Lollipop UI Inconsistencies Represents Google's Failure Of QA

by @edent | # # | 6 comments | Read ~4,192 times.

I don't get Google. I really don't. Some of my smartest friends work there - and yet, as an organisation, Google continually demonstrates an imbecilic attitude to quality.

I've already shared some of my thoughts on Android 5.0 Lollipop - it's slow, buggy, and shows that Google either doesn't bother with testing, or simply doesn't care about quality.

Let's take a look at a few examples - all taken from 5.0.2 (the latest release at time of writing) on the Nexus 7.

Widgets

The "Power control" widget allows users to quickly toggle settings. The top image is the widget in use, the bottom image is the preview of the widget as it is being dragged onto the screen.
Lollipop Widget

  • The WiFi toggles are identical.
  • The Bluetooth logo has lost its border.
  • GPS has changed from the pin icon to an arrow icon.
  • Sync looks like the same icon - but has been rotated a few degrees.
  • Brightness goes from a 32 point star, to an 8 point star.

Why? I mean, seriously, did some designer have to justify their salary by convincing the team that rotating a sync icon was a worthwhile improvement?

Perhaps someone, somewhere, can explain to me why changing the icons that users are familiar with is a fantastic idea. But why did no one test the damned widget, notice the problem, and update the preview?

Still, all those beautiful new Material Design icons are consistent now, right?

Let's drag down from the top and take a look at the quick settings bar.

Android Quick Settings

*sigh*

  • Brightness icon has been updated.
  • WiFi here is a solid block, rather than showing signal strength bars.
  • Bluetooth seems consistent.
  • GPS has reverted back to the old design!

And, if we delve into the settings, we find the the Sync icon has shifted by another few degrees.

Android Sync Icon-fs8

Want to share something with a friend? Have yet another Bluetooth icon!

Android Share Bluetooth-fs8

That's the share menu, by the way - it's a list on the bottom of the screen. Except when the share menu is this style of list.
Share Bottom

Or sometimes the share menu appears in the centre of the screen.
Share Middle Pop Up

You get to the share menu by pressing this icon.
Share icon arrow
Or, sometimes, this icon.
Share Triple OS

And this is the Photos icon.
Photos icon-fs8
Except when it's the Terrain icon in Google Maps.
Maps Terrain

Still, at least the new Material Design has completely taken over the cold, austere Holo Blue Theme, right?
Bluetooth Holo
Every so often, a little bit of Holo seeps through - to remind you that Google never quite finishes anything.

When you start the device, it tells you that you can resize widgets using the blue dots.
Blue Dots
They're actually white though. #LOL.
White Dots

Perhaps these are all obscure settings which no one in their right mind will notice. Surely they don't affect parts of the system which are used with any regularity like, say, connecting to WiFi?

WiFi Word Wrap

Or installing apps from Google Play?
Google Play

GAH!

I'd raise a bug with Android - but they've all but abandoned their public issue tracker.

Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather use Android than the offerings from RIM, Apple, and Microsoft - but this kind of half-arsed effort just looks like Google has gotten bored of making a mobile OS which is fast, free, usable, and consistent.

There are dozens of little irritants like this. They're not show-stopper bugs, just a sign that the release team and QA team haven't bothered to do their jobs. If they've missed these basic flaws - what else have they overlooked?

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6 thoughts on “Lollipop UI Inconsistencies Represents Google's Failure Of QA

  1. The sync icon isn't just rotated a few degrees, it's actually turning in the opposite direction - a mirror image.

    1. Terence Eden says:

      Ha! You're quite right 🙂

      1. Mac says:

        From what I have read about lollipop, you can keep it. I do NOT like the new material design. I don't like the new keyboard. I don't like the colors. Seems to me that Google is an Apple wannabe. I think I am going back to the i Phone because of this realease

  2. This is such a silly article... The power control widget isn't even present in official Lollipop... Its only present on devices that got updated from a previous version of android... So did they miss the update on those icons? Yes, in fact they forgot to include the entire widget... The share stuff is based on how the app is pulling that up... Sure it might be different in each Google app, but there are far more annoying things than a silly share menu... I do agree the actual share icon needs to be more consistent... But again, that's per app still and NOT lollipop... As for text not fitting, it could be the dpi of your screen because all of those things look perfectly fine on my zNexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9...

    You do realize that nearly everything you pointed out had NOTHING to do with the actual OS/Lollipop update right? You're still dealing with a company that has many apps with many teams working on it all independently from each other basically...

  3. I'm a mobile QA, and I sympathise with them to some extent. Unlike iOS, there are thousands of devices and configurations that their software needs to be tested on for Android, and things like screen size/resolution and little add-ons from the manufacturers can make things extremely difficult especially with UI issues. Quite often, it's not even the QA team's fault - a lot of the UI issues that I find can't be fixed due to difficult deadlines, yet customers will always blame QA in app reviews etc. Mobile technology is moving so fast that I'd imagine there's a lot of pressure to deliver, and this could affect things to some degree.

  4. Armin says:

    I hate google can't even follow their own design guidelines. For example the new hamburger menu that rotates to form an arrow. It is like 4 different kind of animation that exists. Sometimes the arror wont even form sometimes the arrow would form but the sliding menu covers the animation and so on. Inconsistent icons and more.

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