Google Smart Displays Have A UI Problem. The fix? Widgets

Smart Displays Can Better Take Advantage Of The "Display" Feature

Google Smart Displays Have A UI Problem. The fix? Widgets

When Google Smart Display first launched the UI design, it could be described as very beautiful but useful. However, over the years, Google has updated the software giving information about more useful features and a better design. At the same time it ruined the UI and functionality.

The most obvious example of this was the refreshed UI which came back in May 2019. The update took the white paint over the white design and was redone, using blurry photos as a backdrop with a floating card interface. I think we can all agree it was a huge visual improvement.

Unfortunately, Google also removed some of the things that make Smart Display truly useful — authorized information. Instead of displaying a large, informative weather widget with upcoming calendar events on the main smart screen, Google Smart displays now feature a miniature clock with today's temperature and "Top Stories" widgets.

I'm sure I'm not alone in my dissatisfaction with the lack of usability after the update. I have absolutely zero interest in browsing news stories on my smart display. I already have a laptop, phone and tablet if I want to browse and read the news.

There is no reason to sit next to a smart display and browse today's stories when there are so many better ways available.

Google Smart Displays Have A UI Problem. The fix? Widgets

The main problem that smarts display is that if they really want to be smart, they have to be personal to every user and every location. The good news is that Google already knows how to handle the situation. Solution? Widget.

A Familiar Feature

Android phones have used widgets for years, allowing users to place useful and interactive information on their home screen.

Can you imagine if Google brought the widget, allowing users to customize the layout and functions of their smart display? You can have weather at a glance, widgets for your calendar, Spotify, YouTube, your Nest or Arlo security cameras, and more at any time.

Not only can you have widgets, but you'll be able to screen many of them that will give you instant access to the things you care about the most. In addition, you will be able to customize each display for its room.

Super smart, and relevant
Perhaps in your office you care most about the weather, your calendar and to-do list. However, in the kitchen, you may like the recipe widget, Spotify and a timer at the forefront.

With the ability to create home screens with a grid of customizable widgets, the smart display would eventually become the useful device they were meant to be. Pair that with Google's facial recognition and it will allow each user to have their own layout that can change dynamically when the user is recognized.

As it is now, the "display" portion of the smart display has been largely reduced, but with widgets it has game-changing capabilities.

To make Google feel the way we make and display smart we need to make it "smart" to give users the ability to customize them to their needs. And for this to happen, we need a flexible and robust system, such as widgets.

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