I/O 2019: Our Definitive Guide to Design

Talks, workshops, news, and more—from Google’s annual developer conference

Welcome to Google Design’s #io19 coverage. Every year we put together a designer’s guide to the conference, so consider this your one-stop-shop for design news and programming from Google I/O. Inside, you’ll find info on new resources and announcements, plus our hand-picked selection of talks and videos.

Quick Links:
I/O App: AndroidiOS


News and Announcements

Material Launches Dark Theme Guidelines
Dark theme is here. Discover best practices for contrast ratios, legibility, and color usage when designing and building low-luminance UIs with the new Material Design dark theme guidance. To learn more about creating your own dark theme, tune in to the “How to Design a Dark Theme Using Material” session.

New Sound Design Standards from Material Design
Sound is integral to a product’s user experience. Learn why with Google’s first-ever public guidelines for designing product sounds. The standards cover everything from sound theory, to tactical advice you can implement in your product right away. Find out more by jumping in to the Material Sound guidelines, or watching the “Sound Design and Sonic Brand” talk. You’ll learn what distinguishes a “hero sound” from a “brand sound,” get a lesson on timbre and melodic motif, and leave with the tools to design a harmonious sound palette.

Designing Human-Centered AI Products
Announcing new tools for designers working with AI: Material Design launches patterns and principles for building apps with the ML Kit API, and PAIR announces their People + AI Guidebook. Over 100 Googlers collaborated on the #pairguidebook, which starts with advice on when to use AI (and when to skip it), advises on data collection and feedback mechanisms, and ends with an indispensable glossary of terms. 

👋 to 59 New Emoji
Mechanical arms, swimming trunks, hearing aids, otters, and waffles: Android Q comes with 59 new emoji, making our emoji palette more expressive and representative than ever before. Plus: Pixel phones will be the first to support gender-neutral icons of people.


A sampling of Android Q’s new expressive emoji (clockwise from top left): Man with probing cane, sloth, ringed planet, ear with hearing aid, otter, woman in manual wheelchair, pancakes, yo-yo.

Design Schedule

Please note, all listings are Pacific Time

Tuesday, May 7

  • 10:00 AM: Keynote
  • 12:45 PM: Developer keynote
  • 2:00—3:00 PM: Beyond Mobile: Material Design, Adaptable UIs, and Flutter
    The Material Components library has grown since Flutter’s launch. See what’s new, find out how to use new components with our iOS design language library Cupertino, and learn how to apply it across varying screen sizes, interaction models, and viewing distances. Speakers: Will Larche, Anthony Robledo • Stage 5
  • 2:00—3:00 PM: Prototyping Voice Experiences: Design Sprints for the Google Assistant
    Design sprints are well understood for prototyping traditional digital experiences, but when it comes to running a sprint for a conversational design experience, the format must be adjusted to include not just voice prototyping, but also training and improvisation methods. In this talk, learn the technical aspects of structuring and running a Conversation Design Sprint, using Google Assistant partner experiences as examples. Speakers: Kai Haley, Wally Brill • Stage 7
  • 6:00—7:00 PM: Sound Design and Sonic Brand
    Designing sound for a product means creating an experience that establishes an emotional connection, but can also hold up to repeated use over time. To help designers improve UIs with valuable soundscapes, Material is releasing its first-ever sound design guidelines. Learn about best practices and techniques for integrating sound into your brand. For more insights into sonic branding, check out this episode of our Method podcast featuring composer and sound designer Conor O’Sullivan. Speaker: Conor O’Sullivan • Stage 7

Wednesday, May 8

  • 8:30—9:30 AM: Material Theming: Build Expressively with Material Components
    Material Theming gives product teams the easy ability to customize a brand’s type, color system, motion, buttons, and composition in keeping with Material Design’s guidance. In this session, learn how interactive projects for Android and the web can help you create a top-to-bottom design for your product, where selected values cascade throughout Material Components, appropriately altering components and code. Speakers: Yasmine Evjen, Michelle Alvarez • Stage 7

