iOS Blocks concept video shows super-sized, live, interactive icons

May 31, 2014
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The iOS home screen has not been the most innovative for some time. While Android features interactive widgets and Windows 8, live tiles, the iPad and iPhone home screens are stuck with static icons.

It’s certainly simple, but not much fun and may not make the best use of the screen space.

A Montreal-based UX designer suggests a solution, which he calls iOS blocks.

In a short concept video, backed by a longer explanatory video and a very long blog post, Jay Machalani envisions a way for users to stretch, with two fingers, each icon into a larger square –which would then push other icons farther on the screen if needed.

Square is not an accurate description of the block’s shape. actually. Machalani suggest blocks would come in three different sizes optimized from three devices/orientations: iPad in landscape mode, iPad in portrait mode and iPhone. A block would roughly be twice higher and twice larger than icons.

Each block would display live information from the app, and also allow some for some interaction with it. Here are some examples:

In this respect, Machalani thinks it would take the best of Android widgets (interactivity) and Windows Live tiles (displaying live information).

Users could then shrink the block back to its corresponding icon, or leave it at is. So, by selecting which apps are worth stretching into a block would provide an easy way of customizing one’s home screen.

With blocks on their home screen, users would actually get information and do things directly from the home screen, without opening the full app. This would be a major change in the way users experience iOS. But the way Machalani suggests to design them, the transition to this enhanced experience would be very smooth.

Here is the 9 minute explanatory video:

This, currently, is only a concept. The iOS world is waiting to see what new features Apple will actually introduce in iOS 8 at WWDC next week.

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