As Android moves from adolescence to maturity

Source: Internet
Author: User
Keywords Mobile Internet interactive design

 in recently, in A study published by Nielsen, A, shows that Android devices have already surpassed iOS in numbers, So we can also say that the boom in the Android Market is now in its heyday: 480 million of users are using Android devices, and 1 million new devices are activated every day. This means that every three weeks, the number of newly activated Android devices can be equal to the population of Australia as a whole.

In order to adapt to the rapid growth of the Android Market, the well-known apps are now also at a faster pace to release the Android version of the system, such as the Android version of Instagram is only 10 days to obtain 4000 of the download installation. While the platform is expanding at an unprecedented rate, the vast majority of app quality is not as well in the market today. And in Google Play there is rarely as much quality app as in the itunes Store, and part of the reason may be that in the last few years Android has quickly spent its adolescence, leading to chaos and instability, There are a number of designers who have opted for the iOS platform to avoid this mess.

Of course, many of the system's problems are exaggerated, and some of the android problems are no longer in the new version, and for some of the problems that still exist, this article offers some solutions, as well as suggestions for you to start designing great Android apps.

Part I: Adolescent symptoms

Many apps do not perform as expected because the platform is immature. Even though Android has a powerful experimental site--providing manufacturers and developers with a very free and open environment to create the apps or features they want to create--not many people are willing to work in a sandbox (Sandbox) environment. But now, the sandbox has grown to be a foundation for great design. The next few examples will show you how Android becomes mature from adolescence:

Google's own app lacks consistency

Not so long ago, almost all of Google's own Android apps looked different:

The above image is suggested by the action Bar model that Google designed in May 2010, but the Gallery (photo album) application in the Android2.3 version ignores this design standard; at the bottom is the application Action Bar, redesigned in 2011. It is not hard to see that Google has spent more than a year to follow its own design guidelines.

Lack of user-centric design concepts in the Android development community

Because of its lack of consistency, Google has not set a good example for developers, because of the lack of consistent design guidance and pattern standards, resulting in poor user experience on the platform. Good design is people-oriented, and it uses technology to help people achieve their goals. Google is not the same as the other extreme apple, at the beginning repeatedly and developers to emphasize the importance of user experience.

Significant consistency experience differences between different devices and different system versions

Hardware manufacturers often customize their own system UI and hardware buttons, which results in fragmentation of the device, making testing and quality control very difficult, and the app that designs a consistent experience on different devices becomes virtually impossible.

The image above can be seen on different devices, the location of the home button is not the same. In this fast-growing and changing market, it is difficult for independent developers to test the application correctly. As a result, most applications are not as usable as they were originally designed in real-life situations, or simply lack a good design experience. These apps are still on the market, but that doesn't mean we have to do this, and Android has improved in many ways to support you in designing a consistent experience app for your customers.

Part Two: Android is becoming mature

Android's user experience is more powerful today than ever before, making it easier for app developers and designers to make good apps. Of course some of the early problems still exist, but most of them are easier to handle and some have been completely solved. One important legacy remains the lack of great apps in the Android Market, but on a fast-growing system platform, designers and developers are willing to try to solve these problems.

Here are a few of the more sophisticated Android systems available to you:

Better Application Search

Early searches are restricted by keywords and all search results are presented directly; the new Google App Store offers functional classifications and employee referrals, which enhance the way to discover applications. As the following illustration shows, the new App Store offers more ways to discover the latest and coolest apps.

Appropriate Android design guidelines

Previously, Google did not provide some direction for each application's essential elements. Since the creation of the design guidelines, the application of designers and developers to provide a small decision to determine the basis for the design, so we can finally focus on creating the value of the app, and to ensure a consistent experience on different devices, the following figure is a grid design list example of the design guide excerpt.

Remove menu and search hardware buttons

Google began removing the hardware buttons on the device to make the entire hardware and software work in a more elegant and convenient way.

The image above is Google's Nexus 4 phone that has removed search buttons and menu buttons. Of course, a wide variety of Android devices are still in the works, such as LG's production of mobile phones with menu keys, but to some extent this diversity is the main reason why Android apps stand out.

Fragmentation isn't all bad.

