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In Love With Android: Q&a With Matias Duarte


Matias Duarte

Matias Duarte is responsible for the look and feel of the Android mobile operating system.

Credit: Courtesy of Google

Google Android user experience director Matias Duarte notes in an interview that games influenced the new design for Android version 4.0, which includes new features such as Face Unlock, a facial-recognition system that opens the phone, and Android Beam, which enables users to share screen information by tapping two phones together.

"We go out and find people who buy a lot, or buy very little, on phones and tablets, and we try to find out everything we can about their motivations, their context, and how they shop," Duarte says.

The designers wanted the interface to be a compelling, immersive experience, similar to a video game. "We absolutely set out to create those playful moments in Android," Duarte says.

However, although the idea of the gamification of services has gained popularity in many industries, he says Android's developers tried to stay away from that practice in designing the new system. "In general, I am very wary and highly critical of trying to create behavioral reinforcement for objectives that are not what the user clearly is intending to do," Duarte says.

He says Android's developers "invested a lot of time creating transitions between totally different activities that know nothing about each other, but despite that constraint, trying to make those transitions look good, and make it feel like one connected experience."

From Technology Review
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