There’s no debating that Android is one of the better-designed mobile platforms out there. The operating system has come a long way from its chunky FroYo design days to the current Android version 4.2 with a smooth design. The secret behind Android’s now beautiful design is a simple psychological thought – it takes three positive emotions to balance out a single negative one.
In a presentation at the Google I/O, the company’s Android User Experience team shared the secret behind Android’s design decisions with the world. The team follows the guidance of Psychologist Barbara L. Fredrickson who propagated the 3:1 golden ratio theory.
What earned points in the negative jar
The team at Google sets up two jars to tackle design related issues. For example, if the problem is how to inform users that they have reached the final page of their homescreen, the team will weigh solutions based on the 3:1 ratio. The point here is to inform the users that they can’t go any further without invoking negative emotions – this means no pop-ups or invasive techniques to let them know this. A box saying “This the last screen” will not do.
Not having them know that they’ve reached the end of the screen will not do either since it will break two design rules created by Google, “I should always know where I am,” and “It’s not my fault.”
Yes, Google has a published guide of 17 design principles that it uses to “Enchant, Simplify and Amaze” users that the designers should abide by. Following these rules, Android now has a better way of notifying users that they've reached the end of a screen. Users who have Android version 4.1 and up will realise that if they try to swipe from the last screen, an animation of sort comes up to make them aware that there is nowhere else to go beyond it.
This design gained points in the positive jar
The animation not only solves problems of pop-ups and intrusive notifications, it also gains four marbles in the positive jar for surprising in delightful ways, sprinkling encouragement, using pictures instead of words and turning into a UI trick that Google can also use elsewhere. What a delightful solution, right? We've got the golden ratio and a jar of imaginary marbles to thank for beautiful redesigns that make the Android design what it is today.
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