One UI 2, Samsung’s proprietary User Interface (UI), was outlined by Yoojin Hong (Vice President of the User Experience Design Team) during today’s SDC developer conference in San Jose.
Last year saw the introduction of the original One UI interface, and Samsung has since continued to study user behavior to refine the experience.
One UI deals with today’s reality that smartphones have very large displays, which is a trend that is not expected to stop, especially with upcoming folding phone designs.
In the past, less clairvoyant tech-pundit predicted that the size of screens would eventually stabilize, because of human physiology and ergonomics. After all, “touching the top of the screen with your thumb” was once a metric of success for one-hand operations.
However, the market clearly shows that the appetite for small screens is left to a tiny (vocal) minority because users appear to be insatiable for ever-larger seamless display real estate.
Foldable displays will successfully allow phones to have even larger displays while being pocketable. The Galaxy Fold if a proof of concept, and more like it will come soon. As such, the UI has to adapt. In fact, Samsung has shown a second foldable phone concept that would immediately benefit from One UI 2.
One UI 2 promotes the concept of having a “viewing area” zone at the top and the “interaction area”(buttons, sliders, etc.) at the bottom of the screen or wherever your fingers are naturally close to. This has been much improved since the first iteration earlier this year.
One UI 2 also manages visual comfort better, by analyzing both the environment’s brightness (with the phone’s light sensor) and the app visual context. For example, if your Wallpaper is bright, One UI 2 uses a dark font, and vice-versa, so that the contrast is always appropriate for the text to be legible.
Part of the visual comfort also consists of using blue light filtering at the best time, and that’s true for Dark Mode as well.
Even the Samsung keyboard is being improved with new gestures to Undo/Redo or local storage of your credit card information for fast and secure form-filling.
Finally, we were shown the new animated icons. Usually, such animations are there for the sake of aesthetics, but this time, animations are showing that the app was working on the last task you assigned it, such as a download or update. That way, you don’t need to open the app to see if it has finished.
All the features of One UI 2 will be ported to the entire Samsung eco-system: watches, phones, foldable phones, tablets, laptops (DEX). I’m pretty sure that fridges and TVs will join the fold (pun intended) eventually.