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Design

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Sky Go app gets visual refresh, 7-day TV guide, and remote record in version 6.0

For viewers in the UK, the TV landscape is infinitely less cluttered compared with our American counterparts. Multiple time zones, networks, and providers in the US make things far more complex than in the UK. The strength of free-to-air TV means that a much smaller percentage of Brits actually pay for a satellite or cable service. For those who do, the dominant provider is Sky, whose Android app has just been updated. Version 6.0.9 brings with it a visual overhaul, full 7-day guide, and remote record/download.

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AOSP site gets updated with Material Design, a better mobile view, and clearer navigation

Google has given its Android Open Source Project (AOSP) website a considerable makeover, making it much easier on the eye and much more user-friendly too. The update brings it in line with Google's own Material Design guidelines, improves the mobile view, and introduces new top-level tabs to improve navigation.

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YouTube is testing yet another UI modification, this time for collapsed video playback

Spring cleaning of the YouTube Android app is continuing apace. Already this month we've seen tests for seek bar video previews and an iOS style bottom nav bar. Now, some users are seeing a new interface for collapsing the currently selected video, offering more than just a picture-in-picture window. The new UI moves this into a floating bottom bar including a play/pause button, as well as the option to close without having to swipe away.

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Google AutoDraw uses machine learning to make a designer out of anyone

The latest experiment to come out of Google Creative Lab is a web-based tool that uses machine learning to help you with all your design needs. If you need to fire off a quick design for a birthday card or an event poster, AutoDraw has you covered.

Using the simple MSPaint-style interface, all you have to do is draw a rudimentary outline of whatever you would like, and the suggestion tool will guess what you’re drawing and offer you far more professional looking alternatives. Click on a suggestion and it automatically replaces your inferior handiwork with something much prettier, sourced from various talented artists, designers, and illustrators.

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Saying goodbye to Android Police and hello to Google

Sometimes telling my own story is a challenge. So, after more than 5 years at AP, figuring out what to include in this post and how to write it hasn't been easy. But in the interest of eliminating suspense, I’ll give you the news up front:

I'm joining Google as part of the Design Relations team!

Android Police has been a big part of my life since I first started talking to Artem about contributing back in 2011. I won’t spell out the whole story here - if you want all the gory details I’ll tell you over coffee. But being part of the AP team has given me innumerable opportunities for new experiences, exploration, expression, and friendship.

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Roman Nurik's Android Asset Studio gets a dazzling visual refresh

The Android Asset Studio, a tool developed by Googler Roman Nurik, is indispensable for developers and designers alike. Need to generate a nine-patch without stopping to think about where your 1px black lines need to go? How about a quick icon or two? The Asset Studio has you covered. But for all its useful functions, the last time we had a major visual refresh to cover was back in 2012 when it adopted all the #33B5E5, #holoyolo goodness of Android's older design language.

That changed overnight when Nurik launched a massive visual refresh for the studio, along with cleaner code in an effort to make contributing easier.

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Material design guidelines updated with guidance on cross-platform design, app shortcut icons, help, & more

Since Google introduced material design in 2014, the questions of whether and how to use the design language on other platforms like iOS has lingered. But Google hasn't been a stranger to material on iOS. Inbox users for instance should feel right at home moving between iOS and Android, as many of the interface's core components are shared.

In an update to the material guidelines today, Google is taking a more explicit position on the matter with new guidance for bringing material design to iOS and web. The guidance definitely isn't comprehensive - it doesn't dive very deep into the more nuanced considerations for cross-platform design like platform-specific feature sets, esoteric navigation and action patterns, etc.

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Google's Device Art Generator updated with Pixel & Pixel XL frames

If you're into framing screenshots with beautiful device art, the process really doesn't get much easier than using Google's official Device Art Generator. Perennially updated with the latest Google devices, the tool started its life as part of Roman Nurik's indispensable Android Asset Studio project, but since graduated to the official Android developers site.

The latest update to the generator, if you haven't guessed, includes frames for the Pixel and Pixel XL. Also at the top of the lineup are the Android Wear, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P frames. The "older devices" selection has over time been pared down to just the Nexus 6 and 9.

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Material design guidelines translated into Japanese ahead of SPAN 2016 in Tokyo

Until now, the material design guidelines, which guides developers and designers for Android, Chrome OS, and the web on how to make an app that aligns with the respective platform, have only been available in English. Right before SPAN 2016, a design conference tomorrow in Tokyo, the material design guidelines have appeared in Japanese, direct from Google.

This version of the guidelines is a little different from the English copy. Instead of being available on the web and written in good ol' HTML and CSS, the Japanese translations are available as a series of PDF documents that are downloaded and available locally on your computer.

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Opinion: My early thoughts on Google's round icons (and consistency for its own sake)

By the time this post goes up, I'm sure most of our readers will have seen Google's circlified icons in the new Pixel launcher, bound for the new Pixel phones. I've been asked a few times what I think about the new launcher and, for the most part, I don't have a strong opinion. But I do have some thoughts about the circlified icons, some guesses at the rationale, and some thoughts about the downsides of consistency for its own sake. As with any written-from-the-outside post about design, I want to note up front that we aren't privy to any research, data, or other information Google used to make its decisions, so the best we can do is respectfully speculate and ponder.

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