Basically, I’m a sucker for a big website. Before founding Chrome Unboxed, my 9-5 was website design and development. To be fair, I was focusing a lot more on front-end design than development, but I did a bit of both along the way. For me, it was always about UI, UX, and style. Did the sites I created look current and match the spirit and brand of the company I was hired for? Did the beauty work in a way that made it easier to navigate and flow of information? Did I continue to renew my inspiration with each new site creation?
All of these questions were questions I asked regularly as I spent my days building literally hundreds of websites over the years. Website design and development has come a long, long way since investing in it on a daily basis, and as I look the web and use PWAs regularly, I know if I ever came back to this world again. full-time, I would be much more interested in the development side of things. The open web surprises me more and more every day with the things of which it is capable and Just as we got wind of Google’s Pixel 6 announcement yesterday, it blew me away again.
A landing page with a serious design touch
When Google announced the launch date for the Pixel 6, they included a link to a landing page where you can put together a bit of information about the event, add it to your calendar, share it, and basically see some of the design language of new phones and Android 12. It’s pretty, well designed and pleasing to the eye. But these are generally accepted and expected web components at this point. At first glance, there’s nothing stunning about the landing page until you interact with it.
Then it does things that I’ve never seen done on a website. On the desktop, there is a big button at the bottom that says to hold down your space bar to “change the mood”. On mobile, the button simply says “Hold to change mood”. Touch and hold also works on desktops with touchscreens, and regardless of how you do it – spacebar or touchscreen – the resulting effect is a masterpiece of web development.
The button slowly fills as the current mood on the screen zooms forward. The widgets displayed all fly towards you at different speeds than the phone behind them, resulting in some really impressive 3D movement. Plus, when you hold the button down, the music slows down as you are transported to a rotating animation of many new Material You widgets in Android 12. Once you’re ready, you can release the button and look everything back and into place with a new vibe. New colors, new widgets and a new background. It’s so much fun!
Also enjoyable on mobile
During my years of building web experiences, one of the hardest things to do was create things that felt great on desktops / tablets and mobiles. Capacities are varied, and most of all, the displays are vastly different. One experiment is designed for the landscape, the other for the portrait. One has plenty of room to play and a simply more capable browser, while the other is much smaller with an absolute premium on the size of the visuals.
All of these obstacles exist to this day, and yet Google has managed to create a visual experience on the web with this new landing page that translates equally well on both mediums. In fact, I first encountered the mobile version of this new Pixel 6 landing page on my phone and was blown away. Just having a button that animated and acted on the page while holding down my screen was shocking. On most websites, a long press on the screen is equivalent to a right click on the desktop.
While I watched all the animations, the music changes, the timed events on the screen; I was hypnotized. This could be one of the best landing pages I’ve ever seen for any product on the web, and this implementation rightfully made it look like an app was delivered to my phone through the web. Because that was exactly what it was.
Sure, this whole website is in place to get even more publicity for a phone that looks very worthy of the hype, but that doesn’t mean I’m still not blown away by the progress of the web as a platform. -form. We talk a lot about PWAs here because they are an important part of the Chromebook ecosystem. Being web-based computers, Chromebooks benefit whenever the open web improves, becomes more proficient, or more capable of delivering a great user experience.
Google’s new landing page for Pixel 6 is simply an extension of this changing reality. 5-10 years ago a landing page like this just couldn’t exist using web languages. But that is all changing quickly, and I love every part of it. Am I excited about the Pixel 6? You bet! But this phone will arrive, impress or disappoint, and then we’ll move on. The web, however, is always with us on our phones, computers, tablets, and more. It’s an open platform that breaks down walls and barriers between companies and hardware manufacturers and that’s – deep down – what turns me on more in the tech world than anything else. And its use by Google for that little landing page only further underscores why.