Google Play Store preps settings redesign that avoids long lists, multiple pages

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Long settings pages — no matter how necessary each option is — can be intimidating to users. The Google Play Store is now readying a new settings page that offers an alternate design on Android.

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

The current Play Store settings are a fairly standard example of using a list to house various menus and toggles. It has three sections today: General, User Controls, and About. 

With version 22.4.25, we enabled a Settings page redesign where those groupings initially appear as large menu items that might open a new page. However, there’s a chevron symbol at the right, and a tap reveals preferences related to that heading.

All the sections can be expanded at the same time or just one at a time. Under each header is a preview of what settings are included.

Compared to before, this results in a very clean initial introduction to Setting, with users able to scan for what they need before proceeding. In the past, users would always have to scroll down to find the right section unless it was at the top. Compared to menus that open in a new page, this design helps preserve context by keeping you in the same organizational structure. If the first section users expand does not have what they’re looking for, it’s easy to open the next one.

There’s also the benefit of consolidating more options into one page. For example, “Family” was previously in another part of the app but is now included here.

It’s not clear if this settings design has been finalized or when it will become available to all Google Play Store users. If successful, it will hopefully see a wider launch across other first-party Google apps.

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Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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