Android Q brings new customization features. Finally maybe, if they do not jump from here the final version. In any case, this is an opportunity: our operating systems should give us more control over their interface, to make our devices closer to our needs and desires.
Among the positives in the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10e test wave is the quality of the One UI interface. Congratulating Samsung for the quality of an interface, it's still a remarkable fact, when we remember the first years of TouchWiz (no, no you do not remember too much, it hurts!). And one sentence I heard from Brownlee Brands: "For once I did not have to install Nova Launcher."
No need for Nova Launcher?
We already talked about launchers. It's not really the subject. But what I like in Nova Launcher, and the reason why I even install it on smartphones that respect the Android "stock" interface, are its possibilities of customization. I have a lot of respect for the work done by Matias Duarte over the years. Just remember the Wild West that was the interface of Android before cleaning to say that we come from a long way. Now, if we can admire the work of a designer to improve the ergonomics of an OS, we should not let him make all the decisions for us.
Put an end to the myth of the visionary designer
This is often criticized, and rightly so, to Apple. Whether on hardware or software, Jony Ive and his team know. Better than everyone, better than the user. This is the sequel to the famous intuition of Steve Jobs. And that can produce very good results when this intuition is good. But on the one hand, it is not necessarily, and on the other hand, if the default setting is not suitable, it is good to adapt the interface to the needs of the user. But no, Apple decided in 2007 that a smartphone was a grid of icons, and we find ourselves playing teasing and making grotesque hacks to arrange its home screen at will.
This flexibility is part of the heuristic criteria in the world of UX: being able to perform an action in different ways, customize the display of a home page according to its priorities, it is essential. As we have often said here, this is one of the strengths of Android, to allow the installation of these applications like Nova Launcher or Swiftkey. But you know what would be better? Do not need to install them.
When is a really modular interface?
And that goes through a more modular approach of the home interface. Our smartphones are devices that can not be more personal. And we would like to customize them even more. Can display grid applications if desired. Or change the size of the icons globally or individually. Or view widgets. Or some bits of application.
Microsoft had something with Windows Phone. And I still love to personalize my Start menu under Windows 10. On my desktop or my Surface Pro, I do not show the same apps with the same layout or the same size. It's a concept I miss on smartphone. Less on Android than on iOS, certainly, but even on Android, the widgets no longer favored by developers, we are ultimately more limited than we would like.
Google also seemed to be on the move with the Armadillo interface for its future Fuchsia OS. An ergonomics based on cards that can be arranged at will. Good, lack of luck, since Armadillo seems to be at a standstill. Well, well we'll stay a little longer with our more or less customizable grids of icons …