HomeNewsWho at Apple thought it was a good idea to bring in a new “a”?

Who at Apple thought it was a good idea to bring in a new “a”?

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I have some irks with Apple’s inconsistent font styling in iOS 11

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iOS 10 on the left and iOS 11 on the right. Can you spot the difference?

After installing iOS 11, a big UI change is immediately apparent with new icons and a larger text header for standard apps. I’ve been having fun exploring and discovering it’s new features, but there are some mishaps that it seems Apple has overlooked.

I first started noticing them after reading Ryan Lau’s “Dive into the details of iOS 11: Is Apple still detail-oriented?” where he really gets into the nitty gritty details of some UI changes that have come along with iOS 11. I would have never noticed some of the details described in the article, but it did make me aware that there are some bugs in iOS 11 from a designer’s perspective.

Low and behold, I discovered that Apple introduced an inconsistent font style of the lowercase “a” in some standard apps like Notes and Reminders. Instead of the standard two-storey lowercase “a” they decided to instead change it to a one-storey lowercase “a” as shown above. What makes me the most awed and confused is that this change is ONLY found in a couple apps, but was not made across the platform! For instance, you can see from the very keyboard on screen that it contains the standard two-storey “a” which magically transforms to one-storey as you type.

A double-storey “a” makes it easier to differentiate “a” between “q”, “g”, and even “p” while reading. To me this design change makes the font less readable and definitely less aesthetically pleasing. I use both the Notes and Reminders apps on a daily basis, but this change annoys me so much that it’s pushing me towards giving up on these apps for good.

The change makes me ask who is reviewing and approving this blatant design inconsistency? Was the change overlooked or did somehow really think this was an improvement? Lately, I’ve been reading an increasing amount of articles questioning Apple’s current quality of software compared to the high quality software that built up its reputation in the past. As a long-time Apple supporter, I hate to say that I am beginning to question it too.

What do you think about the new “a”? Do you think Apple would make the switch back to two-storey?

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