Google is on a mission to improve the way in which websites and applications are designed. For example, it has created design guidelines it calls material design that is continually being updated. All of these efforts are aimed towards giving the user a better experience regardless of what they are looking at, or the device used to look at it.
As part of this design philosophy, Google published its Android Design Principles. They are grouped into three main headings:
· Enchant Me – generally concerns appearance
· Simplify My Life -- means making apps that are easy and intuitive to use
· Make Me Amazing – is mostly for giving people ownership and making them feel capable of using all of the app's functions
These are high-level objectives, but there are some key design principles within them that every Android developer should implement. Here are five of them.
1. Get to Know Me
This means creating Android applications that learn about the preferences of users, rather than asking them the same questions over and over again. This improves the user experience by speeding up their interaction with the app.
2. Keep it Brief
Long lines of texts, complicated words and convoluted messages are considered bad Android design. Instead, make the messages, instructions and content on the screen concise and straight to the point, and use simple, everyday language.
3. Only Show What I Need When I Need It
This is about creating apps that are clean and uncluttered. One way to do this is to avoid crowding the screen with lots of options, links and menu items. These options and features should all be available to the user, but only when the user decides they want them. An example of this is putting three vertical dots in the corner of the screen to show the user that there is a menu. When the user wants to use the menu, they will tap on it. When they don't want to use it, the menu stays out of their way.
4. Make Important Things Fast
Your app will probably do several things. For example, a game will have the option to change settings, view high scores, or make in-app purchases. But the most important function on a game app is the button that says "Play". Therefore, this should be prominent so that it is easy to find and easy to use.
Another example that many people use on a regular basis is the shutter button on a camera. It is—and should be—the biggest and most obvious button on the interface.
5. Do the Heavy Lifting for Me
This is all about empowering the user by getting the app to perform functions with a single tap. For example, your app might allow your users to do a combination of functions: A, B, C or D. To follow this design principle you would make it even easier by creating additional ways to do A+B or A+B+C+D etc.
An example is applying filters to a photo. You could have individual filters, but also give your users options that apply multiple filters that you know work well together. This will make the user feel like they are achieving more, although they are not investing any additional time or effort.
These are good starting points for creating an app that is driven by user experience, rather than one driven by function or content.