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Last Updated: March 24th, 2012

It's no secret – the mobile interface for Google's Play Store could use some help. A recent comment thread on Reddit points to the fact that many users feel that the Play Store's interface is just a mess. Others suggest that its level of finesse just doesn't jive with Google's overall habits of design. While Google's recent "toolbar" overhaul resulted in a pleasing, easy-to-use interface which successfully unified navigation between all of the search giant's services, the Play Store (at least on phones and tablets) is messy, jumbled, and just feels disorganized. If you haven't examined the mobile interface in a while, let's take a look:

shot_Mar_22_2012_7 Screenshot_2012-03-23-00-00-30

What's Wrong

There are a number of issues that immediately jump out to me when looking at this interface. The first and most obvious is that the interface in no way connects with other official Google Apps, or the Android interface as a whole. Where apps like Gmail, Google Plus, and Books are all light, clean, and organized, the current Play Store is dark, cluttered, and confusing.

The next problem I notice is screen economy. It feels like the interface is trying to present lots of information, but it's my opinion that that goal is not being met. One of the primary culprits in the Play Store's misuse of screen space is the existence of those inexplicable gray tiles under some items (as Artem will attest), which each have a trite, gradated reflection. Every time a gray reflection tile appears, space is lost that could be providing users with something more useful.

Next, the tiled layout makes the whole interface look pretty hectic. From an artistic standpoint, I don't sense any natural movement, or any focal point. Even the giant, beckoning Angry Birds tile doesn't effectively draw my eye from the zillions of other tiles floating around.

Finally, clicking through Apps to a category like "Staff Picks," or navigating to an individual app listing takes the user to a light screen, totally inconsistent with the front page. This makes the experience feel disjointed, another characteristic you won't find in Google's other apps.

There are many more details to go over with the Play Store's current configuration, but we'll discuss those shortly.

shot_Mar_23_2012_3 shot_Mar_23_2012_2 shot_Mar_23_2012_1

How To Fix It

While it's easy to stand back and poke holes in a design, many readers may be thinking "well, how would you design it?" Luckily, I've prepared an answer. After getting a generally positive reaction to my first mockup in the same Reddit thread, I decided to bring my ideas to this post. In trying to examine the issues with the Play Store's design, I've made several mockups of what I envision the Play Store should be. That being said, I'm definitely not claiming that my solution is perfect, just that it's one option to pull the Play Store together. Let's start off with the home screen (placed in lovely device renders, courtesy of Device Frame Generator):

png

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The first thing I wanted to do when creating a hypothetical Play Store design was make something cohesive. I wanted to focus on drawing the UI together across the entire app, and across all of Google's existing apps. In doing so, I tried to consider what the app would look like on a variety of screens. Specifically, I felt there should be a slight difference between phone and tablet interfaces, based on the primary foci of each device.

In my opinion, both a smartphone and a tablet should be multimedia devices, though actual apps are at the core of practical functionality. Phones, however, are more suited to small-screen multimedia – apps, music, and the occasional book. Tablets, on the other hand are great for apps, games, and  movies. For this reason, I made some adjustments to how "featured" items are displayed. I was also sure to create a menu for the tablet interface that  allowed users to access their multimedia in a similar fashion to the Play Store's relatively clean web interface. To avoid publishing a full-length novel about this hypothetical design, we'll primarily discuss the phone interface from here on out.

When coming up with this idea, I eliminated a lot of unnecessary visual elements. While the huge, domineering promotional tiles of the Store's current interface may have their own role, they aren't the most visually pleasing design element in the world. I also cut out many of the general feature tiles like "$3.99 Top Albums" and "Play The Hits" from the front page, to keep the page from scrolling on for ages with things users may or may not care about. I instead saved these general promotions for the front pages of the promotions' respective categories. That being said, I kept some elements around. For example, the "downloads" icon in the phone interface is persistent, making your downloaded items instantly accessible no matter where you are in the store. Likewise the search button sticks around, allowing users to search on the slightest whim.

Categories

2 - app front 4 - music front 6 - book front 8 - movie front

For each category's front page, I wanted to again focus on functionality. The Apps page is split into featured apps and games, and can be swiped (like the current store) to reveal other categories or top apps.

The Music page, likewise, can be swiped from side to side. On this page, however, I placed some of the general promotions I mentioned earlier, followed by a scrolling "recommendation" section, so that music suggestions would be conveniently located above the "fold."

