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Rumor: Google Once Again Introducing New Design Guidelines, so Developers can Ignore Them Too

According to the latest rumor du jour, Google is going to introduce yet another set of design guidelines for not only its apps, but for the rest of the app world too (including iOS). You know, because developers really bought into Holo and hamburger menus and all that stuff so quickly…mmhmm. This is just what we need!

So, this new design direction is reportedly called Quantum or “Quantum Paper” and it will be introduced with the “L” version of Android, which if you aren’t keeping track, follows Kit Kat. We still don’t know if that will be Android 4.4.4 or 4.5 or 5.0, but should continue the candy trend for names. The idea of Quantum is to unify design framework across all platforms for Google apps, while also encouraging third party developers to do the same.

According to today’s report, Google will slowly rollout Quantum-styled apps of their own leading up to the release of the “L” version of Android. Apps like the newly revamped Google+ are a part of this new initiative, in case you were looking for current Quantum examples. Leaked screenshots showing a potentially massive Gmail overhaul also fall under Quantum. If you couldn’t tell, a re-done header with bold colors appears to be part of the focus.

Once the “L” version arrives, the Quantum framework will be made available to third party developers, who we hope can adopt it easily.

So yeah, rumored design talk. Such fun.

Edit:  I realized that this came off as the most negative post in recent memory. Apologies for that. I guess I just have had a front row seat to developers failing to adopt the previous design guidelines, so pardon me if I’m failing to get excited about a new set for developers.

I’m all for Google making more beautiful apps that integrate similar experiences everywhere, but I think the idea that third party developers will jump on board is pretty unlikely. Then again, maybe Google has figured out the magic this time around. Hope so!

Via:  Android Police
  • I do agree. This doesn’t get me really hopeful cause in the end, without any forced requirement, the devs will continue ignoring it.

    Google has enough power to at LEAST force a minimum design inclusion. It must have this, this and this…but beyond that, have at it. That would, in my eyes, strike a very fair balance between them. Allowing them to still do as they please but while providing a unified look for apps that need one.

  • shelderman

    I like the design changes EXCEPT removing the slideout menu. This is the biggest plus to Android imo. So convenient.

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  • TheWenger

    Good developers will see that using the newest design guidelines is usually seen as a good thing, and would make people want to buy their app. Especially Android nerds like us.

  • Emmanuel

    Good but unfortunately Android app developers are very fond of blatantly ignoring Android design guidelines. Also, since this aims to unify cross-platform including iOS, I’m pretty much sure that a great portion of this will be inspired by iOS because iOS has it’s strict guidelines that Google should follow too to even have apps approved.

  • Gary Graf

    The new google+ is hard to use. Why not just stick to the hamburger menu? That way i know where everything is instead having to take a minute to search for it.

  • Harry balls

    Love the hamburger. Do everything with one hand. Hate the L format of Google+. Now I’m back to using two hands. It sucks!

  • 4g63mark

    What’s sad about this is, it REAKS of Google being butt-hurt. They’re PISSED that Android OEM’s are copying Apple’s flat design rather than Googles design.

    • Adrynalyne

      Flat design is not something copied, it is a design style.

      Unless you want to point out that Apple stole their flat design from Microsoft, because they used it first.

  • Leif Sikorski

    With upcoming wearables and growing phone displays it’s necessary I think. Especially the hamburger menu isn’t that much fun on larger devices for right handed people. It will be tough to find a good way for small wearables and large phones, but at least they’re trying to push forward instead of sitting still.

  • mgamerz

    I pretty much never use the Google+ app anymore cause of the ugly UI. You’re going to really kill Android for me if you expect apps to look like this.

    • Mykich

      Hear, hear. I’ve found myself using the G+ app less frequently since the redesign… I honestly tried to like it.

  • DJ SPY

    How about instead of just covering up all the bugs and what’s wrong with Android with a pretty new coat of paint, you focus on fixing everything Google? 4.0 was the peak of Android. Everything after that went down hill again. Bugs galore.

    • Adrynalyne

      You have a very forgiving memory. Android 2.x was far buggier than anything in 4.x.

    • Keg

      OS must be as smooth and bug-less as possible.

      Google is focusing on wrong things.

