Tomorrow is a big day for those of us who are Android fans. Google I/O 2014 is hours away, and promises to be all about design. Before it officially kicks off, I wanted to try my hand at what I would love to see in Android 5.0!
For this post I have decided to focus on notifications and the quick settings. Notifications is something Android got right from the very beginning, and we’ve seen nearly every other modern OS implement very similar systems since. Even now Android continues to have the most powerful notifications. However, I feel it can go a step further.
First up, if there’s just one thing that Android OEM’s have done right with their skins, it’s the pinned options at the top. I still don’t understand why stock Android lacks the feature. It’s incredibly convenient to have those options immediately available. I’ve tried to keep it clean and simple (something Android OEM’s haven’t gotten right).
Next, I decided to lighten things up, and align the overall design style closer to what we’ve seen in Google Now. Of course, I would also advocate for a dark theme option to tie in with my theme suggestion from Android 4.5 Part 2.
Finally, I chose to hide the low priority notifications. Keeps things uncluttered.
Android notifications are already extremely powerful. I’d like to see them do more. So, I propose a system to interact with notifications without ever leaving the notification shade (or the app you’re in). In this example, replying to a Hangout message.
A basic gripe that I have with the current design is that I find it can be difficult to parse out notifications from different apps. With ICS, Android introduced the ability to feature high resolution images in notifications, such as a contact’s picture from a missed call. However, what if the notification has no photo/image to display? I’d like to see the option to allow custom application colors to fill in. It’ll make it easier to quickly discern the app origin, as well as bring some color back into view that’s otherwise currently pretty drab looking.
Finally, I would like to make several changes to this screen. First, a change of name from “Quick Settings” to “Quick Options”. This would allow the incorporation of things like quick access to a flashlight or calculator. I’d also like to see the option to customize this view by moving items (including those pinned at the top) as well as the ability to add other options (ex: hotspot toggle, other third-party apps/settings).
I would also change the toggle method from the current, awful long-press to a simple short tap. Additionally, I feel like it’s not very easy to get to this screen. You either need to do an awkward two-finger swipe from the top, or reach your thumb all the way up to the button in the top right corner - quite the challenge on the latest mega sized phones. I’d instead suggest a simple right-left swipe to switch. It can be done with one hand on any part of the screen. Additionally, how about giving phones the same feature that exists on tablets? Pulling down on the far right side of the notification bar (at the time/signal indicators) to go straight to this view.
To top this all off, in a Pixel Shift first, I present a simple animated version of this design!
So, there you have it, what I’d like to see notifications look like in the next version of Android. As always, feel free to leave a comment on this post or use the links below to connect with me in any way you like!