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Google Launches Style Guide For Android Developers 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-it-like-this dept.
mspohr writes "On Thursday, Google launched Android Design, a website created specifically to help aid developers in the creation of applications for ICS. The site offers a comprehensive visual to third-party application developers, giving suggestions on everything from how to implement different visual elements to overall back-end patterns for the OS itself. In theory, it will help developers better understand just how the Android team thinks about layout and implementation, while simultaneously giving suggestions to interaction designers on how to maintain visual integrity. Basically, it will help both first-time developers and Android veterans make apps look less crappy. 'We haven't really had a style guide,' Duarte says. 'We haven't really given you a lot of guidance on how to migrate your application from a phone, perhaps, to a tablet. We've done so only by example.'"
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Google Launches Style Guide For Android Developers

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  • by SharkLaser (2495316) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:45PM (#38680460) Journal
    It's good to see Google admit that large amount of Android apps aren't really standardly designed and suffer from huge fragmentation issues, both with hardware and design. It's just weird to see Google CEO saying there isn't such issue [slashdot.org] while at the same time the company is launching design guide to help fix some of the issues.

    I think this is also part of a longer plan for Android's issues. I think Google is finally starting to see that the supposed freedom they gave to manufacturers and telcos backfired and resulted in fragmented hardware and non-standard design within apps and phones. I believe they will soon announce some similar guidelines and policy changes to try to get Android more together. Especially now that WP7 market share is starting to climb as a result of Nokia's new phones.
    • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:04PM (#38680654)

      Couldn't agree with you more. In addition to this, Google's recent move mandating [engadget.com] the 'Holo' theme on all Android Market accessing devices shipping Android 4.x, is another step in the right direction.

      Google's executive chairman knows exactly what's going on, and will agree that some level of standardization would be beneficial to the Android ecosystem.

      • I have to wonder whether these mandates are more to do with the fact that Google now owns the #4 Android Vendor (Motorola)?

        When every Android device is now going to look alike, wouldn't the general customer base be a little more likely to buy an Android device from the company that *makes* Android?
        • by jmac_the_man (1612215) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:48PM (#38681072)

          When every Android device is now going to look alike, wouldn't the general customer base be a little more likely to buy an Android device from the company that *makes* Android?

          Holo has to be installed. It doesn't have to be the default.

          • by TrueSpeed (576528)

            When every Android device is now going to look alike, wouldn't the general customer base be a little more likely to buy an Android device from the company that *makes* Android?

            Holo has to be installed. It doesn't have to be the default.

            The developer can choose to use Holo regardless of the skin the OEM has used.

          • What this means is that third-party apps can choose the native theme.
            It does not necessarily mean that the user will be able to disable the "OEM experience".
            You'll still be able switch out the launcher and use alternative apps for SMS, email etc. but you will probably not be able to uninstall Sense/TouchWiz/whatever and get the AOSP look and feel.
        • Even if every android phone ran the same stock version of android, they could still differentiate themselves with advertising, hardware features, and included apps.
          • by tepples (727027)

            and included apps

            Which take up space on the internal storage, which nag the user to buy them, and which end users end up not being able to remove without rooting and thus losing access to movie rentals.

            • by Cinder6 (894572)

              "Included apps" could very well be zero. The marketing material could say, "Hey, look, guys, we don't bundle any crap!"

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Having a unified GUI theme isn't what people are talking about when they refer to fragmentation. There is no contradiction here.

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      At least you're not bonch. Yeessh.

    • by sbates (1832606) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:35PM (#38680924)

      Fragmentation refers to modifications of product lines such that they are no longer compatible, interoperable, or familiar. You are merely referring to thematic differentiation across the product line. Android remains compatible from a developer standpoint, interoperable as they all run the same fundamental OS, and as such they are also familiar to most users of an Android product.

      People often use words that cross gray areas to draw emphasis to their point but in this case they are wrong. Android lacks complete UI consistency across all of its products, but that's called differentiation. All of the fundamental elements of the Android experience are still consistent.

      • by Bongo (13261)

        For the consumer, "fragmentation" and "differentiation" are mapped
        as "confusion" and "getting that I want", respectively.

