in the mobile design space

1 Jul 2011 - 4:16pm
5 years ago
4 replies
1415 reads

back in the day, I remember attending living surfaces conferences and at one, the designer of the very first volkswagen site talked about a review of her work. The reviewer stated that this site broke from the tradition of (early) web work in that there was not a grey background, text was not centered across the entirety of the page, or all in blue.  Her take away, appropriately, was that she was flattered by the comment.

As I look across the design of android apps, desperately seeking examples that are good, but not derivative of the iOS. I find my self wondering... do developers that are invested in that platform reject good UI and good design as a reaction to the influence of apple. Is there a prejudice in that (developer dominated) space so strong that the notion of good design is parallel and equated with iOS apps?


2 Jul 2011 - 9:46am
Jared M. Spool

Hi Mark,

I found the notion of "derivative of iOS" interesting, since most of the design tropes found in iOS apps are not found in Apple's own iOS apps.

I question the notion that Android app designers are "under the influence of Apple" as much as they are not innovating, which is common in any new platform. Mobile designers are not immune to Sturgeon's Law, so 90% of everything produced is likely to be crap. It would be nice to find a way to collect the 10% that are good in a way where we can start to learn to influence the design.


2 Jul 2011 - 10:42am

Thanks for the reply Jared.

We are trying to restructure the influences, strategy and direction here in our mobile group. We have a group of developers that are part of a strong, local android developer community. Their primary feedback about our android work is that we are iphone focused. They aren't wrong, as much of our mobile direction was executive push towards 'apps' and specifically iOS. Until recently we simply mapped the functionality and branding of our iphone app to the android platform (with exceptions for hardware buttons). The curious thing about the actual feedback from those developers was how it was termed... "we failed to achieve an android look and feel". So we went on a search to find out what that was specifically. Still looking.

3 Jul 2011 - 12:49am

Hi Mark and Jared,

If the Sturgeon's Law holds true, it won't be too difficult to find that 10% as the number of Android apps in the Android Market and beyond is expected to grow beyond Apple's App Store very soon.

With regards to 'android look and feel', I think it is fair to say that Android and iOS have different UI conventions, for example: The widgets in iOS work as non-permanent modal dialogs, while the widgets in Android are fixed in the 'Launch' screen (or 'Home' screen in iOS).

I think It would be good if we could start mapping design patterns, in addition to functionality and branding of your iPhone App, to achieve the 'android look and feel'.

Adi Tedjasaputra

Komunitas Android Indonesia

F. facebook/andronesia

4 Jul 2011 - 1:52am
Yohan Creemers

Unlike Android apps, iPhone apps have to go through a quality control before they may enter the app store. I guess this is the main reason why the quality of Android apps is more diverse.

Josh Clarck observed that iPhone apps are focussed on content/media and Android apps on tools/functionality. A difference in look and feel is very logical then. 

The site is collecting interaction patterns for Android apps. These kind of initiatives may fill the gap caused by the lack of design guidelines for the Android platform.

- Yohan

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