Google's material design, which I've written about a number of times, has generally been received well by designers, developers, and press alike. We've seen numerous apps adopt it, developers explain and evangelize it, and users react positively to it.
Still, there have been nagging questions about the new design philosophy. A big one, and one that could potentially be a stumbling block for adoption, is the question of branding. Some voice concerns that material design may overshadow existing brands if implemented to Google's spec, or that it's too difficult to brand a "material design app."
Someone recently asked me what I thought about the relationship between branding opportunities and material design, and while I was able to come up with a short version of the answer, there are a few different things packed into this issue that are worth exploring. Read More
Adoption of material design appears to be on an upward trend. It seems that every few days we hear news about another app refreshing its design with some inspiration from Google's new aesthetic, with some apps using the design language at launch. This is great for users who have been hungry for a more unified, cohesive design language on Android.
Continuing the trend, Groupon has introduced its update to version 15.2, heavily inspired by material design. The update, while just a 0.1 version bump, greatly refines the app's interface. The tab bar is now colorized and brought into line with Google's recommendations, and the app has adopted the new navigation drawer, including an account switcher and simple iconography. Read More
We've already posted plenty of interesting tidbits and changes from Android 5.1, but of course there's still more to uncover. It looks like in the latest version of Lollipop, Google has given the Contacts app a few welcomed tweaks.
With Lollipop 5.0, most of the Contacts app graduated to a slick new experience inspired by material, but for some reason the contact creation/editing screens clung to old holo paradigms.
The newly tweaked editing layout in Android 5.1 makes a decidedly more thoughtful use of horizontal lines and adheres to material design's standard keylines (at 16 and 72dp) making for a cleaner, clearer interface with helpful iconography highlighting each type of field. Read More
From time to time, Google engages in A/B testing with its live products. Flipping switches from somewhere deep in its Mountain View HQ, Google will turn on new design tweaks or feature changes for small groups of users, and measure their impact on engagement. This is generally a helpful process for validating design decisions, and occasionally we catch them in the act and get a peek at what might be around the corner.
Today, reports started popping up that Google might be testing some UI tweaks with its Google+ app for Android. Before you get excited, these tweaks don't include a hamburger menu. Read More
Trello for Android, a popular task management app that describes itself as "a whiteboard with super powers," got a big update today, introducing the app's "first foray into material design." The update comes with revamped layouts, new navigation paradigms, and tons of aesthetic improvements.
In a post to the Trello blog, Dan Lew explains that the revamp was "a ton of work," noting that not a single corner of the interface went unnoticed - the entire interface was given close inspection with Google's new design philosophies in mind, but Lew stresses that the core experience remains the same.
Those not running Android Lollipop needn't worry - the app is compatible with 4.0.3 and above, with most of the app's material-inspired goodness available to anyone running the app (some things, as Lew rightfully notes, simply aren't possible on older platforms yet). Read More
Back when we first took a look at the design initiative that would become "material design," we noted that Google planned to update apps incrementally, with changes happening over an unspecified period of time, until they'd evolved to full compliance. A couple of months ago Hangouts began its journey, but to many the app still doesn't feel quite up to par. A messy, improperly-layered drawer, lack of some familiar actions from the app's previous iteration, and of course no revised launcher icon are a few complaints begging for resolution.
Since that last design update, we've been waiting on the edge of our collective seat for the fabled update that would "fix" Hangouts. Read More
The update everyone has been waiting for is finally here - YouTube has been updated with some material design goodness. The app's makeover is essentially what you'd expect - along with circular avatars (per Google's spec), it features a tall, tabbed toolbar in YouTube's signature vibrant red brand color, a full-height material nav drawer, and a clean white background.
Channels receive special attention, with Lollipop's Palette API pulling colors from the channel art to color the app's toolbar. Of course YouTube 6.0 brings a new launcher icon too, falling into line with the rest of Google's product icons.
The update also brings more advanced search filters to YouTube, a welcome addition to anyone who's struggled to find just what they were looking for in the past. Read More
You may not be able to tell from the product icon (update: B&H has issued another update with a new icon, seen above) but B&H, purveyor of everything photo, video, and audio, has updated its app with tons of material-inspired elements.
Apparently inspired by Google's new design direction, the company's app is now jam-packed with illustrations, material-inspired transitions, vivid colors, and cards.
The app's approach to organizing information swings in both directions - the home page serves up a huge, colorful illustration, along with bright promotional cards and shortcuts (along with a search FAB). The interface progressively gets more organized and sparse as you dive into the app until, in places like the "used" section, you've got just text-based lists. Read More
Google Play Services version 6.5 began rolling out to users a few days ago, and as we work on an APK teardown to see what's under the hood, it looks like there's at least one more user-facing change in the update. Specifically, Android's system update screen is prettier.
The screen which, until now, consisted of the same drab title, horizontal break, "last checked" text, and "check now" button, has been granted a better design treatment. There's a new header image, new colors, and refined typography, along with a flat text button, per Google's design spec.
before and after
The functionality of the system updates screen may still resemble the button on a crosswalk signal, but it at least looks better. Read More
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of defense to your online accounts. Typically there are two ways to go about it: having a text sent to your phone containing a numerical key, or typing in one that appears inside of a dedicated app. Google Authenticator serves this function just fine, but you have to settle for something that hasn't been spruced up since the Ice Cream Sandwich days. Authy is an alternative offering that looks a bit easier on the eyes.
With the app's latest update, the company has made your various accounts significantly easier to access. Rather than having to slide out a menu from the left, each one appears inside a tile positioned across the bottom. Read More