        If a consumer knows why they're choosing something -- because they understand the pros and cons of all the competitors, then that's differentiation. I think this is reflected in your comment, where you know app compatibility doesn't depend on screen size or skin, for instance.

        But if the particular consumer shopping that day doesn't understand all the differences, then "Android" as a brand

    • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:54PM (#38681146)

      It's good to see Google admit that large amount of Android apps aren't really standardly designed and suffer from huge fragmentation issues, both with hardware and design. It's just weird to see Google CEO saying there isn't such issue [slashdot.org] while at the same time the company is launching design guide to help fix some of the issues.

      Nice to see you read the actual article. What Schmidt actually said

      Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday took issue with the idea that the Android mobile operating system is fragmented, arguing that there is instead a "differentiation" between devices.

      "Differentiation is positive, fragmentation is negative,"

      Now a lot of idiots beleive that fragmentation is the differences between UI's. This is false as UI's make no difference to the way applications behave.

      The Differentiation that Schmidt talked about is things like differing screen sizes which are actually things that phone buyers want, yet make things slightly more difficult for developers. Google have recognised this for years, the benefits of choice to the consumer are greater then the pitfalls to developers.

      I think this is also part of a longer plan for Android's issues. I think Google is finally starting to see that the supposed freedom they gave to manufacturers and telcos backfired and resulted in fragmented hardware and non-standard design within apps and phones. I believe they will soon announce some similar guidelines and policy changes to try to get Android more together.

      There is no "supposed" freedom. There is freedom and it was given to all, not just manufacturers and telcos.

      This freedom has resulted in a thriving phone market and development community and it's not going anywhere. Guidelines are not edicts set in stone, nor will the inclusion of the "Holo" theme change custom launchers.

      Especially now that WP7 market share is starting to climb as a result of Nokia's new phones.

      OK, what are you smoking and why aren't you sharing.

      Despite a marketing blitz that rivals Apple's, WP7 is going nowhere. In fact MS's share keeps dropping as the laggards on WinMo realise that WP7 isn't going to work and switch to Android.

      • by microbee (682094)

        Now a lot of idiots beleive that fragmentation is the differences between UI's. This is false as UI's make no difference to the way applications behave.

        So why the Android Design or Style Guide thing if it has nothing to do with how the apps behave?

        • What? Do you even know what fragmentations means? The style guide has everything to do with how apps behave, which has almost nothing to do with the so-called "fragmentation."
      • Agreed wholeheartedly -- I'm thrilled that Android is available for everything from my printer tablet (by HP) to in-car stereo systems (so pretty) to tiny Samsung and LG inexpensive smart phones to the 4.7" monstrosities that many of us carry around.

        I'm glad Android supports multiple resolutions and that if applicable and if a developer so chooses, their app is runnable on all of the above devices. How is this a bad thing except for lazy devs?

    • the issue is: there are 99% of phones with 2.3. you CAN'T EVEN USE THOSE GUIDELINES.

      they are doing what google does. break backward compatibility, so they can scare everyone that wanted to take their platform serious. so the complaining stops.

      they did that with opensocial. worked wonders. no one complains about the problems anymore, as they managed to break backward compatibility so many times, not even flies are around it anymore.

      • Did you even read the guidelines? I did. They apply equally to new and old devices. They even make mention of new and old versions of the API.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        there are 99% of phones with 2.3

        Actually, as of December, 55% of Androids ran 2.3. 0.6% ran ICS, and around 0.6% or so ran Honeycomb (i.e., tablets). The rest were older Androids, most of which are probably 2.2, but of the remainder 2.1 or prior. (These were Google's numbers).

        2.3 phones are a majority of devices, and with over 200M Androids out there (Google's numbers), that's around 110M Gingerbreads. Just under 90M devices though were 2.2 or older.

        Though, I have to admit that it really sucks because I STI

    • Android seems like it followed the .com startup model: get marketshare, then try to make money somehow*. Well, now they have marketshare and all that "open" stuff they did to get it has come back like herpes. So now they're trying to gain some control back, stuff [businessinsider.com] like "using compatibility as a club to make them do what we want". Requiring the default theme be included or a style guide seem pretty innocuous (and a rather good idea for everyone except the carriers but they have terrible judgement).

