All right, gang: The honeymoon’s strictly over. We’ve oohed. We’ve ahhed. We’ve talked about Android P’s many notable capability features. Now it’s time to step back, get real, and speak about some of a software’s less impressive elements — since a law is, for all of a positives, Android P has an awful lot of, well, awful stuff.
Now, let’s be clear: Perspective here is critical. This is usually a initial open beta of a Android P release, so these sorts of severe edges are positively to be expected. We’ll reason onto wish that Google will iron out a kinks and get all these sum bound adult and figured out by a time a final Android P program rolls around after this summer. Otherwise, we competence find ourselves feeling a bit of Lollipop déjà vu.
After vital with a initial Android P beta for roughly a week now, these are some of a areas I’m anticipating Google will residence — trimming from a super-significant to a clearly teenager details.
1. The new gesticulate navigation system
Okay, okay: This is one we indeed talked about even before a honeymoon had come to a close. But Android P’s new gesticulate nav complement unequivocally does need some critical fine-tuning if it’s gonna do anything other than expostulate many people batty.
As it stands now, a new nav complement feels awkward, overly complicated, and of controversial value compared to a normal on-screen symbol setup of yore. we will contend that it’s gotten easier to use over time, as I’ve grown accustomed to it — and by all means, it has some inestimable ideas and elements within — yet all in all, it strikes me as being flattering damn clunky and a suggestive step retrograde in intuitiveness.
I could get into a full nitty-gritty, but, y’know, I already did.
2. The Back button
This is technically partial of a gesticulate nav system, yet it seems distinguished adequate to merit a possess entrance in this list: With Android P, a software’s heading Back symbol is M.I.A. whenever you’re on your home shade — and afterwards magically reappears whenever we open an app. This feels like a bluff joining to a gesticulate nav concept, and it usually adds to a difficulty and visible awkwardness a new interface presents.
It’s time to go all in or not to worry during all. If Google unequivocally wants to go with a gesture-based navigation system, a Back button’s gotta go away. That’ll emanate a reduction weirdly unilateral interface for a bottom-of-screen area — plus, there’s a judicious gesticulate usually watchful to be implemented: swiping left on that same territory of a shade to grasp a same thing a Back symbol would do.
That area of a interface is open and waiting, and it seems like it’s many vagrant to be used in that approach (even if would smash nonetheless another authority onto an already-overcrowded spot, as we’ll get into next). As an combined bonus, that could open a doorway to expelling a dedicated bar during a bottom of a shade and pardon adult some shade space, that seems like an apparent advantage this arrange of setup should (but currently doesn’t) provide.
3. The Home symbol overload
Speaking of a Home button, with gesticulate nav enabled in Android P, a Home symbol has a following commands built into it:
- Press it (to lapse to your home screen)
- Long-press it (to open a Google Assistant)
- Swipe it adult (to open a new Overview screen)
- Long-swipe it adult (to open a app drawer)
- Double-swipe it adult (same as a long-swipe)
- Swipe it to a right (to corkscrew by your new apps)
- Flick it to a right (to burst to your many recently used app)
Got all that? Yeah, me neither. It is usually too damn many for a singular symbol — and difficulty aside, it presents a unsentimental emanate of creation it all too easy to activate a wrong duty by mistake. In particular, I’ve mislaid count of a array of times I’ve dictated to appropriate adult on a Home symbol in some demeanour yet have hold my finger on it for a fragment of a second too prolonged and afterwards finished adult opening Google Assistant instead. There has to be a improved way.
It’s tough not to demeanour during this and consider behind to a comparison days of Android, when dark commands and difficult functions were a core partial of a software’s identity. For a pierce that’s presumably about simplification, this certain feels like a step behind in that not-so-user-friendly direction.
