Oct 12

Offer Your Educational Apps On Google Play for Education

Posted by Pratip Banerji, Google Play for Education team

Last month, we announced Google Play for Education — a platform enabling developers and content providers to reach K-12 educators and students in the United States through a new Android based initiative. Google Play for Education is an extension of the Google Play Store for schools, adding curation, bulk purchasing, and instant distribution to students’ Android tablets for educational apps, books and videos. As we said at the time, we are excited to be doing our part to make technology and innovation in the classroom more accessible.

Starting today, you can use the Google Play Developer Console to mark your apps for inclusion in Google Play for Education, which is actively being piloted in schools across the country. Marking your app identifies it as targeted for the US K-12 educational market and queues it for evaluation by a third-party network of educators. These educators perform a first-pass qualification of apps, assigning the appropriate subject, grade, and common core standards metadata, while evaluating whether they meet the Google Play for Education criteria for classroom use.

Leading up to the fall launch, the Google Play for Education team is conducting an extensive series of pilots that include schools and students across the U.S. By marking your app for inclusion now, you will be getting your app into the hands of these schools and key influencers in the education technology community.

Whether you already have an existing educational app or are looking to build one, take a look at our Guidelines for Apps to make sure your app is appropriate for the K-12 environment. Follow our detailed requirements and test your app to ensure it is optimized for Android tablets. Then, upload your new or updated app, mark it for inclusion in Google Play for Education, and publish. We will email you when your app has been evaluated. Depending on app submission volume, this process can take 3-4 weeks. For more information, see Get Started.

Also please tune in to our panel for education developers on Tuesday June 25th at 10:30 AM EDT. Live from the ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education) Conference, we’ll tell you more about developing for Google in Education and we’ll host some educators who explain what they are looking for in educational apps. The panel will be streamed on Google Developers Live and we’ll make the video available to you as well.

For more information on Google Play for Education, please visit developer.android.com/edu.

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Android Developers Blog

Oct 10

Android Developer Story: Wallapop improves user conversions with store listing experiments on Google Play

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Developer Marketing, Google Play

Wallapop
is a mobile app developer based in Barcelona, Spain. The app provides a platform
to users for selling and buying things to others nearby in a virtual flea market
by using geolocalization. Wallapop now has over 70% of their user base on
Android.

Watch Agus Gomez, Co-Founder & CEO, and Marta Gui, Growth Hacking Manager,
explain how using store listing experiments has increased their conversion rate
by 17%, and has allowed them to optimize organic installs.

Learn
more about store listing experiments. Get the Playbook for
Developers app to stay up-to-date with more features and best practices that
will help you grow a successful business on Google Play.

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Android Developers Blog

Oct 09

Tips from developers Peak and Soundcloud on how to grow your startup on Google Play

Posted by Francesca Di Felice, Developer Marketing at Google
Play

At Playtime 2016, Google Play’s series of developer events, we met with top app
and game developers from around the world to share learnings on how to build
successful businesses on Google Play. Several startups, including game developer
Peaklabs and audio platform SoundCloud, presented on stage their own best
practices for growth, which you might find helpful.

Testing for growth, by Peak

Hear from Kevin Shanahan, Product Manager from Peak,
a brain training app, on how to grow sustainably.

  • Test lots of ideas: You can’t be sure of what will work and
    what won’t, so you need to test lots of ideas. Peak ran four different tests to
    try to increase conversions to Pro (their subscriber offering):
  1. Made the ability to replay games a Pro feature
  2. Reduced price of Pro by 25% in top 2 markets
  3. Bundled add-on modules from partners into Pro
  4. Showed a preview of Pro-only content

          One of these tests resulted in a 50% increase in conversions.

  • Get the basics right: Start with a great product and have a
    data-informed culture. Don’t only test app features, experimenting your store
    listing using store
    listing experiments is also important.
  • Build a robust A/B testing process: Having
    a well-defined A/B testing process and a system for tracking your experiments is
    key to testing quickly and effectively.

Improving user retention, by
SoundCloud

Andy Carvell, former Product Manager at SoundCloud,
an online audio distribution platform that enables its users to upload, record,
promote, and share their originally-created sounds, explains how they focus on
retention to improve growth.

