Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Google Docs for Android - UI pattern facelift

Google's track record on Android app quality has been questionable. User interface in most official Google apps has been very poor. Today we had a nice surprise though. Google just released Google docs for Android. The app is very polished both visually and functionally.

The app also provides us a view to Google's new visual style for Android apps. They have taken many of the design patterns and given them a facelift. I wouldn't be surprised to see this app as the reference in the upcoming Google I/O. I hope we see this app or at least the UI layer released as open source really soon.

Dashboard of the app still contains the same amount of icons as usual but they have been arranged differently. For some reason they have left the bottom part of the screen empty. Other than I think this design is very stylish and very clean.

Action bar
Action bar doesn't differ from previous implementations. It is visually very clear and has the normal functionality. It indicates user's location, provides access to two actions (which are not context related) and tapping the icon will take user to the app's front page.

Scrolling tabs
Scrolling tabs implementation is very nice. Either by swiping or tapping the tab headers user can change between different filters. Related animations are smooth and interaction is effortless. I really recommend trying this out in a phone to get hands on feel of the functionality. 

Quick actions

With quick actions Google has chosen an interesting approach by associating quick actions menu with the "more" icon. This is clear move of from the previous identifying icon border approach. The actual menu itself is extremely clear.  


This app is clearly sets a high standard for Google's Android apps. I hope they keep this as a benchmark and do not allow subpar apps through with the Google brand anymore.

And please Google, if you're reading this, open source at least the UI layer so we can use them in our apps!