1. Pavlin Stoichev's Avatar
    First - the purpose of this post is to help the "average" users understand what have suddenly happened to their phones. It is a result of some searches and research I've done in the past days since my Galaxy S4 got "upgraded". There will be some sarcasm here, but it is not "hating", it comes from the realization that my favorite mobile OS has started on a path I can not follow (to quote Padme).

    I've been an Android user for many years now and I can say that there have never ever been an update that introduces so many breaking changes, radically new design and confusion to the "average" user. People here in the forum will tell you that facing so many problems "is normal with a big system upgrade", but it is not normal... Trying to completely redefine what "usability" is, to force an alien design concepts on users, to break the usage patterns those users have created in years in a single swoop - this have never been done until now by no company in the world.

    Keep in mind that by the end of March 2015 the Lollipop version of Android is present on only 3.3% (three point three) of all Android devices. This means that by now this version has only been used by the hardcore Google fan boys - those who will not complain even if Google sticks a non-removable wallpaper with dead kittens on their phone and would praise it as a brave design step.

    So at this time the ideas and principles behind Lollipop are pure theory, yet to face the test of the real-use scenarios.

    The reluctance of the phone manufacturers and mobile operators to push Lollipop to their users is quite telling. So is the reluctance of many mobile app developers to follow the new design guidelines.

    (The irony here is that Samsung, for example, selected the buggiest Android version in years - 5.0.1 to impose on it's users. )

    But first - as any renowned Hitchhiker's guide to Something will tell you:

    Hitchhiker's guide to the Material design or Something called Lollipop is doing things to my phone, how can I find this?-panic.gif

    So lets get down to the questions you have:

    1. Is this Lollipop thingy a virus?
    No, it is not. It looks like one and behaves as such, but is not. It is what Google thinks the next generation phone software should look and behave like.

    2. But I don't like it, what should I do?
    There is not much you can do but to endure the craziness and unpredictability that comes your way. There is currently no official way to return back to the nice and reliable software you were using just several days ago.

    The most important thing you need to do is to tell your mobile provider that you are not happy with the changes they imposed on your phone. Whatever you do not like - call them and tell them. The industry needs to hear some real user feedback in order to regulate itself - the same way Microsoft was forced to abandon the crazy experiments it wanted to run on Windows 8.

    3. But it looks cheap and childish...
    Yes, it does. Some users call it also "cartoonish", "the kid mode got stuck on" etc.
    In my opinion it is designed for kids, teenage girls and always-high or drunk adults.

    And this is, believe it or not, all intended. It is a result of using the principles of the so called "Material design" - Introduction - Material design - Google design guidelines

    It is praised by the Google's fanboys as "the bold and the beautiful" future of the mobile design. However, as I already pointed out, it has yet to face it's existence outside of the 3.3% hardcore fan base.

    So, let's meat the Material design principles that make your phone look cheap and childish:

    - Ripples
    - More Ripples
    - Ripples on everything
    - Bright, bold colors
    - Over the top and confusing animations
    - Even more confusing animations
    - Constantly changing elements of the interface

    Unexpected (?) consequences:

    - All apps look the same
    - Morphing design
    - Unexpected glow at the end of the page

    I'm not saying if those principles are good or bad. I'm just going to explain how they make your phone feel cheap and childish. For some this is good, for others it is bad. Judge for yourself.

    1. Bright, bold colors
    The Material Design Gods say: (Color - Style - Google design guidelines)
    "Color in material design is inspired by bold hues juxtaposed with muted environments, deep shadows, and bright highlights. Material takes cues from contemporary architecture, road signs, pavement marking tape, and athletic courts. Color should be unexpected and vibrant."