      * Side

    • by Lussarn (105276) on Friday January 13, 2012 @03:17AM (#38683248)

      Look SharkLaser/Bonch. I've been a reader/poster here for about 10 years. Over the years there have been a quite a few posters like you who just can't stop preaching your message. You think you have some sort of insight which in your oppinion just have to be correct, in your case you have this idea that monoculture is gods gift for operating systems/hardware and every stumble that comes with a more open aproach unclimbable, we got it. But most of us don't agree, monoculture have flaws too you know, where the most apparent is that one size does not fit all.

      I for example fly RC helicopters and I configure them over bluetooth, but I can't use an i* device because Apples BT stack don't implement SPP (Serial port profile). There is nothing stoping Apple from implementing it, but they wan't do it for some reason I can't believe is technical. I use a netbook for this, but I will get an Android tablet in the future.

      At the moment you are making /. pretty much unbearable to read. Same old in every single thread. Everybody here have gotten your message by now. It's time for you to move on, you're just spreading FUD by now. Why don't you start a blog or something. As I've been on /. for some time I know from experience you will eventaully get tired and stop this bullshit, do yourself and others a favour and find some other channel to preach your message. Having multiple accounts on /. to post same old ramblings is just silly.

      For the record I'm an owner of both iPhone and iPad.

      • by 21mhz (443080)

        So you don't merely disagree for reasons that are very valid for you, you want the poster of a contrary opinion to shut up, because you don't like people posting such opinions. And you are modded +5 Insightful. Way to go Slashdot.

        We all know there is no such thing as Slashdot groupthink, but It's funny to see how long can the crowd here avoid bringing up the first Windows Phone handsets that are truly, no holds barred competitive with top of the line smartphones for other platforms. It's like a million Andr

        • by ruemere (1148095)

          There is a difference between posting something, and posting something again and again, and then some more. The former paves way to dialogue, the latter is just a bit more polite than outright spamming.

          Regards,
          Ruemere

          • by 21mhz (443080)

            Can you point out instances of repeated postings by the user in question? I can't find anything in his history beyond what a somewhat opinionated poster would say apropos the topic... and face the Android fanboi army labeling him a Microsoft shill for, um, objecting to somebody else labeled a Microsoft shill by the same army.

            Oh well, now the Transitive Microsoft Shill Label is coming my way in 3...2...1...

            • by ruemere (1148095)

              You may want to check out bonch and Overly Critical Guy.
              You'll see several interesting issues.

              Regards,
              Ruemere

              • by 21mhz (443080)

                Really? The history of bonch looks completely normal. BTW, I got mode points and bumped up one of his comments that was downmodded for being insightful the wrong way by the Android Defense Army, just like one of my comments in this thread.

                Okay, I see, you wage a holy war against infidels who doubt that Android is The Only True Mobile OS. It's us or them. Don't let Slashdot fall for deceitful plurality of opinion and keep some touch with the real world.

        • by jbernardo (1014507) on Friday January 13, 2012 @09:29AM (#38684832)
          I got gifted with one. I am trying, hard, to not hate it at first sight. But god, this thing is so limited! No standard USB connection, no uSD card; uSIM instead of regular SIM; everything seems to have been done to make life difficult. One has to use a iTunes clone to transfer videos and music into it, that or a dropbox clone that doesn't work with linux. The interface wastes nearly one third of the screen with a blank column, no idea why. The rectangular widgets can be moved around, but that is about it. The toilet paper roll approach of putting everything should have been killed in teletype days, You can't change the background, only the lockscreen background. There is no way to bind the search key to anything else, it is locked to bing. If you want to search in the market, you have to install an app to do the search. There is no alternative browser, only IE. No ad blocking or anything. There is a limited list of apps in the market, and most are for pay only. No google apps apart from search. No synchronization with outlook, only with exchange, and only if your admins have enabled activesync. No skype, fring or nimbuzz. No way to install applications except the market. To top it, the WP7 phones are limited to "old" hardware. No dual core CPUs, only 512MB memory, screen resolution limited to 480x800, incapable of 1080p recording. How can someone call this competitive? Really? It is competitive if you're comparing with 2010 android phones; but with anything more recent than that, forget it.
          • by oPless (63249)

            Which WP7 phone?

