Android 11 Beta 2 introduces different, non-Material ripple

Android 11 Beta 2 is here today with “Platform Stability” for app developers and a slew of refinements ahead of the consumer launch later in Q3. Media controls in Android 11 are now part of Quick Settings with the design tweaked again for this release. Google also introduced a new ripple gesture that is distinctly not Material and feels widely different for Android.

Material Design has always had the concept of “ripples” when tapping or holding down on a button. They are “visual representations used to communicate the status of a component or interactive element.” After a pressing, the button takes on a darker tint, and “waves” spread out from the point of contact. They are usually bound by the shape of the button, with a demo available here.

In Android 11 Beta 2, the new ripple gesture appears when you tap on a button. This includes play/pause, forwards/backwards, and the device audio switcher. The moment you lay a finger, the white ripple appears, and it gently spreads following an actual button press.

The entire media controls card is treated as the container for the ripple, but the wave does not encompass the entire rounded box. Rather, it ends before reaching the edges. The old effect helped emphasize depth in Material Design and made it seem like you were physically pressing and pushing down on a button.

This new ripple in Android 11 does not correspond to depth. If anything, it feels as if the entire screen is flat. At the moment, the gesture completely ignores the confines of the pill-shaped “Phone speaker” button.

Last month, Google briefly showed off the ripple when demoing the new media controls. In the GIF below, ignore the red circle — which is just visual feedback for taps — and compare the music notification ripple versus the standard wave when selecting “Nest Hub.”

At the moment, this visual effect is limited to the new media controls in Quick Settings. It’s not available in any other part of the OS.

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