No one will perhaps dispute the claim that the latest Google Pixel smartphones are the most well-put-together devices Google has ever produced, which cover the old Nexus line. Last Nov. 18, Google posted an article that is aimed to provide insights into the process of producing this piece of cutting-edge technology.
Google Pixel And The Tale Of Restrained Elegance
In a blog post authored by Daniel Walsh, product design lead, and Connor Sullivan, sound design lead at Google, it was stated that the overarching philosophy in the Pixel devices is minimalism. Here, all elements that are concerned with the user experience were developed to pursue it with immense zeal.
This has been manifested in key concepts that Google was able to present in the final output: intelligence, simplicity, trustworthiness and customization. All these worked to create what the authors called "a premium Android device with a confidently minimal experience."
The goal seemed to entail a complex process so that a restrained refinement is realized. The article even referred to a series of working sessions with the Material Design and Creative Lab teams. It indicates a near obsession for details that should please Android fans.
Sound And ... Wallpaper?
However, when one is almost ready to hear about the engineering feats, the impressive manufacture and design nuances of the body or how the device responds to the touch, Walsh and Sullivan stated that they decided to mainly focus on two major areas, namely, the soundscape and the wallpapers.
Walsh and Sullivan devoted a large amount of explanation on why wallpaper is important. Concepts such as satellite imagery and color compositions were mixed with claims of visuals mired in simple beauty, which for its part, hints at deeper levels of data and information — all supporting the claim that it is crucial in creating experiences. Consider the process of developing one wallpaper.
"The composition of this wallpaper took hard work, as we wanted to ensure that the horizon would line up perfectly with the back-plate of the phone," the article said. "We also needed to develop a robust color palette to show off our rich AMOLED screens while complementing our mostly primary-colored Google app icons."
Well, suppose a user changes their wallpaper to a Pokémon fan art, would it undermine the phone's aesthetic foundation? Walsh and Sullivan did not provide any answer to this question.
Pure, Non-Intrusive Sound Scheme
The part about the soundscape seems more tangible since one can say that it is a characteristic native to the device. Google stated that it opted for a purer sound scheme that can resonate well with the device. There were two important considerations here. First, despite an adherence to the more basic and simple sounds, the goal is to have it pierce through the din of everyday noise to get the user's attention with minimal interruption.
Secondly, the designers chose sounds that fit the devices' real estate. Big, bassy and rich sounds were rejected because the handsets only have small speakers.
Overall, the Pixel smartphones are important products for Google because they are the first devices that the company claims as its own. Articulating the design process and the underlying motivations therein, therefore, is crucial in establishing the Pixel identity.