            The *two* I've had (Samsung Omnia 7 and the LG Optimus 7 both have regular SIM (okay, they *are* launch phones) True they have no SD card, and don't mount on your desktop as per your favourite android. The minimum spec for WP7 devices are mid-range with relation to android, there is no upper limit on specs.

            Anyhow, your post seems to be full of bullshit. Try comparing the Nokia WP7 phones against, I dunno - a Samsung Galaxy S2?

            (Disclaimer: I'm an owner of a handful of Android, WP7 and iPhones

            • Full of what? the only thing you argued was with the micro sim - and what seems a load of bull is claiming there is no upper limit on specs. If so, why is the lumia 900 screen still 480x800? Why is the memory still 512MB? Why are all WP7 phones alike, with the same specs? BTW, I got a Lumia 800, exactly a Nokia WP7. And I'd trade it at once for a Galaxy S2. Sure, it looks nice. But that seems to be about it. Go back to what I wrote, and tell me where I was wrong. I still am trying to like this phone, after
          • by 21mhz (443080)

            No standard USB connection, no uSD card; uSIM instead of regular SIM; everything seems to have been done to make life difficult. One has to use a iTunes clone to transfer videos and music into it, that or a dropbox clone that doesn't work with linux.

            This is bad, I agree (except that I have no hard feelings about microSIM).

            The interface wastes nearly one third of the screen with a blank column, no idea why. The rectangular widgets can be moved around, but that is about it. The toilet paper roll approach of putting everything should have been killed in teletype days,

            I guess it's not supposed to grow too big; if it does, you are probably not a target Windows Phone user. Get an Android to fit your need for overpopulated app grids ;)

            You can't change the background, only the lockscreen background.

            I couldn't care less.

            There is no way to bind the search key to anything else, it is locked to bing. If you want to search in the market, you have to install an app to do the search.

            Bad form, yes. BTW, is Bing really too bad as a search engine? Does Android support Bing as a search engine choice?

            There is no alternative browser, only IE. No ad blocking or anything.

            I never had the need to extend the browser on my phone. I guess I don't use it to browse sites that show obnoxious ads.

            There is a limited list of apps in the market, and most are for pay only.

            The reported 500

            • by scot4875 (542869)

              I guess it's not supposed to grow too big; if it does, you are probably not a target Windows Phone user. Get an Android to fit your need for overpopulated app grids ;)

              I find it amusing hearing this from an iPhone fan when Android gives you far greater ability to customize your home screen(s), and only displays icons for applications if you *want* it to. My girlfriend has an iPhone and I don't see how she can stand having to thumb through page after page of applications every time she wants to do something. I guess we all just learn to work around the stupid interface choices of our devices.

              --Jeremy

            • The interface wastes nearly one third of the screen with a blank column, no idea why. The rectangular widgets can be moved around, but that is about it. The toilet paper roll approach of putting everything should have been killed in teletype days,

              I guess it's not supposed to grow too big; if it does, you are probably not a target Windows Phone user. Get an Android to fit your need for overpopulated app grids ;)

              Overpopulated or sparse, at least with android that is your choice. With WP7 you get this "pinned" apps screen, and a even worst scrollable list with all apps. Doesn't have the flexibility of widgets, no way to organize stuff in folders, nothing. Absolutely awful if you have more than a few apps.

              Bad form, yes. BTW, is Bing really too bad as a search engine? Does Android support Bing as a search engine choice?

              For me, Bing is almost useless as a search engine. Returns less relevant results than google, and has a tendency to prefer MSFT related/sponsored links without identifying them as such. Even when searching on micros

              • by 21mhz (443080)

                Overpopulated or sparse, at least with android that is your choice. With WP7 you get this "pinned" apps screen, and a even worst scrollable list with all apps. Doesn't have the flexibility of widgets,

                Well, those tiles are widgets, they show dynamic stuff.

                no way to organize stuff in folders, nothing. Absolutely awful if you have more than a few apps.

                As a former Symbian user, I hate app folders. I would just prefer to have less shit on my phone. I hear Microsoft requires from hardware vendors and ISPs to make their Windows Phone shovelware uninstallable, and I think this is a very good idea.

                Almost every ad is obnoxious on a metered connection. I can tell you I see a huge difference when I use the Lumia's browser instead of the N1 browser. Pages take a lot longer to load, content is almost lost in the middle of ads, etc.