And on a associated note:
4. All a newly dark and hard-to-find stuff
Sticking with a thesis of sliding behind into aged bad habits, with gesticulate nav enabled in Android P, a usually approach to get to your app drawer — where all your changed apps reside — is to slip adult once from a Home symbol and afterwards slip adult a second time. (Well, or to do a “long-swipe” on a Home button, that is maybe even some-more unintuitive.) Imagine perplexing to explain that to your newly converted-to-Android co-worker, relative, or crony — any typical, non-techie form of phone owners who usually wants their device to work yet lots of combined suspicion or effort:
“So, yeah: You can still find all your apps. You usually have to appropriate it from a Home button. That’ll uncover we all a things you’ve used recently, and we can appropriate left or right opposite that if we want. If we wish your tangible app drawer, though, appropriate adult a second time. Or appropriate adult once some-more forcefully a initial time. That’ll do a same thing!”
Right. There’s a reason that conversation’s so headache-inducing to imagine: Hiding a core complement component like a app drawer behind a formidable and visual-cue-lacking authority is not what we call a user-friendly change. we get what a Android group is going for — and there is something good about being means to entrance your whole app drawer from anywhere in a system, during slightest in speculation — yet a spin of snarl concerned in anticipating an intensely elementary component of a user interface is usually too high for it to make sense.
Realistically, this one’s comparatively easy to get around: Add an app drawer idol behind onto a home shade somewhere, and poof — it’s fixed. (Or bandaged, during least.) But we shouldn’t be acid for workarounds to core UI oddities this early on.
And it’s not usually a app drawer, either: Features like split-screen mode and app pinning are also newly hidden in Android P, in places many people would never consider to look. To be fair, those facilities were awkwardly dark before, too. But we should be improving with any release, not usually relocating aside or creation things somewhat worse — right?
One asterisk to all of this: It’s wholly probable this whole gesticulate nav complement might be limited to Pixel and Android One devices. That could finish adult saving other Android device-makers from carrying to figure out how a ruin to exercise this thing yet totally treacherous their users — yet regardless, Google’s possess inclination should be a resplendent instance of interface intuitiveness. This needs to be better.
5. The home screen/overview by-pass inconsistencies
As partial of a new Overview setup, Android P gives we a array of suggested app shortcuts during a bottom of a Overview UI. It’s a same array of icons that appears during a tip of a app drawer, formed on some multiple of what you’ve used recently and what Google thinks you’re approaching to use next.
That’s all glorious and dandy, yet a problem is that it’s unequivocally differing to go from your possess tradition set of wharf icons to a totally different set of icons in a same elementary place when we appropriate adult on a screen. Logically, if shortcuts are going to exist in that area, we design them to be a same ones we was looking during a second ago — before we swiped ceiling — and it’s consistently frustrating to start reaching for something in that area usually to find it isn’t what we was expecting.
Again: There has to be a improved way. This is usually plain ol’ treacherous and not an optimal user experience.
6. The vacant settings shortcut
Not so prolonged ago, Android combined in a tiny yet accessible by-pass to a core complement interface: an idol to burst directly to a full complement settings from a Quick Settings shade — a shade we see when we appropriate down once from a tip of your display.
In Android P, that idol is nowhere to be found. Instead, we’re behind to carrying to appropriate down a second time before a settings by-pass appears — one nonessential additional step for a ordinarily used authority that should be unusually easy to find.
Again, an easy fix. Fingers crossed.
7. The clock
This is admittedly a tiny thing, yet I’ve gotta say: we am usually not a fan of carrying a time on a left side of a standing bar in Android P. It’s a continual source of exasperation and a suggestive worsening of a core partial of a Android user experience.
Why? Simple: Having that side of a standing bar blank, as it’s been in a past, lets we see at a peek if we have any notifications pending. A vacant left side of a standing bar is a quick and elementary approach to know you’re all clear, while saying anything in that area of a shade lets we know — fast and yet any suspicion whatsoever — that something final your attention.
With Android P, there’s now always something in that area of a shade — so it no longer has that elementary and effective glanceability when it comes to notifications.
