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
Apex might be the last of the major launcher replacements to get a redesign for Android 5.0's visual style, but it certainly doesn't want to be the least. Apex's 3.0 update adds new Lollipop animations and a completely revamped visual style, making it more or less homogenous with Google's own launcher, but with the range of settings and tweaking options that customization fans crave. You can download the standard Apex Launcher for free, with the $4 upgrade app available for more options.
Here's a quick rundown of the changes made for the Material Design update. It's all pretty standard stuff, but put it together and it makes a dramatic difference. Read More
It appears Google really doesn't want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to easing its own apps into material design (no matter how long it may take). The latest to get an incremental refresh is Google Opinion Rewards - the app has been updated with a revised launcher icon (seen in the thumbnail for this post), and a new toolbar inside the app. The icon is a bit closer to material, but doesn't carry the exact same use of shadows as Google's other recent updates.
The card structure and every other component of the interface appears to be the same, but the new toolbar/status bar theming is nice to see. 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
A number of our readers have witnessed a change after opening up the Facebook app. The social network is apparently testing out an updated version of the user interface that sports a flatter look and more colorful, circular icons. We wouldn't call it a big Material redesign, but it does show signs of trying to better fit in. 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
In case you missed it, three members of the team responsible for Inbox by Gmail including Vijay U, Jason C, and Taylor K (Product Manager, Designer, and Software Engineer respectively) answered questions in a Reddit AMA thread today.
Those who want to get a full look at the entire thread can click through the source link below, but in the interest of saving you some time, we've looked through the team's responses to gather up answers to the more popular questions.
In general, the Inbox team expressed interest in eventually bringing many of Gmail's existing features to Inbox, with some either under discussion or already in active development. 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