 
  • Design your retention strategy: Apps with poor retention
    grow slowly. To increase your retention you should:
    • Convert new users to repeat visitors by providing a strong onboarding
      experience for new users and taking a high-touch approach during the first days
      and weeks.
    • Increase visit frequency within this group by providing frequent, timely,
      and relevant messaging about content or activity on the platform.
    • Target returning users who were not seen over the last period, who are ‘at
      risk of churn’ users, by giving them reasons to come back for another session
      before losing them.
    • Re-activate lapsed (long-term churned) users with campaigns to remind them
      about your app and offer an incentive to return.
  • Build ‘growth machines’: Create repeatable processes that
    testing has proven to positively impact retention, retaining users, and
    preventing churn.
  • Use activity notifications in a personalised and effective
    way
    : At SoundCloud there are plenty of things that happen when users
    are not in the app that might be relevant to them, for example new content
    releases or social interactions. They tested 5 new notification types, always
    keeping a control group to better keep track of the impact, and managed to
    increase retention in a 5%. Watch the video
    above for more of Andy’s tips on making better use of notifications.

Other speakers, such as Silicon Valley VC Greylock, have also shared their
tips for startup growth. Watch
more sessions from this year’s Playtime events to learn best practices from
other apps and game partners, and the Google Play team. Get the Playbook for Developers app to stay up to
date with news and tips to help you grow a successful business on Google Play.

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Android Developers Blog

Oct 08

Southeast Asian indie game developers find success on Google Play

Posted by Vineet Tanwar, Business Development Manager, Google Play
Indie game developers bring high quality, artistic, and innovative content to
Google Play and raise the bar for all developers in the process. In fact, they
also make up a large portion of our ‘Editor’s Choice’ recommended titles.

Southeast Asia, in particular, has a vibrant indie game developer ecosystem, and
we’ve been working closely with them to provide tools that help them build
successful businesses on Google Play. Today, we’re sharing stories from three
Indie developers based in Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia, who joined us at
our ‘Indie Game Developers Day’ workshops in May 2016 and all of whom have
experienced significant growth since.

Inzen studios from Singapore learned how to use store
listing experiments and has improved the conversion rate of their newly
launched game Dark
Dot by 25%. Indonesia based studio, Niji Games, creator of Cute
Munchies, implemented ‘Saved Games’ and ‘Events and Quests’ from Google Play
games services to significantly improve user retention, and also earned an
‘Editor’s Choice’ badge in the process. Ho Chi Minh City based developer,
VGames, optimized monetization and introduced new paid products for their game
Gungun
online, and grew revenue by over 100%.

Indie game developers who are interested in meeting members of Google Play and
who would like to work closer with us are invited to join our next round of SEA
workshops in March 2017. To apply for these events, just fill in this
form and we will reach out to you.

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Android Developers Blog

Oct 05

Meet the 20 finalists of the Google Play Indie Games Contest

Posted by Matteo Vallone, Google Play Games Business Development

Back in November, we launched the Google Play Indie Games Contest for developers from 15 European countries, to celebrate the passion and innovation of the indie community in the region. The contest will reward the winners with exposure to industry experts and players worldwide, as well as other prizes that will showcase their art and help them grow their business on Android and Google Play.

Thank you to the nearly 1000 of you who submitted high quality games in all types of genres! Your creativity, enthusiasm and dedication have once again impressed us and inspired us. We had a very fun time testing and judging the games based on fun, innovation, design excellence and technical and production quality, and it was challenging to select only 20 finalists:

Meet the 20 finalists
(In alphabetical order)

Blind Drive
(coming soon)

Lo-Fi People
Israel
Causality
(coming soon)

Loju
United Kingdom
Crap! I’m Broke: Out of Pocket

Arcane Circus
Netherlands
Egz

Lonely Woof
France
Ellipsis

Salmi GmbH Germany
Gladiabots

GFX47
France

Happy Hop: Kawaii Jump


Platonic Games
Spain
Hidden Folks (coming soon)


Adriaan de Jongh Netherlands
Lichtspeer
(coming soon)

Lichthund
Poland
Lost in Harmony
Digixart


Entertainment France
Mr Future Ninja (coming soon)

Huijaus Studios
Finland
Paper Wings




Fil Games
Turkey
PinOut



Mediocre
Sweden
Power Hover




Oddrok
Finland
Reigns

Nerial
United Kingdom
Rusty Lake: Roots




Rusty Lake Netherlands
Samorost 3



Amanita Design Czech Republic
The Battle of Polytopia

Midjiwan AB Sweden
twofold inc.