                I dunno. The sites I use show one or two ads if any at all, and I think it's a small price for supporting them, as my broadband rate is not that expensive. I take care to use mobile-optimized versions of websites

    • I think you infer more than I would from that document. There are some programs with issues, and many without. Having an official style guide is obviously better than not having one, but it will not change the behaviour of publishers that insist on straying from convention.

      As for hardware or API fragmentation, this document does nothing to address that that hasn't already been stated in the SDK guide. Developing apps with multiple types of devices in mind has always been an Android reality, has always be

  • As I watch new Google layouts take up more and more real estate on my screen with useless white space, I have to wonder what they know about style.
  • free advertising? (Score:5, Informative)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:49PM (#38680512)
    Why link to the wired article when you can link directly to the website [android.com] in question?
    • Because Slashdot is an news aggregator with news taken elsewhere and summarized. Usually the submitters also base their summary on some specific article, and even though no one actually reads the linked articles, it makes it look like the submitter is sourcing their information from good reputable news sites like InfoWorld.
    • Re:free advertising? (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Friday January 13, 2012 @01:22AM (#38682730) Journal
      Great, that link is exactly why I came here. After reading through the style guide, on this page [android.com] I came across some text that seems to typify the entire document:

      1 Keep it brief. Be concise, simple and precise. Start with a 30 character limit (including spaces), and don't use more unless absolutely necessary.
      2 Keep it simple. Pretend you're speaking to someone who's smart and competent, but doesn't know technical jargon and may not speak English very well. Use short words, active verbs, and common nouns.
      3 Be friendly. Use contractions. Talk directly to the reader using second person ("you"). If your text doesn't read the way you'd say it in casual conversation, it's probably not the way you should write it. Don't be abrupt or annoying and make the user feel safe, happy and energized.
      4 Put the most important thing first. The first two words (around 11 characters, including spaces) should include at least a taste of the most important information in the string. If they don't, start over.
      5 Describe only what's necessary, and no more. Don't try to explain subtle differences. They will be lost on most users.
      6 Avoid repetition. If a significant term gets repeated within a screen or block of text, find a way to use it just once.

      Note how points 1/2, 5/6 seem to violate point number 6? The whole site is filled with that tripe. There are some parts of the document that are better, like this page on gesture standardization [android.com].

      Actually there's lots of good stuff on the page, but finding it between their preaching is painful.

      • by bmd256 (1484893)
        I do not see how points 1, 2 and 5 violate point 6. Can you be more specific with your reasons? I agree that it seems a little "preachy", but I don't see anything wrong with the ideas that are being conveyed. I also don't see how point 6 can violate itself.
        • by c++0xFF (1758032)

          The point is that 1,2,5, and 6 are similar enough to be combined into one bullet point, which means that the style guide doesn't follow it's own recommendation in 6: "Avoid repetition."

          Which would be a good point if the style guide were an android app, but it isn't.

          Also, there's a significant difference between each of the four points, even if they have a common theme. 1 deals with overall length. 2 deals with simple language. 5 deals with simple content (note the distinction between 4 and 5). 6 deals wi

      • Um, how is that preaching? The whole point of a style guide is to explain your goals, mission even, of how an app on the platform should be designed. Feel free to look up the Apple style guide, or the Gnome one.

        • You call it a mission, and wonder why I call it preaching?
          • So your commander says "your mission is to take this fort, its held by the enemy and we need to show the locals that we're on their side."

            Preaching or mission statement?

            Your boss says "this music player has too many seams, we want no visible seams on our devices, our goal is to be smooth and look stylish."

            Preaching or mission statement?

            There's some blur between the concepts, but to refer to every attempt to explain a point of view as preaching is simply to be obtuse and difficult and attempt to sway opinion

            • But to call it preaching is to add a lot of negative spin that isn't necessary and shows bias.

              Wow, work on your reading comprehension a little more, and you'll be able to get to this point without all the other pointless stuff you said. Adding a negative spin was entirely the point. There's a lot of useless preaching in that document that isn't helpful for someone who just want to know what the Android standards are.