Fragmentation may be the biggest challenge for designers and developers in the legacy of Android, but it also builds Android DNA as a timeless part of the platform experience. This diversity provides designers with the opportunity to make the app get as many users around the world as possible. Learning to adapt to this fragmented environment will also make you a better designer or developer because you will need a broader range of knowledge and skills. So this is a challenge worth pursuing, compared to the potential for success. The following sections will focus on how you can make your app more successful.

Part Three: Tips for creating a successful Android app

Understanding Android

To understand Android, you should first know how to use the Android system and understand the users of the system. Perhaps the best way to do this is to buy some devices that are different, different screen sizes and even different system versions. This will not only help you to understand the diversity of users, but also to test your app better. Choose the best support device for your app, get the latest stats from Google, and choose a device that fits your requirements. In addition, some independent reports, such as OpenSignal ' s August report, can also help you with your device selection.

Keep in mind that the Android update is controlled by the service provider, so the Nexus series, such as the Google family, can get the latest system version earlier. So owning a new Nexus device can often give you the first experience of the latest release of the platform. You can also save money by buying second-hand equipment, but make sure it runs the Android version you need (many old device systems don't support updates) before you buy them.

Follow design Guidelines

Following the design guidelines will help you create an application that feels more like "original", and of course it's just one of the reasons it's worth doing so. Design guidelines can also help you get the following benefits:

Easy for apps to adapt to almost any device

Make your application more Android

Provide UI that users are familiar with

Make the app development process easier

Increase the chance for applications to be recommended in the Google Play market

Following the Android navigation model, using platform native navigation elements can also help create an experience that is consistent across multiple terminals.

The image above is the interface of the contact list between the iOS and Android systems. To use the platform native elements, the search and new contact actions are placed on the bottom action bar, not like iOS in the upper part. Of course, custom apps can be more difficult to design across devices, but the new design guidelines provided by Google make the Android app look different from the apps that were created before the 4.0 version.

Understand the look and feel of Android

It is well known that Google has put a lot of effort into providing a consistent visual experience for all of its products, and Android is certainly one of them, and Android 4.0 has introduced its own style: simple, flat, clean (simplicity, Plain, cleaning) Focus on the function itself rather than the sense of form.

While this gives developers and designers a degree of greater latitude, it also takes into account the subtleties of the Android visual style: Using less to express more (saying and pager). This shows that simply copying styles and elements from the iOS system may not be as effective. When you publish a new app that uses an old style or a visual element that contains other platform features, you may have an aversion or a negative effect on the user-one such example has been created by Microsoft. Browsing Android niceties is a great way to get a grip on Android and find inspiration. The image below is Google's search App, which is a good illustration of how the Android system looks and feels.

Another good way to differentiate your app is through its icon. Unlike iOS, Android's app icons can be in any shape or form, and users will love beautiful, special icons, and may even be happy to put your program icons on the first screen without using them. More icon design guidelines, refer to Icongraphy. The following illustration is an example of some icons.

Designed for different devices

When designing an app, first make sure it works on most devices. Remember to apply not only to different screen sizes and screen orientations, but also to low brightness screens or poor contrast screens, and slow, low configuration machines. For example, some inexpensive models only low-resolution and low contrast screen, when too small text is difficult to be clearly displayed, too large text will not appear. Avoid low contrast text and visual elements that hurt the user experience. Here is an example of an adaptive design for different screen size text displays.

There are other things that may be noted:

Use contrast-strong text and element colors, such as white or light gray on important elements, because they may not be visible on the poorer screens.

In different brightness environment, different screen brightness (low brightness, high brightness, automatic brightness) set to check the design draft.

Even when using standard sizes, make sure that text and UI elements appear large enough on small or low-resolution screens, and that you can set special text or visual elements to display dimensions for these screens alone.

A good case for diversity design, see Sebastian de with an article about the Alarm app authoring process.

Defining layouts with Density-independent (resolution Adaptive)

Ensuring that UI elements look about the same size on Android devices with different resolutions is an important part of providing a consistency experience. This seems like a very laborious task, but instead of having to come up with complex pixel operations to show how each button or font is displayed on each particular screen, the device can help you deal with the problem. As the following illustration shows, a standard icon displays on different resolution devices: The official Recommended button size is 48 pixels, and the system automatically handles the display at 4 different resolution levels from low to high.

