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I am wondering if Google provided a rationale in their design guidelines for what seems to have been a change in their interface design for the Google Analytics mobile app.

The difference (I could be wrong, not having seen all the running versions of the app on all platforms) is in how they used to put big icons next to numbers, and now they seem to have removed those icons.

Compare old version...

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...with new version.

enter image description here


Certainly the version with the icons removed next to the header/summary numbers looks aesthetically "cleaner", but one (especially one with a marketing viewpoint) might criticize it for being too bland, generic, and not as informative. For that reason, I would like to know the thinking behind the decision. Is there a specific reference in the Google material design guidelines that talks about putting icons next to header text as being against the guidelines? I'm guessing not...

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https://analytics.googleblog.com/2016/10/improvements-coming-to-google-analytics.html

tl;dr "Simplified navigation"

New features are inline with material design guidelines:

WHAT'S NEW IN THE APP

  • Sharing! Share a report via text, email, chat, and more
  • Customization! Customize reports and save them to your dashboard for quick follow-up
  • Brand new look & feel; easier to use than ever
  • New scorecard visualizations: tab through metrics, swipe through dimensions
  • Change & compare date ranges, dig deeper by adding segments
  • Greatly simplified navigation and report discovery
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Probably because icons weren't explanatory enough and didn't provided enough meaning to users.

Icons are put in an interface to give a visual representation of some UI element/feature. Users should be able to orient only based on them.

If icons don't provide good meaning they just clutter the interface, and that is why they've probably removed them.

P.S. this is my personal opinion.

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