The New Android Design

image

The First thing you’ll notice when you dive into Google’s New Design for its device, is that its got a splash of colour. Those Colours do look great. But the meaning they are trying to convey is either non existent or not easily apparent, For example the photos app has a big blue navigation bar, why? I have no idea. Which is the entire essence of Google’s New Design language for Android. It looks good but is still as confusing as ever.

Buttons Lift on touch: If there’s one thing that I just can’t get passed in the new look, is the state of buttons after they get pressed. They Rise Up! Which is quite non intuitive. Generally when we press something it has a tendency to push down instead of rising up. This absurd choice can be easily confused with the drag states of the operating system.

Buttons Lift on Touch When in Reality they should just push down

Ripple “Animations” are a subtle enhancement to the press action of the button. Though, not needed, the animation is still less absurd than Lifted state of a pressed button.

The Design guide which Google published on their website does the job well. It teaches newbie designers and developers with no design experience to quickly build a decent looking application. Though it leaves a lot of User Experience to the developers choice.

The New Android L Interface itself is neat and good looking. But here’s the thing, A pretty interface is not always the best interface. 

Google’s choice of Arbitrary elements like a Square, Circle and a Triangle to represent Multitasking, Home & Back buttons respectively, make an already complex system of navigation into a further more complicated one. 

image

This is the paint spray this operating system had long waited for. Its now got a splash of colour. Its got some fancy new animations, but Android as the operating system is still the same. Its got all this geeky stuff which normal people will find hard to understand. The perfect example of what I am trying to say is this particular image:

image

It looks pretty. But is it a good design? Well No, Notice the Image Names. IMG_4130 tells me practically nothing. Either it should have had something more meaningful or its should have not been there at all.

Further more Google pays little heed to simple good design practices like providing accessibility support by making icon states distinguishable even after removing the colour 

image

Notice this image, I can tell little difference if its active or not after grey scaling it. It usually passes the normal people test, but fails the accessibility test bitterly.

Good Looking Design does not always translate to the best User Experience

Basically, I’m not a very big fan of Material Design Aesthetic. Much Less Its implementation.Its a bit gimmicky and leaves a lot for future updates. Though, I do like the neatness that Google’s brought into Android this time around. This kind of neat interface for android is unheard off and I hope will gradually improve into something much better than Google’s previous attempt at creating a great user interface.

image

Pixel Quiz | June 2014

Vidit Bhargava

Q1. The font is popular for appearing at a lot of places. Its in the logo for Rolls Royce, Gmail used it once in its logo , the name iPhone on the back of the iPhone is printed in this font & one of its variants is also the official font of Tata Group of industries. Name the font.

Q2. Among the various works of UK based firm are the first class cabin for the British Airways, and a feature phone designed for Huawei. One of its co-founders is closely associated with the world of technology. Name the firm.

Q3. This company founded in 1992 received funding from DARPA & is famously known for making something known as the “BigDog” for the US Military. Which famous AI firm am I talking about?

Q4. Which famous hardware did Robert Dennard Invent at IBM?

Q5. Name the Germany based company known for making the Goal Line Technology which was licensed by FIFA for this year’s world cup?

Q6. Unlimited Limited and Unincorporated Inc were proposed names for which company initially? “

Q7. Chaitanya Kanojia is the founder and CEO of which famous, troubled startup?

Q8. Name the Q&A social network recently started by twitter co-founder Biz Stone?

Q9. Oscar Barnack is known as the father of 35mm Photography but he’s also the founder of X a German Optics Company. What is X?

Q10. Now acquired by Compaq, zip2 is a web software company providing business directories and maps to media companies. It was co-founded by two brothers. Name both of them.

OSX Yosemite – Preview

image

The Latest Offering of the Mac OSX brings in significant design changes and improves communication between iOS devices.

