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Google Launches Style Guide For Android Developers

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the do-it-like-this dept.

Android 128

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 admitting problem and trying to fix it (3, Insightful)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680460)

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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (2)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680942)

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?

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (4, Insightful)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38683252)

SharkLaser, bogaboga and tysonedwards are all sockpuppets managed by a Waggener Edstrom rapid response team.

You're arguing with a marketing committee.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684056)

SharkLaser, bogaboga and tysonedwards are all sockpuppets managed by a Waggener Edstrom rapid response team.

You're arguing with a marketing committee.

I wonder how much do they pay for submitting something like this [slashdot.org] , as one of the abovementioned users recently did.

Oh crap, I've just made a hint that you might be wrong, so I must be labeled a sock puppet in turn.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685890)

A well known tactic for trolls and shills on slashdot is to karma-whore on popular topics (for the bonuses they get from good karma). So in the case of a troll, they have a higher starting score, and in the case of a shill, it looks slightly less obvious as they have a few non-shill posts in their posting history.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687056)

Wow, so it's really convenient to accuse someone whom you disagree with of being a paid shill, and explain away legitimate-looking posts as masquerade tactics?

The last thing I would want for Slashdot is to be overrun with an army of Android-bigoted conspiracy nutjobs.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38684102)

How does it feel to live in a world of delusions THAT big? Hint: not everyone you disagree with on the internet is a shill. Learn this.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38684874)

Hint: SharkLaser is definitely a Microsoft shill. Learn this.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

TrueSpeed (576528) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684016)

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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681754)

Even if every android phone ran the same stock version of android, they could still differentiate themselves with advertising, hardware features, and included apps.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38682422)

Ok, so we have by SharkLaser and bogaboga weighing in with a bit more deceptive propaganda from the anti-Android stalwarts, but where's bonch and his grab-bag of standard lies?

If he hasn't posted any by the end of today, somebody should notify missing persons.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680704)

This idiot is single-handedly Making slashdot unreadable.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680864)

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

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680892)

At least you're not bonch. Yeessh.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680898)

I would love to see stats backing WP7 growth. It's just a speck in marketshare right now.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681542)

Oh, come on, it's gained 4x the market share of last year! It went from 0.025% to 0.1%!!!

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (5, Insightful)

sbates (1832606) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

Bongo (13261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684562)

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, is fragmented.

I think what Google might do, if they want to keep Android as the OS that runs on hardware from multiple manufacturers/brands (and not turn into Googrola), is to advertise Android in a way that helps the consumer understand how to make choice. Otherwise, they'll be lured into the strict vertical model of Apple, which works for Apple, but isn't obvious that should work for anyone else. Apple's brand image was built over decades as "different" and "alternative" and "the one". Google's brand image, to my mind, as a person who Googles every day, and jumped to Google right away from, what was it, AltaVista, ick, doesn't fit that, and probably never will. Google isn't about the unique choice, one that's specially designed -- it is about open access to a variety of information, and helping me understand stuff. I think they kinda need to do that for Android, ie. customer education, advertise to take people through that sense of -- and here they can copy Apple's ads by way of showing how people use it in life -- showing how different people with different requirements went about choosing a particular handset.

Consumers watching Apple ads are getting the message that they can expect to do everything on their iPads. Now that right there is the opposite of fragmentation and the opposite of confusion. Yet that is exactly how customers need to understand Android. You can do lots and it helps to make choices but look, let us help you here: these are the things to consider when choosing, to figure out how it suits you and your lifestyle and work.

Then you can walk into a shop and ignore the salesman's crap, and knowing what you are looking for, pick the best handset that suits you.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (5, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681176)

How isn't screen size part of UI?

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38682908)

How isn't you being a sissy faggot not have anything to do with your gaping asshole?

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38684602)

Um... because it's the display, and not the interface? Desktop PCs and laptops have never had just one standard screen size / aspect ratio / resolution. You design an interface to conform to the screen on which it is being displayed, but that doesn't mean the display is considered part of the interface.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681730)

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?

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

BatsShadow (776317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682656)

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."

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685806)

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?

wrong. they are avoiding it. (1)

nazsco (695026) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681284)

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.

Re:wrong. they are avoiding it. (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685818)

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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681702)

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 note: If your answer is licensing the android app store and advertising, keep in mind that 2/3 of their mobile revenue came from iOS ads.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (5, Insightful)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38684030)

SharkLaser/Bonch/Overly Critical Guy is either a fanboy or a shill. Was out in the Vizio PC thread praising our great savior Apple.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38684032)

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

Shouldn't your reply have read "For the record I'm an owner of a WP7 phone", or didn't you bother reading the OP?

