Sundar Puchai, Head of Android development at Google, took center stage at I/O and unveiled the Android’s latest look. It was just a visual exhibition of Android’s new look, but enough has been said and discussed about material design’s built and its influence on Android’s older and future designs. He also mentioned that Google challenged themselves to come up with a visual language that is good and innovative and it was intended to give a common experience across all platforms and frame sizes.
Android’s new design is based on the qualities of paper. Basic inspiration of this new visual language came from nature, physics and attributes of print-based design. Puchai mentioned about four different attributes of the new visual look,
- Familiar tactile attributes
- Realistic lighting
- Rationalized space
- System of motion
Google was very particular about the motion of new Android system on the display screen. They were very particular about the continuity of motion even when the user transform and reorganizes. They wanted the feedback and transitions to be clear and coherent respectively without compromising for subtlety and efficiency.
Google made a mobile device revolution through this print-based design. Fundamental elements of print based design are,
- Large scale typography
- Intentional white space à created bold and graphic interface
- Deliberate color choices
- Edge-edge imagery
The next important feature of this design is the Material design’s animation system. The speed at which a visual enters the screen and exits the screen can either really distract the user or please their eyes. This new design makes a realistic feeling to the user. Motion of visual with swift acceleration while entering the screen and gentle deceleration while exiting feels natural, delightful and will not distract the user.
Another big move towards nature comes from the interaction of android with the user’s touch. Interaction can either be responsive or irritating. But only a perfect interaction will tune the device with nature. Google has three principles which guide the interaction to user input.
- Surface reaction à Receptive reaction as the user touches the screen
- Material response à Material transformation upon touch
- Radial action à Visual connection of action to user input
The next important factor of material design is the transition. Google proclaims that the transition should be smooth and effortless without compromising for the clarity. As the transition happens from one visual to the next, path the visual travels should be regular and make lot of sense to the user.
Once the user touches the app icon in the display screen, they should feel motivated enough to touch them quite often. Google had encouraged designers to use animations in rather unconventional ways. Menu icons transform into arrow or playback controls seamlessly and serve dual purpose.
According to Google, Material design’s colors make bold statements in muted environment. All these color representation take cues from contemporary art, road signs, pavement markings and sports courts. In the new design, app menu has three color options, primary, secondary and accent. Alpha values are used in grey text, icons and dividers for beautiful representation.
Android’s very own Roboto font still remains the premium font in new design as well, but it has now become wider, rounder and clearer.
Android’s new icons are simple, user friendly, modern and quirky. Designers can modify the icons tweaking symmetry of icons and consistency of shapes to give them uniqueness. All sharp corners in icons are replaced by rounded curves.
Google has taken the paper design to next level. Designers can each pixel equivalent to a sheet of paper. Layouts are arranged like sheets of paper joined together with seams moving together. This cannot just be explained by words, one need to see it live to understand the true genius behind the design. To make the apps uniform, Google had laid strict principles on how windows and menu should behave.
Google has already proved that their operating system is premium option for mobiles and tablets. To make that stand even strong, they have come up with this new, innovative and user-centric design. The philosophies and principles associated with the new design are very complex, yet they give a very simplified and delightful look to the designers and users.