    Now, don't pay attention to the second sentence. As a master in linguistics myself I can assure you it is simply a collection of words put together in order to sound cool to hipsters.
    The first sentence is important - it tells the designers that the aesthetics of their apps should come from the conflict between the muted background and the bright colors for the interface elements. No more harmony of colors - what drives the aesthetics and the user experience of the design is the conflict - between the mute grey background (all material design apps now have grey backgrounds) and the bright "other color".
    The third sentence is also important - it encourages the designer, when looking for the "other color" (all material design apps now have only 2 colors - grey and something else) to boldly go for the color tone and brightness they never dared to use until now for fear of been ridiculed and expelled from the designer's community.
    It should be "unexpectedly vibrant"...
    Why does this make your phone feel childish?
    You remember the children's books, the animated movies with "unexpectedly vibrant bright" colors, the colorful balloons and clowns "juxtaposed" with the "muted environment" of your boring childhood home during birthday parties. And you realize that the aesthetics of the bright primary colors has no effect on you since you turned 9.
    And that only the teenage products use the conflict between colors in order to create appeal. (There is a banner next to the text area I'm writing this into that sells sneakers to teenagers using exactly the Material design guidelines). And that in the adult world it is about the harmony of colors and not the conflict between them.

    And that's one part of what makes your updated phone feel "childish" and "cartoonish". Some people like that, others don't.

    Again - I'm not saying it is good or bad. I'm simply trying to explain how what people see in their phones now is exactly what Google envisioned ...

    Hitchhiker's guide to the Material design or Something called Lollipop is doing things to my phone, how can I find this?-giphy.gif

    Part 2 follows tomorrow

    P.S. Ok, I need to say that the second sentence about the "road signs, pavement marking tape, and athletic courts" makes sense within the context. But the fact that Google now allows any random app to overwrite the background color of the notifications bar renders it completely pointless and simply shows that whoever wrote the material design guidelines has no idea what the markings on the roads and courts are for.
    04-19-2015 05:32 PM
  2. Rukbat's Avatar
    At first I thought it was going to say, "Hitchhiker's guide to the Material design or don't panic, Google will come to their senses eventually".
    04-19-2015 05:51 PM
  3. Pavlin Stoichev's Avatar
    Well, I somehow assumed that the don't panic is automatically associated with the title :-)

    Right now we are at the point where Google is reading vogon poetry to us while we are being tied to a pole by the mobile operators.
    The fact that "Google will come to their senses eventually" is not comforting as the history shows that they come to their senses only to lose them again.
    I remember several years ago when they completely destroyed the design of Gmail, everybody was happy that they come to their senses quickly.
    But nobody back then could imagine that now we would be faced with the criminal red circles all over their products.
    04-19-2015 07:37 PM
  4. Crashdamage's Avatar
    I guess you don't like Lollipop, huh? Just be clear about how you feel...

    Anyway, I've had no problems with it on several devices, nor has several people I know.

    Also, IMHO you make several wrong assumptions, which I have no particular interest in debating in detail now.

    I stated my general feelings about Lollipop here:


    Android since v1.0. Linux user since 2001.
    04-19-2015 08:17 PM
  5. anon(394005)'s Avatar
    Great post! I completely share your sentiment about Lollipoop (yes that's spelled correctly). It just feels (and looks) dumbed down now, in particular with the garish colors and blinding white background (where the hell is a dark theme or option to change colors???). Then there's the overly complex new mute system and the in your face notification system (why can't they stay in the notification bar at the top like they use to?). And that new predictive battery graph is virtually worthless. I don't need the system trying to tell me how much battery life I have left based on how I'm using the phone. I can manage that on my own, thank you very much. Then there's all the bugs in the system that add to the mess. Sometimes I really wonder what Google is smoking over there at Mountain View?
    Pavlin Stoichev likes this.
    04-19-2015 09:29 PM
  6. Rukbat's Avatar
    AFAIC, LolliFlop should have been KitKat 4.4.5 (or maybe, with the added benefit that it makes for worse battery life on Amoled screens. What does it really give us? White screens. Uh ... Wait, I'll think of something else. Maybe. Oh, right, bugs. KitKat didn't have enough of them. (And people ask me why I'm still on 4.4.2.)
    04-20-2015 12:40 AM
  7. Pavlin Stoichev's Avatar
    Well, there is not really a point of part 2 of the initial post.
    I read quite a lot of comments written in the past months about the 5.x and the Material design.

    Some people love the new design style, others hate it,
    It looks like a rock fan and a Justin Bieber fan arguing about music...

    The outcry is expected as it would happen to any radio station that switches from rock to Bieber. It would have been there if it was the other way around.
    The soultion - try to stay at 4.4.x until Android 6 comes around with it's light-saber design guidelines :-)
    Crashdamage likes this.
    04-21-2015 08:50 AM

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