21
Nov
unnamed (1)

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.

13
Nov
finance

Google's Finance app is in desperate need of attention. If you haven't checked in on it lately, it's still stuck with Gingerbread design. No seriously, go look. Tiny header bars, legacy menus, odd layouts, and assets that look tiny or pixelated (or both) on today's high resolution devices.

Just for fun, I decided to take a look at the app and see if I could give it a fresh coat of paint, inspired by material design.

03
Nov
style_logos_product_intro_material_physical

In a rather exciting post to its Google Design Google+ page today, Google announced a big set of improvements to the material design guidelines. The design spec, which - since this summer - has been a "preview," has been updated with links to relevant Android developer documentation, a new section called "What is Material?" a "What's new" section (to stay up to date on any changes), and a couple of other exciting changes.

30
Oct
hamburger

It goes without saying for most Android enthusiasts that the side-navigation drawer is a hot point of contention right now. With the introduction of material design, Google emphasized information hierarchy heavily, giving advice in its design specifications on how to arrange just about everything, including side navigation. According to the specifications (and Googler Roman Nurik), the "correct" behavior for the side drawer is to slide in as a sheet of paper over the entire canvas, including the app bar or toolbar.

29
Oct
thumb

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.

08
Oct
ico

If you've been paying attention the last several months, you're probably aware that since we posted our early look at Google's revamped launcher icons, users have been yearning for the "materialized" versions of their favorite apps' icons. This new design direction even spurred custom icon packs to replicate the look and feel of the rumored Google goodies. For developers and designers on Android, it's easy to see the attention the new icons are getting and start thinking about redesigning your own app's launcher icon.

16
Sep
ic_launcher_play_store

A couple of months ago, we shared an early look at an impending Play Store update that saw more "materialized" content listings, but the rest of the interface remained largely unchanged. The new, more image-focused interface made thoughtful use of increased white space and introduced some really fun tablet layouts for content listings from movies to books, music, and apps.

This time, we have an early look at the Play Store's upcoming 5.0 release.

14
Sep
ic_launcher_dogfood

If you follow developer Jack Underwood (or myself) on Google+, you're probably aware that Today Calendar, a calendar replacement that has traditionally put streamlined, pleasing design at the center of its mission, is undergoing a full redesign in anticipation of Android's L release and inspired by Google's new design guidelines.

Until now, testing has been limited to a small community of intrepid early adopters, but today the app has entered a public beta through the Play Store.

08
Sep
image

Releasing the L preview was an important leap forward for Android as an ecosystem, but, outside of a single almost meaningless update, we're probably not going to see any new builds up until the final L release. I can sort of see why the Android team doesn't want to put out builds with incremental fixes, saving all the improvements for a grand finale unveiling, so in the meantime, any glimpse at their progress is very interesting to us as well as developers working on porting their apps to adhere to the new Material Design guidelines.

27
Aug
image

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.

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