Google’s New Design Language Will Make Your Phone Personal Again | by Owen Williams | May 2021



On Android devices, Material You automatically create a color scheme based on the home screen photo, which is then used to thematize the entire operating system, including all applications that use it. This means that if you set a background that contains a lot of green, for example, apps like Calculator and Calendar will adjust their appearance to use the green highlights and suit your preferences.

The auto-generated color scheme is designed to support light, dark, and high contrast themes, ensuring that no matter what color choice you choose, text and items are readable whether the phone is in light or dark mode. While some limited color customization was available in the past, nothing like it: Material You is designed to make it easy to create beautiful themes for everyone, applying it across an entire device.

Material Also allows you to customize other elements, such as button shapes, border types, etc. Combined, this will let you make your phone feel distinctly yours rather than the same as everyone else – and more than anything else, it brings amusing into the equation.

Theming is difficult and if you give the average person full control there will likely be a mess, which makes Material You so interesting. Instead of letting you get lost, it provides a few settings that can be tweaked and it adjusts the larger design aesthetic to make the system work together, generating those color palettes, contrasts, and font associations to work together, rather than let you make a custom handwriting font and leave you there.

It has been a long time since user personalization like this was common; MySpace, for example, allowed you to control the look and feel of almost anything, for better or for worse. For years, Windows 95 and 98 have included wacky themes of all kinds, from “Jungle” to “Outer Space,” which have completely changed the look and feel of the operating system.

Over the years, the theming has largely gone out of fashion as phones have grown in popularity – outside of the tweaker communities that root and modify their devices for full control. Software has moved away from user customization in favor of uniformity and familiarity as companies like Apple and Google try to get app developers to comply. their directives. In recent years, we have been able to choose light or dark mode as a treat.

These design systems have their advantages; consistency means people know what to expect from user interfaces. A hamburger icon means that a menu, or tab bar, toggles between different pages in an application, concepts that are now universally understood. These systems also improved accessibility, allowing tools like screen readers to work in a predictable way, as developers used pre-designed standard elements for inclusion, instead of a custom element in. every application.

Now that phones have matured and developers are using these systems extensively, Google has figured out how to create themes. clever and create beautiful, adaptive design systems that better fit us – without the compromises that came with fully custom theming in the past.

The phones are deeply personal items that we carry with us and use all day long, so the lack of personalization has always puzzled me. We paint the walls and choose rugs for our homes to reflect them, but with phones you get what Apple or Google thinks is best.

Hardware You’re finally changing that, letting your phone reflect your personality and bring fun back into the equation. It will debut Android 12 on Pixel phones later this year.



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