user interface to blend into the overall iOS experience. 

“Some time ago I started to explore a crystal interface concept for iOS 7. I initially looked at the iOS notes app. Another app that I explored and applied the crystal interface concept to recently is the Game Center app. I believe the Game Center app would benefit by changing to a slide out nav instead of the tab bar,” writes Maciburko. “The reason for this is that ‘me tab’ and ‘friend requests tab’ have a lower frequency of use, unlike in say the App Store app where you move between featured, updates, top charts and search frequently when using the app, so in that case the tab bar makes sense.”

iOS 7 Notes Concept

Notes, sans skeuomorphism.

Apple recently ousted former iOS head Scott Forstall as part of a larger executive shakeup, leaving design chief Jonathan Ive in charge of all human interface. Ive is notorious for his design and engineering abilities, having played a key role in creating popular devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod. Having said that, excitement is mounting surrounding some of the changes that Ive may bring to iOS in the near future.

Let’s hope that a future iOS software update shares some design queues from Maciburko, who also recently posted what Notes could look like without skeuomorphism (see right). Again, the new Notes app has a much cleaner and modern user interface that gives iOS a more premium appearance overall. Skeuomorphic design always seemed like a step into the past, when technology is intended to move forward.

The concepts that Maciburko has designed could easily be extended to the home screen, lock screen and other aspects of iOS software, to give the platform an increasingly modern and polished finish. I think Apple did a great job designing its new Passbook app, so maybe that is a turn in the right direction that the Cupertino-based corporation will continue to take.

It’s a cold, hard fact that iOS has become a rather boring platform, at least from a design perspective, over the past few years. Apple has neglected to change the core iOS experience in over five years, instead introducing new features that make certain tasks easier to perform. But with Ive in charge, perhaps a complete overhaul of the software is in store. There is no doubt that Ive could “fix” iOS, but it’s just a matter of when.

What do you think about the current iOS design? Does the excessive use of skeuomorphism bother you, or do you prefer the look of leather, wood and other lifelike elements? I for one would switch to Maciburko’s concepts in a heartbeat, but perhaps you feel different.

[Adrian Maciburko via Cult of Mac]

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