Pure Android

android.gifI believe too many Android developers put up with being asked to implement poor Android UI designs. Too many Android apps get implemented that contain iOS UI idioms. There are too many apps with splash screens, ‘Back’ buttons, right carets on lists and toolbars at the bottom. Why is this when it will clearly alienate users? I think there are several reasons…
  • The people in charge of these projects often have iPhones themselves.
  • The people designing the UIs often have iPhones.
  • It seems to be easier and cheaper to take the iOS design and just implement that.
  • Some apps use WebViews that are views onto server side pages that don’t change ‘look and feel’ depending on the platform.

In actual fact it’s more expensive to implement an iOS design on native Android. It takes effort to circumvent Android UI idioms and make them look like iOS. It also takes extra effort to revert an app back to using the correct Android idioms as I am seeing some companies starting to do.

Over time, I have taken a stronger line on bad Android design and have tended to push back on product owners and designers. On many projects, it’s due to bringing in the developer too late. If you involve the developer from the start then you obtain Android-centric designs that are cheaper to create, better delight users and are less likely to have to be re-implemented. You can learn more on Google’s Pure Android web page. I’ll also be speaking at MEX this month on problems (and solutions) related to designer developer workflows.