Here’s how Apple should reinvent the address book

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There's got to be a better way. Photo: Frank Costa
There's got to be a better way. Photo: Frank Costa

The address book is outdated. On the iPhone, while most of my contacts reside in the Contacts app, I rarely go in there. Instead, I connect with people on Facebook, via SnapChat, WhatsApp and more.

Product designer Frank Costa feels the same way, but he went one step further than simply banishing the Contacts app to an unused folder on his Home screen and designed this address book replacement concept, something he calls an Invisible Address Book.

While having a list of phone numbers might be silly, he says, there is benefit to having information about the people we contact frequently in one place.

“Therefore, as a design exercise,” writes Costa on Medium, “I elaborated on a couple of ideas to turn that seemingly static list of people into a slightly more ambitious project.”

His solution, in part, is to associate your contacts with the apps you use to contact them, in what Costa calls app bundles. He suggests that the information about our contacts is in the cloud, and that we should be able to send our own info about what apps we use to a central system, like Apple ID, and then integrate that onto our iPhones.

Swipe over for contacts, with a friendlier, "bubble" style. Photo: Frank Costa
Swipe over for contacts, with a friendlier, “bubble” style. Photo: Frank Costa

You’d simply swipe down like you do now to enter Search view, and then swipe to the right to reveal your contacts, arrayed in a Facebook-style contact bubble grid. When you tap on a contact, you’d reveal the history of communications you’ve had with that person, first as a list of apps you’ve used with them, as in the top image above, and then as a list of actually activity in each of those apps, kind of like the Notification Center, only for what you’ve used, rather than what’s sent you a notification.

This is a really smart re-design of a system that was really based on the rolodex, used by secretaries for decades to keep track of business contacts’ phone numbers.

It’s about time we updated the address book as a concept, as most of our friends and business contacts have new ways of being contacted. This app-integrated “invisible” address book would connect me to people I actually want to connect with in ways that we actually connect. It’s kind of brilliant.

Of course, Costa makes the point that he’s not trying to redesign iOS 8.

“Apple‘s Product and Design teams are full of talented folks who surely thought this through a handful of times,” he writes. “This is merely a personal design / thinking exercise from an Apple fanboy who‘s in love with his iPhone 6 Plus.”

It’s definitely a design choice I’d get behind. How about you?

Source: Medium