Grapefrukt games Sweden
Unworded (coming soon)

Bento Studio France

Check out the prizes

All the 20 finalists are getting:

  • The opportunity to exhibit and showcase their game at the final event held at the Saatchi Gallery in London, on 16th February 2017.
  • Promotion of their game on a London billboard for one month.
  • Two tickets to attend a 2017 Playtime event. This is an invitation-only event for top apps and games developers on Google Play.
  • One Pixel XL smartphone.

At the event at Saatchi, the finalists will also have a chance to make it to the next rounds and win additional prizes, including:

  • YouTube influencer campaigns worth up to 100,000 EUR.
  • Premium placements on Google Play.
  • Tickets to Google I/O 2017 and other top industry events.
  • Promotions on our channels.
  • Special prizes for the best Unity game.
  • And more!


Come support them at the final event

At the final event attendees will have a say on which 10 of these finalists will get to pitch their games to the jury, who will decide on the final contest winners who will receive the top prizes.

Register now to join us in London, meet the developers, check out their great games, vote for your favourites, and have fun with various industry experts and indie developers.

A big thank you again to everyone who entered and congratulations to the finalists. We look forward to seeing you at the Saatchi Gallery in London on 16th February.


Android Developers Blog

Oct 04

The Beautiful Design Summer 2013 Collection on Google Play

Posted by Marco Paglia, Android Design Team

Attention to detail makes an app truly beautiful: transitions are fast and clear, layout and typography are crisp and meaningful, and design touches that delight you in surprising ways are sprinkled throughout. Today, we’re publishing a new Beautiful Design collection on Google Play, which highlights 11 beautiful apps with these kinds of masterfully crafted design details.

The collection, which we’ll refresh with new apps every so often, currently includes:

  • Pattrn (by Lucas Rocha), a beautifully focused app for discovering and sharing unique wallpapers on any size screen device.
  • Pocket (by Read It Later), an article keeper and reader app with a beautiful queue browsing interface and a remarkably comfortable and pleasing reading experience on phones and tablets.
  • Timer (by Opoloo), a timer app with an elegant and deeply satisfying timer-creation interface and simple, beautiful theme choices.
  • Eye in Sky Weather, NY Times, Grand St., Pinterest, Press, Expedia, Flipboard and TED… each with delightful design details.

If you’re an Android developer, make sure to play with some of these apps to get a sense for the types of design details that can separate good apps from great ones.

Lastly, remember that this new Beautiful Design collection is just one of a number of unique collections on Google Play that are front and center in the new Google Play Store app client.

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Android Developers Blog

Oct 02

Games developer, Dots, share their Do’s and Don’ts for improving your visibility on Google Play

Posted by Lily Sheringham, Developer Marketing at Google Play

Editor’s note: A few weeks ago we shared some tips from game developer, Seriously, on how they’ve been using notifications successfully to drive ongoing engagement. This week, we’re sharing tips from Christian Calderon at US game developer, Dots, on how to successfully optimize your Play Store Listing. -Ed.

A well thought-out Google Play store listing can significantly improve the discoverability of your app or game and drive installations. With the recent launch of Store Listing Experiments on the Google Play Developer Console, you can now conduct A/B tests on the text and graphics of your store listing page and use the data to make more informed decisions.

Dots is a US-founded game developer which released the popular game, Dots, and its addictive sequel, TwoDots. Dots used its store listings to showcase its brands and improve conversions by letting players know what to expect.

Christian Calderon, Head of Marketing for Dots, shared his top tips with us on store listings and visibility on Google Play.

Do’s and Don’ts for optimizing store listings on Google Play

Do’s

Don’ts

Do be creative and unique with the icon. Try to visually convince the user that your product is interesting and in alignment with what they are looking for.

Don’t spam keywords in your app title. Keep the title short, original and thoughtful and keep your brand in mind when representing your product offering.

Do remember to quickly respond to reviews and implement a scalable strategy to incorporate feedback into your product offering. App ratings are important social proof that your product is well liked.

Don’t overload the ‘short description’. Keep it concise. It should be used as a call-to-action to address your product’s core value proposition and invite the user to install the application. Remember to consider SEO best practices.

Do invest in a strong overall paid and organic acquisition strategy. More downloads will make your product seem more credible to users, increasing the likeliness that a user will install your app.

Don’t overuse text in your screenshots. They should create a visual narrative for what’s in your game and help users visualize your product offering, using localization where possible.