The Books front page has a scrolling section of individually featured titles, followed by more promotions, allowing for a good amount of user discovery of titles that may otherwise go unnoticed.

The Movies page, similar to the Music page, ensures that more can be seen above the fold, making the individually featured titles section expandable, and placing a side-scrolling "Staff Picks" area just below.

Next came the "listing" pages, where users could view entries for individual apps, movies, etc. I wanted these to convey all the necessary information while maintaining the spacious, uncluttered feel of the rest of the hypothetical design.

Listings

3 - app listing 5 - music listing 7 - book listing 9 - movie listing

For app listings, I think it's important that the Play Store show the description, rating, and screenshots of the app first. The Play Store's current interface does this rather nicely, but its listing interface remains disjointed from the rest of the app. In creating a new set of listing interfaces, I wanted to keep things uniform, with subtle variations, again focusing on each category's respective functionality.

Music listings work in much the same way, except that the track list and description are significantly truncated, allowing the user to get to reviews faster, just beneath the fold.

Book listings are likewise simplified, focusing on the description and reviews, while Movie listings squeeze a trailer link and synopsis both above the fold, with reviews just below. A truncated cast list has also been added just below the title, with the full listing available below. Additionally, I repositioned the rental period just beneath the price in an effort to again convey useful information while eliminating as many unnecessary elements as possible.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I simply believe that Google needs to bring the Play Store's mobile interface a few steps closer to its web experience, unifying the aesthetic elements of the store with Google's signature visual style, and taking a better look at consumer research to understand what people might find important about each of Google's media offerings relative to the devices they are enjoyed with. I'm not at all suggesting that my hypothetical design is the ultimate solution to the Play Store's woes, but it is meant to present one way of doing some Spring cleaning and hopefully making some sense of the Play Store's jumbled user experience.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Drew Nusser

    Ooh. I don't think it's that much of a mess, but those mock-ups are very nice.

    • Jonathan Longoria

      What's a mess is the categories for what you have installed and what you previously installed. I'm sorry but is it too damn difficult to make a purchased category as well? I absolutely HATE having to sort through everything I have downloaded, especially when you're someone who switches phones as often as I do.

      • http://blog.ravrahn.net Ravrahn

        "Purchased" is basically the "Not Installed part of the "Installed" section, which is really confusing...

    • Luly

      I, too, don't think it's in a mess. My only real problem with the design is the stupid reflection.

      One thing to note that Movies, Music and Books are only available in the US. So the mock ups with be just a full page of app icons and nothing else.
      Kinda too bland and boring.

      • configurator

        Books and Movies are available in the UK. I don't know about other countries.

        • Luly

          Sorry, I was under the impression that they are only available in the US.

          But I'm pretty sure that most countries will only see apps in Play so the design definitely needs to take this into consideration.

          It's still an interesting concept.

        • http://www.firstdove.com Christian

          Yep. We only get apps in Singapore here. No Books, Movies nor Music.

  • Greg

    Suggestions are nice. But I don't like how white it is. That's just me. I don't really have an issue with the current market/Play Store.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      It goes along nicely with Google's new whiter designs, like the new Gmail (on the web), Calendar, Currents, and others.

      • westy

        i actually hate how reader is SUPER WHITE and made my gmail dark because i just felt that the white is so blinding. Most of my friends have done the exact same thing. I dont think the play store is a MESS. Your mock ups are nice but i dont have too much of an issue with the play store as is. I like the tiles and i dont get lost in it at all. This is the first ive ever really heard of any complaints.

        1 thing i really liked was the listings mock ups.

      • spydie

        white doesn't play well on samsung screens. Super Amoled screens use up your battery the most when on white. Black conserves battery.

      • Luly

        ICS has 2 themes, halo light (white) and halo dark.

        I prefer Play store to adopt the halo dark theme like the dialer app.

    • SoFloEasycore

      I'm with ya there. I don't think the white meshes well with the blacks/grays/blues of ICS. I like the mockup, but I would replace the white with a black or dark gray.

      • http://www.thepixelpuse.com aj

        But every ICS optimized app is Holo white. Why not the Play Store?

  • Marcantony Luciani

    Bomb i hope they take notice to your mock up its nice.

  • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

    Running out of stuff to write about I see.

