Wednesday, December 10, 2014

OFF: Android 5.0.1 is off

You may have noticed that WiFiLine project is in the shade of other side projects I'm trying to experiment with. I have some ideas for WiFiLine's future, but at this time I'd like to share first thoughts about new Android version - 5.0.1 - which I received with an Over-The-Air update.

I did not do much testing so far, but here are the points that just strike the eye.

  • standard font size is too small; I was compelled to change system settings for using "Huge" fonts (this is maximum), only after this the texts in dialogs and notifications became as much readable as before (with standard font size);
  • the settings dialog is now organized into 2 columns, which is very unconvenient and hard to read in comparison with the previously known streamlined list;
  • standard keyboard is almost unusable in its "modern" flat design; luckily, there is an option to select a "Holo" theme for the keyboard, so that it brings back conventional look and feel;
  • the last annoying thing is a mess with system statuses and notifications - I'll put the details below, outside the list;

As you know there is the status bar in the upper part of the screen. On the left side notification are shown, on the right side system information about connectivity, battery power etc. is shown. In previous versions of Android swipe down gestures worked separately for the left and the right sides, that is they open either notification list or a dropdown box with quick access options. Now they are combined! No matter where you perform the swipe down - on the left or on the right side - you see the same picture, and the dropdown box is shown in the center. This is very unexpected and inconsistent. Also this does not impove usability in any way, because the options are now buried under notifications: you need to perform 2 swipe down gestures in a row - first to open the dropdown, and the second - to move notification underneath - only after this the options appear.

I hope functional improvements in Android 5 are not designed in the same counterproductive manner as with appearence and usability.

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