By defining the dimensions by density-independent pixels (DPs), you need to make sure that the physical dimensions of the visual elements displayed on each screen are the same. For detailed setup, refer to use Density-independent Pixels. The following figure is the recommended size setting for each visual element that is proven to work well in practice.

Designed for different resolutions

To show clarity on almost all Android devices, you need to meet four resolutions: low resolution (LDPI), medium resolution (MDPI), high resolution (HDPI) and ultra-high resolution (XHDPI). Typically starts at the 640x960 screen resolution and then shrinks to fit the other resolution screen, as shown in the following figure.

The display resolution of MDPI and XHDPI is exactly the same as the normal and retina screens of the Apple iphone. So if your app has an iphone version, you can use its layout directly, or even simply test the design effect on the iphone. Certainly don't forget Android's unique look and feel. It is important to note that a standard called xxhdpi has been added to the next generation of mobile devices that will have screens about the DPI. Although there is no such device yet, the XXHDPI standard is currently used on the launch icon for the 10-inch tablet device that is now using xhdpi, such as Nexus 10. So it may be necessary to design the visual elements in advance to be ready to expand your hdpi to 200% Xxhpi.

Consider different system versions

Many Android devices will not be able to upgrade to the latest operating system, and new systems often take a long time to fully capture the market. With the replacement of devices, users will gradually become less satisfied with outdated application icons and control styles. Therefore, it is necessary to provide the latest experience as much as possible, if you intend to support applications running on the old platform and create a separate version for these devices.

Provides expansion components and wallpapers for app

Be adept at leveraging some of the special advantages of Android, such as components (Widgets), Wallpaper (Live wallpapers), and message notifications (notifications). Components allow users to receive updates when they are not running the app, and message push can help increase the installation of the version update. Google offers designers and developers a variety of ways to make it easier to inform users. The following figure is a few examples, the top is the music player's fast component, may let the user conveniently carry on the music playback most commonly used operation. Below is a calendar application component that allows users to quickly scroll through the schedule on a first-screen desktop.

Android users like to customize their devices to make them look personalized, so these components or wallpaper will give users a lot of flexibility to do these things.

Test your supported Equipment

The most common negative comment in the App Store is that app doesn't work on some of the promised models. So make sure your program is working properly on the most popular target devices and only release apps on the models you've tested. Otherwise, it may cause some users to be disappointed, or even give a bad comment.

At the same time for the plate equipment design

While Android's tablet is not as popular as its rival ipad, if your goal is to do a real Android application across multiple terminals, you must consider the Android tablet at the same time. The official design guidelines provide a design guideline for the Panel's UI and Interface (Multi-pane Layouts) to meet the unified experience of the fragmented device. Tablets use the same graphics library as mobile phones, but special consideration needs to be given to the use of tablets. For example, people usually move a tablet farther away from their eyes than a cell phone, and the input is less accurate. So the tablet UI needs bigger fonts, bigger buttons, and more white leaves. And, of course, don't forget to test your application with the Tablet app's quality checklist (Quality checklist).

To sum up, you might be able to give Android a chance! Designing for Android seems like a challenge at the outset, but with these tips and suggestions, you'll get a good start on a truly great application of an excellent user experience. So designing for this maturing and emerging platform is an interesting and continuous learning process, and in this quest to create a great app you may be able to master a range of new technologies and discover valuable experiences. Finally, there are some great Android apps that inspire inspiration:

The Verge

DoubleTwist Alarm





New York Times




* Article translation from designing for A maturing Android

* Original link: Http:// Original release time: 2013.05.08 Original author: Alex Komarov, Nikita Yermolayev

* Author Update: While we were writing this aspires and case study super-delegates been published by The Verge about the Facebook home Applicat Ion-next big thing for Facebook. But this isn ' t about Facebook anymore. Thought this particular creator are quite controversial, with 2¥Q device support and experience far from perfect, F Acebook designers have proven that with enough effort 100% of your ideas can is implemented and delivered on Android with No compromise. Tightly have revealed a opportunity and May Evan have marked the beginning of a new trend of creating greater On Android.

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