If there’s one thing that’s undeniably true about the Pixel, it’s that it has a higher level of fit and finish than any Nexus smartphone — or maybe even perhaps Android smartphone — preceding it. A couple of ways this is most obvious is the phone’s collection of high-quality wallpapers, and its unique specially-designed sounds that are both distinctly Google-y and pleasing to the senses.
Today, Google has published an article on its Google Design blog explaining how the team used these seeming minor details 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.”
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The Pixel’s wallpapers — especially the live ones that dynamically adapt to different things like battery and weather — are really nice. I specifically mentioned them in my review. But you would be surprised how much thought actually went into these:
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. 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. The final result is a set of live data wallpapers that balance simplicity and intelligence without creating unnecessary clutter and noise.
There was also a lot of thought that went into the phone’s ringtones, notification sounds, and alarms.
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.
Google also describes why it designed the phone’s notification sounds the way it did. You can listen to several examples of these at the Google Design website if you don’t already own a Pixel:
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.
Head over to the Google Design website to read the full piece.