I am an Android developer and enthusiast with over 10 years of Java development experience. I'm big fan of good design an appreciate well though usability design in applications. Juhani is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 110 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Beautiful Android design - more visually appealing apps

08.24.2011
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Amount of beautiful apps in Android Market has steadily increased in the last months. I think that more and more companies are reacting to the massive traction Android platform has.

Another recent positive development is the quality of Google's own apps. I've been hoping for long time that Google would only release high quality and well designed apps and act as an example to everyone else. I think that change is finally happening.

I wrote about "Visual appeal of Android apps" also back in April.


Android Market
(Market link)

The new Android Market design is both functional and visually good. I've written posts related to the new Android Market before (Elsewhere in the web - Pushing PixelsHow to tell users that more content is available - ie. indicating horizontal swipeUI design patterns in Google+ and Android Market)





Google Music Beta
(Market link)

Google's Music app follows UI patterns and is very easy to use. It is also visually appealing. The changing background colors and translucent action bar are nice ideas and fit into a music app perfectly. Google designers' and engineers' attention to details is admirable in this case. Kudos.







Buildings
(Market link)

Design of the Buildings app is very impressive. The app has feel of Android app and it uses Android UI patterns. Everything from icons to the fine background gradients are beautiful.

The app is also available on iOS (iTunes link). Comparing screenshots of both versions shows that the Android version is by far superior on it's design and also that the app team has done a great job translating their iOS design into Android platform.



An additional mention has to be made to the excellent way the app handles login or more specifically lack of forced login. When users first open the app they see the following screen. It clearly explains what users gain by registering but also lets users try the app without having to do it. Superb work!



LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently revised their Android and iOS app. Now, this is an interesting one. The new design is visually very nice. On the other hand the app doesn't follow many of Android's UI patterns. 

The Android version is very similar to the iOS version. Designers at LinkedIn have done a good job to find a middle ground and design that suits both platforms. This is the first app design that I've seen that works on both platforms with minimal change.



Paper Camera
(Market link)

I generally oppose redesigning the whole widget toolkit for an app as it creates inconsistency and possible stability and usability problems. In case of Paper Camera I make an exception. Style of the app perfectly matches the content. Very nicely done!




Conclusion
Just in six short months the quality of an average Android app has risen tremendously. Arguably we're still behind the iOS app quality but nobody can deny that the difference is getting smaller really fast. This  is a change I'm very happy to see.
References
Published at DZone with permission of Juhani Lehtimaki, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Gagan Peter replied on Sat, 2012/04/14 - 4:51am

I strongly disagree about the new Market app. The new Market UI is noisy, chaotic, and filled with huge, intrusive advertisements. It is next to impossible to discern what is an image, what is an ad, and what is an actual button. The app is much more difficult to navigate among the noisy images to find what I'm looking for. The menu links at the top of each category are not only difficult to use, but you can't see what all the selections are at a glance. When you try to swipe the category menu left and right, you get sidebars appearing unexpectedly.

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