Product Design

3 Important Design Innovations in Android L

notifications2 Google I/O preview of Android L has created a great deal of excitement for mobile app designers everywhere. The changes seen in the preview of Android L (I’m rooting for the L to stand for “Life Saver”) are quite extensive. The dark flat design of KitKat will be overhauled and changed to become more alive through depth and fluidity of animations. Google’s new interface, “Material Design,” adds real-time shadows, realistic animations, and smart interactions dependent on the user’s actions. There are changes beyond the UI as well: apps are interlinked, notifications are more intuitive, and adaptive design allows for apps to be consistent and easy to use across devices.

1. App Indexing

Android L will allow users to search through Chrome and display results from the apps downloaded on the phone. When a user searches in Chrome for the score of the Ohio State basketball game for instance, the results will include the search results for the NCAA app if it’s installed on the device, where the user can tap to launch the app.  This allows web apps and native apps to be interlinked, allowing for a more streamlined user experience.

2. Interactive Notifications

Notifications are now going to be smarter and more interactive. Android L notifications will no longer be locked to the notifications bar. Instead, they will be a key part of the lock screen, with the most urgent or relevant notifications displaying first. Through Visibility Controls, the user has the ability to manage the type of notifications that display on the lockscreen in order to protect their privacy.  The notifications will also be more interactive; users can perform common tasks from the notification itself or even swipe the notification away to be removed from the list.  When an app is in use, “Heads-up” high-priority notifications appear in on top of the app with actions revealed for quick interaction. Not only do notifications work on tablet and handset, but notifications will be sent to Android Wear devices as well.

3. Adaptive Design

With layout guidelines, Android apps are now going to be able to scale across different screen sizes and give the app a consistent look and feel. Each screen size or device will reflect a different view of the same underlying system. Interactions will be consistent for all devices as well as icons, colors, and spacing. The user will now have a more comfortable and familiar experience across devices.

Overall, Android L creates a much improved user experience compared to past versions. This extends beyond the user interface and far into the details behind all of the design decisions and added features. Inspiration from physical materials allows the app to be designed in a way that it comes alive, and this added life allows the user’s own life to become easier.

*Image provided by Google

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