Do link your Google Play store listing to your website, social media accounts, press releases and any of your consumer-facing channels that may drive organic visibility to your target market. This can impact your search positioning.

Don’t have a negative, too short or confusing message in your “What’s New” copy. Let users know what updates, product changes or bug fixes have been implemented in new versions. Keep your copy buoyant, informative, concise and clear.

Do use Video Visualization to narrate the core value proposition. For TwoDots, our highest converting videos consist of gameplay, showcasing features and events within the game that let the player know exactly what to expect.

Don’t flood the user with information in the page description. Keep the body of the page description organized and concise and test different structural patterns that works best for you and your product!

Use Google Play Store Listing Experiments to increase your installs

As part of the 100 Days of Google Dev video series, Kobi Glick from the Google Play team explains how to test different graphics and text on your app or game’s Play Store listing to increase conversions using the new Store Listing Experiments feature in the Developer Console.

Find out more about using Store Listing Experiments to turn more of your visits into installs.


Android Developers Blog

Sep 30

Manage paid orders and payments settings from the Google Play Developer Console

Posted by Suzanne van Tienen, Product Manager, Google Play



Today we are simplifying and improving the merchant experience for developers
who have paid apps, in-app purchases, or subscriptions based on the feedback
we’ve heard from the community.

First, we’re moving order management from the Google Payments Center to the
Google Play Developer Console and adding some improved features. Second,
payments settings will now be accessible from the Developer Console in addition
to continuing to be available on payments.google.com. The new features come with
appropriate access control settings so you can be sure users only have access to
the tools they need.


The new order management tab in the Google Play Developer Console



You can perform the same tasks in the Developer Console which you previously
would have performed in the Google Payments Center. We’ve also made some
improvements:

  • Bulk refunds: You can now select multiple orders
    for simultaneous refund, instead of issuing them individually.
  • Subscription cancellations: You can now refund and
    revoke subscriptions directly from the order management tab (without going to a
    separate UI).
  • Permissions: We’ve added a new user access
    permission to the Developer Console called “Manage orders”. This permission will
    allow a user to find orders, issue refunds, and cancel subscriptions. Other
    features will be read-only for these users and financial reports will be hidden
    (only users with “View financial reports” can see financial data). Payments
    settings are restricted to the account owner when accessed from Developer
    Console.

Order management migration to the Developer Console



Order
management is now available in the Developer Console. Starting January 23,
order management will cease being available in Payments Center. User permissions
are not automatically carried over from the Payments Center so, as the account
owner, you will need to add all users who need access to refunds and any other
order management features to your Developer Console account with the new ‘Manage
orders’ permission by January 22 for them to have continued access.

Here’s how you can add new users to your Developer Console account:

  1. Log on to Google Payments Center
    and review all existing users.
  2. Sign in to your Developer
    Console and add one or both of the following permissions for all users that
    need access to Order Management in the Developer Console.
    1. View financial reports: Gives the right to access and view
      financial reports.
    2. Manage orders: Gives the right to view and refund orders but not
      to view aggregate financial statistics or download sales & payout reports.
  3. Let your users know about the new location for order
    management.
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Android Developers Blog

Sep 21

Android and Google Play Security Rewards Programs surpass $3M in payouts


Posted by Jason Woloz and Mayank Jain, Android Security & Privacy Team

Our Android and Play security reward programs help us work with top researchers from around the world to improve Android ecosystem security every day. Thank you to all the amazing researchers who submitted vulnerability reports.

Android Security Rewards

In the ASR program’s third year, we received over 470 qualifying vulnerability reports from researchers and the average pay per researcher jumped by 23%. To date, the ASR program has rewarded researchers with over $ 3M, paying out roughly $ 1M per year.

Here are some of the highlights from the Android Security Rewards program’s third year:

  • There were no payouts for our highest possible reward: a complete remote exploit chain leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise.
  • 99 individuals contributed one or more fixes.
  • The ASR program’s reward averages were $ 2,600 per reward and $ 12,500 per researcher.
  • Guang Gong received our highest reward amount to date: $ 105,000 for his submission of a remote exploit chain.

As part of our ongoing commitment to security we regularly update our programs and policies based on ecosystem feedback. We also updated our severity guidelines for evaluating the impact of reported security vulnerabilities against the Android platform.

Google Play Security Rewards

In October 2017, we rolled out the Google Play Security Reward Program to encourage security research into popular Android apps available on Google Play. So far, researchers have reported over 30 vulnerabilities through the program, earning a combined bounty amount of over $ 100K.