  • James Briano

    This reminds me: The Official Formula 1 App developers need to *follow the design guidelines*.

  • trwb

    When is Google going to add some useful features to stock android like split window, customizable toggles and gestures. Looks like I will have to rely on Samsung/LG for those things.

  • landon

    Google should add something like tinted statusbar in the next version of Android.

    • Maxim∑

      you can just say the iOS6 status bar lol…

      but yeah that would be great

  • Can’t wait.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    If Google is making the experience like chrome mobile, then what will chrome feel like? It makes me wonder why chrome isn’t the operating system? Maybe not, but the chrome app shouldn’t exist. Apps are glorified Web pages, so Web pages should visually be treated as apps. Like pulling the tabs out of chrome and into your recents.

  • Pete Arado

    I hope this means we’ll be getting an updated calendar app/widget – Today and Sunrise are showing Google up in the aesthetic department.

  • Justtyn Hutcheson

    This might explain the design-focused I/O. Introduce Quantum in all of its glory, and focus on showing developers what it can do. That would also explain the development of ART as a AoT compiler, so that Android remains backwards-compatible with current apps even as Google rolls out the new Quantum framework.

    If Android L really is the mythical, long-awaited 5.0 (going on 3 years for a major version bump), then it is entirely possible that Google could fundamentally change the core framework to be Quantum-optimized, such that Quantum-native apps get a performance boost while standard apps run less-well, making it most definitely in the developers’ best interest to convert their apps to Quantum as quickly as possible before their users jump ship.

    • Colton

      This would be lovely! nice speculation, let’s hope for it to be everything you said (and more).

  • Colton

    I enjoy change and honestly I just trust Google to make good choices. New G+ may not be the best for some people (I personally love it) but it does look very nice. Do I want uniformity? Of course. Do I want 3rd party developers to follow the guidelines? Of course. But again, I love that Android IS always looking to improve and change and I believe every UI change’s benefits outweigh the negatives.

    That said, can’t wait for Google I/O 🙂

  • Jpx

    Wow I can really hear your enthusiasm over design. That being said I am truely excited to see where the design is going to go. Hopefully they will get a more cohesive design, especially for the Google App Icons

    • It’s not that I don’t like design, but design guidelines (rumored ones at that), that developers just ignore over and over again, is hard to get enthusiastic about.

      • Jason Kahn

        Kellen is exactly right we will now face years at least of apps all looking different. Google apps look one way other apps look another way.

  • master94

    I cant wait to see Google announce this and no one implement it. Woo

  • tharealoc

    If these new guidelines are the same as the G+ redesign, then the new guidelines suck. With big screens, why put the menu at the top? The swipe in from the side is intuitive and convenient…damn it Sundar, stop trying to ruin android!

    • TechTinker11

      The slide out still exist, the Google+ team just thought that the new way would be better for it, and with most people, it kinda is.

      • tharealoc

        Swipe from left is gone. It is now moved to a drop down arrow at the top of the app. Accessing communities,circles, etc now requires 2 hands..I personally haven’t used the app since the redesign because of this.

        • sirmeili

          Really? cause I can’t do anything in G+ anymore except view feeds. No access to photos or anything. I have to actually open the photos app to access them now. It is definitely a step backwards 🙁

          I see a drop down arrow, but it’s for choosing my account i want to view, nothing else (then there is a people icon, notifications, and the 3 dot thing that leads to settings ,, refresh, etc). There is no longer a way for me to navigate anything but my feed in the g+ app.

          • JSo

            Did you really miss the three buttons at the bottom of the drop down menu? One of them being photos.

          • sirmeili

            I do not have that or I am blind. Screenshot?

          • Colton

            very bottom left of screen

          • sirmeili

            Oops. I see it now. I am blind. However, I don’t find that very intuitive at all.

          • oldman_60

            When you click on arrow down button, you can navigate from there, and photos, Locations and events are at the bottom line.

        • kashtrey

          I don’t see how it requires two hands (but I have a Moto X and not a phablet). The fact that all of the navigational elements are on the right hand side of the phone (more or less) makes it super easy for one handed use (though mostly for those of us who hold our phone in our right hands). If you use your left hand to hold the device, I can see how it would be somewhat annoying since you’d have to stretch over the screen to access everything.

