Apple’s Flat Design: When Clarity Goes Out of Style

I’m not the first Apple fan to take notice of the sliding quality of the company’s user interface design in the post-Jobs years.

I remember feeling almost personally betrayed after installing iOS 7 on my phone and seeing the many stark regressions in usability that came with the sweeping visual re-design. Apple had chosen fashion over clarity, jumping on the “Flat Design” bandwagon. This was the same company that built its empire on usability! I couldn’t believe it.

Flat Ive

Well, now Nicholas Windsor Howard has written a series of articles that go far beyond my vague unease with Apple’s UI design of the last several years, and provides a detailed examination of many specific areas of decline, including screenshots comparing recent editions of Mac OS X.

If you’re an Apple loyalist who’s lost faith in the company’s once impeccable UI sensibility, Nicholas will articulate your rage. It’s a must-read:

[Decisions] that decrease contrast and visibility—thinner text and glyphs, grey where black once dwelled, delicate borders, less shading—are the unpropitious child of an ideology that puts hunger for novelty, minimalism (of a cold kind), and simplicity (of a superficial kind) above calm rationality, common sense, and empathy for the average computer user.

-- The Apple Goes Mushy