How Google got their design together on iOS
There's an argument to be made that one of the best Google phones on the planet right now is the iPhone 5. Over the last few months Google has been rolling out better looking and more functional iPhone and iPad apps. From Google+ to Gmail, Google Maps to YouTube, Chrome to Google Drive, they've introduced a more consistent, more usable, more human experience on iOS -- arguably even more so in some ways than what they offer on their own, competing platform, Android. That includes playful pull-to-refresh implementations, prominent photos and profile pictures, and other consistent cues that suggest a coordinated maturation of their design language. To find out more, Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web spoke to Jason Cornwell, lead designer of Gmail for iOS:
“You have to live on the platform you’re developing for. The designers and developers that work on this app are iPhone natives and use iPhones all the time as their main phone,” he says.
“You have to live on a platform to understand the subtlety of the patterns…and what represents good design on that platform.”
Panzarino points out the widely-held understanding that Google still earns more money from iOS than they do from Android, and Cornwell talks of going to where the customers are.
Right now the Google suite of iOS apps are generally cleaner, simpler, and more consistent that Apple's own iOS apps, though a lot of that comes at the expense of a menu button that hides a ton of disparate elements in a sidebar (i.e. the hamburgers and basements of Mountain View). They also work together as much as iOS allows, using URL schemes to open each other rather than Apple's default apps whenever possible.
It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Apple and their new head of Human Interface, Jony Ive, respond to the increasingly solid, enormously popular Google presence with iOS 7 in 2013.
In the meantime, check out the rest of Panzarino's article and interview via the link below. (And don't miss the post slug.)
Source: The Next Web