    Oh I understand now... "Liam is a Fashion and Commercial photographer, an Anthropology student, and fashion writer. "

    Here's the way I utilize Google Play. Open Google Play... Search for what I want. Download.

    • David Ruddock

      Congratulations for knowing exactly what you want every time you open the Play Store. I'm sure you're representative of every Android user in existence, too.

      A "store" by definition should be easy to browse, the Play Store mobile app is not, and it's because it's so cluttered, disorganized, and god-awful to look at.

      I guess you're running out of things to comment about.

      • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

        Yes. I must because the application is just so confusing. I spend 10 hours looking up stuff and just go in and search. It's scary even.

        Maybe someone can help redesign it and make up some sort of virtual application of eng shui.

        • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

          My keyboard didn't capture my f keystroke... feng shui. =)

        • Chris Clark

          "Wah! People aren't like me! Your opinion is wrong because it isn't exactly what I think!"

          You are the typical example of a person who cannot possible understand there are other people out there and that they are different from you. :D

        • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

          Well then maybe we should push a customizable market app. You get to choose the colors because there's no way to satisfy everyone's desires. This would only require some programming and a color wheel.

          I just don't think it's a big enough deal in general to write such a detailed article about. It was well written. There is no way I could come up with that much fluff for an article on this topic.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, totally, nothing to write about anymore, only the stuff nobody wants to see. Oh wait, they *do* want to see this explored in more detail http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/r7gp4/google_market_homescreen_is_a_cluster_fuck_these/c43lgo2

      • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

        Ah... I see every Android user has chimed in. Sorry. This is a big deal. Let's start a change.org petition.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          Extrapolate.

        • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

          Maybe it's just me, but I looked at Reddit once. Talk about layouts. I've never been so turned off by a layout that I couldn't push through just to see what it's really all about.

          Like I just mentioned in another comment thread. I'd say custom colors for text, headers, etc. Then everyone can save their preferences to their Google account.

        • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

          Reddit is #122 from the top, at least according to Alexa - it's one of the most popular sites on the web. Its design varies across subreddits, but in general it's meant to be the way it is.

          You shouldn't even look at http://news.ycombinator.com btw.

        • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

          Did you know that Alexa's algorithm is not based just on traffic? I know for a fact that I have a page that gets less traffic than one site and more traffic than another.

          However, I'm ranked closer to the top than the page with more traffic and below a site that gets much less traffic.

          We'd probably have to go into great depths to see how that really works out. I came across another site the other day while looking at my server logs. I should probably bookmark these and figure out what website ranking page is the best...

          Just food for thought. I'm sorry that my original post was close to trolling. Just inspiring some good responses. After re-reading it I agree it was a pretty extreme comment.

  • Aaron

    I like the design, but that's too much white for me. Of course, if google changed it, I would just theme the vending.apk anyway.

  • JoAnn

    Yes, this. Exactly.

    Google's Market, Play Store, WhateverTheFTheyWantToCallIt looks like a Windows 8 artist threw up all over it. I don't know what it is with Google lately but they seem to be smoking something bad out there in Mountain View.

    Keep it clean and simple, like you've shown.

  • http://www.peanutbrittlesatellite.com Shawn

    It's not pretty, though it's useable as-is. But damn. I would love to see Google do something like what you've done above. Excellent work.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      The reflections alone make me want to stab myself in the eyes.

    • JoAnn

      Try using it on an HTC Incredible or any other phone with <4" display. It's horrible.

  • s15274n

    The way that it is seems perfectly fine to me also... I actually prefer the dark, especially when black = no battery.

    • http://www.cricketusers.com Chris Rodriguez

      For Amoled displays... They were probably going for a higher contrast vs the looks like something for print media suggested here. Trying to save virtual ink with all that white?

      As mentioned earlier... Get crazy.. Change the vending.apk.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      It's aligned pretty well with apps like Google Currents, which is mostly white.

    • Victor

      I wish you people would get over the whole battery dark crap. Good design shouldn't be based on nerds who want a little more juice from their battery.

