Chris Bateman

Nevermind Skeuomorphism, Just Get the Volume Display Out of My Face

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the design implications of the leadership shakeup at Apple, and how it might affect skeuomorphism in their software. I’m not a big fan of overdone skeuomorphs, but I think Apple has some bigger fish to fry. Let’s take a look at the volume UI.

Whenever I watch a video, I frequently end up adjusting the volume. Which means the picture on my iPad is interrupted with this:

iPad playing video with large volume display

I think that says it all, but things are even worse on the iPhone, where the same-sized volume display is squeezed into a much smaller space:

iPhone screen with large volume display

Almost every time I adjust the volume I immediately think, “Darn it now I can’t see what I’m doing!” I can’t even escape it on Mac OS:

Mac screen with large volume display

I have no idea why Apple found it necessary to make this so prominent. The television industry solved this problem a long time ago. The volume UI on my Panasonic might be a little ugly, but at least it’s tucked away down at the bottom of the screen – making it much less infuriating and ultimately better-designed.

Here’s my suggestion – just show it in the status bar while you’re adjusting the volume. It can replace the time for a second or two.

volume in status barvolume in fullscreen app

Tell me what you think: @batemanchris