Reportage: we have met the Director of Android’s design team. Read how working with expression and what Google says to the skins like Sense and Touchwiz.
It is with Google as with Apple. When you’re invited meetings you up, because it is quite a few, the possibility is given to. In this context, Google is far from the open entrepreneurship, is placed in a local garage, as the company otherwise likes to present itself.
There we sit, along with 6-8 other tech journalists in a room with Matias Duarte, Director of Android operating system User Experience (they can it with short precise titles).
Matias is 40 years old, and has on the day in Barcelona, where the temperature was about eight degrees, chose not to wear a non-smart-flowered Hawaiian shirt design.
His first major design project in Android was Android 3.0 Honeycomb, since then he has been behind the development of the design of the subsequent releases Ice Cream sandwiches and Jelly Bean, as well as feature Google Now.
Google should find for you
Just Google Now turned out to be the agenda for the meeting, and when we met was poorly briefed in advance on the subject, it was so-so with the preparation. It takes advantage of multinational companies such as Google to full, and immediately launches a soliloquy with all the good properties, located in today’s agenda.
-“I love the metaphor of a large shopping mall, where you can get everything in the whole world you wish you. As soon as you walk into the elevator, by the who you are, and can bring you to where exactly the items you need, find themselves, “told Matias Duarte engaged.
He goes on to say that habits are changing. Computers (or Google) should not be told what things the user wishes to find. Services must be intelligent, so they automatically provides the correct results based on the user’s preferences and behaviour. Exactly this is the thinking behind Google Now.
A good idea with missing
The basic idea is not actually Google Nows so bad but required much work even before it really becomes more than a gimmick. I get the morning message on how much driving time there is for the job, based on traffic, which is good enough.
Periodically during the day, disrupting Google me, with messages about the arrival time, if I’m running now. This is the “spam” because it’s irrelevant information in the middle of the work day. Instead it should read, when I usually run about, and present the information as close as possible at this time.
I have no doubt Google Nows potential, but there goes some time yet before the service is reached so far in the development. In any case, it seems that Google is well on the way to build on the possibilities.
Great design work
If you’ve got the delusion that Google’s design is random, it is certainly wrong.
Design chefen showed early editions of Google Now, and it is clear there has been work really much with layout, fonts, presentation of information and everything else that goes with it.
-“We placed the designers at their own Office, and they had to first come out, when they had come up with something brilliant, figuratively speaking,” said a smiling Matias Duarte.
Now is the vision for the future
One of the reasons for the extensive work with designed for Google Now, what is known as the Holo-design, is about being faithful to the old, but also about daring to look into the future.
-“We were working with to be faithful to the users know, and our brand, but also create what may be the future of Google and the vision for the future”.
Google bosses rarely say much about the future, but an interpretation of the words might be interpreted along the lines of Google in future design layouts of Android, will continue working in this direction, which can be seen in Google Now service.
During the interview fell there also a concession. Google acknowledged that the progress in the development of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) not quite able to follow with the enormously rapid growth and demand that came on the platform. Both the number of users and devices surged in a very short period of time.
-“We managed, however, to give the system a little with ICS” paint “in the section user sees, so the whole thing was freshened up. We are better with now, and still have new stuff on the way,” said Matias Duarte.
Skins destroys user experience? Freedom of choice?
When Matias Duarte describes the work and the ideas behind the design of both Google Now as Android, I can’t help to think of it as wasted work, to a certain extent.
When Google releases an Android version for mobile manufacturers (Oems) begins work to change all that, some would say destroy everything that the design team has spent countless hours on, then added HTC Sense or TouchWiz throughout the system
Individual elements are, however, preserved untouched, URf.eks. Google Now, which then appears in a completely different layout than the rest of the system, unless there is a Nexus device. The felt on the head of design in Android, that this also worries him, but for political reasons, he will not go very far into the discussion. Instead he falls back to Google’s usual PER-cliché of openness and freedom of choice.
-“From Ice Cream Sandwiches we made pretty much by design. I hope mobile producers in future will focus more on real innovation, “is the statement that can be cajoled out of him.
Figures with Samsung
The Android users who have tried many different devices will recognize that on the many smartphones, often are different expressions and even buttons on the phone, or on the screen, is not located in the same place from device to device.
Again is the work of his team sat in the second row, and the user experience is inconsistent. Here smiles Matias Duarte just and, together with the glowing Android fans there also is in space, makes it clear that it is not Google’s fault – the questions you must ask for the Samsung, or some of the other partners.
Another problem for the large, and, in fact, pretty good design work, Google is doing, is that many non-tech users equate Samsung and Android.
-“Yes, but there are also people who believe that Google is their telephone company,” when Matias Duarte, Director of Android operating system User Experience, saying before he is interrupted by a public relations manager with the track on the calendar. Time is up!
More about not much
I am glad to be able to meet with the Director and the man responsible for the user experience, every day I sit with on the Android phone. But I ærgres over the big companies lacked the desire to answer specific questions.
Instead of a real conversation that most is a monologue, with a focus on the company’s messages, it becomes a great many words about almost nothing. It is only afterwards, when I listen to the result on the recorder, I will be fully aware of the fact that there was no large response.
The messages were, summarized:
-Google is working hard with the design of the user experience in Android.
-Google would like to have the publicity and focus on Google Now.
-They acknowledge they have been behind on some points into the Ice Cream Sandwich.
-Android can, without overlays and skins, stand alone.
-Those who are infuriating about inconsistent user experience must complain to OEM’erne.
I hope you out from this reportage, has gotten a little insight into how everyday life is with Google’s Android design-team, even if it was not for the big news or response.