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Importance of Platform Specific UI Design for Mobile Applications – Part2

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Here, I have listed a few basic differences between iOS and Android screen layout and will explain how minor changes in the design will affect user experience and adaptability.

1.Back Navigation –

Usually, an Android user expects the hardware back button to be functional for him to navigate to the previous screens in the app. The system back button present on the Android phones helps them to go back to the previous screens, but this is not possible with iOS. There is generally a back button on the header bar (or as we call it a navigation bar) which helps the user to navigate to the previous screen.

Back Button in app (iOS)  vs. Hardware Back Button (Android)         

An alert pop-up shown (iOS) vs. Toast shown to notify user (Android)

2.Gestures –

There is always some user expectation set for gesture based interaction on each platform.

  1. Unlike iOS user, Android users expect a horizontal swipe to switch between tabs.
  2. If we consider deletion of an item from a list view/table view, Android incorporates horizontal swipe on the item to delete it from the list whereas iOS has a pre-defined right to left swipe which makes the “Delete” button appear on the list item to delete it.
  3. Unlike iOS, there is no snapping or bounce back effect on the page boundaries while scrolling to the end on Android.
  4. Unlike Android, where left to right swipe is reserved either for opening the navigation drawer or any on screen swipe-able content, on iOS, this gesture can be utilized to take you back to the previous screen..

 

Menu items present as tabs in the bottom vs. A navigation drawer available on left-to-right swipe

3.Segment Controls –

When it comes to switching between different content in a single view, iOS uses Segment control whereas Android has a visually very distinctive style to show the same control as shown below.

 

 

Segment Control vs. Tabs in the form of line buttons 

These are a few basic examples which I have discussed here. There are a lot of other important differences in terms of user controls like drop down in android vs picker in iOS, action sheets, icons, button styles, search bar, animations, etc. For an iOS developer, replicating native controls of any other platform on iOS might increase the complexity of the development.

Users’ Perspective –

When people tend to go with a common design for both the platforms, it leads to user experience problems irrespective of how aesthetically the app is designed. Users will expect an experience aligned with their platform. Finally, it is the end-user who decides how to navigate to a certain page, how to slide the menu in, what effect to expect on tap of any button etc. When the users get to interact with their platform specific components, they need to spend less time and effort on learning how to use it. The reason being that they are already quite accustomed to the platform conventions.

Important takeaways from the blog –

  1. The app should use the UI components which follow the platform-specific guidelines just like the rest of the system. It’s a bad idea to redefine them.
  2. It is important to achieve consistency across apps for a single platform.
  3. It becomes easy to revise or expand the design if the specifications are kept separate.
  4. The focus should be on making the UI different and unique to the platform while retaining the look and feel that unifies the brand.

 

Creative and a good design comprises of a balanced combination of brand and platform-oriented design. The focus should be on both – the look and the usability of the app.

Custom experience is good to have feature in the apps for the users to explore something new or different from their default platform, but sticking to the standards always wins when it comes to saving the time of the product team and saving the time of the products’ end-users by not making them spend extra time in learning the new controls. Please note we, as developers, have a clear understanding of UX and UI. They are not the same. UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design.

When we design any app, we should remember that our prime focus should be end-users, their ease to use the app and how quickly and well they adapt to the app.

References –

  1. https://www.prlog.org/12254771-top-7-reasons-why-mobile-users-uninstall-apps.html
  2. http://iosdesign.ivomynttinen.com/
  3. http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/a-tale-of-two-platforms-designing-for-both-android-and-ios–cms-23616

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