      • Luly

        Also because dark theme is easy on the eyes and gives a whole new depth to the design than all the overly used glossy white glaring UI.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

        Actually, the battery issue is limited to certain types of displays, so it's only even a percentage of users who would benefit from that.

        tl;dr version
        I'd rather have a dark theme that isn't blinding in low light than to have a light theme that's slightly more readable in bright daylight?

        logic
        To me, the bigger issue has more to do with usability concerns. Consider common usage. Bright screens (like the mockups) are beneficial when outside or in another high brightness setting, however that's inconsistent with the majority of use where most people open the store when inside of buildings (remember, we're talking about when people are using the store specifically, not use of the phone overall). Also of note, a fair amount of time spent in the store, especially if looking at books or movies, is likely to take place when laying in bed or generally relaxing which is far more likely to occur in a low-light setting. Apps and music are more variable, but I'm sure most of us geeks will agree we probably spend more time in the dark than heavily lit rooms. I could go on and on, but I think it's clear how this point boils down.

        • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

          I totally understand your logic, and I think that in an ideal design, users could choose between light and dark themes, while each maintains consistency with the aesthetic of Google's other apps.

  • Dave

    I really hope someone at Google sees this, it's brilliant design that I would have expected from them to begin with. Nicely done!

  • ddp

    The mock-ups are ill! Really hope they steal these! :)

  • Jay

    Great design idea, I think it flows with the rest of the Google Apps. Also, I'm glad you presented a solution instead of just complaining.

  • hugobosslives

    i am very impressed.

    you sure you've never been in app design?

    i'm sure someone at google will see this and pass it around. definitely prefer your version of the market/play store. hope they take note and "steal" some of your ideas as i'm sure you won't mind

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Oh, they've already seen it.

      • Darkbotic

        How you know that?

  • http://www.androidapphighlights.com Leif

    I've not such a big problem with the UI of the market, but I think they could make the Store much more "social".

    1) Something like AppAware would be great. An option to make your app list public for all or friends - maybe on G+. Also offer a stream to opt in to see what your friends have installed, deinstalled or commented on in the past. AppAware has this and it's a nice way to discover new apps.

    2) Gift codes:
    Beside gift cards Google should offer after it's rebranding it would also be great to buy an app for other people. Just give us a button to purchase a gift code for app xyz which another person can enter to unlock then.
    This would be useful for many cases. Blogger could use it to promote their blogs and give a free code of an app away they wrote a review about.
    Photo communities like on instagram, streamzoo and other networks who do weekly challenges could use them as little prizes for the winner.

    I think Google has so much unused potential if they would bringt the store, g+ and the already existing contats everyone has in gmail closer together.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Those 2 are absolutely something I've been longing for for a long time. Especially #2.

    • L boogie

      Those are two great ideas; the gift codes or cards (play codes/ cards) should have been implemented by el goog a long time ago & should link up with Wallet AND the AppAware-type idea should be at the store to break apps into color-based categories to match Google's rebranding and this is in addition to what Leif said.

  • http://yash1229.wordpress.com Yash Bhatia

    This. Is. Marvelous.

    Looks a bit Metro-inspired, though. Awesome, nevertheless. :)

  • Aaron

    I like your concept. I personally prefer a dark layout, so perhaps adding the option for both light and dark might just make it perfect. Same would be nice across the board for all the g-apps.

  • shaggyskunk

    I'd like to see apps that you search for, displayed by rating... I'd also like to KNOW, that I'm not going to get all kinds of trash in my inbox, along with mysterious phone calls telling me I've won something etc!

  • BlajBlah

    I like the current market. Frankly those suggestions look like an amateur made them, odd icons .. the current market is graphic intense which is cool for android

  • KojiroAK

    Well I think the one google is using now, is more like the design of ICS (and I think with the light grey (which you describe as light) they got the thing in between the dark design of ICS but still being readable. (whitout having white lettres on black background).
    But yours is good as well.

    I think choice would be great.

    Like:
    []ICS Design
    []Old Design
    []AndroidPolice Design. *g*

  • gogakhan

    They look so beautiful... please make the Play Store like that!

  • bse88

    I think your design is kinda cool but that Ultra thin Helvetica is imposible to read. Texts are first mean to be read, then they can look cool.

  • NuLL.n.VoiD

    Looks like Netflix, not Metro. The idea is on track though. Visuals are supposed to lead the eye.