              • Work on your own; adding negative spin to something just for the sake of doing so isn't a valid arguing point. If you want to claim something's bad, do so with actual rationale. Spinning something just to make it sound bad puts you at the level of a politician and much below that of whomever wrote the style guide you're trying to criticize.

                • adding negative spin to something just for the sake of doing so isn't a valid arguing point.

                  No, it's called rhetoric; or alternately, making the emotion of your writing match the meaning.

                  If you want to claim something's bad, do so with actual rationale.

                  Wow, if I had not actually put any rationale in my original post, you might have a point. I did, therefore you are wrong.

                  I appreciate you trying to improve my writing style though, thanks.

  • Good news. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by grub (11606)

    It's nice to see that Android will be getting some style.
    Well done, Google!
  • Anyone know what that tablet is behind the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus? It looks pretty big, and nicely proportioned, like the iPad. I have a Samsung Tab at work and I don't like the long, narrow aspect ratio; I suppose it's OK for watching movies but not so great for reading/browsing, at least in my experience.

    Anyway, I'm glad they've put out this style guide. The developer docs do have some style stuff but it's good to get it all together in one place, and up to date. Hopefully the tablet and handhe

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by meisteg (1051686)

      Anyone know what that tablet is behind the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus?

      It's the Motorola Xoom.

    • It's just a render, and possibly a mishmash between Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Xoom

    • It looks pretty big, and nicely proportioned, like the iPad. I have a Samsung Tab at work and I don't like the long, narrow aspect ratio; I suppose it's OK for watching movies but not so great for reading/browsing, at least in my experience.

      You must not like desktop and laptop monitors either. They all are 16:9 or 16:10 these days, just like Android tablets.

      • by PoopCat (2218334)
        There's a world of difference between 16:9 and 16:10. Which is not say 4:3 is not preferred for some applications. Sadly, try purchasing a recent 16:10 or 4:3 non-Apple laptop.
  • Herding cats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:56PM (#38680588) Homepage Journal

    1 developer, 1 way of doing things.

    2 developers, 2 days of doing things.

    etc.

    Too familiar with this these days as I code replacements for crappy apps. What I'd really like to know is if people actually think about their interfaces, rather than patching them together as they go along.

    • Many developers are simply incompetent at UI design, just as many of them are incompetent at threaded asynchronous programming.

      With simplified SDKs, these developers still churn out code and put it on the market for others to suffer with. That's not a reflection on the platform, just on the programmer or group involved.

      I spend 90% of my Android programming time working on internal applications for database clients and it requires that we take real effort to keep our UIs both usable and responsive in most u

  • by decora (1710862) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:06PM (#38680674) Journal

    "Enchant me":

    Massively expanded colors and included lots of unicode font WingDings formatting. Especially unicode 0x2767, ROTATED FLORAL HEART BULLET, at the beginning and end of every line

    "Simplify my life":

    I have renamed 'ls' to the much easier-to-type 'l', saving hundreds of millions of keystrokes per year.

    "Make me amazing":

    'ls' (or, now, 'l') comes with a built-in movie, Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Just type 'l ception' and it starts playing!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That the style guide website itself has horribly aliased fonts (in Chrome) and poor menu design doesn't fill me with confidence.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm using Chrome, and the fonts are antialiased as any other font is.

    • Fix your computer; fonts look fine here in Chrome on Linux.

  • I browsed around the "guide" and it felt a lot more like a platform advertisement than anything useful...
    • Google is obviously trying to communicate to app developers how they wish the Android platform to be. That is as much understanding the marketing of the platform as it is the actual look and feel. Google is providing a little pep talk to the troops, as though Android developers were part of Google itself, sharing in its vision for the Android platform.

      Its useful, both from a "now you see what we're trying to do" and a "and this is how to do it" perspective.

  • by FlyingGuy (989135) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {yuggniylf}> on Friday January 13, 2012 @01:26AM (#38682750)

    The document should have been on the street before it was released.

    Google like Microsoft has no style or taste. They are a bunch of really smart programmers but damn few of them know diddly shit about U/I interfaces much less standards.

    Android will never have the polish that iOS has and that may be a hard fact for the Android loyalists, but it is a fact never the less.

    Every piece of Apple software has a beautifully designed U/I and that is because Steve Jobs had taste and style and that will carry on because he trained his designers to look at history to look at beautiful manuscripts and books.

