Google’s design chops have come a long way from the infamous test of 41 shades of blue. For much of its history, the company was not well known for any particular design motifs other than their minimalist search page. But with the release of their Android operating system, Google was suddenly playing in a sandbox that necessitated a lot more design than simply a white page with a search box. VentureBeat recently dove into Google’s design history, and their future. They had this to say about the original Android release:
Users brought up a slew of design issues in Android’s first few versions, and Google saw the need for a new direction. Enter Android’s new design principles, co-authored by Google’s Rachel Garb, head of interaction design for Android apps, and Helena Roeber, who previously headed up Android’s user experience research team.
As a consumer it has been fascinating to watch the company “mature” into a having its own design ethos. Apple used to be the only tech giant with any language of its own. Micrsoft’s attempt at design we more based on functionality than beauty, and this same criticism can and has been leveled at Google.
Garb’s goal: to make sure Android serves as a fount of positive experiences. That was a big departure from Android’s earlier days, when it was complicated, technical, and far from user friendly.
As one example, Google developed a subtle animation in the Android home screen to tell users when they’ve reached the end of their available screens. If there was no indication, users could get frustrated. The new animation delighted users so much that they ended up playing around with it just for fun.
The full article is a good read and explains the company’s recent design renaissance. Google’s cognitive science inspired designs have come a long way from their first swipes at design, and the mobile ecosystem is better for it.