#011 The Design Insider: Digest

Facebook unveils VR experience for work, Twitter redesigns redesign, Apple delays launch of some features with iOS 15

In the news

👥 Facebook unveils Horizon Workrooms: This new VR experience aims to make collaboration between colleagues, who may not be in the same physical space, more immersive and authentic. It will work on Oculus Quest 2 headsets, initially allowing 16 people in the same workroom via VR while allowing an additional 34 people to join via an accompanying desktop app. The app will remain in a closed beta for now but is part of Facebook's horizon project to create a fully-fledged Facebook metaverse.

🐥 Twitter redesigns redesign: Earlier this month, Twitter began rolling out a revamped version of its website in which it implemented the "Chirp" typeface and changes to make several elements appear in high contrast. While the redesign aimed to make the site appear less cluttered and more accessible, it had the opposite effect in some cases, causing headaches and eye strains for many users. In response, the team is iterating the redesign, starting with adjusting the contrast of buttons to make it easier on users eyes.

📺 Netflix adds spatial audio support: Netflix is joining the likes of HBO Max, Disney+ and Peacock, with the rollout of spatial audio support exclusively for Airpod Max and Airpod Pro users on iPhone and iPad iOS 14. First spotted by a Reddit user, the feature, currently only available to some users, aims to provide a more immersive listening experience.

🔗 Whatsapp tests enlarged link preview: WhatsApp is testing enlarged link previews with its latest beta release,, which is now available on testflight for those signed up to their beta testing program. Other notable new features added include the ability to transfer chat history between iOS and Android devices.

💳 Apple delays some features with iOS 15: Apple told developers that several new features will not go live with the latest iOS 15 update as expected. These include Apple Wallets support for ID cards and the highly anticipated SharePlay feature that allows users to share music, videos, and their screens in Facetime. 

📱 Apple adapts safari address bar redesign: Apple is reversing its redesign of Safari for mobile devices on iOS 15. The initial plan was to move the address bar near the bottom of the interface, floating on top of the page content with smaller buttons. However, after criticism from users, the address tab will appear below the page's content on the latest 15.6 beta update. Users can also toggle between the old and new versions.

❤️ Tinder adds ID verification feature: The dating app will soon begin rolling out voluntary ID verification to all users for free. The feature, which has been live in Japan since 2019, will also cross-reference databases such as the sex offender registry to identify accounts of concern.

📹 Facebook to begin testing Reels: Facebook is looking to capitalise on the short-form video craze as it begins testing reels on the Facebook news feed and groups. This follows a hugely successful launch of reels on Instagram last year and stats which indicate that users spend 50% of their time on the app watching videos.

Onlyfans to ban sexually explicit content: From October, the content subscription platform will ban the very content that has played a central role in its explosive growth over the last two years. This has caused outrage amongst creators, many of whom are sex workers or in adult entertainment, that rely on the platform for a significant chunk of their earnings.

Recommended reads

🌈 Understanding Colour Theory: This article provides a comprehensive overview of the science, guidelines and best practices behind colour theory you should know that will help you craft a killer colour scheme.

🧠 Ethics in designing habit-forming products: In this article, the author shares the two methods they use to evaluate a designer's motives when purposefully designing habit-forming products.

🚴🏼‍♂️ The Peloton experience: a usability heuristics analysis: In this article, the author does an an in-depth analysis on six human factor principles and laws of UX that the design team at Peleton leveraged to create its current interface.

🎨 How to Design Sexy Gradients: Choosing the perfect colour gradient is an integral part of interface design. It is used to help make elements stand out and communicate the brand vibe and identity. In this article, the author shares some practical tips & tricks on making gradients that stand out.

Useful tools & resources

📖 Book of the Week - Deploy Empathy by Michele Hansen: An excellent book that’s filled with tips and best practices that you can employ when talking to customers to get invaluable insights on their hidden needs, desires, and processes.

🛠 Tool of the week - Product Design Assignments: A community-sourced project which helps upcoming designers by giving them a set of problems that they can practice and discuss with experienced mentors before appearing for an interview.