  • 9:30—10:30 AM: Designing AR Applications
    Augmented reality (AR) is an entirely new medium with an entirely new set of design challenges and opportunities. This session will cover everything Google has learned so far about AR design and specific best practices, object placement, scene understanding, and designing for all users. Speakers: Alex Faaborg, Khushboo Hasija, Eugene Meng, Germaine Ruffle • Stage 6
  • 10:30—11:30 AM: Increasing AR Realism with Lighting
    What happens when a ray of sunshine comes through your morning window—shouldn’t your virtual object reflect it? Learn about new ARCore technology for developers that allows phones to understand the depth and lighting of the real world. You’ll come out understanding how and why to implement realistic lighting, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the our algorithms work. Speakers: Konstantine Tsotsos, Wan-Chun Alex Ma • Stage 6
  • 12:30—1:30 PM: Reach the Next Billion Users with Actions for the Google Assistant
    The Google Assistant supports an expansive list of countries, languages, and devices, including recently: KaiOS and Android GO phones. Come learn how users in emerging markets are interacting with the Google Assistant, what they expect from your Actions, and what opportunities you have to grow your services with them. Leave with technical and design considerations, as well as common mistakes to avoid when building for the next billion users. Speakers: Vladimir Vuskovic, Sachit Mishra • Stage 7
  • 1:30—2:30 PM: Designing Human-Centered AI Products
    Want to learn how Google develops human-centered AI products—and how to avoid common AI-design pitfalls? The People + AI Research team will share insights from the new People + AI Guidebook, which comes with recommendations and frameworks for assessing if a product is a good fit for ML, collecting representative training data, and helping users understand AI systems. For even more knowledge on human-centered AI principles, pop over to our collection of insights and articles from the People + AI Research team. Speakers: Jess Holbrook, Kristie Fisher • Stage 1
  • 3:30—4:30 PM: How Material Design Can Be Adopted and Measured for Product Success
    Why use a design system? In this talk, explore how design systems and tools add value to teams and get a toolkit for setting up your teams to create, identify, and measure that value. With examples from Material Design, you’ll learn actionable tactics for implementing and understanding your design system’s success. Speakers: Michael Gilbert, Clara Kliman-Silver • Stage 7
  • 4:30—5:30 PM: Voice and Visual: How to Build Actions for Smart Displays and More Devices
    How should your action perform across different device types like mobile, smart displays, or speakers? How do you even get started with voice design? This talk will walk you through design and developer considerations for building multimodal experiences across Google Assistant-enabled devices. Speakers: Darla Sharp, Mandy Chan • Stage 8

Thursday, May 9

  • 10:30—11:30 AM: How to Design a Dark Theme Using Material
    New Material Design dark theme guidance covers everything from contrast ratios to recalibrating color saturation, to finding clever ways to make illustrations more “nocturnal.” In this session, designers from the Material Design team will walk through different implementations of dark theme interfaces, using Google partner products like Google Photos, Google News, and Calendar. Speaker: Javier Lopez • Stage 1