  • sodiq

    I love your design, the white I'm on the fence cause it can be blinding at times. Maybe a grey hue or black for less screen consumption on the battery. The App market has evolved when I first used since eclair and when they added the carousel in gingerbread, THE ICS ui is nice, it works and yes it can be cumbersome to use. However it is better than what we had before. What I would like to see is not design but overall discovery, which i find on Android is lacking. If i have a galaxy nexus i would like to know what apps are gears towards my phone and as well what other galaxy nexus users are downloading.

  • Jonathan

    im not a fan of the white UI, and imo the tablet style does not use the extra screen estate good enough.

    i do agree the market could be better, but my biggest gripe is that you dont know which app has a tablet interface.

  • Rob

    Yours look too bare and white and there's too much emphasis on Films and Books.

    And surely it makes sense to leave promotions on the front page? =/

  • http://www.facebook.com/barbie.doll.keri Keri

    I actually like the current Play Store. This is way too bright and it hurts to even look at. It's boring and I don't really care if it matches the current theme Google has going on with other apps. The Play Store now is simple and easy. I don't find it confusing at all. Anyone who does must be a little on the derp side.

    I know I'm going to catch flak from all the Authors here because that's all ya'll do. You can state your opinions, but when it comes to your audience, God forbid.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Not really, feel free to disagree, by all means. But if someone is being a douche in their response, I'm not going to be all nice and jolly either.

  • http://www.liquidpixelsolutions.net Jim Brow

    Love the work you posted, and I agree with much of what was said in the article. As a graphic designer I am mildly offended at the current layout/design of google play.

    This issue of why it doesn't match the rest of google's interface designs seems to stem from an over arching difference of style. I am just guessing here but based on stylistic differences I feel it's pretty safe to say that they let a new designer plan the UI of google play, and who ever that was either a. failed to take into account previous design work laid down in other google services or b. specifically wanted to move away from those previous elements in order to better differentiate google play as 'new' and 'cool'.

    Unfortunately as your article points out, it didn't turn out that great.

    That being said I don't think it's a TERRIBLE design, but it certainly could be better.

    I love google's services and on the whole their design team(s). I just wish they'd hire the same cats to do the job uniformly across their whole brand. Does reader really need to be so different from gmail? Does the UI of G+ need to be standalone? It's be nice to see some uniformity from service to service.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      I totally agree. The current interface turned out looking/feeling neither "new" nor "cool."
      I think the idea could work, but they need to pull it together in a meaningful way, which would inevitably eliminate many of the elements currently in place.

  • Aaron

    I noticed how you nicely managed to drop your Android Police app into the mockups. I can't seem to find this app while searching through the Store. Is there a link to it?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      It's not something that's available. Yet ;)

  • ASC

    One thing I'd like to see is a good "on sale" section for apps.

    • Michael

      Agreed, I usually find out that stuff from here or other android related sites. but the average consumer doesn't know

  • ZZ

    The mockup loses in both scanning speed and information density compared to the current market version. The magazine layout allows one to quickly get an overview of whats on offer, whereas the mock up requires way more drilling down and small hit targets. The tiles also provided a strong visual boundary, so removing them (along with the thin font on white) has the end result of requiring much more work to read.

    • Luly

      The point about losing scanning speed and information density is spot-on.

      Actually all they need to do now is remove the stupid reflection.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      I would argue that packing information too densely gets very ugly very fast. The Play Store's current layout seems like a handful of tiles were picked up (book titles, movies, general promotions, apps) and thrown against a wall. Sure, there's a lot there, and users could pretty much navigate to something by accident, clicking giant, unnecessary rectangles, but it simply doesn't look good.

      • Luly

        The tiles keep it the design interesting for most parts of the world because books, movies and music are only available to VERY few countries.

        The mock-up will just be a blank page full of app icons ONLY to the rest of the world. Now that's officially boring.

        I'm not saying the mock-ups are ugly. But it's probably not the direction in which the Play GUI should be going if you look at the bigger picture.

  • David

    Lovely mock up I love it. Slightly side question though. Will we see an android police app in the future? (or is there one and I have just missed it?)

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      You will. Maybe sooner than you think.

      • Cory

        Hey, dont get all "Instagramish" on us when asked about the app release..... :)

  • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Aaron

    Liam, present this to Google ASAP. Ignore the haters; the redesign of the Play store is just busy and hideous. I looked at you first screen shots and my eyes experienced a significant euphoria after looking at the prior screenshots of the Play Store as it is today.

