Android User Interface
The market is flooded with companies making smartphones and yet the number one choice for all of them while choosing an interface remains Android. Google’s Android OS has captured three-quarters of the global market and it is nothing surprising considering the increase in the number of Android devices available in the market as well as the increase in the number of consumers.
The best Android user interface is the available cost-effective platform for the developers as well as the users. Google has released the source code of Android and allows it to be used under the open source license, making it the most loved user interface (UI) for the developers. Devices custom made to suit both the developers as well as the users are available in multiple. However, the deciding factor for the consumer at the end of the day in choosing Android over others is it’s user-friendly, smooth and efficient and enjoyable technology.
With the internet becoming the binding factor for the global consumers and the online medium gaining a great growth, mobile internet today plays a crucial role in retaining the loyalty of the consumers towards a product. Thus, it is extremely important to understand that to survive today in this competitive market one has to be fast-moving and adaptive towards the new. Keeping the new in mind, it is very essential to pay a great deal of attention to the aesthetics of the User Interface. After all, a best Android User Interface will lead to a great quality experience and eventually draw in the consumers reaping in more profits.
Thus as the saying goes the customer is the king and keeping in mind the king’s needs, our User Interface needs to be fashioned. Innovation always wins brownie points and along with it great easy to use features, the simplicity of design always garners a great deal of attention from the consumers. However, the challenge that a developer has to go through while keeping in mind these factors along with the fact that the app needs to be custom fit for all the device screens and OS versions apart from Android.
4 Biggest challenges faced by Android User Interface
#1 – The Multiple Screen Challenge
Any interface built needs to be able to run on all OS and just not Android and keeping in mind this point we need to build a User Interface that would support different screen sizes and different screen densities. This could be done by using the Hierarchy Viewer. Hierarchy viewer is a tool that allows you to optimize your layouts and this is available in your SDK. It allows you to check the layout design bugs, rectifying it and ultimately calculating the time that causes a delay in the running. The hierarchy viewer can be found in the tool folder of the SDK.
The ‘wrap content’ option should be used to ensure that the screen adapts to varied screen heights while the ‘match parent’ option should be used for the height and width components. The ‘wrap content’ minimizes the screen to fit the screen measurements while the ‘match parent’ expands the screen size for a parent view.
In terms of the varied screen densities, layouts are designed using absolute pixels to define the sizes and distance. Designing the layout and defining it with pixels is difficult as the varied screens of different phones have different densities and an absolute can cause havoc. Thus the density layout is done either in a deep unit or sp.
Complex layouts are possible and are done through instances of nested loops. Complex layout though allows you to constantly play with the weight, it can be expensive. Avoiding weight is possible in terms of dividing two components equally on a screen. The nested layout should be avoided as much as possible as it decreases the layout performances. Nested structure is teamed up with the Linear layout for the dynamic visibility setting. As the name suggests, in Linear layout all the Android user interface components are arranged in a linear manner and hiding of any of the component may not affect the alignment of the rest of the components.
Relative Layout makes the position of one of the component in a defining manner to a relative component’s position. For example, below align Left.
#2 – User-Friendly and Challenge to make it Aesthetic
Both the challenges have been clubbed together on purpose as the customer experience is the defining factor of your success in this business. Thus the Android User Interface should be as interactive as possible keeping in mind the daily activities of the user. Thus the images used need to be properly set and should not move out of place or appear here and there at the wrong time. Also, care should be taken off the fling motion in the User Interface as it should depict motion just as in the real world of the user.
Drawing basic shapes in the XML should be preferred instead of using images as it makes the interface lightweight and gives a faster-using experience to the user. Basic shapes can be drawn with the shape drawable. Its vectors render neat work in the display densities of the screens. For multiple small icons that you use, you need not duplicate the images; the same image can be used with the change in property color option. It can be done as follows
Android:tint=”@color/primary_color”. This will simply change the color of the image.
An app bar is a next thing you need to drive your attention towards. An extremely important element of design in your app, it can make or break your future success as it will enhance the user experience through its interactive nature and visual structure.
