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October 23, 2012

Rethinking the App Switcher

Filed under: Apple,Design,Usability — admin @ 9:47 pm

Earlier this month, this redesign of the iOS app switcher garnered a lot of press.

I love almost everything about this idea with the exception of one thing: by using screenshots instead of the app icon I find it much harder to figure out what the apps in the switcher are.

iOS has always used icons to represent apps. The recognition of these icons is key to identifying apps, both on the homescreen and in the switcher. By using screenshots of the apps instead of icons, that link is lost and, for me at least, any benefit in seeing what state an app is in is far outweighed by the additional cognitive load placed on me to try and identify an app.

Yes, the name of the app is shown underneath the icon. But for sheer glance-ability, and for me, icons are a much better solution.

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