iOS 9 for UX Designers and Tech Pros: a preview
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Published on July 13, 2015
UX Designers and IT pros now have access to a preview iOS 9, the next release of the operating system that powers iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. iOS app developers have had access to iOS 9 for many months, but this is the first public preview of this future update to this operating system. The update is considered a “beta” version, which means that it is not quite finished. It should not be installed on your primary iPhone, iPad, or iPod. It may have bugs that cause it to stop working, which is why the release should only be installed by users who have a need to work with the next version of the operating system.
For example, app developers and user experience (UX) designers appreciate access to pre-release operating systems to create new apps, and test existing apps to make sure they continue to work on the latest operating system.
As American Graphics Institute teaches UX classes and also iOS development courses, we regularly work with pre-release versions of operating systems and apps, and iOS 9 is no exception. At first glance, iOS 9 looks pretty similar to iOS 8. If you are a professional designer, you may notice the subtle difference with the new San Francisco typeface being used across the interface.
UX designers will take note that both search and Siri have been updated across all instances. Siri is the virtual assistant that is part of iOS, and it now evaluates apps installed on a device, and makes suggestions based upon what’s installed, what is nearby, and what it predicts you may need when a user uses a sliding motion from the left side of the screen to access the virtual assistant. Siri now also provides news and information based upon your location. A significant example of this is the new mass transit information that is available, such as subway schedules, which are now also provided on a separate layer within Apple Maps. As with Siri, the maps section also provides a focus on local items, with the addition of nearby businesses and points of interest.
The Notes app has also been updated to support including multiple file types and formats, making it more like Microsoft’s OneNote or the competing Evernote.
UX designers will also need to note that sliding in from the right now allows a view of another app, while the original app remains open. This is similar to the UX on Windows 8 which supports the ability to have the majority of a display focused on one app, with a minor portion available for a secondary purpose. In addition to this, the iOS 9 UX for video has changed, as it now supports picture-in-picture with many videos, although in the preview we tested, it is not functioning on two of the most common video apps, YouTube or Netflix.
Publishers will want to evaluate the new Apple News app for iOS 9. In a process that is similar to Flipboard, this new News app for iOS allows the compilation of many news stories from multiple sources and presents them in a layout that is optimized for the iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Apple is providing standards for publishers that want to share content that is formatted specifically for their News app.
If you work in a field where you create UX for iPad and iPhone, you’ll want to set-up iOS 9 for review, testing, and evaluation purposes.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.