I get a purpose of relocating a time to a left when it comes to ancillary phones with notches, yet man, we wish there were another approach — or during a really least, an option to go behind to a normal chain on non-notch-bearing phones. The nick is a proxy technological workaround, and it seems stupid to make such a concept and experience-degrading change usually to support a phones that welcome it over a subsequent integrate years.
8. The overly assertive animations
I know, we know: Animations are pretty. They’re fun. They’re poetic to observe. But there’s also a indicate where they can get to be too many — there for a consequence of being there, and form during a responsibility of duty rather than form that enhances or somehow complements what we’re doing.
In Android P, animations are everywhere — and they’re slow. They make a complement feel noticeably reduction snappy. They remind me of one of those third-party launcher settings you’d try out once, say: “Oh, that’s neat! Zoom, zoom, zoom! Look during all those spiffy animations!” — afterwards go behind and invalidate a day after to get behind to a faster and distant some-more organic default alternative.
A ideal instance is a animation integrated into the “flick right on Home” gesture — a Android P homogeneous of double-tapping a Overview pivotal to snap between your dual many recently used apps. (The same animation now shows adult for that authority even if we opt not to use a new gesticulate nav complement and instead hang with a normal on-screen symbol arrangement.)
As we can see, it’s anything yet poignant compared to a pre-P equivalent. And after saying identical animations personification out during any probable spin in Android P, we find myself wishing we could spin ’em off — or during slightest spin ’em down a nick (without carrying to review to developer-level options).
9. The shade revolution rigidity
Android P’s updated take on shade revolution is generally a good thing: Instead of usually rotating your shade willy-nilly whenever your phone thinks you’re branch it, Android P puts a tiny revolution idol in a dilemma of a shade by default and afterwards lets you confirm when we do and don’t wish a arrangement to flip into a landscape course and back.
All in all, it’s a good alleviation from a prior normal of carrying your phone stagger a shade course all a time by mistake. There’s usually one problem: Sometimes, we indeed do wish a phone to stagger thoughtlessly and automatically — like when you’re examination a video in YouTube, for instance, or regulating your camera app and fast perplexing to flip a phone horizontally to get a far-reaching shot.
When such instances come adult in Android P, you’re forced to awkwardly stop what you’re doing, appropriate around on a shade to get it out of full-screen mode so that a revolution symbol appears, and afterwards daub a symbol — all usually to get your phone to do what should be an easy and present thing in that sold scenario.
Those are resources where arrangement revolution is common and expected, and they’re glorious illustrations of because Android P’s new shade revolution function needs a dwarfed bit of granularity to truly shine. Add in a ability to whitelist certain apps as exceptions — so that a complement will always autorotate a shade in, say, YouTube and a Camera app yet give we a primer control for revolution everywhere else — and we’d have a intelligent middle-ground that’d make a lot of sense.
It’s a good sign that not all is as black and white as it primarily appears.
10. The uncertain complement share menu
This final one is something I’ve been anticipating to see bound for some time now — so a slow participation in Android P is pret-ty, pret-ty disappointing. (Read that final partial with your best Larry David sense for full effect.)
I’m articulate about Android’s complement share menu and how it frequently takes usually a touch too prolonged to stock and entirely appear. You know a deal: You daub a authority to share something from an app, like Chrome. The share menu appears. Yay! Then, right as we go to daub an idol to share that oh-so-clever page you’ve found, that additional partial of a share menu — a square with tradition options for pity to specific contacts in opposite apps on your device — slides adult and appears above a categorical section.
Basically, your choice is to awkwardly postponement and wait for a full menu to seem any time we share something — or, as we think many of us some-more ordinarily do, to start drumming one of a categorical app-sharing links and afterwards have a complement misregister your hold as a additional options slip into place.
As with all a other equipment on this list, there’s still time — and still hope. Come on, Google. We can do this.
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