Monday, September 30, 2019

Decreasing iOS Information Density

Kyle Howells:

iOS 13 and the iPhone 11’s continue the trend of making phones bigger while making the UI even bigger, to get less information density than the small devices used to have.

iOS 13 Photos app for example has gone 3 photos wide, instead of 4.

So now the photos are giant, the app feels like Duplo, and I can see hardly any photos at once.


The original music app on the 3.5" iPhone had more information density than Apple Music does today, and it did so while also having a persistent tool/navigation bar.

Marco Barrios:

This is so true. I have the iPhone XR that is uncomfortable to hold because it is too large but I can only see 3 messages at a time.

Kyle Howells:

The worst thing iOS 7’s redesign did was kill information density.

When you remove all visual affordances except white space and color UI’s balloon and bloat massively.

Kyle Howells:

This is an anti pattern I’d really like to see the industry outgrow.

It became fashionable with Metro & iOS 7 to get rid of borders and all UI affordances in favour of just adding more white space, but it’s less usable, balloons UI sizes and massively reduces information density

Again, the bottom one looks more fashionable but is much harder to use.

Keep the new colors but reintroduce the borders, tighten the spacing slightly (now you can as you have borders) and it’s much nicer to use.


Update (2019-10-11): Tanner Bennett:

I made this a while back. The red is empty space.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

Have these people discovered that you can change font size?

“iPhone XR and I can only see 3 messages at once”.... pfffft. I am currently looking at 13 messages at once. Font size set at minimum which is absolutely not too small.
Wish I could post a screenshot but maybe this works:

Just started using iOS 13 and I noticed that the Favorites widget has been slightly altered so now it only fits 3 contacts per row instead of 4. Not sure what was accomplished as text legibility doesn't seem different.

Also, I've never been a fan of the giant titles that started in the Music app and have since become a standard UI element. The surrounding whitespace isn't particularly pleasing as close/edit buttons now sit awkwardly around the title, and it's a lot of screen space to devote to a minor piece of context.

@Jonathan Even with a smaller font size (I use the minimum), you see less at once than with earlier iOS versions.

Photos app can display 3, 5 or or 11 thumbnails per line on iPhone 6s - user can pinch the view to zoom.

Files app is pretty bad with this on iPad, and iPadOS folders are still an insult to usability, using only tiny part of the screen, blurring everything else including time, and showing only 16 items even on 12.9" iPad

[…] Decreasing iOS Information Density […]

Leave a Comment