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What’s New in Android 12’s UI and What It Means from a UX Perspective

Recently, Google announced the Beta 1 release of Android 12 which will be called, well, Android 12. Rumour says that it is internally called “Snow Cone”. Their goal with Android 12 was to provide a safer, faster and personal UI experience to its users. And to achieve this, there were big changes – ones that will change the entire overlook of how people perceive UI. Let’s take a look at the new Android UI and what it means from a UX (user experience) perspective.

Android 12 user interface screen shots
Image credits: XDA developers

Material You

Our phones are a portal to our personalities. For something we hold with us at all times, our phones are not at all unique from others. The most customisation we could get were the wallpapers. Google is now trying to tackle that problem by introducing Material You. As the name suggests, this UI is designed with you in the centre. Material You allows users the freedom to change the way their phones look and work. This is different from the one-for-all experience provided by the previous versions, so you automatically have a much personal experience while using Android 12.

Colour Extraction automatically generates colour palettes from the colours in your wallpaper and applies them to the entire device making your experience cohesive. Besides the usual dark and light mode, you can have, as they put it – “a mode for every mood”, using customised colours picked by you.

Android 12 down down notification panel colour customizations
image credits: Android developer’s blog

Visual Overhaul

From the previous versions, there is a complete revamp of the UI, right from the lock screen to the widgets. Everything works the same but looks and feels better with animations and fluid motion added to the experience. You have the freedom to control the contrast, size and even line width of action buttons and sliders. In general, the on-screen elements are larger and more animated, making it user-friendly to all age groups.

The notification shade now covers the entire screen when pulled down, making it a completely different space. The quick tiles allow you to control just about anything with just a swipe or a tap. New tiles such as Google Pay and Home Controls with customisation, make it a space with everything you need. Widgets with new interactive controls like checkboxes and switches make your home screen more personal to you.

The personalisation does not just stop with the visual elements but also the data usage. Android 12 lets us glimpse at how apps use our data with the help of the Privacy dashboard. We can control how much we want to share.

Android 12 widget customizations
image credits: Android developer’s blog


To make the system faster and the apps run smoother, CPU time for core system services was reduced by 22%. Which means a smoother experience and better battery life regardless of which phone you are using.

Google proved that UI should not only be user-friendly but also user-inclusive. This not only changes how the users experience the UI but also changes the perspective of how developers view UI design. We believe this will push UI design in the right direction. Overall, it is a revolutionary and bold change for the industry, one that will only evolve with time and bring more amazing ideas to the table.

android 12 proposed performance improvements
image credits: Android developer’s blog

One of the most important, if not the most critical characteristic of enabling a great user experience is to allow the user great flexibility when it comes to customizing a user interface that suits their personal taste. Not only does it give the user an empowering sense of freedom but also plants a seed in their mind that they are in control of the product they are using. This breeds brand loyalty and is bound to increase product engagement.

Omar Mohammad (Full Stack Engineer, Verge Ventures LLC. Web, Twitter)

You can check out the beta if you have Google Pixel, or select models from Asus, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Vivo, Xiaomi, Sharp, TCL, ZTE and Tecno. Let us know your thoughts on the new Android.

The Purple Papaya Blog

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[…] We have written a detailed blog about everything else that Android 12 has to offer from a user-experience perspective. Do give it a read! […]

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