As long as you’re coming from some type of programming background, the unseen part of app programming will not be very hard. Java is a pretty forgiving language and a good IDE makes all the difference. But that doesn’t mean the User Interface is going to be easy. A fair amount of upfront planning for the user experience will save you time tenfold when it comes to writing the code. XDA Forum Member Leafhill wrote a thoughtful post covering common mistakes in Android UI design. But along the way, he also cites best practices as well. The post will go a long way in planning how you present your app to users in an intuitive way.
High on the list of foul dev behavior is to completely re-skin the entire app, or to force it to look like another operating system. We agree that this ends up being disorienting at first glance, and frustrating over the long term as a user repeatedly searches for the functionality in a different place than expected. I also agree on the use of the ActionBar. The Android developer’s guide draws it out very clearly; you should include the ActionBar, except when a media rich experience (i.e. full screen video) is necessary. The ActionBar icons and menus should also adhere to common practice.
There are two things he mentions that I could go either way on. I think adding background graphic accents can be a way of branding your app if done tastefully. But Leafhill asserts that these are outside of the Android tradition. He also has a good point about quick action menus that hide the original content when shown. The example is swiping a Tweet in the Twitter app to get at the share/trash/favorite/retweet commands. The swipe hides the tweet being operated upon, which probably does result in the wrong one being retweeted from time to time. I use Reddit News, which has the same functionality for up and down voting, loading comments, etc. I don’t find it to be a problem, but knowing that the menu is even there would be tough for those new to the app.
The final don’t is to style apps as if they were a website. This tops my list of Android pet peeves, and that’s what the banner image is all about.
Head over to the original article, which includes a slew of screenshots and references for each of the design issues discussed.
Considering how many people feel an overwhelming urge to tweak the aesthetics of their devices, whether that is a mobile home screen or PC desktop, it’s no surprise that the same urge has also extended to the sites that we browse. Although web designers spend huge amounts of time meticulously tweaking the layout of a site and sometimes even offering multiple layouts to choose from (XDA being no exception), as the old saying goes, “You can’t please all the people all the time.”
If you do happen to find yourself with a desperate need to alter the appearance of a site for yourself, you can of course use something such as Stylebot or Stylish. The latter being the preferred choice of XDA Recognized Contributor GermainZ who has created a dark userstyle for the XDA Portal and forums. Composed mainly of black, dark greys, and light blue accents, the aesthetic is not dissimilar to that of Android 4.0+. As there seems to be something of a trend for using “blacked out” Android applications, this may well prove to be popular with quite a few people. It also provides a good base for anyone who might wish to make their own further personalizations to the appearance of the site.
Feel free to check out the original forum thread for GermainZ’s dark userstyle for more information.
Please note: This is not an official XDA Developers site theme. Using something like this has the potential to conflict with features of the site. Should you happen to experience any irregularities, please disable any such modifications and check if the issue persists before reporting it to us or telling all of your Twitter followers how much “we suck.”
When it comes to designing your app or graphics, there are most definitely more than a few pitfalls to avoid, and these should be considered when you don your designer cap. Especially when just starting out, these potential issues may be hard to see on your path to development success. Sometimes even the smallest things may be the most important aspect of your app, such as the icon, the name, or even the colors. So instead of allowing you to discover each one with every mistake you may make through your development journey, XDA Senior Member TechMasta has compiled some tips, tricks, and warnings that may be of help.
TechMasta has touched upon some of the most important and essential tips and tricks as well as pitfalls to avoid in app design and graphics. This is packaged into a guide divided conveniently into three sections. The guide covers including the layout of the user interface, color combinations and schemes, helpful resources and tools to aid in animation and aesthetics, and literary aspects present in your app.
The guide does a great job at presenting helpful tips, tricks, and warnings that every app developer and/or designer should keep in mind when going about his or her work. If you would like to check it out, visit the guide thread in our new App Development forums.
Sure you do. I mean, why not? Help is always welcome and encouraged, so go ahead and help yourself to an extensive compilation of resources that may help you design your Android app, courtesy of XDA Senior Member and PimpMyRom developer Androguide.fr.
Posted in the recently introduced App Development Forums, the compilation includes a variety of different resources that may be useful in helping you design your application. Categories include:
These resources allow you to perform various actions, as well as to simplify the processes involved in designing an app. Androguide.fr also conveniently explains each resource and what exactly each tool does, what each site and blog specialize in, and what videos and shows instruct in. Android Asset Studio, for example, allows you to generate and download pixel-perfect drawables (such as launcher and notification icons) for any screen resolutions. Androguide.fr links sites that contain archives of noteworthy open-source libraries, sites and blogs that specialize in Android design, engineering, resources and the likes by professional Android and app engineers, and videos and shows produced by professionals of the Android industry.
These resources have made the development of Androiguide.fr’s very own PimpMyRom easier, and are sure to benefit any Android app developer and designer out there. These resources can be found in the original thread, so if you’re ever in need of help in app design, go check it out.