Android’s Head Of UX Matias Duarte Makes Fun Of iOS And Windows Phone UX ! !

I know many of you won’t believe the title but yes, It is true. He did that in a interview with Joshua Topolsky of This is My Next.  Its a long interview about Android UX story, I just took an excerpt from the interview on which he discusses Windows Phone and iOS. He compared iOS and Windows Phone’s Metro UI as faux wood paneling trend, and the airport lavatory signage trend. I can’t stop laughing after reading his comments today morning. I just want to know what would he then call his own Android UX so far ?? I don’t want to comment on his views since I’m not a expert UX designer like him.

“Across the board Google and Android is taking design a lot more seriously,” Matias says, and points out that Roboto is used throughout the system. “There’s this thing that’s happening right now in user interface design that I find kind of shackling. The faux wood paneling trend, and the airport lavatory signage trend.” He laughs when he says this and pulls up a slide on his computer, a split screen of an Atari 2600 and… airport lavatory signage. It’s an obvious dig at both Apple and Microsoft.

“The biggest problem behind these trends is not anything about the aesthetic quality about them, but rather the framework that they impose on everything else,” he opines. “Right now if you look at all of these applications that are designed in this real-objecty, faux wood paneling, faux brushed metal, faux jelly button kind of thing… if you step back and you really look at them, they look kind of juvenile. They’re not photorealistic, they’re illustrations.”

He’s on a roll now. Clearly Matias has spent a lot of time thinking about what he doesn’t like. “If you look back at the web, people did the same thing. All these cartoony things hanging off a page. If you tried that today, people would be laughing, unless you were doing it in a kitsch, poking-fun-at-yourself, retro art way.”

But what about Microsoft and their “authentically digital” design? “The problem with going too starkly systematic, forcing everything into this completely constrained, modernist palette, for both of them, you’re not leaving any room for the content to express itself.”


  • Anonymous

    Ha! Typical, childish Google behavior.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I think you’d have to travel a long way to find *anyone* who doesn’t think androids UX (even ICS) is the poorest of between iOS, Windows Phone and Android.

  • Anonymous

    funny to hear something like this from someone who created such a fugly UI ^^ he should grow up a bit 😉

  • Bakari Kamau

    “But what about Microsoft and their “authentically digital” design? “The
    problem with going too starkly systematic, forcing everything into this
    completely constrained, modernist palette, for both of them, you’re not
    leaving any room for the content to express itself.””

    Actually, by having a stark, minimalist backdrop for content, it allows it to shine MORE not less. I’m a graphic designer and this guy’s a moron. He’s literally hyping finally deciding on a font to use throughout the OS. That’s like Branding/Design 101 right there.

    • Martyn Metalous

      They are worried about the design aspects of WP7 and how attractive it is to users, so they start to try and dismantle it.

      /Fail I feel.

    • Anonymous

      “The problem with going too starkly systematic, forcing everything into this completely constrained, modernist palette, for both of them, you’re not leaving any room for the content to express itself.””
      That comment completely confuses me as well. The whole idea of Metro (and Microsoft’s recent design focus on more attention to typography and less chrome) is that it allows the UI to step out of the way and for the content to shine through. I’ve not heard anyone claim that they didn’t acheive this exceptionally well. It’s remarkable that’s he’d claim Metro has done the exact opposite of what everyone else thinks it acheives. Makes you wonder if he’s really open minded to design philosophies that he doesn’t choose to use in his own work.

      The same website he reviewed for claimed in a review that ICS suffers from the same lag problems of previous androids. Surely that’s a massive UX problem right there. I guess the market will speak for itself. I reckon ICS will be far far slower rolling out than mango and by the time it is begining to saturate stores it will still feel more sluggish and more ugly than the windows phones. I guess time will tell.

  • Anonymous

    Even the “name” of his UI is ripped… Robot for Android with an O for MetrO :)

  • Anonymous

    Any guy who wears a suit like that is surely taking the piss.

