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Let's show Apple how it's done.

over 5 years ago from , http://meet-cristian.com

With the recent launch of Apple Music, Apple has, in my opinion, proven that their music design team is rubbish. From that awkward lock screen player (with 2 new buttons to clutter it up now),

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to the layouts of all the new sections

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and the weird red-white gradients (because why the fuck not?), Apple Music is a mess.

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Music is an experience and with today's tools, not taking the chance to create a beautiful journey for the user and delight them on all fronts is a missed opportunity.

I have been meaning to give redesigning the iTunes platform a shot for a while now and I think if a few of us band together we could do an awesome job of it. Let's rethink it from the ground up.

If nothing else, we'll all leave a little better at collaborating with new people and have some fun, but I do expect us to have something awesome to put our names to by the end of it.

So, who's in?

36 comments

  • Xavier RXavier R, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    Alright, I don't want to sound rubbish or be a kill joy but someone has to say it from time to time:

    Stop wanting to redesign every new digital product big players put on the market. It sure can be improved, it sure might lack usability, but redesigning things from a simple "user interface" point of view has no sense. Is the gradient colors really what bothers you most here ?

    Big corps like Apple or Google have designers army (and I mean real designers specialized in UX, in UI, on business development and product design, not guys who's Twitter bio says they do it all by themselves). Designing a product is a very long and complex process, and you can be sure there's a meaning behind each design decision Apple makes.

    Again, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to kill your enthusiasm. And this is just my point of view. Designer's community has also a role to play for bringing new ideas on the market. I also feel like Apple Music is sometimes messy, but I don't know about all the research, studies and development Apple did behind the scene, that's all. So no, I don't believe in redesigning things for the sake of it, I find it quite pretentious actually.

    68 points
    • Mitchell Knight, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

      ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍

      14 points
      • Jonathan CutrellJonathan Cutrell, over 5 years ago

        It doesn't matter what research, process, experts or reasons they have if the end product sucks. I'm sure they had tons of meetings, focus groups and arguments over the UI but in the end none of that matters. What matters is what Apple puts out in to the world. I think Apple was great before because they had people like Steve Jobs that would tell people "no, do it over again" until it's right.

        This is not correct.

        "Research, process, and reasons" are exactly what determines whether the output is accurate with relation to the data.

        "What matters is what Apple puts out in to the world."

        This doesn't really provide any context to what it "should" be.

        That's why leadership is so important. Apple Music looks like it was designed by a large group of designers which isn't all that different from being designed by any committee. It lacks focus.

        What exactly does something designed by a not-committee look like?

        6 points
        • Fri RasyidiFri Rasyidi, over 5 years ago

          "Research, process, and reasons" are exactly what determines whether the output is accurate with relation to the data.

          Agreed! But, if the end product that made based on the "Research, process, and reasons" still sucks, doesn't that mean something was wrongly done in that process? This can be enough reason to redesign.

          However, I do disagree to create a "better version" redesign just to show that you can design better.

          But if you're gonna make it as a case study and back it up with user testing data, by doing your own "Research, process, and reasons" step behind your redesign, I'd say go for it!

          This way, you can make it as a learning and proof your point rather than just a meaningless show off. If you do just that, I believe everyone would love to read it—at least I would.

          2 points
    • Yen LaiYen Lai, over 5 years ago

      What Xavier said, times 1000.

      Design solves problems within constraints. These "redesigns" by the general community that are uninformed by those constraints show a lack of understanding of what design really is.

      12 points
    • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, over 5 years ago

      99% of the time I completely loath thoughtless redesigns on popular software.

      I understand that Apple probably had enormous design challenges working on this, combined with a lot of other factors and constraints that makes Apple, as a company, work.

      But Apple Music feels like a mess in many ways. In my opinion, it's something that should, and hopefully will, get redesigned by Apple. Even the most competent army of designers can get things wrong, or at least find a radical way to improve their designs.

