iOS 7 Radical Change, Reassuring Familiarity and honouring God in Design

iOS 7 introduced yesterday brings a whole new look and feel to the massively popular iPhone, yet manages to retain a familiarity that won’t scare off long time users.

To be honest I was starting to grow tired of my iPhone. I was one of the unfortunate ones to get a phone that carries all of the flaws often blogged about. So my iPhone 4 no longer has a working sleep button, and the home button is becoming hit and miss and the mute switch is really stiff.

Sure it’s been knocked about a bit and is approaching 3 years old, but is this physical decay really to be expected in just 3 years? Partly because of this I have taken to refreshing the background and periodically reorganising the apps and settings to make it feel a little newer, more interesting and to keep my brain engaged.

Yet I was uninspired by iOS 6 and with such low support for the new features on iPhone 4 I am in the 6% who didn’t upgrade. To be honest I was starting to lean towards an Android device for my next phone.

Then Jony Ive started talking about design in the intro video to the new iOS 7 (above), my ears pricked up and my attention was grasped. As a design geek I was enthralled. Jony known for the industrial and minimalistic design of much of Apple’s hardware, now brings that insight, design philosophy to the interface, as he has taken the reigns as the leader of Human Interface design at Apple.

While the new design does away with skeuomorphism (enough of that elsewhere), it’s main triumph is unifying the design language across the whole OS, creating new design paradigms and metaphors that create intuitive structure and hierarchy whilst retaining the reassuring familiarity of the OS we know (and love).

I love the intro video because it reveals the vast amount of work and thinking that goes into good design. When you compare iOS 7 to it’s predecessors you see the massive difference this structure and unity brings. The depth of thought and fundamental importance that the Human Interface design is given is inspiring.

I don’t think we can overstate how much this is needed in any software, website or mobile app. If we want people to take our products and tools seriously, we must take them seriously and give more thought and commitment to how much time, resources and expertise should be required, demanded, in our products.

Sadly, this is often not the case in ministry. Far too many ministry projects have no care for the look and feel, usability and overall effect on the user that they have. At OneSheep we are striving to change this. To bring a love and passion for the excellent, to bring a design approach that glorifies our God and Father, that is an offering more worthy and more reflective of the beauty He has put in creation.

Why should it be that we have to look to the secular, commercial world to experience delight, surprise, love and connection through design, should the world not be inspired and amazed by the design in Christian work as we seek to glorify our Lord?

To deal with the elephant in the room, yes this does often mean spending a little more on a project. Giving it more time, allocating more money, seeking the best talent. But the return is far greater and far more God-honouring.

Art and design matters in ministry because it matters to God, who crafted us in his likeness. By suppressing the expression of design in our ministries, we are suppressing and ignoring the very attribute of God that makes us unique. The more we design and create, the more the Creator is revealed through us. As Christian artists, designers and illustrators, design becomes our megaphone to make known the attributes of God within our individual communities. – Converge Magazine

I’ll leave you with another video from Apple’s WWDC 2013. The video below opened the conference and set the tone for much of the updates Apple revealed. However, I believe the essence and ideas expressed here go far beyond just design, but speak deeply into our attitude to all that we do in Gods name, especially how we communicate the gospel.


Posted on Jun 11, 2013 by Sam Peckham

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