Designing apps have quite a few components to them- and sometimes the nuts and bolts of the app is the easy part to figure out. UI design is often the harder part: getting into the minds of your users and figuring out how to make a slick, intuitive UI is easier said than done. That said, there are a few general tips that can help you make an effective UI that won’t make your users confused or disinterested: we’ve collected the tips we think are best to help your Android app have the punch it needs to get your users hooked.
1. Keep The Launch Screen Simple
This is perhaps one of the most important parts of the UI design, but many developers forget about it- keep your launch screen simple! Users who are confused by the launch screen will more than likely never make it past that launch screen except to uninstall your device. A launch screen should very clearly proclaim what it is, what it does, and how to do it. Advanced settings or more features can come on different screens- keep the launch screen simple, effective, and intuitive.
2. Use Any Relevant APIs
Mobile phones often do a dizzying array of things- go to websites, email, map things out, make phone calls. Most phones have APIs that hook into these functions, and users will either expect or be excited with an app that responds to requests with those APIs. Does your app list numbers? Make them callable. Does your app list restaurants? Let them press the address to open Google maps, or let them press the name of the restaurant to be taken directly to the restaurant’s website. Think about convenience for your users and how they’ll respond to the information you present them and act accordingly to make your app smooth and responsive.
3. Take Advice From The Pros
Your app should be unique and add something to the app ecosystem, of course- that doesn’t mean it has to adhere to bad design decisions, however. The Android team releases design, style, and look and feel guides for developers- looking at those and understanding how the Android UI philosophy is structured can help take you a long way in figuring out just how people are using their Android phones and how they respond to UI design.
4. Don’t Forget About Different Devices And Viewing Modes
Make sure to test your app across wide varieties of phones and screens. Maybe your app looks fine on a Galaxy Nexus in portrait mode, but that doesn’t mean it’ll look the same on an ASUS tablet in landscape mode. Even the different between portrait mode and landscape mode is significant- don’t just make your app wider! Make landscape mode have different, beneficial features to the overall user experience.
5. Make It Snappy
Users hate waiting for responses from apps. Make sure to optimize your GUI display so that something happens when the user touches a button- even if the final result might take a while. Add in a waiting circle, a loading bar, or some other indication that pops up to notify the user that something’s happening. Anything is better than simply freezing- users will take that as a sign that the app’s not functioning the way it should, and it’s more than likely they’ll head over to another app because of it!
For better or worse, UI design can be just as important in the app production cycle as core design- a great idea that’s turned into an app that looks and performs poorly will go nowhere fast. Take these design ideas and make sure that your killer app isn’t a flop by matching your app’s capabilities and offerings to your user’s expectations of what a great user experience should be like!
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