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PSA: Android Team Doesn’t Want Your Cross-Platform Apps Looking Like iOS or Windows Phone

If you haven’t cruised over to the Android Developers site in a while, I recommend that you do, as it has been completely overhauled and includes all sorts of fun information. The site is much more beautifully designed now, easy to navigate, and should help all developers create more fantastic Android apps going forward. But even if you aren’t a developer, you are bound to learn something about Android that you didn’t previously know. 

With that said, we couldn’t help but get a laugh out of the “Pure Android” page at the bottom of the “Patterns” column in the “Design” section of the site. The focus is on making Android apps look nothing like their cross-platform counterparts. It’s an entire section dedicated to helping developers create apps that fit the Android platform, rather than being exact copies of their versions for iOS or Windows Phone.

It’s funny because many of these design tips have been brought up in the ongoing battle between Samsung and Apple. Take the icon sets for example. Google is reminding developers that there is a specific set of icons that they should be using when developing apps for Android. While it may be easier to create one app design for all platforms, it can lead to an inconsistent experience as each OS behaves differently.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they want apps that look absolutely nothing like an app from another OS. In fact, they still want your branding to be front a center, however, they don’t want you to carry over rounded buttons, bottom fixed action bars, labeled back buttons, etc.

All jokes aside, if developers do follow these guidelines, it will lead to a much more consistent experience on Android, something we have begged for.

Via:  Android Developers

Cheers E!

  • Google is making all the effort to make android the best OS system. I hope the developers follow these guidelines.

  • Terrormaster

    Yeah, I don’t agree with this philosophy at ALL. As a developer and a UX designer I feel it’s super important to have a consistent UX across all platforms. The problem I’m seeing here is that both platforms have different design ideologies that they push on their developers. Of course Apple is a lot more draconian about this and will out right reject apps from the market if they don’t meet those standards. While I agree basic functions should fit the look and feel of the OS, the app itself should remain consistent.

    • That’s fine if you create your own icons. Just don’t borrow iOS standard icons when designing your app for Android.

  • ed

    Windowsphone icons and apps are elegant.. You get the same experience across the board…

  • Haha when I first got my Galaxy Nexus people would hate on it for being too big!

  • nightscout13

    I don’t see Mozilla, Google, and Microsoft fighting over the refresh, home, and back buttons in browsers… Once a symbol has been accepted as universal, there is no reason to fight over who copied who.

  • kevinc

    perhaps the chrome team can take this advice (refresh icon)

  • Or big empty blank space due to not bothering to fix screen sizes.

  • Alex Pacheco

    Or big empty blank space due to not bothering to fix screen sizes.

  • That Page has been there since day one of the design guideline Page. Not new

  • Stinker

    What they REALLY need to do is set some design guidelines and STICK WITH THEM. When I first downloaded the SDK in 2009 I started reading the guidelines, and at the time icons were supposed to be a 3/4 view with pseudo-3d. And even then only half of Google’s own apps used them.

    Keep changing your design guidelines and even people that follow them aren’t going to be uniform.

    • jathak

      Yes, but back then, Android didn’t really have a consistent style. With Honeycomb and particularly ICS and Jelly Bean, Android is really trying to define and improve its style, which means that the current guidelines should stay current for a while to come.

  • jeff3yan

    Finally some decent design guidelines. It gets a bit annoying seeing half my apps look like they were a half-assed port from another platform.

    • The design guidelines have been around since January 2012 🙂

  • Andrew

    Those iOS screenshots are so small

    • The iPhone is like a baby phone.

      • Noyfb

        Iphones, retaining their infancy, just like the people who run it

      • i agree with you. Apple will never compete with android ever again.

    • It’s funny when my friends who have iPhones say their phone is bigger than my phone with a 4.7 inch screen. We compare them, the look on their face when their entire phone is pretty much the size of my phone’s screen is priceless.

      • The look an i phone owner gave me when I paid for my MCDonalds breakfast with google wallet. priceless

        • The look the Cashiers give me in small stores when I do that is priceless

      • nightscout13

        What kind of idiot friends do you have that want to argue that their iPhone is bigger than a 4.7 inch screen?????

        • The size of their egos are bigger?

        • The best thing about android is that we have choice. I bet I phone 5 will still be 3.5 inch display lol.

          • zWsA

            I bet the the iPhone 5 will have a 3.0 inch 1920×1080 “Super Retina” display! Wooooooh!

    • I saw an iPhone a few days after getting my GNex last December and the first honest-to-goodness thought that came into my brain was, “oh isn’t that cute lil’ thing so adorable?” haha! I wouldn’t touch one with a 10 foot stick.

      I loooooove 4.65 inches.

      • Andrew

        Yeah, but I bet your girlfriend wishes it was bigger

        • Matthew Merrick

          we use android, hence, ours ARE bigger. =P

          i feel sorry for the poor iPhonies

        • aaaahahahahaha!

          You win the internet, @BravoLeader2:disqus 🙂

      • The iphone are for little kids and people with very small hands.

  • ddevito

    then they need to have stricter policies and stop their bellyaching. They can’t have their cake and eat it too.

    If you call yourself an OPEN platform then STFU.

    Now on the other hand, I couldn’t agree more! :p

    • D4niel

      Having an open platform doesn’t mean you can’t give suggestions on how to design a apps that give users consistent experiences.

      • MBS


  • One of my pet peeves is android apps that try to look exactly like their obviously iphone counterpart. Some devs even go as far as taking screen shots of ios UI elements to use in the android GUI. That seems like more work for little-to-no gain, not to mention it’s annoying.

    • Some developers try. Some even succeed!

    • moelsen8

      those devs are lazy and I’m sure they’ve thought of android users as second class citizens for the longest time.