    • Android will never have the polish that iOS has and that may be a hard fact for the Android loyalists, but it is a fact never the less.

      As an Android user who wouldn't even consider buying what Apple has out there, it doesn't bother me in the least.
      As someone who wants there to continue being competition in these markets, it would be better otherwise, but they seem to be doing okay as it is.
      I think it's rather a stretch to say 'never,' though. If I had that sort of ability to predict the future I'd be a rich man. It's certainly true that it's not going to happen the way they're going.

    • by nathan s (719490) on Friday January 13, 2012 @02:59AM (#38683148) Homepage

      ...speaking as someone who has formally studied design, it's not even close to sufficient to just train designers "to look at history to look at beautiful manuscripts and books" [argh, the run-ons...]. You need to understand design theory, your target audience, and have a bit of a magic touch (one that I personally, sadly, seem to lack) for figuring out where things go. Just looking at a few pictures isn't going to help. They provide inspiration and you can draw commonalities from them, but really you have to practice design and learn from your mistakes if you want to be any good at it -- like just about anything else.

      As for iOS vs Android, I agree that iOS has more polish but I think you're mistaken about it carrying on. I suspect now that Steve Jobs is not micromanaging every design decision, we'll see slippage in Apple's design output. The key difference between Apple and Android is that Apple had every design aspect of its products micromanaged by ONE MAN for years. If you have everything designed by one talented designer or a team of designers who have worked together for years, you get something much more consistent and beautiful than when the result is a "good enough" effort by the designer or design team of the year. I think it's a natural consequence of the fact that a group of people can't really "share" any design goal since they all have slightly different mental images of what the end result should be (unless they have worked together for years and have learned to understand what the effect of each member of their team is on the final result). So unless Apple has some new superstar designer who can crack the whip of conformity and beat down dissenters across its product line going forward, I expect to see it slipping in the future.

      • by FlyingGuy (989135)

        So unless Apple has some new superstar designer who can crack the whip of conformity and beat down dissenters across its product line going forward...

        Oh I am sure that someone will be cracking the whip. I would bet my fucking house that Steve left someone that he AND the new CEO trusted in charge of this. Apple does not do things by committee as many other places do and do so to their determent.

    • by TrueSpeed (576528)

      iOS is nice, but it's getting rather dated. The use of fake leather trim, paper and linen textures make it look rather silly today. Of course, those big jelly bean buttons aren't helping it either.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Friday January 13, 2012 @02:41AM (#38683082) Homepage Journal

    I appreciate that the Google pages are a draft and work in progress, but they're a far cry from the level of detail provided by IBM's CUA (which got right down to function key actions), Microsoft's Windows Style Guide (which tells you how you should USE the widgets built into the system, not how to MANUALLY HIGHLIGHT touchpads like Google's guide does), or Apple's obviously detailed specifications.

    On the other hand, IBM spent a LONG time writing and editing the CUA style guide before it was published, and Microsoft and Apple also have had a few iterations and updates under their belt.

    So, great idea, keep at it, but it's not there yet. :)

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Yes, I read Google's whole site on the topic, not just a couple pages. It's not very detailed or long yet, but it will be -- eventually. I'm sure of that.

      I do like that they've opted to do it right in the open rather than behind closed doors, so it's easy for developers to keep an eye on. Hopefully they provide a comment process/form for the community to provide feedback. After all, feedback is the whole goal of open design and planning documentation.

  • http://developer.android.com/design/index.html [android.com]

    Nothing irks me as much as the summary linking to an article about the website in question!

  • May I humbly submit my review of Ice Cream Sandwich? It's merely a two word review that reads: "shit sandwich". :-)
  • When ever any of their websites tells me that there soon will be a new design, i shiver with fear.

    Without exception every time google makes a new design it becomes WORSE - harder to read, more sluggish (sluggish by design, so we can force you to use our browser perhaps?), made by some damn kids with perfect vision and 80 inch screens - and screw the rest of us.

    I would be afraid to even look at that damn "styleguide" website.
     

  • Why does google hate freedom and feel the need to tell developers what to do? Besides, the market isn't fragmented according to them so why waste time with this style guide?
    • by toriver (11308)

      I think their newspeak for fragmentation is "diversification". Android is "diversified".

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