If undetected, these vulnerabilities could have potentially led to elevation of privilege, access to sensitive data and remote code execution on devices.

Keeping devices secure

In addition to rewarding for vulnerabilities, we continue to work with the broad and diverse Android ecosystem to protect users from issues reported through our program. We collaborate with manufacturers to ensure that these issues are fixed on their devices through monthly security updates. Over 250 device models have a majority of their deployed devices running a security update from the last 90 days. This table shows the models with a majority of deployed devices running a security update from the last three months:

Manufacturer Device
ANS L50
Asus ZenFone 5Z (ZS620KL/ZS621KL), ZenFone Max Plus M1 (ZB570TL), ZenFone 4 Pro (ZS551KL), ZenFone 5 (ZE620KL), ZenFone Max M1 (ZB555KL), ZenFone 4 (ZE554KL), ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro (ZD552KL), ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL), ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL), ZenFone 3 (ZE520KL), ZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL), ZenFone 4 Selfie (ZD553KL), ZenFone Live L1 (ZA550KL), ZenFone 5 Lite (ZC600KL), ZenFone 3s Max (ZC521TL)
BlackBerry BlackBerry MOTION, BlackBerry KEY2
Blu Grand XL LTE, Vivo ONE, R2_3G, Grand_M2, BLU STUDIO J8 LTE
bq Aquaris V Plus, Aquaris V, Aquaris U2 Lite, Aquaris U2, Aquaris X, Aquaris X2, Aquaris X Pro, Aquaris U Plus, Aquaris X5 Plus, Aquaris U lite, Aquaris U
Docomo F-04K, F-05J, F-03H
Essential Products PH-1
Fujitsu F-01K
General Mobile GM8, GM8 Go
Google Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2, Pixel XL, Pixel
HTC U12+, HTC U11+
Huawei Honor Note10, nova 3, nova 3i, Huawei Nova 3I, 荣耀9i, 华为G9青春版, Honor Play, G9青春版, P20 Pro, Honor V9, huawei nova 2, P20 lite, Honor 10, Honor 8 Pro, Honor 6X, Honor 9, nova 3e, P20, PORSCHE DESIGN HUAWEI Mate RS, FRD-L02, HUAWEI Y9 2018, Huawei Nova 2, Honor View 10, HUAWEI P20 Lite, Mate 9 Pro, Nexus 6P, HUAWEI Y5 2018, Honor V10, Mate 10 Pro, Mate 9, Honor 9, Lite, 荣耀9青春版, nova 2i, HUAWEI nova 2 Plus, P10 lite, nova 青春版本, FIG-LX1, HUAWEI G Elite Plus, HUAWEI Y7 2018, Honor 7S, HUAWEI P smart, P10, Honor 7C, 荣耀8青春版, HUAWEI Y7 Prime 2018, P10 Plus, 荣耀畅玩7X, HUAWEI Y6 2018, Mate 10 lite, Honor 7A, P9 Plus, 华为畅享8, honor 6x, HUAWEI P9 lite mini, HUAWEI GR5 2017, Mate 10
Itel P13
Kyocera X3
Lanix Alpha_950, Ilium X520
Lava Z61, Z50
LGE LG Q7+, LG G7 ThinQ, LG Stylo 4, LG K30, V30+, LG V35 ThinQ, Stylo 2 V, LG K20 V, ZONE4, LG Q7, DM-01K, Nexus 5X, LG K9, LG K11
Motorola Moto Z Play Droid, moto g(6) plus, Moto Z Droid, Moto X (4), Moto G Plus (5th Gen), Moto Z (2) Force, Moto G (5S) Plus, Moto G (5) Plus, moto g(6) play, Moto G (5S), moto e5 play, moto e(5) play, moto e(5) cruise, Moto E4, Moto Z Play, Moto G (5th Gen)
Nokia Nokia 8, Nokia 7 plus, Nokia 6.1, Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia X6, Nokia 3.1
OnePlus OnePlus 6, OnePlus5T, OnePlus3T, OnePlus5, OnePlus3
Oppo CPH1803, CPH1821, CPH1837, CPH1835, CPH1819, CPH1719, CPH1613, CPH1609, CPH1715, CPH1861, CPH1831, CPH1801, CPH1859, A83, R9s Plus
Positivo Twist, Twist Mini
Samsung Galaxy A8 Star, Galaxy J7 Star, Galaxy Jean, Galaxy On6, Galaxy Note9, Galaxy J3 V, Galaxy A9 Star, Galaxy J7 V, Galaxy S8 Active, Galaxy Wide3, Galaxy J3 Eclipse, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy S9, Galaxy A9 Star Lite, Galaxy J7 Refine, Galaxy J7 Max, Galaxy Wide2, Galaxy J7(2017), Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S8, Galaxy A3(2017), Galaxy Note8, Galaxy A8+(2018), Galaxy J3 Top, Galaxy J3 Emerge, Galaxy On Nxt, Galaxy J3 Achieve, Galaxy A5(2017), Galaxy J2(2016), Galaxy J7 Pop, Galaxy A6, Galaxy J7 Pro, Galaxy A6 Plus, Galaxy Grand Prime Pro, Galaxy J2 (2018), Galaxy S6 Active, Galaxy A8(2018), Galaxy J3 Pop, Galaxy J3 Mission, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note Fan Edition, Galaxy J7 Prime, Galaxy A5(2016)
Sharp シンプルスマホ4, AQUOS sense plus (SH-M07), AQUOS R2 SH-03K, X4, AQUOS R SH-03J, AQUOS R2 SHV42, X1, AQUOS sense lite (SH-M05)
Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium, Xperia XZ2 Compact, Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra, Xperia XZ1 Compact, Xperia XZ2, Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZ1, Xperia L2, Xperia X
Tecno F1, CAMON I Ace
Vestel Vestel Z20
Vivo vivo 1805, vivo 1803, V9 6GB, Y71, vivo 1802, vivo Y85A, vivo 1726, vivo 1723, V9, vivo 1808, vivo 1727, vivo 1724, vivo X9s Plus, Y55s, vivo 1725, Y66, vivo 1714, 1609, 1601
Vodafone Vodafone Smart N9
Xiaomi Mi A2, Mi A2 Lite, MI 8, MI 8 SE, MIX 2S, Redmi 6Pro, Redmi Note 5 Pro, Redmi Note 5, Mi A1, Redmi S2, MI MAX 2, MI 6X
ZTE BLADE A6 MAX

