Android app UX

By : Anish John

Creating great UX for Android app – A few pointers

Launch time is always exciting. The hard work of many people for months or years coming to a successful end. You are eager to see how people react to your android app and the ratings soar up. But on the bitter side, if people have issues connecting to your app or some compatibility issues, they will murder you with ruthless reviews and ratings. It is not a good way to end up after spending so much effort on the app.

Android app development is always tricky. You have a requirement which you feel is simple (which actually is simple). But with android you have multiple permutation combinations (multiple screen sizes, thousands of manufacturers, various android versions) in the equation which makes even the simplest of problems complex. Let me share our experience developing an application for doctors of IADVL society for our client HealthConnectDigital PTE.

The first and foremost thing that we need to do is to get into our users shoes. Think how you will react when a page takes some time to load or how you would like a simpler form instead of a big one. These are all small things, but together it make a big difference. Let us go through the small things one by one.

1. Forms

Forms are very boring! Entering data is very tedious  for everyone. So please ask to enter only whatever is necessary. Don’t ask your users to fill out large forms especially during sign up. You will lose many users just because of that. When implementing forms, the most important thing is to set the correct input type for the edit texts. If you are asking for phone number, there is no need for the alphabets to be shown. So set the input type as only numbers. Likewise for emails, addresses etc. Also when asking for names, set the edit text so that the first alphabet is always caps. This will give you formatted data and also will make the process easier for the users. Creating nice and easy forms itself is matter for another article which I will post later.

 

EditText first letter caps

Make the edit text to first letter caps when entering the name.

email input type

Select the email input type when entering email.

phone number input type

The respective input type when entering phone numbers.

2. User Interface (UI)

I have seen lot of good meaningful apps being not used because of the UI design. When you are developing apps for android, google has recommended UI components that should be used. If you need to use a Tab Layout in your android app, please go with the one provided by android using material design and not custom make layouts that wont look good and users wont find it easy. Hence use only simple layouts instead of going for funky layouts. Implement the simple layouts in the best possible manner so that users will love using your app.

3. Instant Loading

Everyone loves apps that takes less time to load. But 90% of the time, I have seen developers building android app that takes lot of time to load when moving from one screen to another. This is a very bad practice and it would drive your users away as research shows that nobody likes to wait for more than 4 secs. It is very important to keep the loading time below that mark.

For keeping the loading time below that mark, you need to store data offline using SQLLite. You need to load data from the local db and not directly from the api response so that your UI doesn’t need to wait till the response from api is received. Update the local db in the background using services. Also when user is filling some forms, try not to wait him until the response is received from the api after clicking submit. Store that request in db and call the api in background.  If you do this, your app would feel great for a person using that as all the screens will load instantly.

4. Minimize number of apis

If you can get the data for multiple screens in a single api, try doing that as it will help in reducing the time delay that happens when calling apis. Here you will think that the response data size would become bigger which would affect the performance. Unless you have an api which has response with over 2000 records, you won’t have any issues as the process would be smooth. As I have already mentioned, if you are calling api using a background service then any size does not matter as the UI thread wont be utilized for that.

5. Keep your android app Interactive

Everyone loves to be kept informed. So whatever process is happening, which is making the user wait, you need to inform the user which will make him understand something is worthwhile is happening and the app is not killing my time because of poor implementation.

6. Custom Tabs

If your app has a web view to show webpages, you will have to think about moving from web view to Custom Tabs which is a better way to implement the webpage embedding without losing the feel of your app. You can get all the features of a browser without letting the user move away from your app. Custom tabs will make the webpage load 4 times faster than web view. Please try this out as it will make hell of a difference to user experience.

Chrome Custom Tabs Implementation

Using custom tabs gives great UX and makes web pages load faster.

These are few points that will help in designing and building an android app that your users will love. I will be posting some articles in detail about the above mentioned points in the coming days. Will keep the links updated here. Please subscribe our blog if you find it useful and we wont spam you but will send across useful articles to your mailbox. You can contact me directly at [email protected]

 

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