Our lead Android Developer, Luke Wallace, recently attended Mobile + Web DevCon in Chicago – a semi-annual conference focusing on both native & mobile web development, Luke has spoken several times on a variety of Android topics. This time, he focused on Building a Compatible Android UI, describing how Bottle Rocket builds apps that work on thousands of different devices, without being burdensome to designers or developers.
When asked his thoughts on trends he’s saw at the conference, he had these words:
“Mobile is really getting personal. It’s no longer appropriate to just build an app that checks the boxes of functionality. You need to make a connection with the user, and fit in with their life, not try to conform them to your vision of how to use the app. This can really take a functional app to the next level, resulting in more downloads, more usage, and more satisfaction from the user.”
Luke’s presentation aligned with this thought by giving attendees tips on how to personalize their Android apps to look great on all sorts of Android devices. He split his talk between discussing design and development, giving attendees tips on how their apps could look, as well as how to do the implementation. A few of the key takeaways included:
- Use dp, not px – Pixel counts are not as important on Android due to the various densities of different displays. Use the built in metric of dp to make your app look consistent across devices.
- Group devices into buckets – Although there are thousands of devices, there are four big groups that most of these fall into: small phones, large phones, 7” tablets, and 10” tablets. Think about the design on those four, and you’ll handle nearly every device well.
- Squash & Stretch & Scroll – Much like web design has changed to handle various browser window sizes, Android apps can be built to handle small variations in screen size. Think about screen elements in terms of relative placement, and decide which areas would stretch on a slightly larger screen.
Bottle Rocket strives to follow these best practices, and bring a personal experience to every user of our apps. With help from great Rocketeers like Luke, we’re able to push ourselves, our clients, and our users to the next level of great user experiences.