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684128)

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 Android fanbois got butthurt in unison and fell silent.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

ruemere (1148095) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684308)

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

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684900)

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...

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685626)

Can't you just check his post history? He posted nearly exactly the same thing yesterday and it was all bullshit too, he's probably paid or just a huge idiot.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686890)

Can't you just check his post history? He posted nearly exactly the same thing yesterday and it was all bullshit too

I can't see it. Prooflink?

But have you ever used a WP7 phone? (3, Informative)

jbernardo (1014507) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:But have you ever used a WP7 phone? (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685078)

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 and develop for all of them.)

Re:But have you ever used a WP7 phone? (1)

jbernardo (1014507) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685420)

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 all it was a gift. But I am failing. (I wish I was the owner of an handful of phones - but can't afford it right now).

Re:But have you ever used a WP7 phone? (0)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686120)

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 50000+ apps is still considered a limited choice? Which ones do you miss, other than Google's?

No google apps apart from search.

That's more of Google's fault. Or maybe, it's a tit-for-tat with Bing being locked to the hardware button. Either way, it's not some problem with the platform.

No synchronization with outlook, only with exchange,

What do you mean by "synchronization with Outlook"? What other phone can do it, without some supporting software on the PC side?

and only if your admins have enabled activesync.

What's the point in disabling efficient push email if you have mobile users?
Outlook Web Access would be wasteful, and I guess Exchange does not support caldav really well.

No skype, fring or nimbuzz.

Pity. I guess Skype is coming full steam, so maybe even current WP7 phones will get it eventually.

No way to install applications except the market.

Yeah. iPhone users think it is normal, FWIW.

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.

You say "old", somebody else could put it as "not ridiculously overpowered for the tasks it needs to perform". Obviously Lumia 900 or Titan II is not old hardware. What is it that you need to do on a phone, that is prevented by not having a dual-core CPU and a gigabyte of RAM?
I never felt disappointed by the 480x800 resolution in the Maemo/MeeGo devices I have been using.
What phone has a camera good enough to record 1080p with actual benefits for image quality?

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.

We have an HTC Sensation at home, I guess it can serve as an example. Both me and my wife find the UI mediocre, cluttered, and sometimes poorly usable. We never cared to mod it, or even install any significant number of apps. Geeks who read specification sheets like the holy scripture and care about things like USB mass storage access to the filesystem tend to forget what really matters to most people out there.

Re:Google admitting problem and trying to fix it (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685764)

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 been documented, and has always been ignored by some developers.

None of this means that Google is admitting to a "huge" problem. Out of the 200+ apps I have installed, I have minor complains about a half dozen and major complaints about 2 or 3.

Style? (1)

methano (519830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680502)

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.

Re:Style? (0, Offtopic)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680596)

Seems like they're following their own guidelines, though...

Decide for me but let me have the final say Take your best guess and act rather than asking first. Too many choices and decisions make people unhappy. Just in case you get it wrong, allow for 'undo'.

God do I hate it how often Google tries to fix my searches with their "did you mean to search this?" bs and just doesn't give me what I want to search.

Re:Style? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685860)

It happens to me too, you just have to click "search for _originalterm_ instead" to get your original search terms.

Re:Style? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680644)

Yup, the new gmail feel is terrible with all the extra white space. Although the one with less white space is quite nice!

Re:Style? (3, Funny)

Brummund (447393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680664)

Perhaps you miss this? [cnet.com]

Re:Style? (4, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681242)

Or the "Display Density: Compact" option under the gear in the upper right to reduce the white-space right on the page...

Re:Style? (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681308)

If you think white space is useless, you don't know much about style yourself. Any designer knows that whitespace is just as important as the items that are in it.

Re:Style? (2)

21mhz (443080) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684140)

Maybe they are also laying the groundwork for large font themes, which may resolve another litany of complaints [google.com] .

Re:Style? (3, Insightful)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684890)

Understanding how to use white space (as well as other design concepts) is different than just using excessive white space because it is the thing of the day. There is a difference, I think, between using a design concept and choosing to use a design concept. There has to be a reason to use it. Design is all about the why not the how.

Re:Style? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685188)

Of course there's such a thing as too much white space, just as there can be too much of anything. But your implication that it's a current trend makes me suspect what you think is excessive white space isn't necessarily so. Not enough white space is a far more serious and common problem in apps than too much. Although that situation is getting better as more apps are designed by designers now rather than programmers.