Vidit Bhargava
Today Apple announced the tenth installment of OS X called Yosemite. Yosemite, apart from a major design overhaul also includes a lot of other improvements. Yosemite also brings new methods for iOS & Mac interactions. While you can read the entire list of features that OSX Yosemite brings to the table at Apple’s website, I’ll be highlighting a few over here:

Design Overhaul
Yosemite is the biggest design change since OSX’s introduction of aqua. Taking design cues from iOS 7, OSX Yosemite focuses more on content than on the toolbars which just fade away. Last year at WWDC apple came up with this new design language for iOS 7 which at that time was pretty uncut and under polished, gradually through various updates apple’s perfected the design language to be more visually appealing and the result is a much more stable design upgrade for OS X.

image

Like all previous OSX design changes, the operating system never changes the fundamental interactions, anyone who has previously used any Mac operating system won’t find any steep learning curve here. Yosemite is well and truly a Mac design change.

Icons are neatly done, UI changes are quite appealing. Yosemite is the best representation of a modern Mac. The aesthetics have changed but the interactions as solid as ever.

Notification Center Improvements
With OSX 10.10 Notification Center for Mac has now gained a “Today” view. The today view is quite interesting, it allows apps to install widgets in the notification center. So for example you can now view the latest score with the sing swipe to the left. Widgets are otherwise handy too & with third party support the today view is going to look pretty interesting. I’m personally excited to see some of the great stuff from google now landing over here.

image

Widgets to notification center open a whole new world of possibilities for OSX as a glance-able operating system.

Spotlight Search
Spotlight Search for OSX Yosemite looks a lot like Alfred at first glance, but is a lot better actually not only does Spotlight get take a center stage like Alfred, it also gives quick previews of the content that you are searching for.

image

In addition to previous from locally saved files, spotlight also allows for intelligent web based previews, including Wikipedia articles, Movie Listings & App Searches.

While the new spotlight search is a big improvement over all of its previous versions, it would be interesting to see it implement widgets and more interactive previews in the future updates.

Spotlight provides Ninja Search options to OSX 10.10 & is definitely a welcome change for the OSX lineup.

iOS + Mac
iOS is integrating with Mac in massive ways with OSX Yosemite. With iOS + Mac Features not only is apple strengthening its ecosystem it’s extending iOS’ capabilities from an app centric operating system to a more powerful one.

image

AirDrop for Mac & iOS
The previous release of iOS & OSX couldn’t make the devices communicate to each other while using AirDrop & this left the users confused. OSX Yosemite fixes this, it makes iOS & OSX AirDrop possible, it’s a welcome fix.

iCloud Drive
When Steve Jobs introduced Documents in the Cloud some three years ago, he created a new method of file management which was app centric & not file centric, while this solved a major problem in the messy world of file management it did create other problems. For example, it made inter app communication between files a pain.

image

Today, Apple has announced iCloud Drive, iCloud Drive basically solves the problems created by a app centric file management interface, while users still don’t have to worry about root directories they can easily open compatible files with any app on iOS, & its a simple drag & drop for transferring files previously stored on your Mac to your iOS Device.

iCloud Drive is a welcome change to iOS’ file management, but it’ll be interesting to see of iCloud Drive slowly makes itself into finder for iOS of sorts.

image

Handoff
With Handoff, it becomes easy to start your work on OSX / iOS and complete it on something else. Imagine a scenario where you are about to leave for an urgent meeting and need to make some quick changes to your Pages documents on the go. Handoff allows your iOS device to start working on the file from where you left it on your Mac.

Handoff strengthens the iOS & OSX ecosystem & is a very handy tool to have on your devices.

image

Phone Capabilities: Calls received on an iPhone can now be answered on a Mac.

OSX Yosemite is a huge upgrade to the OSX lineup & I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on the new operating system. It not only paints the OSX with a fresh coat of paint it also makes significant strides for more integrated approach with iOS. OSX Yosemite will be available for Mac users free of charge this fall.

Game of the week: Threes

image

Vidit Bhargava

Heard about Threes? Its a brilliant addictive iOS game on numbers. Once you start playing threes you just can’t drop it. And once you do, you start seeing numbers everywhere!

The Game’s beautifully designed along with a charming sound track and sound effects which make the game more fun to play.

Threes is definitely worth the $1.99 price tag. Its made with finesse & very addictive and that’s what most mobile games are about!

P.S. Clones like 2048 exist, but I’d recommend this game for a much more premium and worthwhile experience.

image