Google does a lot of smart things, but it also makes some very bizarre (dare I say, dumb?) decisions. Case in point, YouTube recently changed the way it handles background play, making it harder to end playback from the notification. The "x" used to be tiny, but now it's just gone. Read More
Many a double-take were... taken? when the brand new Google+ redesign was unveiled. Not because the design didn't look great, or didn't perform well (as we know, the website is highly responsive and super speedy), but because of an interface element that appeared on the new Android app - the bottom tab bar.
Not since the days of holo have we seen the split action bar in Google's apps (unless you count the bar in Keep), so it seemed odd to find a bottom tab bar so prominently featured on almost every screen of Google+ in 2015. But there's more to the tab bar than just its unfamiliarity on the platform. Read More
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). Read More
Since debuting at last year's I/O, Google's Cardboard effort hasn't slowed down. Google has been making it easier and easier for manufacturers and developers to hop on board with its vision of virtual reality, and the project got some major updates yesterday. On stage, Google showed off a new Cardboard viewer that accommodates bigger phones (including those running iOS), 360 degree videos, and expeditions for classrooms.
Just last month, Google announced its "Works with Cardboard" program, along with new design guidelines and today Google has released an app that will make those guidelines tangible for VR developers and designers - Cardboard Design Lab. 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
Google's Inbox implements a really smart management paradigm - specifically, users can swipe in one direction to "snooze" a message (designating a time at which the message will reappear in the inbox), or swipe the other way to mark the message "done," essentially archiving it. Steve Albright, in a post to Google+, recently opined that this paradigm might find a good home among all of Android's notifications, rather than being confined to Inbox messages.
At the suggestion of another Google+ user I follow (Derek Traini), I decided to give the idea some thought, and work up at least a preliminary interface sketch for how something like this would work. Read More
Google+ got a somewhat unexpected bump to version 4.6 today, an update that brought with it plenty of Material touches. Since we first reported on Material Design (at the time known as Quantum Paper), we've expected that Google's own apps would be undergoing their own gradual transformations in updates leading up to the launch of Android L. The Google+ app got its first round of material changes earlier this summer, but today's update starts its journey through the last mile.
The first thing you'll notice is the new launcher icon, which carries the characteristic long shadow and slight dimensionality of Google's other "material" launcher icons (like the new Play Newsstand icon, for instance). Read More
As with Holo before it, Material Design has triggered a deluge of app concepts, mockups, and fancy animations from various enthusiasts and designers in the community (myself included). A key factor that is often left out of these presentations, however, is a detailed and thoughtful explanation of design choices and UI considerations that went into the finished product.
As a designer, explanations of your design thinking are critical when presenting new designs, not just to those that would actually be building the app (they need to know the details), but to a broader audience of end users and even other designers. Read More
In case you missed it, Jon Wiley hosted an AMA session on Reddit yesterday. Wiley, as the principal designer for Google Search, had plenty of insight to share on topics from specific product features to what roles a tech company should play in its local community.
Sifting through the whole thread can take a while, so we thought it'd be helpful to pick out just a few of the most interesting responses for those who just want a quick taste.
First up: feature removal. If there's a question we tend to see a lot of with Google updates, it's "why did Google remove X feature?" To that end, Reddit user read_the_article asked why Google removed a search filter that allowed users to search only for results in forums. Read More