    • Anonymous

      Reminds of a couple of years ago when an agent showed up in Rosenborg BK with two new players wearing a pink suit. One can people were a bit sceptical at the time :p

  • Christoffer Lundberg

    Wow.. what a douche :) He has no legitimate points in his arguments, it almost feels like he hasn’t even seen Windows Phone in action, only images of it. The WP approach to emphasize content is amazing, and it is a miracle that it has not been thought of before.

    I do however think that Android surpasses iOS in the UI visuals department, but is the worst in the experience part. It is sluggish, awkard and he should be ashamed for putting his name of such a mediocre experience..

  • JimmyFal

    Time for all these companies to start making themselves look good, and stop trying to tear the other guy down. I think we can all agree that Apple started that trend, simultaneously toting that “we need to stop thinking that Microsoft needs to lose in order for Apple to win” and then systematically trying to make anyone that used Windows look like a buffoon on the TV commercials. I was originally pissed at Microsoft for not fighting back, but now I’m starting to see the long term wisdom of not. This guys OS looks akin to his suit. I’m glad it’s the look of the OS that bothers my with Android, because if I liked the way it looked and felt, I could be more easily swayed.

  • Fo

    hes a douche

  • Google stole my infos

    I’m sorry but every android ui thus far has looked like a cheesy winmo theme from XDA.

    This is no exception.

  • Eingoluq

    He is lying through his teeth. Its like a contemporary architect saying that calssical architecture and modern architecture has no merit ignoring the fundamental aspects of their nature.
    Thats all what google’s UX is contemporary, it dosent make any bold statement, to distinguish it from other UX’s its just an amalgam of present day styles that currently work. In fact its quite similar to blackberry and the playstation’s OS that people may not be able to tell the difference. Its like taking the easy way out.

    He should throw away his wardrobe before he tells me what looks good.

  • Anonymous

    I suppose, for a Google employee to speak of aesthetics he need to make sure Google finally forms an UI/Design department. At this point, staffing it even with a single co-op student will be a big leap forward for the Internet giant.

    • rsgx

      They really haven’t got a damn clue about design, and yet go on to lash out an Apple and Microsoft.

      Apple, of ALL companies, which is arguably the leading hardware design company in the world.

      • Eingoluq

        to be honest I dont see a union between, apple’s harware and their UI design. their hardware is more minimalistic than their UX. infact WP7 feels more at home on the iphone’s hardware… or the N9’s 😛

        • rsgx

          Sorry, I meant a hardware and software. We can question the union between the two, yes. But individually, they are still way above anything Google has ever produced.

          • Eingoluq

            so true.

  • peter terry

    is that a white vinyl suit?

  • Ken Oswalt

    I find it amusing that anyone at google would be critical of iOS, considering they basically ripped it off and made it clunky. 

  • Anonymous

    Um… but developers don’t have to follow the Metro design on WP7.  They can still make their apps look however they want.  Even the live tiles can diverge from this to some extent.

    And if you want to talk about cartoony, let’s look at an Android device shall we?  Everything about it is cartoony except maybe the casing that was designed by the OEMs.

  • Anonymous

    The funniest thing ever! he disparages the MS Metro style, but on watching the event it’s hilaries to see that they took Metro as a MAJOR influence in trying to clean up their v4.0.

    Disparaging a competitor, then stealing his ideas! Did no one ever tell him: “You can’t Eat your cake, and Have it!” :)

  • Anonymous

    so a rehashed tron theme is good design? what about your female customers? do you think they want a phone designed for 40yr old virgins?

  • Anonymous

    Yet everytime I turn around, Google is stealing design cues from MS’s Metro.

  • Anonymous

    The guy needs a bow-tie . . .

  • David Nguyen

    Fast forward to right now and it turns out he was right haha. This guy designed the SIdekick OS, Helio Phone OS, and Web OS so he knows a thing or 2 about good interface designs. I never had an issue with the Faux real life designs iOS used to use, but over time it felt really outdated and annoying.