Philips Hue and Today View Extensions

Philips updated their Hue iOS app and finally added the Today View extension so users can easily manage their lights.

Configuration is pretty straightforward: you install the app, select up to five scenes you want to use from within the Today View, and you activate the widget. The past few weeks I’ve tried a couple of third party extensions promising the same functionality, but most of them loose their connection pretty regularly. But the official app is stable and lights switch their status instantly.

But this app is starting to show signs of a bigger problem for the Today View.

Good iOS apps have a personality. They move away from the default iOS look (the Mail app is a good example) and add a lot of flavour and style in the mix. Evernote is bright green, Fantastical uses a completely different paradigm to display the calendar and so on. Since iOS apps fill the entire screen those styles never clash because apps never meet like they do on the Mac. The only place they used to meet is the homescreen, but icons are clearly defined as a roundrect and it creates a colourful palet of similarly sized icons.The Today View however shows tiny parts of an apps’ UI and stacks them one above the other. The result is a visual clash of styles. Round green Evernote buttons with outlines vs colourful square Hue buttons. Dark grey Drafts buttons vs red round OmniFocus checkboxes.

It’s a visual clash that makes the Today View feel cluttered and unfinished. It’s the kind of design I’m used to see on Android Homescreens, and it lacks the finesse of iOS.I hope Apple pushes some guidelines like they do for iOS apps. Define a preferred button style (either filled or outline), a font-size,… so the end result is a Today View that feels like parts that belong together.