      I'd appreciate seeing redesigns of Apple Music of the DN community provided it's thoughtful.

      My personal dislike for Apple Music, iTunes, and the iOS Music player is that it has a sort of aesthetic and UX which is seemingly aimed towards people who listen to whatever popular music. It's perfectly fine if someone does, but music is something experienced to a wide range of people whom have a wide range of listening styles.

      I'd love to see a thoughtful and well researched redesign of Apple's music software that respects all genres of music and listening styles.

      3 points
      • Gabriel LovatoGabriel Lovato, over 5 years ago

        My personal dislike for Apple Music, iTunes, and the iOS Music player is that it has a sort of aesthetic and UX which is seemingly aimed towards people who listen to whatever popular music.

        And in that sentence, you just explained why it's actually well designed : it's aligned with the expectations and habits of the largest user base, and the one that's most likely to bring profits to the platform.

        Good design doesn't mean you have to like it.

        4 points
        • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, over 5 years ago

          I dislike that this is forced upon to every kind of person. The bright pink-red highlight of the iOS music app is present even if your music preferences is the antithesis of that. iTunes will always play some other song after you play one using the search function, on the assumption that you don't really care what's coming up.

          Apple sold one billion iOS devices. Let's say every person bought two iOS devices, that's 500 million users. Apple devices aren't just used by people who listen to music casually, they're used by millions of people of a wide spectrum. It's dangerous to assume that it should be OK to just target their music software for just one of the hundreds, if not thousands of different audiences that use iOS everyday.

          I know that Apple can't please everyone, but at the same time they shouldn't completely optimize for just one very specific audience in this position.

          0 points
    • Diego LafuenteDiego Lafuente, 5 years ago

      Nice argument: "if they're a big company, they do proper research, and if they do proper research, the product must be good".

      not.

      8 points
    • Jim NielsenJim Nielsen, over 5 years ago

      I agree that Apple Music has been a little confusing and below-par in the design department. However, with that said:

      Designing a product is a very long and complex process

      One of the best 'features' of apple music is this: they shipped it on June 30th, as promised.

      1 point
    • Andrei ScarlatescuAndrei Scarlatescu, over 5 years ago

      This is a great post, just what had to be said. Lately, it seems that our industry is flooded with opinions on things that, in the end, are rather meaningless.

      0 points
  • wojtek w.wojtek w., over 5 years ago

    Great. Let's gather a design team of 80 people, a marketing team of 160 people, and 200 developers. Then we can start!

    Weekly reviews. We need it shipped in 6 months.

    Good luck.

    32 points
  • Abhishek SureshAbhishek Suresh, 5 years ago

    Ok, Please finish your redesign quickly so that I can redesign how your redesign should have been according my design handbook.

    17 points
  • Matt CastilloMatt Castillo, over 5 years ago

    Yeah

    14 points
  • Anirudh S, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    To those who feel that the suggested exercise is completely pointless and Apple MUST have spent a lot of time deciding why something looks/works in a particular way, I present you these points:

    1. Many design decisions in large organisations are not necessarily taken by designers. It could be a VP of a product pushing for a change because he/she 'feels' so. There are unhappy designers because the company ended up choosing a route that they personally didn't vote for.

    2. If you stop criticising an app's looks just because some large company built it, you might end up not criticising everything that they do. Healthy criticism is good.

    3. Large companies, including Apple make mistakes and ship them. Remember Apple Maps?

    4. OP hasn't suggested working on a startup idea to compete with Apple's music service. OP seems to find it a fun task to do together. If OP is wrong, he'll actually learn why Apple did it in a particular way and probably share it with us. He wouldn't have to shut down his 'startup' or something like that.

    5 points
  • Anwar ChoukahAnwar Choukah, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I wish people would stop moaning about designers' unsolicited redesigns of existing products.

    Yes, we know that there are reasons why a product looks the way it looks. We know that Apple have done a hell of a lot more research than someone in their bedrooms looking at the finished product. We know that Apple have more talented designers who answer to more talented managers than us.

