Queron Jephcott Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : User Experience

Another Android 5.0 Lollipop review

Queron Jephcott Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : User Experience

This isn’t really a review, it’s more of a summary of an interesting thing. Why is it interesting?

I remember my wife (during university) studying cinema, because it became infuriating to watch film with her. The usual run down was: we’d watch a film; I’d think it was pretty good; she’d think it wasn’t great. I’d quiz her on why and she’d spurt out a list of ‘things the director, the cameraman, audio, post-production got wrong’. Things I never noticed. It went one step further, where she claimed that she couldn’t simply watch a film, she couldn’t help analysing.

Well, as an interaction designer, I guess I suffer from the same affliction when it comes to user interfaces. Therefore, I’m always excited to see user interface overhaul. What they did? Why they did it? Does it work?


Cue Android 5.0. More importantly, cue Google’s Material Design.

Google has always felt like an excited kid when it comes to their projects. Too excited to wait till the time is right. This has led to the release of some amazing software (and some not-so amazing, e.g. Wave). Ironically, Google Wave was a great idea, it was just too ahead of its time. We’re only really now seeing proper ‘email-killers’ hit the market in decent usage.

Anyway, start-up methodologies aside, what this has led to is a suit of platforms with varying levels of design, theme and consistency. Of course Google needed to tackle this eventually, however no one really knew when or to what scale.

Google I/O slapped us in the face with the announcement that not only was Google launching a new version of Android, with a visual overhaul, but that overhaul, was being applied across the entire Google ecosystem, search, gmail, Chrome OS, etc…


Big news.

Anyway, Google I/O is long gone and finally I have Android 5.0 running on both my Nexus 7 and my HTC One. So what are the surprises?

I remember chatting to our managing director a couple years ago about changes in the way I do work. I was saying that my job had become just as much about what’s on the page as how you move to the next. Animations, transitions, transforms. All now very important. Animation can communicate intent that would otherwise take lines of text.

Android 5 is full of it.

It’s interesting to use. It’s springy, bouncy, parallaxy. I honestly enjoy it. Not only does it hide load times, the often omitted reason for transitions. Don’t believe me? Why did Resident Evil have all those annoying door opening scenes? But it really makes the UI feel alive. Nothing is linear in life, except maybe the suns rotation around the sky, but you get my point.

The thing is though, I’m noticing the movement, the transitions. I’m too close to the concept of design and why they’re there in the first place. I’d really like to spend more time watching my dad try to stumble his way through the new OS. Would he even notice it? Then again, should he notice it? I guess he shouldn’t. He should understand the purpose of the animation, not the animation itself.

Either way, as fun as it is for me, it’s once again, hard to determine how the overhaul with affect the masses.