iPhone Springboard Concept
We’ve been a bit frustrated with the way Springboard handles “folders” in iOS, especially with the number of apps users are trying to manage seemingly going up, and also in light of the fact that the iPhone screen ratio is possibly about to change.
So we put together a concept video to try to generate conversation around the topic, which we wanted to start to circulate before WWDC.
Our primary objective was to see if we could envision a way to group apps without relying on the current “folder” approach, which we find awkward. This concept introduces virtual “pages” of grouped apps that can be titled (by the user, similar to how folders can be titled) but does not require the “drilling into and out of” folder actions that are currently deployed.
The user can simply pan (horizontally) between vertically scrolling “pages” in Springboard, with the title of the page and navigation prompts appearing in a new thin sub header below the system bar.
The sub header can handle an indefinite number of pages and indicates “location” to the user via the familiar ellipsis dots, but when there are greater than four pages either to the right or left of the current page there is simply a “more” indicator. As pages are scrolled through, the dot indicators migrate from right to left (or vice versa) on the sub header, on either side of the page titles that animate in with each page.
Tapping the sub header to the far left or right will jump the user to the beginning or end page in the indefinite list.
Tapping the page title brings up a simple menu allowing the user to directly jump to any page. The menu is vertically scrollable.
Note: Yes, we have not indicated how we handle Search yet in this concept. But we plan on releasing an update to the video that we’re working on now with an interesting alternative. Stay tuned.
We created this as an exercise to hopefully generate conversation, especially prior to WWDC. So please tear it apart. We’d love to hear from other developers / designers who maybe share our frustration and would like to see a method for more elegantly handling increasing numbers of apps on iOS devices.
More from Mahboud Zabetian …
Springboard: Overdue for an update
The iOS’s app launching and management mechanism, Springboard is broken and is sorely in need of an overhaul. It was designed back when iOS had few apps available, and even with the addition of folders, it is a UX nightmare.
What are the problems?
One thing is for sure. Apple knows about this. Maybe they’re working on a major overhaul.
Thinking about this, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are a few simple changes that would overcome most of these issues. Let’s assume though that a major criteria is: “Users can’t be expected to learn a brand new metaphor”, in other words, keep changes to a minimum.
Fine. What did we come up with?
The video more-or-less demonstrates our concept.
While there remains much to be desired, this minimal set of changes would bring much usability back to Springboard.
* other much needed changes:
the ADG team
P.S. Make sure you check HD ON when viewing the video. It works.