    But that's not what this is about. It's a design exercise, kind of like taking an artists pencil drawings and inking over them and colouring them in. It's fun and makes you better at what you do.

    The problem is just that non-designers look at the redesign and say "OMG that's sooo much better than what Jony Ive did". We all (should) know that's just not true.

    Mind you, the headline is not very clever, and shows a bit of delusion, but hopefully the author will grow up when he (/she?) becomes a better designer.

    4 points
    • Rory Smyth, over 5 years ago

      I agree. It's an exercise. Seems most designers can't wait to jump on the "omg its so pointless why would you redesign something" bandwagon. It's getting as old as the "omg this product was just released, I NEED TO REDESIGN IT".

      Yes, they're not privy to the product requirements. Yes, they're not constricted by a timeline. Yes, what they design will probably be impossible to implement. But it's fun. It's a way to flex your design muscles. And you never know what learnings you might take away from it. Why be snobbish about even trying.

      2 points
    • James StiffJames Stiff, over 5 years ago

      I wish designers would stop moaning about Apple’s design decisions and focus on doing the jobs that THEY are paid to do. An unsolicited redesign is not a design exercise, it’s purely self indulgent.

      A design exercise would be to create a solution within the constraints of a brief.

      If you have the spare time to work on unsolicited redesigns, that’s great but consider spending that time more wisely. Maybe work on a side project or do something for a non-profit or a charity. THAT will make you a better designer.

      7 points
  • Anthony Gibson, over 5 years ago

    I love that this community has some of the best in the industry within it, however the literal motto of Designer News is Be Nice. Or Else.

    I frankly don't care about the OP's experience, I've been teaching myself design work for over 5 years and still have a ton to learn. Additionally, as many of you have probably also experienced, working on actual projects with an end goal, a target audience, and set of UI/UX design challenges can be more helpful in your development as a designer than anything else.

    Many in this thread pointed out this is only a design exercise, and thats exactly what it is. No one here is trying to go and unseat the great Ive from his position, we all worship him as we should.

    But for the love of design, can't we just give people a break? If someone wants to redesign an existing product just for, and I quote: "If nothing else, we'll all leave a little better at collaborating with new people and have some fun, but I do expect us to have something awesome to put our names to by the end of it." Then why wouldn't we, as a community, support that?

    I don't have a lot of time, but I'm more than happy to collab on a redesign of Apple Music, sounds like a fun project to me.

    3 points
  • James StiffJames Stiff, 5 years ago

    If you really want to show Apple how it’s done, why not put your effort into building a viable competitor and bring it to market?

    3 points
    • Alec SibiliaAlec Sibilia, 5 years ago

      Because the content and vision aren't the problem, it's the UI. Think big picture about what Apple Music is doing here.. They're moving iTunes to a membership based platform. Spotify has 75M active users... there are 800M accounts on iTunes.. Imagine if they could get a fraction of that to switch to monthly payments. This is a massive, multibillion dollar ($3.2B to be more specific), strategic play by Apple... fixing the UI is rather simple in comparison.

      2 points
  • Cristian Moisei, over 5 years ago

    My goal was to initiate a (hopefully) fun exercise, a spare time project; not to create a new product to rival iTunes or to dish Ive (who is not on the Apple Music team or directly responsible for every layout). I was also not aiming for a purely aesthetic redesign, where we slap a few of the latest trends on, with no consideration for what the product is supposed to do, whom it targets and so on.

    I am disappointed. A designer should have an eye for problems and a mind for solutions, not cower up to trends and venerate what the big companies are doing, even when they fuck up.

    2 points
  • Seth Gunnells, 5 years ago

    Wow. Things got heated in here pretty quick, huh? Here's my proposition:

    If you want to do a redesign, then do one, especially if it seems like a good exercise for you.

    If you don't want to do a redesign, then don't, especially if it seems like a waste of time to you.

    I love designers because we are passionate about the little things, but we could afford to be a little less venomous towards one another, don't you think?