  • 12:30—1:30 PM: ML Kit x Material Design: Design Patterns for Mobile Machine Learning
    Machine learning-powered features—the kind available through Google’s ML Kit API—present a new set of considerations for UX designers. Material teamed up with ML Kit to create design patterns tailored specifically to interactions driven by machine intelligence on apps that perform object detection. This session will showcase those patterns, using object detection apps as examples, and teach designers about implementing them into user experiences in mobile apps. Check out the full ML Kit x Material Design guidance, and head over to Google Design to learn more about how designers approach AI’s vast potential in our latest roundtable. Speakers: Rachel Been, Philippe Cao, Kunal Patel • Stage 7
  • 1:30—2:30 PM: Build Apps for the Next Billion Users
    For developers, emerging Android markets like Africa and Asia present big opportunities for growing your audience. They also present challenges, such as i18n and network speed. This talk includes advice on designing for those constraints, and introduces Google SDKs and APIs that can help your app succeed in emerging or next-billion-user markets. Speakers: Amrit Sanjeev, Yacine Rezgui, Rajeev Kumar • Stage 1
  • 2:30—3:30 PM: Let’s Talk: Designing Quality Conversations for the Google Assistant
    Heard about conversation design, but not sure how to apply it to your Action? A conversation designer and a developer will walk you through setting user expectations, handling unexpected user responses, and making improvements with user insights. For a primer on conversation design, read about the principles of human conversation and listen to a recent Method episode with senior interaction designer Margaret Urban discussing conversation design for Google Assistant. Speakers: Cathy Pearl, Jessica Earley-Cha • Stage 8

Material Design and Accessibility Sandbox

Swing by to learn about the latest Material Design and Accessibility guidance—including new features and tools—through interactive demos and short presentations on motion design, icons, theming, and inclusive design principles (see below for the full schedule). Visitors can also explore a series of interactive installations that bring these concepts to life. Bring your questions—we’ll have a Q&A desk fully staffed by accessibility experts and Material pros. Sandbox E

Tuesday, May 7: 2:00—7:00 PM
Wednesday, May 8: 9:00 AM—7:30 PM
Thursday, May 9: 9:00 AM—4:00 PM

Design Reviews

Design can make or break your product. Get one-on-one feedback on your app and learn how to use Material’s open-source components to build even better and faster—all from expert members of Google’s Material Design team. Reserve a spot and stop by with your design-related questions, on topics like: UX principles, accessibility, color, navigation, typography, customizing Material Design, and more. Section 9

Tuesday, May 7: 2:00—7:00 PM
Wednesday, May 8: 9:00 AM—7:30 PM
Thursday, May 9: 9:00 AM—4:00 PM

Office Hours

Material Components
Want to learn how to take advantage of Material Theming? Have questions about creating integrating Material Components (MDC) into your product? Come chat with cross-platform experts on Material Design for help on Android, iOS, Flutter, and more.

MDC for Android
Tuesday, May 7: 3:00—4:00 PM • Section 6
Wednesday, May 8: 2:30—3:30 PM • Section 2
Thursday, May 9: 12:30—1:30 PM • Section 2

MDC for Web, iOS, Flutter
Tuesday, May 7: 2:00—3:00 PM • Section 3
Wednesday, May 8: 2:30—3:30 PM • Section 3
Thursday, May 9: 10:30—11:30 AM • Section 5

Next Billion Users
There are several ways to make your products more accessible to users in emerging markets and those with disabilities: Start by studying insights from the Next Billion Users team, and move on to reevaluating voice integration, color usage, and privacy settings. Pick up new techniques at the NBU office hours, where designers and researchers will be on hand to review apps and answer questions about accessibility.  

Tuesday, May 7: 4:00—5:00 PM • Section 6
Wednesday, May 8: 10:30—11:30 AM • Section 6
Wednesday, May 8: 11:30 AM—12:30 PM • Section 1


Design Talks

Stop by the Material Design and Accessibility Sandbox for quick, concentrated presentations, often with a Q&A component. Many of these 20-min talks will run more than once, so if you can’t make a topic one day, be sure to check out the full schedule below. Sandbox E

Tuesday, May 7

1:50—2:10 PM: Lookout: Assisting People with Vision Impairments • 2:10—2:30 PM: Reframing Accessibility • 2:30—2:50 PM: Improving Product Accessibility Through Cross Functional Teams • 2:30—2:50 PM: Leveraging Global Accessibility to Build for Billions • 3:10—3:50 PM: Q&A: Prototyping Voice Experiences for Google Assistant • 3:50—4:10 PM: Sprinting to Build Google's Material Design • 4:10—4:30 PM: Material Design Adoption • 4:30—4:50 PM: Accessibility Design Tips • 4:50—5:10 PM: Designing for Offline • 5:10—5:30 PM: Tasty Motion Design • 5:30—5:50 PM: All About Icons • 5:50—6:10 PM: Inclusive Design: The Tool for Adaptive UI • 6:10—6:30 PM: Accessibility First: Google Slides Captions • 6:30—6:50 PM: Making Google Assistant More Accessible

