LinkedIn's main app rarely gets significantly updated. It has added a few new features here and there over the past years, but it has looked the same since time immemorial. Very Holo, very grey, very Ice Cream Sandwich. You can finally bid adieu to that old design though, since version 4.0 is ready to coat your smartphone's screen with fresh animations, a cleaner design, more white, better use of space, and some nicer transitions and animations.
LinkedIn's design reshuffled and reorganized the app too. Gone is the side drawer, replaced by a blue bar at the top with icons for each tab. Swipe left and right to switch between your feed, profile, messages, connections, and search.
Nick Butcher (Developer Advocate at Google) recently published the source code for Plaid, an app meant to showcase material design on Android with playful animations, impeccable typography, and a simple, bold aesthetic. The code will provide useful examples for developers, but the app itself is worth keeping installed too - Plaid pulls stories from Designer News, Dribbble, and Product Hunt to serve up design news and inspiration, catered to your preferences.
Besides more standard material elements, the app has a few unique tricks. Specifically, the toolbar is behind the content rather than lying on top of it, making the scrolling action on the main grid a little more elegant.
If you didn't already know, photographer Carl Kleiner is the mind behind the enchanting "material" wallpapers that came with Android Lollipop, and with more recent versions of Chrome and the Google app on iOS.
With the release of Marshmallow, Kleiner is back with even more creations and two bonus wallpapers to celebrate the release. But besides all that, Google Design has posted an interesting peek into the process behind the creations, called paperscapes, to its blog.
The new paperscapes go beyond the scope of the original pieces, integrating more complex geometry, greater color and textural contrast, and new materials like colored water and powdered ink to create compelling pieces that - at first glance - don't look like they could possibly be photographs.
The Android Asset Studio is an indispensable tool that offers quick icon and nine-patch generation, along with a device art generator that graduated to Google's official Android Developers site. And since there are new Nexus devices (hopefully shipping soon), it's time for new shells to frame your screenshots. Today, the Nexus 5X and 6P joined the lineup.
Of course older devices are still available under a separate dropdown - the Nexus 4, 5, 6, 7 (2012), and 10 are all represented though interestingly the Nexus 7 (2013) has fallen out of the selection.
People were understandably excited when Nova Launcher added icon normalization to the beta app. This feature automatically scales app icons to make the sizes more visually consistent. It's been a few weeks, but icon normalization is ready for prime time as part of the new v4.1 update in the Play Store.
Google has always encouraged developers to design their app icons with a "unique silhouette." This gives designers the freedom to come up with neat stuff, but there are drawbacks. For example, icons that are just weird sizes and look out of place on your device. Well, there's a new Nova Launcher feature coming that could fix that. "Icon normalization" is in private alpha now, and it's coming to the beta channel very soon.
It's new logo day at Google, and that means your favorite apps are getting a few icon tweaks. Several of Google's apps had the little 'g' somewhere, but that's no longer part of the logo. Now it's all about the big G, and Google is already updating icons on the web to reflect that.
In an apparent effort to boost app discoverability and engagement, it looks like Google is rolling out a beautiful new layout for "apps" search results on mobile. Doing a quick search for pretty much anything followed by the word "apps" will get you a grid of app results above the normal search results, each block colored according to the app's icon. Clicking the "expand" button opens up the grid, with more results smoothly flowing in. Check it out in motion below.
Worth noting is that these results seem to only appear on Android for now - the download numbers and ratings of course reflect Play Store stats, and each block will take you to the relevant Play Store listing.
Nearly two months after we first saw the in-progress Hangouts 4.0 update, we were starting to worry it would never make its official appearance on the Play Store. But recently our collective wish was granted and Hangouts got a big update. Google says this is Hangouts' update to material design, but what exactly does that mean for the app? There's more here than just a new FAB, so let's take a closer look at some of the notable design changes in Hangouts 4.0.
The journey to material
Despite what the change log may suggest, Hangouts didn't suddenly arrive at "material" with the 4.0 update.
Yesterday, we took a look at the YouTube Gaming app (at least the creator preview). Navigating through the app, users will see several elements obviously informed by YouTube's existing design - the video player can be minimized and dismissed, the navigation model relies entirely on tabs, and getting users to discover more content is the name of the game. But the app branches off from YouTube's design and UX - and the design of all of Google's Android apps - in some really remarkable and unique ways.
For that reason, I thought it may be fun to take a closer look at the design of YouTube Gaming (Creator Preview).