In those faraway days of 2013, it seems I had nothing better to worry about than the fact that iOS was doing its first visual refresh. The iOS look and feel that started in 2007 was going away. That meant the comforting, real-life-inspired icons the past were getting flatter and more abstract. Witness the “controversial” makeover of the contacts app:
The whole look and feel of the phone was about to change, with “shiny 3D stuff” going away and “bright-colored flat stuff” coming in. Take a look:
Now, today that left side image looks incredibly dated but back in 2013 it was comforting. That right side image was jarring and worrisome. Thousands upon thousands of words, including mine, were written either praising or condemning the then-new design.
Today the look and feel of most phones is fairly set, and there are rumors that Apple may “shake it up” again when iPhone 8 comes out to celebrate ten years of Apple’s smartphone. Still, with every passing year it gets harder to make real meaningful visual changes as more people settle into being comfortable. As Microsoft learned with Windows 8, just because a new design may be current or even more efficient, that doesn’t mean people will want to change their old ways to learn the new ones.