The design guide was unveiled by Google recently and it was created by former Palm lead designer Matias Duarte. The design guide aims to provide software developers who plan to make apps or modify Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with a set guideline so that they will offer elements and software behavior that is consistent with each other regardless of who the developer is. The design guide will also help end users because whatever skills they pick up while using Android can be applied to all other apps. This means that bringing up menus, highlighting text, and providing alerts will have to be consistent and the same regardless of what app is being developed. The design guide will cover a lot of different aspects of the Android mobile operating system – from the onscreen elements like the action bar, layouts and content navigation, to typography and even gestures. Even the proportion used for designing the apps are included in the guide, this is to ensure that the elements all look and feel like they are organically developed for Android. The design guide even goes so far as to make suggestions for writing style. Furthermore, the Android Design Guide specifically discourages developers from copying icons and behaviors from other mobile operating sytems – iOS and Windows Phone.
Google’s decision to finally release a desing guide is welcome news. The Android has been praised for being an open source system, but it is precisely its open source nature that has become an annoying problem when using Android. Since everyone can make changes to Android, the user experience for one Android phone may be drastically different for another phone developed by another manufacturer. The design guide, will hopefully fix this issue once and for all.