Besides a bevy of new features, Android's update to 4.4 brought forth a ton of tweaks to the interface through GEL launcher and a fresh round of updated stock apps. There's little doubt Android's user experience and overall design paradigms are continuing to evolve, becoming more refined, usable, and useful. We covered most of the changes to the interface in Getting to Know Android but, as with any major update, new changes come with new opportunities for error.
We've received an early look at an upcoming version of Facebook that introduces a brand new, flat UI. This is a change that competing social networks like Twitter and Pinterest made a long time ago, and given the direction Android, iOS, and Windows Phone have all moved in, it only makes sense. When considering Facebook Messenger's recent redesign, it's even less surprising. Yet this is pre-release software, so there's a decent chance none of these changes will make it into the stable version.
SoundCloud is known for letting users share original audio, and it's a great way to hear a bit of what creative types are out there, well, creating. With millions of users, there's ample reason to keep the Android app from stagnating for too long. So version 2.7 is now rolling out, and it brings a handful of new features that improve the interface and make discovering new content even easier.
The side menu has been redesigned to make most-used functions more accessible.
After its update to 5.0 on iOS about a week ago, Pocket has been upgraded for Android as well. I'm a long-time user of Pocket, and while my use case is probably different from the typical user's (there are probably only about 10 items in my list at any given time), it's clear to me that Pocket is always trying to find new ways to make simple save-and-read functionality better and more convenient.
There are a plethora of little visual tweaks in Android 4.4, but few of them will be in your face as much as the new white status bar icons. The decision to move away from Holo blue was a bit surprising, but removing the color-based connectivity indicator? What gives? Well, a Google engineer has chimed in on Google+ to explain the rationale.
Most developers who use the Google Play beta program don't seem to make monumental changes, but Twitter is really taking the beta label seriously. A few weeks after rolling out a completely new UI to the beta app, Twitter has updated the interface substantially again. It's cleaner in some places, but less so in others.
If you're in Twitter's Android beta program, better grab the nearest Android device and check for updates. The official Twitter client has been updated with a completely new interface, and it's not the one leaked at the Samsung IFA event. This version has Android-style tabs, in-line media previews, hamburger navigation, and a proper action bar.
If you cannot make up your mind between running TouchWiz or a stock version of Jelly Bean, thanks to MoDaCo.SWITCH, that's a decision you won't have to make. This piece of software makes switching back and forth between the two versions as simple as toggling a switch. Paul O'Brien, better known as MoDaCo, has started porting it to the Galaxy S4, and the beta is now available for those who backed his Indiegogo campaign.
Mozilla UI Engineer Lucas Rocha, in a post to his blog earlier today, announced Firefox's "biggest UI change … since [its] first native release back in June last year."
The UI update, Rocha explains, includes a completely redesigned and rewritten Awesomescreen, which combines the interactive and functional aspects of the start page and the old Awesomescreen into one page with super-smooth swipable tabs. For those who aren't familiar with Mozilla's mobile browser, the Awesomescreen allows users to quickly get a handle on their bookmarks and browsing history.
The competition for cloud storage customers is getting fierce, and companies like Box need every edge they can get. To that end, the Box Android app is getting a huge overhaul today, focusing on user interface, local file management, and remote syncing and collaboration. Version 2.2 of the app will be live in the Play Store today, and should be rolling out to existing users over the next few hours.
The general interface gets the most attention, starting with a new and oh-so-trendy navigation drawer.