Wednesday, May 8

8:30—8:50 AM: Reframing Accessibility • 8:50 AM—9:10 AM: Lookout: Assisting People with Vision Impairments • 9:10—9:30 AM: Make Google Assistant More Accessible • 9:30—10:10 AM: Q&A: Building an Expressive Design System with Material Components • 10:10—10:30 AM: Inclusive Hardware Design • 10:30—10:50 AM: Sprinting to Build Google’s Material Design • 10:50—11:10 AM: How to Style Buttons Using Material Theming • 11:10—11:30 AM: Getting Started with Sound Design Resources • 11:30—11:50 AM: Material Design Adoption • 11:50 AM—12:10 PM: Design Systems for Everyone • 12:10—12:30 PM: How Google Drive Uses Material Design • 12:30—12:50 PM: Why Use Material Design? • 12:50—1:10 PM: Principles of Gesture Design • 1:10—1:30 PM: How Technology Enables Us to Work and Play • 1:30—1:50 PM: Accessibility First: Google Slides Captions • 1:50—2:10 PM: Inclusive Design: The Tool for Adaptive UI • 2:10—2:30 PM: Improving Product Accessibility Through Cross Functional Teams • 2:30—2:50 PM: Lookout: Assisting People with Vision Impairments • 2:50—3:30 PM: Q&A: Designing Human-Centered AI Products • 3:30—3:50 PM: Leveraging Global Accessibility to Build for Billions • 3:50—4:10 PM: Making Google Assistant More Accessible • 4:10—4:30 PM: Lookout: Assisting People with Vision Impairments • 4:30—5:10 PM: Q&A: Adopting Material Design and Measuring Product Success • 5:10—5:30 PM: The What-If Tool: Probing ML Models with Minimal Coding • 5:30—5:50 PM: Designing for Offline • 5:50—6:10 PM: Getting Started with Material Components • 6:10—6:30 PM: Why Use Material Design? • 6:30—6:50 PM: Material Design Adoption • 6:50—7:10 PM: Flexible UI Typography

Thursday, May 9

8:30—8:50 AM: Accessibility First: Google Slides Captions • 8:50 AM—9:10 AM: Inclusive Design: The Tool for Adaptive UI • 9:10—9:30 AM: Principles of Gesture Design • 9:30—9:50 AM: Material Design Adoption • 9:50—10:10 AM: Tasty Motion Design • 10:10—10:30 AM: AR and Accessibility • 10:30—10:50 AM: Reframing Accessibility • 10:50—11:10 AM: Lookout: Assisting People with Vision Impairments • 11:10—11:30 AM: How Technology Enables Us to Work and Play • 11:30—12:10 PM: Q&A: How to Design a Dark Theme Using Material • 12:10—12:30 PM: Making Google Assistant More Accessible • 12:30—12:50 PM: Inclusive Hardware Design • 12:50—1:10 PM: Leveraging Global Accessibility to Build for Billions • 1:10—1:30 PM: Improving Product Accessibility Through Cross Functional Teams • 1:30—2:10 PM: Q&A: Design Patterns for Mobile Machine Learning • 2:10—2:30 PM: Design Systems for Everyone • 2:30—2:50 PM: Getting Started with Sound Design Resources • 2:50—3:10 PM: Accessibility First Engineering — A Process • 3:10—3:30 PM: Getting Started with Material Components • 3:30—3:50 PM: Accessibility Design Tips

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