Re:Style? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38682004)

Space is needed so you can actually find GUI good...
If you would know anything from usability, you would know that it is very important thing that there is space around widgets and objects as with it you help eyes and hand to locate correct target.

free advertising? (5, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680512)

Why link to the wired article when you can link directly to the website [android.com] in question?

Re:free advertising? (2)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680550)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680736)

Money.

Re:free advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38680794)

Yea because Wired pays slashdot for the link? What have you been drinking tonight...

Piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681262)

My own piss

Re:Piss (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681722)

Mountain Dew doesn't have alcohol....

Re:free advertising? (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682730)

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.

Re:free advertising? (1)

bmd256 (1484893) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685760)

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.

Re:free advertising? (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38687606)

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 with using the same word over and over again in the same or neighboring text (my English teachers called them "echo words," but I don't think that's the right term).

Re:free advertising? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685902)

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.

Good news. (1, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680546)


It's nice to see that Android will be getting some style.
Well done, Google!

S, Galaxy, and ...? (1)

yog (19073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680576)

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 handheld experience will be nearly identical for most Android users in a couple of years, and it will spur greater adoption of tablets.

I have an Android phone but an iPad tablet; best of both worlds! But it would be nice not to have to buy apps twice.

Re:S, Galaxy, and ...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681228)

Maybe it's an upcoming Nexus tablet? I dunno, It looks like the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 to me.

Re:S, Galaxy, and ...? (3, Informative)

meisteg (1051686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38681360)

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

It's the Motorola Xoom.

Re:S, Galaxy, and ...? (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683476)

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

Re:S, Galaxy, and ...? (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685892)

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.

Re:S, Galaxy, and ...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38686510)

I don't hold my monitor in one or both hands you fuckwit

Herding cats (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680588)

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.

Re:Herding cats (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685948)

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 use cases. Time and effort many people just aren't being paid to provide.

very useful when i ported 'ls' to android (4, Funny)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680674)

"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!

Re:very useful when i ported 'ls' to android (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38680914)

Thrill me [youtube.com]

Err (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681042)

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

Re:Err (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681622)

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

Re:Err (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685968)

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

Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681050)

And Google is qualified to speak on matter of style because of their ... long history of minimalism?

I'd love to target ICS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681306)

I really want to target ICS exclusively, but considering how few ICS phones there are and there will be for the next while, it's hard. I'm a newbie Android developer; what am I supposed to do on earlier devices where the default theme isn't mandated? I see a lot of apps in the marketplace that just say "screw it" and code up their own UI. Sometimes it works, often it's missing a lot and doesn't slot in with the rest of the OS in any way whatsoever.

the words google and style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38681894)

in the same sentence, eh?

Re:the words google and style (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683258)

Look at 90% of the most successful websites in the western world's internet. Most of them follow Google's simplistic stylization. Even Apple arguably with their modernistic approach showed up around the same time Google's simplistic take showed up. It's an attempt to draw back the over-stylization the 1990s and 80s wrought.

If it walks like a duck... (0)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682482)

I browsed around the "guide" and it felt a lot more like a platform advertisement than anything useful...

Re:If it walks like a duck... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38685992)

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.

Too little too late... (2, Insightful)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Too little too late... (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38682806)

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.

I know what you're trying to say, but... (4, Insightful)

nathan s (719490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683148)

...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.

Re:Too little too late... (2)

TrueSpeed (576528) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684066)

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.

Re:Too little too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38685032)

Bullllshiiiit! iTunes is the most used Apple application, and it's an abomination to design, plus it suffers from constantly changing keyboard shortcuts.

A long way to go yet (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683082)

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. :)

Re:A long way to go yet (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683092)

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.

LOL (0)

PieceOfShitAndroid (2538056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683204)

Google. Android. Style Guide. ROFLOL

datebi.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38683450)

Bi-sexual information?Seeking for the people have the same sexual orientation. please check out the site "Datebi.com", you will find the like-minded people!

ICS review (1)

Truedat (2545458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683798)

May I humbly submit my review of Ice Cream Sandwich? It's merely a two word review that reads: "shit sandwich". :-)

Re:ICS review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38683966)

TROLOLOLO

Re:ICS review (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38686036)

Feel free but do us all a favour and include your rationale.

I've been using ICS for a few weeks now and quite like it, even though apps designed around the newer SDK version have their menus moved on me.

Oh god! (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38683872)

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.
 

But it's not fragmented! (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38684540)

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?
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