Un-Ugly Me

45

hide_face_android_brown_bagOne of most frequent complaints about Android is about its unpolished and unelegant UI when compared to that of iPhone.  As a brief user of iPhone 3G, it hurts me to admit that it is indeed the case. Just take for example Compass apps from both platforms: functionally equal,  Android Compass’ graphics just pales in comparison.

Looks like this is going to change and soon. Rumors and reports are coming in that Android 2.0 offers more refinement and polish, making use of gradients and shading that have not been seen so far. 

I’m sure everybody enjoyed recent “iDon’t” ad from Verison. I did, and it was polished all right. But what really caught my eye was a single line on the bottom:  “DROID is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license.” I’m not saying that Lucasfilm did the ad, but if you would have guys like that in your design team, that’s a true game changer.

Now – it makes me wonder if the whole ad was done on Mac Pro? I would really appreciate the irony.

45 COMMENTS

  1. The Lucasfilm line doesn't imply they are involved in any way with the ad or the phone. It just means they've registered a trademark on "DROID" and Verizon had to pay them to license it.

  2. Huh?

    Not sure if you've heard of a movie franchise called "Star Wars". Look it up, the first one was great and went quickly downhill after that.

    There is NO indication whatsoever from what you cited that Lucas had anything to do with the Droid phone apart from collecting some dollars for use of the name.

  3. Um, those who want "pretty" are far from a "minority". Do you think the iPhone was such a success due to all it's features?! NO! The first device didn't even have GPS, or MMS, or Copy/Paste, or APPS. No, it was a huge success because the interface was well designed the the experience is amazing. If a person is going to use a device day in and day out, it had better be an eye pleasing experience.

  4. I agree. I don't care how much functionality something packs – I will not use it if it's ugly. Plus IMHO "pretty" interface also implies usability and craftsmanship.

  5. Even though the iPhone has a more polished feel, I like the way android is better. The iPhone just doesn't seem that customizable as android. I mean when you look at the iPhone, all you see is a list of icons. The only way to differentiate between 2 iPhones is the lock screen pic and the number of pages you have.(oh cool, you have 4 screens! I have 5!) When I look at android, I see so much more possible.
    You can have a wallpaper that is actually visible when your phone is turned on all the way, and it's so much more than just a list of icons. You can have widgets like clocks, picture frames, weather forecasts and tons more to set you phone apart from the crowd of people and yet your still using the same phone as the person next to you.

    I just can't wait until 2010. Android is exploding. With 2.0 coming out, and android phones are actually starting to get some power under the hood(snapdragon) people will finally start to give android the credit that it has deserved since it came out a year ago.

    Happy Birthday G1.

  6. But this isn't about a well designed interface, this is about a good looking interface ("gradients and shading"). The later is superficial. And in some cases the later makes things look worst.

    Compare gmail to yahoo mail. IMO, the former has a very plane but usable interface. The later has a far more polished interface, but is quite cumbersome and noisy.

  7. well then I suppose we have to trust that the graphic designers in charge will make it look nice, and now worse :-). Superficial as graphics may be, they are important in a consumer product because….well…..people are superficial. No matter how many times you tell someone not to judge a book by it's cover, it won't increase sales for those ugly book.

  8. If a good looking interface did not matter, the Hero would not be more desirable than the Magic. People wouldn't be spending so much time getting Sense on devices that don't already have it. How it looks matters to most users as long as the graphics don't impair function.

  9. I've updated today an app I had since day one on my Hero: ASTRO… If Android and all the apps were to look like that, it would be perfect… It is not difficult, we just need more graphic designers involved with developer to have nice UI and Icons!

  10. I think the UI is elegant and simple. Exactly what you would get if you took the iPhone's friendliness and snuck in a little power and personalisation. Excellent. And it's getting better all the time, can't say that about iPhone updates that simply curtail jailbreaking and catch up with anti-Pre iTunes updates.

    The G1 is the ugliest handset hardware on the planet though. If HTC had simply released the Touch Pro with Android and Windows versions, I think that would have been a much better visual start to Android.

  11. Has any one realise that Facebook has realese a web site excluvive forG1 users and My Touch users I happend to fall upon it by luck there was a link in the mobile site located at the bottom of the mobile page that says Touch site and it extremely similiar to ther andoirn app but 10 times better it looks like that maybe facebook will not be updatding the adroid app after all if the build this site Androidguy any info on this all will be greatly appreciated or even a post to see if this is true or not or please email me directly the site lin is Touch.facebook.com

    Hope this help and we can get info on what’s going on?????? With the app for android.

  12. Unfortunately, email isn't being sold, so that comparison doesn't really apply to cell phone sales. The phones get sold based on those superficial things, such as interface. The number one thing I hear about the iPhone is that the interface is polished, but usually it's said in non-geeky terms like: "The icons look cool and smooth."

  13. I need to announce one thing. I design Graphical User Interfaces am ready to do the graphical elements for my favorite-n-awesome android apps just for one premium copy of the software (we are so desperate and concerned about the ugliness of the apps). Developers may contact me (just click on my name). What the guys are speaking about here is very true. The apps are not badly designed, they are ugly. Even following the default android design guidelines will pull a lot of concerned mass.

    I am really upset with the way Google is handling the quality of the apps.
    Perhaps this will change when they have as many apps in their store so that they can compete with iPhone.
    This is serious; even the painstaking Symbian platform has got better designed apps.

    Yes, I must applaud HTC for the amount of interest it has shown on revamping the graphical elements.

  14. I think the UI is elegant and simple. Exactly what you would get if you took the iPhone’s friendliness and snuck in a little power and personalisation. Excellent. And it’s getting better all the time, can’t say that about iPhone updates that simply curtail jailbreaking and catch up with anti-Pre iTunes updates.

    The G1 is the ugliest handset hardware on the planet though. If HTC had simply released the Touch Pro with Android and Windows versions, I think that would have been a much better visual start to Android.

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