    2 points
  • Russ BrownRuss Brown, 5 years ago

    Feels like this post has been a bit unfairly maligned. The concept of "the pointless redesign" surely can't stop designers sharing their ideas for how they would design things as long as we accept the limitations of the exercise.

    To me, his tone is more "Wouldnt it be fun to redesign it and collaborate with each other" rather than "I know how to design it, give it to me you're all doing it wrong"

    2 points
  • simone carellasimone carella, over 5 years ago

    PLEASE. STOP. REDESIGN. SERIOUSLY.

    2 points
  • Cong PhamCong Pham, over 5 years ago

    I don't think you should because you don't know the scope of the project or product (in this case Apple Music) you're looking at. What you'll end up doing is making it looks nicer but the design problems that needed to be solved are still there.

    2 points
    • Ana MartinAna Martin, over 5 years ago

      As many people said before, it's a shame that we are so judgmental with other designer's training: if it's a good exercise for you as a designer, it's good for our community.

      But this point is the hidden truth: you'll never solve the problem without knowing the constraints, so your exercise would never compete with the original product.

      1 point
  • Louis-André LabadieLouis-André Labadie, over 5 years ago

    I'm looking forward to the Eli Schiff post about your redesign.

    1 point
  • Marcus ZanonaMarcus Zanona, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    It should be really simple. IT’S FREAKING UGLY. — Apple should be the one to know they should not deliver things like this. However, the general public accepts everything thrown on the market nowadays. (Just because it's Apple)

    Seriously, after Steve Jobs left, quality control became something which is definitely not Apple's top priority. They might refine it later, but It scares me how they ship things looking like mock-ups nowadays.

    If you think, we are the customers/consumers: we don't re-design, we just tell it's looking really bad and expose that to the author so they can fix it. It works like that with us isn't it? — I am not sure if anyone fancies a client redesigning the work you just delivered. We probably wouldn't put any credit on their re-design because we would think it's their opinion and not ours.

    There should be a better way to fight against these design aberrations Apple is throwing at us lately. A way to publicly expose that and demand feedback? After all, again, we are all their customers.

    And again, as customers, we don't need to be designers or developers, it's just a common sense of knowing whether something looks and behaves nicely or not. — and this, definitely doesn't.

    1 point
  • Mal SMal S, 5 years ago

    Yeah! It seem like they have no taste. I mean bad taste. I'm not sure. If they have no taste I think that's better than bad taste. Bad taste kills it. What constraint are they working within to come up with that ugly gradient? lol The alignment and white space is off balance at least for the love of god improve on that. Thank you!

    1 point
  • Adam T.Adam T., over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I'm enjoying the new "small list size" option on iTunes desktop. Other than that? Not super impressed or disappointed - just an update that I'll get used to in a week or so. Not terrible.

    The one major issue I see is that when an album cover is predominately dark grey, that background mask makes text very hard to read.

    I also don't like that you can start playing an album immediately (on mobile) by pressing the album cover in list view, even when existing songs are playing. Should either not play at all (Expected action is drilling down to songs / albums by that artist), or at the least append to "Next playing", not interrupt current playback immediately.

    1 point
  • Luís SilvaLuís Silva, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    Just remove the iTunes constraint and you'll have a seriously large head start.

    0 points
  • Andrew ConnAndrew Conn, over 5 years ago

    At this point, Apple has lost my trust. It's taken me a while to get here, but we've arrived. These updates lately have been consistently bad. 100% will be moving to Android and Material Design on my next phone.

    0 points
  • Thiago Peres, over 5 years ago

    Well, as people pointed out there are several constraints and things that happened in the backstage.

    But you know what? If you wanna fix something from Apple, fix that dreadful Apple Mail that looks like it came from Windows 95 to haunt us. You might end with a good product that you can actually ship.

    0 points
  • Kyle GillenKyle Gillen, over 5 years ago

    God speed!

    0 points