If you’re a constant reader of my blog, you might remember my post on 7+ Resources for Mobile UI Design. There I presented a bunch of websites offering all sorts of resources to help UI designers in providing better interfaces, ranging from screen shots of apps out there, generic mobile UI patterns or source code to add such patterns to your app out of the box.
Those resources are fantastic in general, many patterns are applicable to any mobile platform. It is a shame though that many designers out there don’t understand to distinguish between what can be placed inside an iPhone UI and what can be placed in an Android UI. Or how the pattern needs to be adapted to match the affordances of the particular system, so that the experience becomes richer.
I’ve seen it too many times that an app is designed for the iPhone first, and then this design is ported 1 to 1 onto Android. Since currently I am working on creating an app concept specifically for Android, in a later post I will share which I believe these differences are and how to approach the creation process to make it the most efficient and effective possible.
Now, I once more combed through the internet to see what Android-specific resources can be found. And there actually are some!
Obviously, Android 4.0 and Google finally (thank God!) deciding to hand over some UI guidelines has made Android a viable system to design for first, and not second.
1. Android Design Guidelines by Google
Just as much as the iOS Human Interface Guidelines are the first thing anyone designing for iOS must have read, Android Design is for Androiders. The website is especially focussing on Android 4.0, but many aspects are valid for earlier versions as well and even if the 2.3 system for instance doesn’t provide some patterns out of the box, custom components can be coded. Information ranges from general patterns, style guides, information on ready-made components as well as guidelines for multi-resolution and density support.
Probably my favorite website for inspiration on iPhone apps is pttrns.com. I’ve always wonder when time will finally arrive for a version of the website that would be dedicated to Android. The time has come! AndroidPttrns’s counter for now only displays 19, but I am more than sure it will further grow. I can’t wait!
UPDATE: A week ago another website with Android App screenshots went live, I just updated it to be item 2.B on our great resource list: Android App Patterns
2.B Android App Patters
This is my new Android favorite, where AndroidPttrns used to be it, simply because it collects more screenshots that the other website. Definitely worth a look!
3. Android Patterns
I’ve already presented the Android Patterns website in my other posts. It’s a fantastic collection of interaction patterns, presented in the classical way that design patterns are defined: a pair consisting of “problem and solution”. The collection is impressive.
4. Android Controls
Remember Cocoa Controls from the other post? YAY, there’s also Android Controls now! OK, I must admit for now there’s only one control available, the website seems to recently have launched (I had not heard of it a couple of months ago…). Once the word is spread, this could become a promising resource page. Developers, share your code! :-)
OK, this is my contribution for this post, later on I will write about why iOS != Android, why and how you should take the differences into consideration. Until then, happy designing and stay tuned! :-)