Matt Gemmell

iOS 7

Earlier this week, Apple announced and previewed iOS 7. As widely expected, it sports a new interface aesthetic characterised by strong, simple lines, areas filled with flat or gradient colours, and a lack of ornamentation.

I’d like to discuss some aspects of the new UI style here, in comparison to iOS 6.

Legacy

A few years ago, I had a health scare. It was my heart. I was terrified, but I wasn’t surprised.

I’ve always had an irrational fear of developing heart problems (I have no particular family history of it, and I hadn’t had any worrying symptoms before). It’s probably because I’m not great with needles or blood, and the heart is blood central. Nothing more complicated than that. Silly, and eminently manageable – until that day.

Despite the event being objectively surprising, then, my main thought (through the haze of fear) was “Well, this is it – at last”.

How I Write

Yesterday, I read Shawn Blanc’s new piece, The Root of Non-Writing. Fittingly, I was procrastinating from working on an article at the time.

Shawn talks about the value of gaining momentum, and the need to push past fear of the first draft. I’d certainly agree with that. I’m always fascinated to read about other writers’ processes, and in keeping with that I’d like to share some of my own reflections on writing.

The Reconstructed Man

About a year ago, I wrote an article about misogyny. Within the conclusion, I included this acknowledgement:

I’ve made sexist remarks. I’ve jumped to sexist conclusions, or made sexist generalisations, secure in the various axes of my male, white, heterosexual privilege.

I’d like to elaborate a bit on my own continuing journey towards identifying and addressing my own prejudices.

Thank you

I’d like to say thanks to you, dear reader, for your continued interest in my writing over the past year. I posted a blog retrospective in late 2011, giving traffic stats and listing the most popular posts of the year, and I thought it would be interesting to (slightly belatedly) do so again, for 2012.

Designing blogs for readers

I’ve been blogging for almost eleven years, and I’ve been writing at this domain for almost nine. In that time, I’ve used several different blogging platforms (blosxom, b2, one I made myself called Thistle, WordPress, and now Octopress), and I’ve redesigned my blog about once every couple of years.

I recently redesigned this blog once again, and as I did so, I thought about how my perception of blogs in general has changed over the past decade.

Author Marks

Four days ago, I published an article entitled Tail wagging, about the backlash against skeuomorphic design. It was well received, gaining about 30,000 reads here and links from The Loop, Marco Arment and Khoi Vinh, amongst others.

I get a great deal of pleasure from reading responses to my articles, most of which are via my Twitter account. I was reading the stream of tweets referencing the article via Topsy recently, as I do for all my pieces, and I was once again fascinated by the extracts and quotes people choose to use.

Tail wagging

Last year, Jony Ive was interviewed in the London Evening Standard. It makes for interesting reading (despite the awful title).

Our industry is in the throes of an aesthetic shift. At one end of the spectrum, there’s the stitched leather and wood of iOS; at the other, the stark, ascetic information-spaces of Windows Phone. It’s more than a change of fashion: I think it highlights our continuing struggle to understand how to design and build products.

In that context, one seemingly offhand remark of Ive’s really struck me:

One of the things that really irritates me in products is when I’m aware of designers wagging their tails in my face.

A new site design

As will be immediately obvious if you’re reading this in a web browser, I’ve redesigned mattgemmell.com – yes, you’re still in the right place!

App.Net for conversations

You may have heard of the new-ish social network (it’s actually more than that, but for most people the distinction isn’t particularly relevant) called App.Net, or ADN (for “app dot net”). I’ve been a member since August 2012, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while now.

I think that ADN is important, and I’d like you to consider joining me there.