Google Play Store’s Fresh New Look – September 2019

Lior Eldan Lior Eldan | 24.9.19

The September 2019 redesign has a cleaner look and boosts an app’s detectability.

With billions of active users searching Google’s Play Store every month – Google aims to enhance the overall app discovery experience. With this version, the design changes aspire to make browsing faster and easier while boosting app discoverability.

Google’s Material Design

Google Play’s comprehensive visual redesign dovetails perfectly with Google’s Material Design which they developed in 2014. Material Design employs more grid-based layouts, responsive animations, and transitions in order to support onscreen touch interfaces.

Boris Valusek, Design Lead for Google Play recently stated: “Aligning with Material design language, we’re introducing several user-facing updates to deliver a cleaner, more premium store.” This speaks true to the removal of the boxy green navigation bar at the top of the store, which is replaced by a simpler, clean bar both at the top and bottom of the store.

Google designers have been busy optimizing the UX of all of Google’s services and products with 3D effects, padding and depth effects such as lighting and shadows. And now Google Play Store’s visual and UX refresh has finally rolled out, although it looks a little like Apple’s 2017 revamp has influenced their alterations.

New Navigation Bar Is Easier to Use

A new navigation bar at the bottom of the Play Store on mobile devices and a new left navigation on Chrome OS and tablets increases browser speed and makes the interface easier to use.

In an effort to create a more responsive and clear experience, the navigation bar at the top of the store has been split. Previously the search bar, categories and subcategories were all scrunched together at the top of the store.

Now, there’s a new bottom navigation bar that has the main listings of ‘Games’ and ‘Apps’ as well as the new listings ‘Movies & TV’ and ‘Books.’ Music is apparently gone and they’re planning on replacing Google Play Music with YouTube Music.

New subcategories for each listing can be found at the top of the store under the search bar. This makes it easy for users to browse apps according to categories, allowing them to discover apps that are more specific to their interests. For games, there are new tabs ‘Events’ and ‘New’ in addition to ‘For you, Top Charts, Premium, Categories, Family, Editor’s Choice.’

According to App Annie, mobile games account for over 30% of app installs. So, even though other apps are installed more frequently – it makes sense because mobile games represent over 74% of consumer spending on apps.

Once a shopper is interested in a particular app – the updated Google Play Store layout offers more app information where it can be easily read at the top of the page.

Google Play September 2019 Update
Google Play September 2019 Update

With a call-to-action button that’s higher and more visible – not only are vital details absorbed more quickly but the opportunity to install is more easily seen and clearly accentuated for the decision-maker. Titles are also larger and bold enticing users to click on titles such as ‘Recommended for You.’

Of course, the new uniform icons look amazing with the Play Store’s updated layout. Keep in mind that since June 24, 2019, all uploaded icons must be compatible with the new icon design specification.

Play Store Videos Play Automatically

The Google Play Store’s cleaner look is also accompanied by another change that started in September which plays videos automatically in the app and game listings. Promo videos will play silently and help to quickly showcase content.

So users don’t see ads before promo videos begin playing, app developers are required to disable all ads in their Play Store listings by November 1, 2019. All monetization in their videos should be disabled to keep them eligible in Google’s Play Store.

Play Store Change Implications

The short description is now beneath the first screenshot entitled: ‘About this app’ or ‘About this game.’ There is a short description beneath this CTA and can only fit 80 characters. It’s interesting to note that with the material design elements that add considerable padding – the short description actually now has more distinct real estate and thus more visibility.

Go Cheetah Food Distributor App
Go Cheetah Food Distributor App

There’s also some screenshot shrinkage for both landscape and portrait images and videos. Will this compel users to click the screenshots for a closer look? Perhaps, but this also means that copy length may need to be reduced in order to use bigger fonts that get the attention of customers in the first place.

With reduced copy length – it’s more important than ever to compose microcopy that is both concise and powerful. With only a few words to tell the app’s story, benefits and features must be explained and highlighted carefully. Each word in this medium must be carefully chosen to match the images wich should clearly show exactly what the app’s main benefits and unique selling propositions (USP).

Ultimately, app discoverability should increase with Google Play Store’s redesign and this should go a long way to getting the right apps in front of the right people while helping them to make installation decisions faster.

In the end, the Google Play Store will surely be tweaking its redesign – so stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated regarding any important changes that occur.


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