Nielsen says iOS 7 needs to work on user experience

Nielsen says iOS 7 needs to work on user experience
There have been plenty of complaints to go around with iOS 7, ranging from general shouts of "nothing should ever change!" to more reasonable concerns about battery life, bugs, and troubles navigating Apple's new coat of paint. Nielsen Norman Group wanted to go through iOS 7 with a fine-toothed comb in order to break down exactly what Apple got right in iOS 7, and what it got wrong.

Overall, Nielsen has come to the decision that there are good ideas in iOS 7, but bad implementation; and, there are changes that only serve to make things look different even though they erode the user experience. Big on the list are problems with gestures. While Nielsen likes the features available with gestures like the notification tray, Spotlight search, and Control Center. The problem is that the difference between swiping down to get the notification tray, and swiping down to get Spotlight is very small. Similarly, swiping up to do something like scrolling on a website could easily trigger the Control Center if you reach a bit too far. It is possible to disable the Control Center within apps, but that does take away from the benefits of the feature. Another issue with gestures is the swipe left function, which Nielsen says seems to be Apple's answer to not having a dedicated back button like you would find on Android or Windows Phone, but the usage isn't consistent. 

Of course, the new flat design is also a big part of Nielsen's piece, and the general consensus seems to be that the changes were made simply because people were asking for something new. The changes in iOS 7 sometimes stray a bit too far from what iOS had previously presented, and in doing so "Apple has demolished millions of hours of user learning..." Suddenly, links and content can't always be discerned, buttons sometime fade into the background, the picker takes up more space to show you fewer options, and even the app icons can be hard to find because of the changes. Some of these points are definitely nits that fall into the "change is bad" argument, which we don't appreciate much. Sure, change can be difficult, but we're all human, and if nothing else we are capable of adapting to change and learning. 

In the end though, Apple definitely has work to do to refine the UI of iOS 7. The changes don't always work, and the changes aren't always implemented properly in app updates. Nielsen expects things to get better because both Apple and iOS developers will issue updates based on user feedback, but it definitely is making for frustration right now.


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32 Comments

1. THE.DARK.KNIGHT

Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Brace yourselves. The haters are coming

2. 9thWonderful

Posts: 232; Member since: Jan 24, 2013

hi haters.

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

It IS a work a in a progress. Wait until v. 7.1.4 before things stabilize.

23. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

So...a hater is someone who has legitimate complaints about iOS 7?

31. bachir8k

Posts: 153; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

hahaha Michael is the new Jony Eve "Sure, change can be difficult, but we're all human, and if nothing else we are capable of adapting to change and learning."

4. 9thWonderful

Posts: 232; Member since: Jan 24, 2013

i haven't seen many bugs or issues w/iOS 7 but Apple's only problem is that you have fed your customer base the same fundamental UI since 2007. now here we are 6 years later and you make that drastic of a change which ppl aren't receiving well. unless you're like myself and just plain ol' don't give a fack.

8. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

Much the same thing MS did with W8. UI's are extremely difficult to nail because there are so many elements and so many demographics to take into account. In MS' case, they made big changes to help unify their system across platforms. Apple just appears to have rushed things along instead of taking more time to develop the UI properly.

14. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

True, and that's why "choice" shouldn't be such a dirty word. My sister sent me a screenshot of a text message from her 5S. Those colors are wayyyy to bright for me to see myself carrying anything with ios7. For those who feel this way, Apple should have made the new look optional. Maybe a skin of the last version, or one a little less flamboyant.

26. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

Some of the greens are difficult to see, way too vibrant. Could be I'm getting older but it hurts the eyes to look at. Skins would be great but they just recently gave people wallpapers. Outside of jailbreaking, I don't see Apple releasing skins anytime soon.

5. Derekjeter

Posts: 1533; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Dark- it's kind of true. I left iOS due to this update. I know you will defend it and a year a ago I would do it too. It's not what we all thought it was going to be.

6. CannabisHighway

Posts: 18; Member since: Oct 07, 2013

I wouldn't mind it if it didn't crash so often. Apple will get it worked out soon enough though.

21. THE.DARK.KNIGHT

Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Crash? Your iPhone 4 is too old and you must replace it.

25. Remmy

Posts: 189; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

We have 2 iPad Minis and everyone started to hate me after upgrading them. Games and apps crash more often especially in my iPhone 4. ;__; My mom loves her 5 though.

28. phatcow

Posts: 18; Member since: Jun 13, 2013

TDK really? Apple would let you update your phone to make it not work as well as it use to so you must replace it? I have the iPad 4 btw and still have crashes must i replace mine too with..... oh wait. Also i heard iPhone 5s has "BSOD" crashes? Seems like either it is a phone by phone issue: low quality control (and fragmentation =P) or some people are just rejecting/denying the possibility that Apple has flaws...

7. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

I honestly appreciate what apple has done in ios 7. It is a major update and there might be (must be) some glitches here and there. Who makes perfect UIs in the first shot. See android and touchwiz UI with still persisting bugs and slowdowns. Lag is the worst part which impact the user experience severely and ios doesn't have that. ios doesn't know what the lag is. By the time apple will release more refined versions and we consumers have to be patient until then.

11. GeekMovement unregistered

Actually, while you're right about Touchwiz and the occassional lag that comes with it, our family's iPad 4 that was updated to iOS 7 developed noticable lag that surprised me. Of course, this is because just as the article states it's a work in progress adjusting to a newish UI (more like refreshed), but still shocking to see so many bugs and lag on an apple device.

12. illusionmist

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 29, 2013

I'm actually impressed that they pulled it off within a year... along with all those new software + hardware products. Granted there are lots of kinks that need to be ironed out, but I think iOS 7 still marks an important shift here, or as Sir Jony F*ckin Ive had put it, "a new beginning."

15. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Is that his actual middle-name?

17. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

I use an iPhone 5 with iOS7 believe me it lags. A friend of mine just bought Note 3 and that thing is faster than my iPhone 5 with iOS7.

24. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

my iphone 5 doesn't lag at all... hmmm i wonder why you're having a bad experience?

32. DukeX

Posts: 327; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Lol man no offense but don't try to pretend people aren't having problems with ios7 at all. I'm not even going to waste my time posting a link to an apple forum where people are talking about all the problems.

29. darkkjedii

Posts: 31365; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You should get a 5S. The iPhone 5 simply will not run iOS 7 quote as well. And it doesn't have all the camera features either.

9. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

An update will fix that right up, 7.2 or 7.3? Until that time remember, what happens in the garden, stays in the garden!!

10. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

There's two things that really affect the user's unsettled issue: 1) Most iphone users are not used to such an upgrade at this level. I have had many friends complaining of this upgrade since they initiated it. I had to politely point out that it would take getting used to. I was glad to hear that most have begun to adapt to the change. Some have not and are still frustrated with the learning curve. 2) Being that so many iPhone owners can't seem to have updates come soon enough, many of my friends thought that this upgrade would work flawlessly on their two and three year old iphones even after telling them to avoid the upgrade on dated 4's and 4s'. Some of these people have had relentless issues to the point of giving up. Change is often good. But, most Mac and ios users I've known over the years, don't easily accept change on these products. John B.

13. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Although, I do not understand why it lags on any legacy system. On the home page, there is lag between pages and when calling up the notification center, control center or search. This makes no sense because those phones are more than capable of playing high end games and the difference between iOS 6 and 7 isn't that much. The amount and type of animations are almost the same and makes little difference in terms of power needed to run one animation or the other. There is little difference between the two when it comes to functionality as well. I had a notification center show up easily before iOS 7 on the iPhone 4 (a better looking one at that) and it didn't lag at all. There are no extra apps or whatever running that might bog it down. It really makes no sense and just seems deliberate because the same thing happened to my older 3GS and 3G on iOS 5 and iOS 6 (respectively). Lack of RAM might be pointed out as a culprit but its not like just the home screen from a fresh restart would take up 256 MBs where as before it took only half as much max (from what SBsettings reported in iOS 6, don't have jailbreak on iOS 7 for now).

16. Mrmark

Posts: 401; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

Just embed a classic mode as the basic mode which gets rid of the new stuff and makes it more like an iOS 6 and below experience and call it a day!

18. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

I'd like that too.

19. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Ever since the days of galaxy s2 upto s3 touch wiz has never lagged. It's only the s4 that brought that issue back. The note 3 has no lag even with all those bloat wares it is easily one of the smoothest and fastest android phones around. Don't be comparing your laggy iOS 7 to touch wiz and android just because some few s4 units lagged.

20. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Correction - Note 3 is the fastest device in the world next to the Moto X and Nexus 4. And idk how many times I have to say it, bit iOS 7, even on an iPhone 5 and 5S lags and crashes like hell. Apple needs to quickly release updates because it's not even usable most of the time.

22. techguyone

Posts: 214; Member since: May 18, 2013

I don't think the problem necessarily is the fact that ios 7 brings so many changes, it's more the fact that it's been rushed through quite clearly. Ask yourself would Jobs have allowed that out into the public domain in the condition it is? And to be completely frank, I don't know how anyone can defend some of the glaring mistakes present, where there's multiple overlapping elements, poor consistency, and really just bad design. Jony Ives you should stick to hardware pal, your arty farty software isn't an improvement, and has only made apple look bad (again) Granted apple DID need to do something to improve it's rather outdated UI, but this? really?

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