Pulser_G2 · Jun 25, 2014 at 05:30 pm

A Closer Look at the User Interface Changes in Android L

materialdesign-goals-landingimage_large_mdpiWith the curtain raised on Android L at Google I/O, we thought it was a good time to take a look at what we know about Android L, given the significant user interface changes we are all expecting and have seen. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what changes in Android L that we have uncovered by digging in the updated Android design documentation.

New Notification Bar Style

Android L Title Bar Style

First up, it seems there’s a new style of notification bar in Android L. The new icons seem more rounded and fluid, as opposed to the current ones with delineated signal strength indicators.

The colour of the bar also appears to adapt to the highlight colour of the application header, albeit with slightly darker shading to highlight the separation of application and navigation bar. The spacing between the icons also appears larger, although this may be an optical illusion.

 

New System Icons

Android L System Icons

Next up are the system icons–out with the old and in with the new. The new icons are, for me personally, a much better indication of what they do, and seem clearer and more friendly. While icons are often subjective, these do seem fairly nice to look at, and look to fit in well with the new style of Android L.

 

New Google Keyboard

Android L Keyboard

The new Google Keyboard appears to make a number of fairly significant changes. First, the separation between keys has been removed, favouring a much more unified approach. Whether or not that’s a good thing is an entirely different question. We also see the new back, recents, and home buttons for the first time in this screenshot. The home key however, is now the “circle” key, and the recents key is the “square”. As such, with the back button as the “triangle”, we’re not far from having a full PlayStation controller here!

 

New Selections Interface

The UI response hints when making a selection also appear to have changed in Android L. The visual feedback of a touch event appears to be a visible on-screen circle, with the currently selected option in pop-out menus a light grey.

 

Undo via “Snackbar”

Android L Undo

Here, we can see the new snackbar style (hopefully) consistent undo option, which allows you to quickly reverse a change you accidentally made, without fumbling for controls.

 

Simplified App Settings Interface

App UI

The App Settings interface appears to have been updated significantly, with a much clearer and more linear sectioned interface, bringing together information about data usage, as well as storage usage, into one logical place, rather than being scattered throughout the interface as it is currently.

 

New Documents UI

Android L Documents UI

Android L’s documents UI also appears to be significantly updated, with more options to make it easier to create new content, rather than just access and modify existing content.

 

Clearer Save vs. Don’t Save

Close and save

Close and save

Close without saving

Close without saving

 

A common criticism from new Android users is the difficulty in determining if closing a window will save your changes or not – Android UI guidelines stated that changes should always be saved automatically, but this wasn’t always the case when backing out of a menu if the change had not been completed. In Android L, it appears Google has set about resolving this, by adding a new close icon to dialogs which can be closed, which indicates if changes will be saved or not.

 

New Gallery Interface

Android L Gallery?

A new photo gallery interface also appears to be entering with Android L. While it’s unclear if this is the stock Gallery application, or one of Google’s own proprietary applications, it certainly looks quite different from the current gallery.

 

New Contacts Interface

Android L Contacts

The contacts interface also appears to have had a fair re-work, with a lot more emphasis on the use of Google’s Hangouts service (with it being the default secondary option next to phone numbers within the app).

 

New Contacts Selection

Android L Contacts Selection

An updated contact selection dropdown interface also looks set to make an appearance in Android L

 

Email – Slide to Delete

Android L - Swipe to delete

The Android L email application also appears to improve upon the currently available swipe-to-archive/delete function with a nicer interface, as well as a new kind of floating action button, here used to allow the user to compose a new email.

 

New Google Keep Interface

Google Keep

Google’s note-taking and organisation app, Google Keep, also looks set to get an interesting interface update with Android L.

 

New Google Hangouts Interface

Google Hangouts Contacts

Google Hangouts Settings

Google’s Hangouts application also looks set to get an interface update, which shows a new checkbox design, a less-busy contacts selection interface, and sleeker settings menu.

Have Your Say

What do you think of the user interface changes we suspect will be appearing in Android L? Did we miss anything interesting that you managed to spot here? Let us know in the comments below.

[A massive “thanks” is owed to XDA Senior Recognized Developer XpLoDWilD for his considerable efforts in bringing this together so quickly.]


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Pulser_G2

Pulser_G2 is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. Developer Admin at xda-developers, interested in everything in mobile and security. A developer and engineer, who would re-write everything in C or Assembler if the time was there. View Pulser_G2's posts and articles here.
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