  • Jeromy

    I would love to see Google adopt this. I am not a fan of the current layout. I am fortunate enough not to have updated to the latest version that lists all your previously installed apps mixed in with your purchased apps, and dread the thought of the update. I agree with an earlier post, is it that difficult to make 3 categories? Installed, purchased, previous install. Also I don't understand for the life of me why there are not better sorting options. There are alot of apps in the store that are overlooked, just because they're not a "top app", and unfortunate in that they don't pop up in a search, unless you know the actual name of the app. Hopefully Google takes notice, great article!

  • Mahmood Ali

    WOW!! THAT'S AWESOME

  • Ishken

    So you pretty much want it more inline with the Google Play website and not the current app design. I would prefer to have it customized to what I am looking for and save that to my GAccount. The redesign is nice, but I agree that the excess in white will make it too hard to look at while browsing. Props on the design though.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I'd love that kind of consistency with the website, definitely.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      I'm actually totally fine with the idea of making the tablet interface a near clone of the web interface.
      As I said in my post, I think tablets are more about media enjoyment, and the web store seems to do a 1000% better job of presenting users with discovery/browsing options than the current tablet store.
      I didn't fully explore the idea of the tablet interface in this post (at all), but I could write an entirely separate post about all the things I think the tablet version would do past the first page.

  • Eric G

    Nice job. I like it. For the regions who don't have music, books and movies, these could be payed, free and my.

  • Marc

    I actually love these renders, and,seeing them has made me look at the play store as outdated, and wishing these renders were on my phone

  • Thekd53

    Nice overall layout, but maybe you should try blending this with the magazine layout. It not only involves less work with changes, but it also agrees with ICS image layouts. Magazine doesn't have to be ugly, it just needs to be used right.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      I think the magazine style layout has its place, but I'm not entirely convinced that its place is the Play Store.
      If the goal of a design is to A) look good and B) help users find things (both through natural discovery and specific browsing), jamming in rectangles, squares, and smatterings of random categories just doesn't seem like the way to go.

      • Thekd53

        It doesn't have to be random though, it could be separated by dividers and by category. Just seems like a better layout for better images.

        • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

          I definitely think that it could work, if done with a bit more tact. It may be interesting to play around with. I am just really put off by the current implementation, so that probably makes me a bit biased.

  • http://www.joshrice.net Josh Rice

    Your green text needs to be darker - it doesn't contrast enough off the white BG.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      Good point. Of course as initial mockups, there would likely be a lot of tweaks before they became anything near final.

  • Mark

    I think the whole reflection thing has to do with trying to keep a constant design template. Differently sized/shaped banners/icons/etc can go in each box, but the boxes stay the same size.

    To accommodate this, they keep a gray background and put in a reflection below the banner/icon/whatever in order to make it not look completely ridiculous.

    I think it's also there to provide a space where they can safely put pricing/title information for products whose banners don't lend themselves to having text on top be readable.

  • http://www.google.com loranz

    I couldn't agree more with this. The current layout doesn't have the "Google" in it. And that's something Google needs to work on asap. I honestly cannot wait for the day when I look at Google, I see just one theme for all their services and this mock-up is a step in the right direction.

    Good work on it by the way. Much more "Googly" then the current rubbish.

  • Blake

    I guarantee those grey tiles were because the apps in the first 'page' viewed when entering the store cost much more than any other 'featured' spot, and they didn't have enough takers at the time.

    And that creates another flaw in their design, for example 'TED' gets left out in the mobile view. But for all I know the price was adjusted accordingly.

  • GraveUypo

    my only beef with the current interface is it takes longer than it should to load on slower connections. it needs to be faster.

  • Zach

    Moving the current sales to each section's main page probably wouldn't go over well. I think the idea is to draw people not normally interested in purchasing music, into the music section because they saw there was a great sale.

    I don't know about you, but if I'm not interested in something, generally speaking I'm not going to regularly dive into that section to check if there's a sale every day or whatever. However, if open up my market and happen to see a deal too good to pass up because Google chooses to, shall we say "advertise", I will definitely jump into said section when I might normally not otherwise.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      I understand your point, but I mainly just wanted to keep generalized "we have some certain music tracks on sale today" type promotions off the front page, because they don't convey much information. The featured music area (just for example), could feature specific sales, or just promoted tracks/albums.

  • jyc23

    These are all nice suggestions. I'd also like to note a few other things.

