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Are sliders evil? Our takeout from Google I/O 17

From 17 - 19 May, Google held her annual I/O event. Google I/O brings together developers from all over the world to discuss about new technologies in the field of mobile. As a mobile app agency we couldn’t miss this event and so we went to Dublin. Below we have listed the most remarkable topics and quotes.

Presentation: UX-Design

With dozens of speakers in just one day, we had a quite busy agenda. For example, we saw Cemal Buyukhokcesu, EMEA UX Lead at Google, with his presentation on current and future trends in UX-design. Below we highlighted two topics that caught our attention during his presentation.

How users hold their phones

One of the things Cemal discussed was the way smartphone users hold their phone. Some will hold their phone with their left hand, some with their right. Some will use their thumbs, some just their index finger. A good UX-design takes all of these different ways into account. The center of the screen is the safest spot and is easily reached by all users. However, the corners of the screen are more difficult for some users to reach, for example, those who use their thumbs. Therefore, it is good to involve different disciplines in this issue, such as design and QA (testing).

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Evil sliders

Another remarkable topic was the discussion on sliders: are they evil? Sliders are still used very often on mobile devices and certainly have a number of benefits. For example, they make it possible to show multiple messages to smartphone users, especially automated sliders / carousels. However, they also have a lot of disadvantages. They do not only slow down your page speed, but can also cause irritation among users. The slides move automatically, but they don’t keep in mind that a user might still be viewing or reading the slide. In addition, the UX-design of these slides is often not optimal. So, are sliders evil? Yes, they are. As an app developer we don’t see a valuable contribution to the user experience.

Keynote: mobile takeaways

During the Google I/O keynote, Google annually announces its future plans regarding Android, Google Assistant, Google Home, virtual reality, and more. We have listed the most important mobile takeaways.

Android reaches 2 billion monthly active devices.

During the keynote CEO Sundar Pichai announced that more than 2 billion devices are in active use on a monthly basis. This includes smartphones, tablets, Android Wear devices, Android TVs, and all other devices running on Android.

Your smartphone helps Google Assistant understands the world

Google Lens, a by Google created technology that can analyze a user’s environment through his or her smartphone’s camera. For example, you aim your camera at a flower and receive all information about it. Or, as in the example below, you can aim your camera at your router’s Wi-Fi login credentials and Google Lens will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi. The fact that Google has this technology opens a lot of future doors. It would be of added value if app developers get the capability of this feature and can implement it in existing and future apps. In our view, it contributes to the full experience we want to offer the end user.

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Google Assistant comes for the iPhone

Google Assistant is now also available for iOS devices. The app will be a standalone app in the Apple app store. In addition, during the I/O event Google announced that all apps and other third parties will be able to integrate with Google Assistant. This also opens a lot of future doors for developers.

Android O beta is live

Android O is still in its infancy and is definitely not ready for daily use. However, smartphone users can already install the beta version on compatible Nexus or Pixel devices and test the latest features. But what does Android O has to offer?

Once Android O is installed on your phone, your battery life will significantly improve. Google wants to reduce the consumption of smartphones by setting an upper limit on data usage of apps that run in the background (The Vitals project). An app can still use a lot of data in the background, which could negatively affect the user experience, especially for data-intensive applications like games and video players. However, this upper limit may affect existing apps. Therefore, as an app developer it is good to see if your apps still run the same in the background as they did before. For example, do they still get the same or do they exceed the new upper limit set by Google.

Android O will not only affect the battery life of your smartphone, but also the overall speed of your device. Android Product Manager, Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson, explained that the company has seen its Pixel handsets boot twice as fast. Therefore, a promising improvement.

Last, we would like to mention a security related topic. We are increasingly trusting our smartphones. Mobile security becomes an increasingly important subject. With the introduction of Google Play Protect, this security is guaranteed. This new feature scans all apps on threats and checks continuously for new threats. If this is the case, the app will be automatically removed from your device. You won’t have to do anything yourself.

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