Thoughts on LukeW’s iOS 7 Icon Survey

…here’s what almost 50,000 opinions about the new iOS7 icons tell us about people’s preferences and perhaps the iOS7 design process as well.


22 polls comparing iOS6 to iOS7 icons found that across nearly 50,000 votes, people preferred iOS7 icons to iOS6 icons by 65% to 35%

That was an excerpt from LukeW’s blog post Data Monday: iOS7 Icon Design.


The article points out that most iOS7 icons were preferred when placed head to head against their iOS 6 counterpart, but perhaps by testing them in context (together on iOS 7) we’ll find that that’s where the dissonance sets in. Perhaps hatred towards the icons from designers, is a result of our critical nature while those who were questioned for the survey appreciate the novelty of new icons. Survey data always seems to bring up more questions then it answers, but I tend to always be more interested in the Why than the What.

Testing things like, how people like redesigned icons, is a good example of how quantitative and qualitative research methods differ. The next question after any type of research tends to be what do we do with the data. Data may be statistically valid or if qualitative, it may be an accurate representation of your target users, but the bias is always reintroduced as soon as you start to interpret the results to form a strategy or take an action with it. Which is why research tends to lead to more research. As a designer, I’m OK with some bias when it comes to solutions. Design isn’t science and bias is just a negative label for what I call having a point of view. Brands and design have a point of view and it’s OK to use research to find insight and get inspired then take a point of view and implement a concept. Then you can get feedback and data on the concept in the real world and iterate.

Inconsistent Gradients

Inconsistent Gradients

In Apple’s case I think it make sense to take some of feedback from the community and try to reduce the dissonance. I personally like the feel of the icons, but when they come together they lack cohesiveness. Which is actually a really common problem when designing a set of rich icons.

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