Thank you to everyone internally and externally who helped make Android safer and stronger in the past year. Together, we made a huge investment in security research that helps Android users everywhere. If you want to get involved to make next year even better, check out our detailed program rules. For tips on how to submit complete reports, see Bug Hunter University.


Android Developers Blog

Sep 17

Material design in the 2014 Google I/O app

By Roman Nurik, lead designer for the Google I/O Android App

Every year for Google I/O, we publish an Android app for the conference that serves two purposes. First, it serves as a companion for conference attendees and those tuning in from home, with a personalized schedule, a browsing interface for talks, and more. Second, and arguably more importantly, it serves as a reference demo for Android design and development best practices.

Last week, we announced that the Google I/O 2014 app source code is now available, so you can go check out how we implemented some of the features and design details you got to play with during the conference. In this post, I’ll share a glimpse into some of our design thinking for this year’s app.


On the design front, this year’s I/O app uses the new material design approach and features of the Android L Developer Preview to present content in a rational, consistent, adaptive and beautiful way. Let’s take a look at some of the design decisions and outcomes that informed the design of the app.

Surfaces and shadows

In material design, surfaces and shadows play an important role in conveying the structure of your app. The material design spec outlines a set of layout principles that helps guide decisions like when and where shadows should appear. As an example, here are some of the iterations we went through for the schedule screen:

First iteration

Second iteration

Third iteration


The first iteration was problematic for a number of reasons. First, the single shadow below the app bar conveyed that there were two “sheets” of paper: one for the app bar and another for the tabs and screen contents. The bottom sheet was too complex: the “ink” that represents the contents of a sheet should be pretty simple; here ink was doing too much work, and the result was visual noise. An alternative could be to make the tabs a third sheet, sitting between the app bar and content, but too much layering can also be distracting.


The second and third iterations were stronger, creating a clear separation between chrome and content, and letting the ink focus on painting text, icons, and accent strips.

Another area where the concept of “surfaces” played a role was in our details page. In our first release, as you scroll the details screen, the top banner fades from the session image to the session color, and the photo scrolls at half the speed beneath the session title, producing a parallax effect. Our concern was that this design bent the physics of material design too far. It’s as if the text was sliding along a piece of paper whose transparency changed throughout the animation.