    First, I don't understand why when, after an app gets installed, the interface scrolls back to the top. It makes it just that much harder to quickly install a bunch of apps in a row.

    Second, for some reason, clearing the search box by tapping the little x clears the box but also kicks you out of it. So after clearing it, you have to tap on it a second time to enter what you want. The search box in other Google apps, such as Google music, doesn't do this.

    Finally, and this really is applicable to the tablet version, there is no easy way to find apps which are designed for tablets. At least it no longer assumes that your device is a phone (it was a little irritating constantly seeing stuff like, "Read phone state and identity" when I was using a tablet).

  • http://thekeepsakes.bandcamp.com Anthony

    I think it will get there.. but for now due to I suppose international copyright shite, some Google play services aren't yet international. For example is Australia we don't have Play Music so do not have access to that feature. C'Mon roll it out please! Love your look

  • Matt

    White space is a mess on these. Typography sucks.

    The existing one is much better than this. The author of this article clearly is not a designer.

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      Care to elaborate? For the record, I never claimed to be a pro designer - just presenting an alternative.

    • http://www.thepixelpuse.com aj

      Whoa. The typography is Google's Roboto typeface, so if you don't like it, don't blame Liam. Also, the white space is an aesthetic put forth by Google across multiple applications and the like (including the Play Store's web interface). Liam was clearly just trying to make the mobile Play Store reflect the look and feel of the rest of Google's ICS makeover. I'm a firm believer that people who throw down remarks like yours on the web, should put their money where their mouth is. "The author is clearly not a designer." Sounds to me like you're implying that you ARE a designer. Okay, well how about instead of spouting snarky stuff, design your own (presumably better) concept of how Google should fit the Play Store into their new aesthetic. Go on, let's see what you've got. I'll wait.

  • Matt

    Beautiful! I agree whole-heartedly with this post, it boggles my mind that google couldn't come up with a better interface for their app store.

  • http://gplis.to/jkeymer John K

    O M G.

    In the first, what, 75 comments on a nerdy topic about a geeky complaint all willy-nilly analyzed by web designers, usability experts, and just casual users,.....

    NOT A SINGLE PERSON MENTIONED THE WORD "RESOLUTION".
    If a one of you developed for Android, it would've crossed your mind within the first 3 paragraphs of the article. If you design for the web and you're all like "Well, that's all 1999 IE 6 Crap dood" you need to be shot with a cannonball filled with napalm.

    I Ctrl-F searched this page as I type this and I'm the only MF in the entire thing to have even uttered it.

    "What's up with all that reflection stuff?"
    Gee, I dunno, maybe a cheap fix for uniformity across 7 resolutions and 500 Android hardware variations (more than) and counting?

    Cheers and Bravo to the OP on this article. Your mock-up looks wonderful across 2 devices of the same Aspect Ratio. I've been wondering for years who Gianni Versace got reincarnated as. GRATS!

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

      It's clear from reading that you've got zero skill yourself. First, the reflections have zero benefit regarding resolution, that doesn't even make sense. The tiles help to solve some resolution issues, but not many (as visible on most tablets where the content doesn't reach the edges).

      ...And given that your web link doesn't even point to a functioning address and you talk like a troll, I suspect few people see you as credible...but awesome for you...

    • http://www.liamspradl.in Liam Spradlin

      I don't think I (or anyone) "was all like" anything, actually. I think the post (and most ensuing comments, yours excluded) are well thought-out and completely valid, despite the fact that they don't address whatever resolution issue you think a pointless reflection tile solves.
      Any of the reflection tiles could be replaced with another promotion, listing, or actual useful information with a total of zero impact on the layout.

  • Zaeem S.

    The pictures are amazing and this is exactly what Google should be thinking of with the next update.

  • http://divinehaired.x10.mx/ Martins Belte

    IDk, in my opinion your mock-ups wouldn't be my choice. (Maybe we could make a mock-up competition xD )

  • manlisten

    I liked the Market design that released with Honeycomb. The one with the scrolling banner on top. It was clean, organized, and the animated banner was a nice touch that added some liveliness.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04IX8nC3EBk

    Not sure why they didn't just build onto this design. Guess they couldn't find an effective way to scale it down to phone size.

  • Raghu

    Current play store app can be tweaked (reduce reflections, and other improvements) instead whitewashing it like the mock ups.

