Google explains the thought process behind the Pixel’s ‘confidently minimal’ experience

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL have opened to rave reviews and more sales than Google was expecting. While it’s nowhere near an iPhone or Galaxy, Google might still be happy since they were expecting much less. These are the first two smartphones exclusively branded by Google and advertised as being “made by Google.” As such, the Google Pixel phones aren’t direct successors to the Nexus lineup, but that isn’t to say they don’t boast the main selling point of Nexus devices – a pure, minimal Android experience.

Today, Google has published an article on its Google Design blog explaining how the team used the seeming minor details such as wallpapers and sounds to create an experience with the Pixel that’s “confidently minimal” and stays true to Google’s design principles of “simplicity, intelligence, customization, and trustworthiness.”



Daniel Walsh and Conor O’Sullivan, the people in charge of User Experience Design and Sound Design divisions at Google, explained that their primary goal when creating the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL user experience was to design a consistent user experience, one that’s both true to the company’s minimal design philosophy and different from anything else they ever created.

The Pixel’s wallpapers — especially the live ones that dynamically adapt to different things like battery and weather — are really nice. But you would be surprised how much thought actually went into these. The design team made sure that horizons shown by the Google Pixel wallpapers are perfectly aligned with the phones’ backplate. The color palette created specifically for these wallpapers was designed to both showcase the AMOLED displays of the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL and supplement the already predetermined palette of all Google app icons.

As for the sound design, Walsh and O’Sullivan revealed that they’d put a lot of thought into creating ringtones, alarms, and notification sounds that are not only attention-drawing but also not overly complicated :

By taking a more minimal approach to the arrangements and using a purer sound that resonates well on a device, there’s a greater ability to pop through everyday noise in order to get the user’s attention. What’s more, a device with a small speaker is not going to reproduce the rich sound and playback experience of a home stereo. Complex musical arrangements, big bassy sounds, or sounds that don’t take advantage of the resonance of the device can all be trouble areas on a small speaker.

The Google Pixel Audio Design team opted for sounds that both resonate well and “respect the relationship” users have with their devices :

A notification sound should alert users that something needs their attention, but should do so in a way that respects the relationship they have with their devices. These sounds should be short, snappy, and audible but not invasive or overly decorative.

All of the said solutions were developed in close collaboration with the Material Design team and the company’s Creative Lab.

If you don’t have a Pixel or Pixel XL, you can download all the sounds and ringtones here and the wallpapers from the Google Playstore. Do you think the hardwork done by the Google Pixel team translates in the sounds and walpapers?

Read the full blog post by Google.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Powered by

Up ↑