          • Brian Frost

            And there’s the problem. I am left handed and, like others have stated above, I use the app significantly less since it is a pain to reach the top right corner of the screen.

            If Google moves all their apps to this style I guess I will get used to it.

    • miri

      Convenient? Yes. Natural? Sure. Intuitive? Not by a long shot.

      As for accessibility of G+’s menu, I don’t have particularly large hands and wouldn’t dare use anything larger than a Moto X, but even on the 6′ LG G Flex, I had no issue reaching the menu with one hand.

    • Mykich

      Came here to say the same thing. When the G+ redesign first rolled out I wasn’t a fan – but I thought maybe it was just because it was something different, so I gave it a chance.

      No. I really dislike the new design and, like @tharealoc:disqus said in these comments, I’ve noticed myself using the G+ app less.

      It seems like the current design guidelines are just being widely adopted. If this article is correct and new guidelines will be announced, it will be disappointing that, once again, everyone’s app is dated (including mine).

      • Chris Hughes

        Same here. I was a G+ evangelist and really worked to get my friends and family to use the app. Now I can’t even stand it and couldn’t look them in the face and try to sell it to them.

        It’s not only confusing, but it’s ugly.

      • Oblivion_of_Mediocrity

        and the most disturbing is not Google’s REDESIGNs
        but that Google=chaos. And it announces, makes changes, “improves”, starts thess weird rollouts whenever it wants in a way it wants.

        I mean no logic, timelines, discipline, schedule.

        Quantum Paper sounds like Google is going to invent design.
        But the picture looks outdated and ugly.

  • Ray

    So flat and colorful gotcha

    • Maxim∑

      If google were to be more strict on app acceptance/rejection devs would actually read these guidelines.
      Directly from Apple :
      “If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you’re trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.”

      -On iOS an app review process typically takes 5-7 days where a human will actually check if you followed everything correctly.Its a pain in the a** but it keeps devs in line

      -On Android an App submission takes 15min and basically just undergoes a security scan.. which is one reason why more apps look bad on android

      • WitnessG

        Google definitely needs to get more strict with developers. That’s the only way they will listen to the guidelines and this way it will remove all terrible apps that fill up the play store. They should make it like the Apple App store in which it has to go through a review process. Once the app makes it through, it can go back to the quicker way for the updates because I think its important that developers can quickly send out updates on Android within a couple of hours.

        • Allyn K C

          They really don’t even need to get as strict as the Apple store. Allow apps to publish under current methods; but, modify their published policies to state that if a developer is willing to undergo a design review, then those that meet design standards will be given preferred placement in the Play Store.

          That way,developers that care about following design standards can get the benefit of being recognized for caring. While those who just want to publish can still get their apps out there, but they will need to fight harder for attention if they are not going through the design approval process.

      • Guest

        They really don’t even need to get as strict. Allow apps to publish under current methods; but, modify their published policies to state that if a developer is willing to undergo a design review, then those that meet design standards will be given preferred placement in the app store.

        That way,developers that care about following design standards can get the benefit of being recognized for caring. While those who just want to publish can still get their apps out there, but they will need to fight harder for attention if they are not going through the design approval process.

        • Kevin B

          So a “fast-lane” for apps that can afford it?

      • Ray

        They really need to find the middle ground. 15min isn’t long enough and 7 days is too long. Maybe give devs who follow guideline a discount on the percentage they deduct from the app.

      • Michael

        Truly an easy fix I see is allowing play store customers to report an app that doesn’t follow design standards. Once it has received a certain amount of reports someone will investigate. If the person who is accused is found guilty, they have a certain amount of days to fix. Otherwise their app will be set on private until fixed. This keeps the upload process fast and it is up to the community to report. Obviously at first there will be a ton of apps, that get reported, but after awhile it will be fixed.

      • Tee

        And yet Flappy Bird made it in their store…

        Really high standards they have there.

        • Maxim∑

          flappy bird was well made, don’t confuse a simple app with a bad app

  • Rashad

    More to be seen at I/O for sure…I’ll hold out judgement until I hear it from Google themselves.