This Week's Sponsor:


Where Text Starts

New iPhone UI Concept Shows Mission Control, Dynamic Notification Badges, And More

It’s pre-WWDC speculation time. This year, like most, many people think about what new features and capabilities the next version of iOS could include. After watching some concept videos (including one by Jan Micheal Cart) and reading some iOS 6 wish lists, designer Joost van der Ree also decided to present some of his ideas on how Apple could improve the usability of iOS in a short YouTube video.

The video includes possible enhancements for four features of iOS: multitasking, app previews, Notification Center and notification badges. For better and more flexible multitasking, van der Ree imagines a mobile version of Mission Control: with a quick swipe from the bottom upwards, a vertically scrollable window with preview images comes up displaying not just the app icons, but also the latest state of the app with a preview. When an app like Safari (or Articles, one which immediately came into my mind) offers multiple tabs, this “new” Mission Control also offers stack browsing through them (think of it as a small gallery view of all opened tabs) to select exactly the tab you want. Van der Ree also suggests a full-screen view in Safari, which is automatically activated when zooming in via double-tap.

What’s really innovative is the way van der Ree supposes to enhance the notification features. Just like his Mission Control UI, the Notification Center is hidden behind the Home screen. But the real innovation lies within his enhancement of the notification badges, which he calls dynamic badges: when swiping down from an app icon with a badge counter notification (e.g. Facebook or Mail) it bounces to visually respond to the swipe, and a white popup window opens over the Springboard giving previews of unread mail, messages, etc..

The last enhancement concept he included in the video is called “Flipcons“. It’s a gallery-like Springboard preview of app updates – mainly for news, social, or photography apps. Just like the notification preview feature, it’s also activated via a swipe down. Apps supporting this kind of gallery (Van der Ree imagined Flipboard, iTunes U and Instagram in his video) are indicated with a small “dog ear” in their icon’s top right corner. When you swipe over such an icon, it flips over, and becomes an overlaid gallery, designed like the tabs view in the conceptual Mission Control feature, displaying the app’s newest content.

Overall, this is an impressively thought out iOS UI concept. The features seem very intuitive, and if Apple really adds some of these ideas to iOS with the new version presumably coming next week, iOS could become even more functional. If you’re interested in other works and projects by Joost van der Ree, visit his blog (a design website with some cool in-depth post on design processes and interesting links), his dribbble profile or/and follow him on Twitter as @joostvanderree.

Update: Joost van der Ree himself explains his concept and part of its design process on Not A Lot Of Words.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.