Mobile app design for Android just changed quite drastically! Make sure your team is up to speed.
If you thought Google was well behind the curve when it came to mobile app design, well, you probably weren’t far from the truth. That is until last week anyway. With the introduction of Material Design, Google seems to be bringing the power of Android applications around to some 2014 design standards at last. This is a welcome change to the UI/UX of their mobile platforms, as they finally promise to deliver seamless, gorgeous experiences across the many (seriously, designing for Android sucks) devices under their belt. However, this redesign is not contained solely to mobile as also will pertain to their Chrome OS and the web.
Mobile App Design by Google Standards
So Google has some standards for their designs now. Big whoop, you say? Not so! The announcement that came from I/O last week was a bit bigger than a couple pretty pictures from this tech supergiant and their mobile platform. Mobile app design for Android has followed the iOS 7 route it seems with this introduction to the Android family. Don’t believe us? Check this out:
What you’re looking at is the new framework for Android design. Just like last year’s intro to iOS 7, Android and Google now lay the ground work for well designed apps with their announcement of Material Design. The new framework is set to fully permeate their new OS, L (L for Lollipop) upon release so get your redesign tools ready.
Let the Redesigns Begin!
Just like with the iOS 7 announcement you now have quite a task ahead of you. Not only will you want to cater to the exciting new tools from Google’s L operating system, but there’s an entirely new UX to cater to as well. If you watched the video provided above you’re quite aware of the new appearance of these apps. To get more information check out our link provided below to get the full set of guidelines on Material Designs.
Google is releasing this redesign under a few principles. We’ve outlined them below, but you can get the full description here as well.
- Material is the metaphor – Google uses some pretty sexy sounding words like “unifying theory of a rationalized space”, but in reality what this means is that the new design is flat. Keep your elements away from skeumorphic concepts and go flat, baby.
- Surfaces are intuitive and natural – “Surfaces and edges provide visual cues that are grounded in our experience of reality.” Your views/screens should contain effective layers, that appear to be tangible and reactive with the touch. Or, in layman’s terms: keep it simple.
- Dimensionality affords interaction – This principle relates directly to how designers control lighting in their elements/assets. “The fundamentals of light, surface, and movement are key to conveying how objects interact.”
- One adaptive design – Don’t skimp on the responsive design. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep your experiences unified with new platforms entering the design playground as well from cars, smart-glasses, wearables and more.
- Content is bold, graphic and intentional – It’s nice to see Google pay extra attention to some font and typography. The goal with this principle was to make font stand out and to make it as connected to your UX as possible.
- Color, surface, and iconography emphasize actions – “User action is the essence of experience design. The primary actions are inflection points that transform the whole design.”
- Users initiate change – Google says it well in their description with, “Motion that cascades from touch respects and reinforces the user as the prime mover.” What this really means is that the days are over of a user only getting a response from the button they touched, and not the other elements in the view. The screens will appear to be more engaging than ever.
- Animation is choreographed on a shared stage – Continuing from the 7th principle, when those assets/elements are moving, they better be doing it in unison, or with rhythm. So, if you’re animating, you better make it look like a ballet.
- Motion provides meaning – We find this principle especially interesting. Most often you find app designers using motion as a means to impress users, with less focus on the actual UX. Google states though that motion should be “meaningful and appropriate” and should serve “to focus attention and maintain continuity.”
Choreography plays a role in mobile app design now, according to Google.
Consider yourself broken into the new world of Google design! And, finally, some links for your future reference, you sexy mobile app designers:
PixelRocket builds custom web and mobile applications for startups, enterprises and nonprofits. We also focus intensely on the UI/UX of every application we construct, which means a quicker learning curve and better experiences for your users. For the web, we provide solutions in .NET, PHP, and Java, as well as front end design and development. For mobile, we build applications for Apple, Android, and Windows Mobile. Our mission is give you the tools to succeed, and set your business apart.