tldr; You hipsters don’t appreciate the effort that went into good design. Hint: Flat Design is not an example of good design.
Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read
Nevermind many, show me a single person with normal vision that CANNOT read Apple fonts and I will save their life, because clearly they have a brain tumour and need treatment immediately.
Reductio ad absurdum. Norman and Tog did not say all of it was impossible to read. They said it was difficult or impossible, and it is true that it is difficult. Some of Apple’s advertising images even featured skinny white text on a white background. For all of computing history, we’ve had gradually increasing resolutions and easier to read fonts, and then suddenly, bam. Everybody is doing skinny white text on a purple gradient or something.
These principles, based on experimental science as well as common sense, opened up the power of computing to several generations
Of course much of the science was based on a mouse and keyboard interaction on a computer, not touch on mobile.
Great. So where is the science? Norman and Tog actually did studies. They got people who were not infatuated with their vision to test the interface and see if it worked. They watched how people used the device, and they iterated. Where are the studies showing that this new way is better? Who is more productive? And why is the easier to use way not the default?
The scrollbar is discoverable and it provides visual feedback. Sounds good right? Well it turns out using a scrollbar on a mobile device is a miserable experience. Swipe to scroll turned out to be the vastly superior method, and as soon as you learn to swipe (my 1 year old figured it out watching me) it is trivially easy to operate without any additional visual clutter.
Bad example. The mobile devices I know still have a type of scroll bar: The contacts app would be unusable otherwise.
On the web browser, there is no scroll bar. There might be a scroll indicator, but there’s nothing that I can grab. I just swipe, and swipe, and sometimes I give up and just not consume the content that I want. This is bad design in practice.
Also, I am not putting content all the way to the edge of the screen. I have like 200 ppi in that blank space. I can afford a few pixels to at least show a persistent indicator of where I am in the content. Not like when I was trying to find out what Apple Mail on MacOS X was doing, and the activity window had no indication that I could scroll down to see what the other connections were doing.
Sure, it’s easy to criticize. Making a good design would be a better proof. But it shouldn’t be so easy to just point at what they did in the past, and say, that was better for this reason. You shouldn’t have thrown that away.