    If you want something like the mock ups, we can use a browser on phone/tab to browse https:/play.google.com.

    App should not look like a web design.

  • Jonathan Weltback

    I didn't think it was that bad until I saw your mockups and immediately wanted it to look like that.

    How do we make this known to Google?!

  • crucian4

    The redesign is a good idea but the option to keep a dark theme would be great for power conservation on my hungry super amoled plus screen. I have great battery life because my, background, kindle, and most of my apps' themes are dark with white, blue, red, or green letters. Wish I had that option with the stock browser or any browser for that matter.

  • TrevozNeoma

    Wow, those mockups are gorgeous, truly a pairing of form and function. I have found the current store to be only good for finding what I am looking for, and it's not even all that good at that. The current store makes it much more difficult to smartly browse for new content. Additionally, I have never seen the current storefront as embodying the more light hearted nature of the change from Android to Play. These mock ups absolutely reflect this change and make it a more welcoming place to come in browse, discover, and well...play...almost like a brick and mortar Apple store. Well done Liam!

  • Minh Quach

    I really like your design. Hope google would do something about this soon :) Well done

  • Patrick Gallagher

    It's a nice concept, but it also has its disadvantages. The grid format can offer more text that can come in handy, as well as custom images for events. I don't see how the concept would handle special sales or events.

  • Laz

    It's funny... I don't think your mockups are horrible by any stretch. They're fine. But I think the current look of the play store--especially the black base, which gives it a "premium" feel that is sorely lacking from the rest of Google's designs-- is the best-looking thing I've EVER seen come from Google. To each his own!

  • Aeires

    Ironic, earlier today I read an article on WP7 and why it doesn't work. Metro is a design concept and if used too heavily, it becomes too overly simplified to the point where font work becomes the main focus. I see a lot of that in the mock up. The splash screen in the current market is fine, it adds nice contrast between the categories. I don't care for the mock up splash screen, it's too open and relies on negative space too much.

    As for the black background, it's needed. One of the main problems with the mock up is the ability to see colored fonts. Some people will have difficulty with that, especially in daylight situations. Colored text on dark backgrounds will always be easier to read.

    Metro makes sense but I don't think the masses are ready for such a heavy use of it as the mock up portrays.

    • Joe_HTH

      "Ironic, earlier today I read an article on WP7 and why it doesn't work.
      Metro is a design concept and if used too heavily, it becomes too
      overly simplified to the point where font work becomes the main focus"

      LOL! Yeah, I bet you did. Metro works beautifully, ten times better than anything Google has ever created. If it doesn't work, then can you explain to me why it has won numerous design awards? If it doesn't work, why are Apple and Google seemingly copying it's design aesthetics? If it doesn't work, why is WP8 such a pleasure to use compared to the mess that is Android?

      You're spouting BS like the typical Google sycophant.

  • Josh

    I think the Google Play Store is a mess as well as I HATE the name "Google Play". Its retarded. I reverted back to the old market before they named it Google Play. The way the market sorts your apps now is ridiculous! Sorting all my apps that I have on multiple devices that are not installed on my current device, apps I no longer use, and merging all apps from different accounts makes it extremely difficult and frustrating to find an app.

    Your mockups are well designed. The clean aesthetic follows today's current design flow. Although it reminds me of Windows online Marketplace a little. Also instead of having 3 features apps on each row, have one and make it wide like how the current market has it.

  • Jay

    Can anybody help? When I search something I tend to scroll down a lot and check out a lot of apps (or anything else). But when I go back to the search page from an individual product page it goes back to the top!! Then I have to scroll down again to find where I was before. Its extremely annoying. Is there a solution to it? an add-on? or settings tweak? Please email j-a-y-r-a-w-k-e-r @ gmail (without the dashes)

  • Brick Fan

    i liked the darker theme and smaller icons because I use android on a tablet, not a smart phone. The screen economy is now way worse on a tablet which makes sense with the huge increase in size of UI elements and icons. Rotating to landscape gives me even Fewer icons displayed for apps/games/etc. I guess that's more of the new screen economy...just like jelly bean now has two toolbars that take up more room and now display information in two places, yet were hailed as Better. The home screen is now an endless stream of things I have zero interest in and gray and boxy is just not exciting color - no matter how 'artistic' one is.