An app bar basically is the identification mark or label located at the top of your screen. It provides the location of your app to the user, also helping in the process of functions such as search and navigation. Putting it simply the action bar helps the user in terms of its actions by prioritizing their action and putting it right at the top of its context. Space is a limiting factor in the app bar, however, the excess of actions are fitted through transferring them to the overflow menu.
An action bar or app bar is basically a title bar in the application. The commonly used actions present in the action bar are:
Pop up messages are considered extremely essential by users. They want to round the clock notification without any interruption to their ongoing work. In such a scenario pop up messages become vital. They might not be of great importance but is necessary for the convenience of the user.
A snack bar can be used to for displaying short pop up messages to the user. Most of the times these messages are simply read and ignored by a swipe, however, they can be made interactive by adding an action such as response by the user for a message. This could be possible by adding an action button which would allow the user to quickly act after reading the brief message.
Quick actions are nothing but functions present in the pop-up bar which become active in the presence of the visual elements/buttons on the screen. It ensures that the screen remains de-cluttered and does not occupy the user’s screen space. These are fun to use when provided with and should be off limits when not required
#3 – Challenge of Managing an Android User Interface
People today are so accustomed to getting things done in the first call that they desire anything and everything should work accordingly. Thus developers face a great challenge of ensuring that their best Android User Interface actually mimics the gestures or working of the real world. Thus while on one hand, they want to enjoy a complete visual aura of a photo taken on the other they desire navigation buttons to quickly move to the next. In such a scenario dimming the system, bar helps to achieve the motto.
This feature is better explained with an example. When a user clicks a photograph with a camera, he would love to see the entire picture without any disturbance of icons and navigation bar around it. However, in case of sharing the same picture, the user would want to use the icons to share the photo through the multiple sharing platforms available.
Android does not provide an inbuilt feature for dimming the status bar or the navigation area on the screen. For it to function the user usually touches the status bar or navigation bar and they become fully visible on the screen. So the bars are present but they recede to the background to let you enjoy the clear picture on the fore.
#4 – Let’s Begin the Challenge
Let’s figure out how do we implement the material design on Android. To create android user interface design with the material app:
- Review the material design specification.
- Apply the material theme to your app.
- Create your layouts following material design guidelines.
- Specify the elevation of your views to cast shadows.
- Use system widgets or lists and cards.
- Customize the animations in your app.
While creating a new app with material design features, the Android user interface design guidelines give you a proper design framework to develop and design your app. while android user interface design your layout, it is essential to concentrate on the following
- Baseline Grids
- Touch target size
- Layout structure
The new material theme lets you enjoy a whole set of new designing of the best Android user interface elements and add more colour and vibrancy to your app. it allows you to customize the look and visual appeal of your app according to the color palette of your choice as well as lets you tint the theme and app bars according to the theme attributes chosen by you. The system widget is packed with new android user interface design and touch feedback animations.
The animation in the material design allows the user to give their feedback on their action and gives visual continuity while you interact with the app. some default animations are provided while the latest version of Android lets you customize these animation options and create new ones according to your choice and need.
Android is packed with great features and the developer is allowed the scope to develop a new version while using the same fundamental points. A good design is extremely intricate for a best Android User Interface and a developer must utilize the key functionalities of the Android in its app as the User Interface plays the deciding role in getting the app a go-ahead to be featured in the play store or not.
It is pertinent for a developer that the app he creates contains android User Interface elements according to the mobile device density as the mobile has brought about the people to interact with the software and it holds the key to the future success in this arena. It is also important for a developer to decide its target audience before he decides to the Android User Interface design for its app. Also, continuous survey of the app and the user experience allows both the app and the developer to evolve in their workings.
Thus today’s apps are no more just about functionality and creative genius of the developer but it is more about the molding of the creative genius of the developer according to the user experience of apps. Thus recognizing user experience as the leading key, one should sit down to create a wonderful app that would add to the joyous experience of the user, providing them with the information they needed as and when they needed.
I think what are you waiting for, just take a step ahead towards creating a best android User Interface and perk it up with your sensibilities and user feedback at every step.
This has been a guide to Android User Interface. Here we have discuss the 4 Biggest challenges faced by Android User Interface. You may also look at the following articles-