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Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1

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Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
The first part of the article details all the major interface changes that the lock screen and desktops have undergone, compared to previous versions of Android. Next, there are lots of pictures.

Lock screen

The lock screen is a very important part of the system interface that the user sees every time they turn on their phone. In Android 4.4 it has undergone significant changes.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
On the left – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, on the right – Android 4.4 Kit Kat
First, the circle of dots at the bottom of the screen, which activated Google Nowin Jelly Bean, has been replaced by an up arrow. The arrow may not be as graceful, but it is more intuitive.
A camera icon appeared in the lower right corner. It duplicates the corresponding lock screen widget (swipe right to left), which, as before, gives quick access to the camera.
Also, the lock screen widgets themselves have changed slightly. And they can now be turned on/off in Settings > Security.
On theleft – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, on the right – Android 4.4 Kit Kat
Also, the clock in Kit Kat is in Thin instead of Black: Thin (hours : minutes) in Jelly Bean. The same thing happened in the Clock system app, but more on that in the second part of the article.
When you listen to music, the full lock screen shows a large, beautiful cover of the album being played.
Left — [NICKELBACK] The best of Nickelback, right – [NOIZE MC] Confusion

Desktops

So, after unlocking the device, we see the desktops. On Android 4.4 they have changed completely. But this only applies to the Nexus 5, where Google Experience Launcher (GEL) is installed as the default launcher. Maybe in the near future it will appear on other Nexus series devices or as a separate application on Google Play. We just have to be patient… Or install GEL manually, as they say, at your own risk.
So what’s new? Let’s start at the top of the screen.
Onthe left – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, on the right – Android 4.4 Kit Kat

Status bar

It’s almost transparent now, with always white icons and the clock. This is immediately striking after Android 4.3, where the status bar was completely black with blue (#33B5E5) icons that turned gray in inactive states. In addition, the little arrows of internet connection activity have been moved to. to the quick settings panel.

Google Search

The search widget has been slightly improved : the redrawn microphone icon is now hollow when the phone is "not listening" to you, and fully flooded when you can use voice commands.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 Google Search
Also, a new animation was added to the search: if you press the microphone, there will be a spectacular transition to the Speak Now screen, if you click on the input field, you will see hints of previous searches, covering the desktop with a semi-transparent white background.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 — Google Search
The interesting thing is that Google Search is both a search and a launcher. Maybe in the near future, Google will give an opportunity to replace the standard Samsung, HTC, LG shells with its Google Experience Launcher. We’ll see, but I wish so!

Google Now

In addition to the standard Google Now activation gesture in Android 4.3, you can now open it on GEL by simply swiping from left to right.
New buttons have been added to the bottom of the screen.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Onthe left – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, on the right – Android 4.4 Kit Kat
Users can go from here to Reminders, customize cards, or get to the default settings via "three dots".
The Google Now card customization screen is of particular interest because it has a couple of new design tricks.
For example, the Action Bar header uses all-caps Roboto Condensed. As Matias Duarte (chief designer of the Android platform) told The Verge, this refined font has complemented the Roboto family in Android 4.4.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 — Google Now
In the screenshots above, you can notice a small feature – a new shade of blue (#4285f4) that is used everywhere in Google Now instead of the standard Holo Blue (#33B5E5).
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 – New Blue?

Icons and folders

The icons on the Nexus 5 are proportionally larger than their "counterparts" on the Nexus 4. This is immediately apparent. Such icons are obviously easier to hit, Google tells us on this innovation. But let’s get a little more specific with the numbers.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 – Desktop Icons
Colleagues at Android Design In Action in their video , dedicated to Android 4.4, has a great slide. Let’s break it down in more detail. In previous versions of Android, the size of the icons on the desktop is 48 dp. But on the Nexus 5 they decided to increase the icons by 25%, so the icon size became somewhere around 60 dp. That is, since the Nexus 5 screen has a density of XXHDPI, 60 dp = 180 px. Respectively, 48 dp x 4 (factor for XXXHDPI) = 192 px, so it turns out that for the icon on the Nexus 5 to look non-washy, you need to prepare its resources for the XXXHDPI screen density.
Folders have also undergone visual changes. The folder icon is now a translucent white circle. When you click on it, a semi-transparent white pop-up pops up. By the way, folders can still only hold 16 icons. The rumor about icons scrolling inside hasn’t been confirmed.
And one more subtle point. On Android 4.4, if a folder has more than 10 icons, the pop-up is centered on the desktop. Whereas on Android 4.3 it was pressed to the corner closer to where the folder was.
On theleft – Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, on the right – Android 4.4 Kit Kat
And lastly, icon captions are now done in Roboto Condensed. Obviously, more letters will fit in the caption, and the finalized Roboto Condensed doesn’t impair readability.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 — Roboto

Indicators

The horizontal separator at the quick action icons has disappeared. On Android 4.3 it also served as an indication of the selected desktop. But on Android 4.4, it is now replaced by translucent white dots, reminiscent of the iOS solution. When the user starts to move something, the + icon appears after the last dot, symbolizing that you can create a new desktop screen.
The program menu call button, of course, also redrawn. When pressed, it becomes more flooded, whereas on Android 4.3 the pressed state was accompanied by a small blue glow.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 — The App Drawer Button
As noted above, the icons in the status bar have gone white, and always, and it’s a little confusing after Android 4.3. In Jelly Bean, when a particular service wasn’t working, its icon in the status bar would change from Holo Blue to gray. Such a move in Kit Kat Google explains that only a small percentage of users understood the meaning of this change in icon color. Now it is possible to understand whether there is a link to services or not only from the quick settings panel. If there is none, the icons change from white to orange.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 – Quick settings

Widgets and editing them

In Android 4.0, Google moved widgets to the apps menu. You could add a widget to the desktop either by selecting the Widgets tab or by scrolling to the end of the screens with all installed programs.
In Android 4.4, Google has again changed the order of adding widgets. Now you can change/add widgets, wallpapers, search settings through the long press on the desktop. The adding interface remains the same – the same translucent cards, of course white. If the user selects a widget and drags it, it is now possible to create a new desktop. By the way, through long press you can also change the position of the working screens among themselves.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 – Setting up widgets

Desktop wallpapers

Previously, in order to set a photo or downloaded picture as your desktop wallpaper, you had to go through a horrible cropping-fitting interface. With Android 4.4, the situation has changed for the better.
First, all stock wallpapers, live wallpapers, your own pictures are now arranged in one long ribbon.
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
Design review of Android 4.4 KitKat. Part 1
Android 4.4 Kit Cat
Secondly, when selecting pictures, there is no interface to crop them. A logical and convenient pinch-to-zoom is used to adjust the picture to the screen.

Programs menu

The most noticeable change in the programs menu is that there are now only programs here. The widget tab was removed for the reasons described above. And instead of the horizontal paginator, dots are used, like on the desktop screens.


In the second part of this article, I will describe the updated stock programs and some additional features and modes for designers/developers.


Basedon material from Android Police

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