A few days ago RIM made changes to the Visual Style associated with BB10 icons. The icons have been scaled down from their previous 150×150 size to 114×14. This comes as a welcome change to some developers who’ve been ardent that the icons needed to be smaller and less rectangular. In true RIM fashion they’ve gone ahead and changed it up as per developer input. The icons now look much more like PlayBook (zZzZz) icons and focus on a transparent background. Personally I think this is a HORRIBLE decision on RIMs part. Hit the break to find out why.Design aesthetics are super important to the marketing of products. My main complaint with this change is it feels to me like a step backwards. While I somewhat agree that 150×150 may be too big, let’s face it. Phones are getting bigger and by extension so should the icons. This all would aid in what RIMs been touting as “one handed ease of use” smaller icons detract from that usability in my opinion. Aside from that, the uniformed look of iOS icons on their beautiful displays makes the icon grid bearable (and seeing as all iOS is, is an application grid) it makes sense that they’ve put a lot into making that look great. In my head I imagine developers who port their apps to BB10 don’t want to spend the time making new icons when they’ve already got icons designed to the aesthetics of Android and iOS. RIM lumping in its icons with the lot seems like a cop out.
Here’s what the Dev Alphas running BETA2 currently look like with icons @ 150×150 (perfect Thumb size):
And here is a mockup of what the newer, smaller–more transparent icons would look like via UrbanGlowCam:
I can understand the mentality behind making the icons ‘pop’ a bit more with silhouette backdrops and transparent backgrounds. But that’s exactly what’s done on the Android and iOS. BB10 is a different animal. On PlayBook we can see where the BB10 icons found their roots, but you wont see those roots in the icons, you’ll see them here, notice the bar below the app preview screen:
What really grinds my gears, and I pray RIM fixes with this retrogression is App Icons of different sizes. Some android ports have smaller icons than native icons, and even then some native icons aren’t even the right size… Of note are the Video, News, and YouTube icons which aesthetically look off compared to the other icons, and subsequently are why they are hidden off in folders where I don’t have to see them:
The above looks sloppy in my opinion, and iOS didn’t get to where it is by being sloppy. This truly is a big deal, and I’m not the only one complaining. The uniform and YES more rectangular look gives BB10 a much more professional and polished look. We’ll have to agree to disagree but RIM should stick to its guns on this one. The TAT guys know more about UI than we do, and this makes me drool…