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Android Design Corner: Beautiful Solutions

January 24, 2014
Design Corner

 I love beautiful design.  I’m Craig Tuttle, currently studying Computing Technology: Human Factors at Colorado State University, and I’ll be taking a walk through design concepts with you here on Android Authority.

Design. Such a simple word that is so much deeper, crucial, and complicated than many people even know. Most minds generally jump straight to “graphic design” or “stuff that looks good.” And while that is absolutely correct, the word design has a much deeper meaning and use.

A basic definition of design is this: the creation of a plan about an object or idea to be built or created in order to solve a problem.

But that definition itself is a terribly designed definition.  You see, design is Flowing. Feeling. Exciting. Joyous.  All whilst solving problems.  In the Android Design Principles, the first guideline that Google has listed is “Enchant Me” – “Delight me in surprising ways.”

Design is crafting an idea to solve a problem, but in a way that will bring emotion bubbling to the surface within the people who interact with it.

So, a better definition of design is simple: beautiful solutions that produce emotion.

Yes, that was an Apple video. Watch it and move on.

As a student working freelance, I’ve had the privilege this past year of being a game designerweb designer, and videographer. However, all of these link back to my main passion: user experience design. Creative spaces that allow for the designing of experiences is where I love to dream and create.

I also love Android. So to work my passion for experience design together with it I began creating the Fourth Bar Series, a tailored set of Android ROMS for the HTCAmaze and the Galaxy Tab in 2011. More recently I created an Android 5.0 concept video that went semi-viral in Fall 2013.

Design Roots of Mobile Systems

In looking around at designer culture, it’s very easy to tell which operating system designers and creative types prefer. Apple crafts products that naturally attract designers with their beautifully designed hardware and stunning 1st party apps.

For years, iOS was hands down the better designed mobile operating system and from the support of those flocking designers flowed forth beautiful apps with tailored user experiences. Apple’s ecosystem naturally became known as the platform for designers.

Nexus 5 Android 4.4 KitKat Hands On

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Android. Its humble beginnings weren’t focused on beautiful design but rather on the basic designs of the system’s architecture itself. However, this isn’t a bad thing; set in the ground was an excellent cornerstone from which to build.

Finally, after years of refining, Android as an operating system is starting to catch up. That well designed base has been built upon to support a beautiful and excellent user experience. Hardware manufacturers such as HTChave begun crafting beautiful phones. As the design gap between Android and iOS closes, the design quality of the apps in the Android ecosystem must evolve with the operating system.

A Need to Play Catch Up

Evolution-Google-Smartphones Nexus 5 Nexus s Nexus one History

Unfortunately, many Android apps are not evolving and remain outdated. As an open platform, Android attracts many developers with great ideas for functionality whilst leaving out the most crucial element of all: beautiful design.

Without beautiful and intuitive designs, our beloved platform would remain sole domain of the technical genius geeks. It’s a new world that we live in where highly complex machines are sold to people that have absolutely no knowledge of how to operate them. Now more than ever, simple and beautiful design solutions are required for the success of apps and the android ecosystem.

Together with Android Authority, I will be bringing a new series focused on design and its relationship to Android. We’ll be taking a look at design basics, more of the Android Design Guidelines, app design teardowns, as well as the deep histories of design ideas in mobile technology so that hopefully, by the end, you will have a deeper understanding just how important the design process is within building an app.

Let us know what apps you’d like to see torn down, and where you’d like this content series to go!