A better approach, which we introduced in the app update on June 25th, was to introduce a new, shorter surface on which the title text was printed. This surface has a consistent color and opacity. Before scrolling, it’s adjacent to the sheet containing the body text, forming a seam. As you scroll, this surface (and the floating action button attached to it) rises above the body text sheet, allowing the body text to scroll beneath it.


This aligns much better with the physics in the world of material design, and the end result is a more coherent visual, interaction and motion story for users. (See the code: Fragment, Layout XML)

Color

A key principle of material design is also that interfaces should be “bold, graphic, intentional” and that the foundational elements of print-based design should guide visual treatments. Let’s take a look at two such elements: color and margins.


In material design, UI element color palettes generally consist of one primary and one accent color. Large color fields (like the app bar background) take on the main 500 shade of the primary color, while smaller areas like the status bar use a darker shade, e.g. 700.

The accent color is used more subtly throughout the app, to call attention to key elements. The resulting juxtaposition of a tamer primary color and a brighter accent, gives apps a bold, colorful look without overwhelming the app’s actual content.

In the I/O app, we chose two accents, used in various situations. Most accents were Pink 500, while the more conservative Light Blue 500 was a better fit for the Add to Schedule button, which was often adjacent to session colors. (See the code: XML color definitions, Theme XML)


And speaking of session colors, we color each session’s detail screen based on the session’s primary topic. We used the base material design color palette with minor tweaks to ensure consistent brightness and optimal contrast with the floating action button and session images.


Below is an excerpt from our final session color palette exploration file.

Session colors, with floating action button juxtaposed to evaluate contrast

Desaturated session colors, to evaluate brightness consistency across the palette

Margins

Another important “traditional print design” element that we thought about was margins, and more specifically keylines. While we’d already been accustomed to using a 4dp grid for vertical sizing (buttons and simple list items were 48dp, the standard action bar was 56dp, etc.), guidance on keylines was new in material design. Particularly, aligning titles and other textual items to keyline 2 (72dp on phones and 80dp on tablets) immediately instilled a clean, print-like rhythm to our screens, and allowed for very fast scanning of information on a screen. Gestalt principles, for the win!


Grids

Another key principle in material design is “one adaptive design”:

A single underlying design system organizes interactions and space. Each device reflects a different view of the same underlying system. Each view is tailored to the size and interaction appropriate for that device. Colors, iconography, hierarchy, and spatial relationships remain constant.

Now, many of the screens in the I/O app represent collections of sessions. For presenting collections, material design offers a number of containers: cards, lists, and grids. We originally thought to use cards to represent session items, but since we’re mostly showing homogenous content, we deemed cards inappropriate for our use case. The shadows and rounded edges of the cards would add too much visual clutter, and wouldn’t aid in visually grouping content. An adaptive grid was a better choice here; we could vary the number of columns on screen size (see the code), and we were free to integrate text and images in places where we needed to conserve space.


Delightful details

Two of the little details we spent a lot of time perfecting in the app, especially with the L Developer Preview, were touch ripples and the Add to Schedule floating action button.

We used both the clipped and unclipped ripple styles throughout the app, and made sure to customize the ripple color to ensure the ripples were visible (but still subtle) regardless of the background. (See the code: Light ripples, Dark ripples)

But one of our favorite details in the app is the floating action button that toggles whether a session shows up in your personalized schedule or not:

We used a number of new API methods in the L preview (along with a fallback implementation) to ensure this felt right:


  1. View.setOutline and setClipToOutline for circle-clipping and dynamic shadow rendering.
  2. android:stateListAnimator to lift the button toward your finger on press (increase the drop shadow)
  3. RippleDrawable for ink touch feedback on press
  4. ViewAnimationUtils.createCircularReveal for the blue/white background state reveal
  5. AnimatedStateListDrawable to define the frame animations for changes to icon states (from checked to unchecked)

The end result is a delightful and whimsical UI element that we’re really proud of, and hope that you can draw inspiration from or simply drop into your own apps.

What’s next?

And speaking of dropping code into your own apps, remember that all the source behind the app, including L Developer Preview features and fallback code paths, is now available, so go check it out to see how we implemented these designs.

We hope this post has given you some ideas for how you can use material design to build beautiful Android apps that make the most of the platform. Stay tuned for more posts related to this year’s I/O app open source release over the coming weeks to get even more great ideas for ways to deliver the best experience to your users.

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