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Android Anti-Patterns
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A nice roundup of some of the common Android anti-patterns by +JR Raphael.
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Themer

For an app that is all about #AndroidDesign+Themer ignores or breaks many of the official design patterns. They call this release "beta," so hopefully these issues will be fixed soon. Here are a few notables:

1. Lack of touch feedback everywhere
Most tappable screen elements do not respond to interaction (e.g., Action Bar buttons, list items, grid items, bottom-bar buttons).

2. Incorrect Drawer pattern and indicator usage
Drawers shouldn't hide the Action Bar and should be available in all screens via edge swipe. "Up" affordance should only be used next to the app icon when in lower-level screens.

3. Fake Action Bar
Horizontally centered titles, off-centered vertical alignment, lack of long-press response on Action Buttons, oh my! I still don't understand why developers use fake Action Bars in these situations. (::cough:: Google+)

4. Specific device resolutions and orientations
Themer only supports 8 device resolution profiles and doesn't support landscape orientation. The Nexus 4 resolution (1280 x 768) isn't even listed! This is a clear sign that things are not being done correctly.

5. Broken sharing
It appears to allow you to share different parts of the app, but no matter where you hit "Share", it shows the same "sign up for Themer" message (i.e., there is no way to share a specific theme, even if you hit share from the theme's details page). They're also using the wrong API, which allows users to select "Always" as the share action (makes no sense).

6. Pull to refresh
Uses pull-to-refresh pattern without any alternative way to refresh, nor any indication that the pattern is used. Zero discoverability.

7. Requires login
It requires you to log in with Google or Facebook to do anything. You can't "apply" a theme, or even "favorite" one without logging in. Still worse, there is no way to sign up without a Google or Facebook account.

Being such a high profile app that is centered around design, I truly hope that MyColorScreen starts setting a better example.

By +Paul Burke 
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Number 5 is really good... Contextual sharing is incredibly important and it always pisses me off so much when it is not implemented properly :-/
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Android Anti-Patterns

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Have you seen the first episode of +Reto Meier's show, devoted to abolishing Android anti-patterns, "Table Flip"? This week: Exit Buttons.

#AndroidDesign  
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Loved it! Can't wait for more
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This post is by +Juhani Lehtimäki 

It is time to publicly shame an app. There are two reason why I'm writing this. Firstly, this app is from a large publishing company that should understand the importance of presentation. Secondly, this app is featured on Google Play. In fact it has been featured on the Play Store already over a month! If apps like these keep getting featured what hope is there for any improvement in general quality of the app selection? Developers who work hard to create great apps that follow the guidelines are discouraged by allowing apps like this to be featured on the store. This situation needs to change!

The app is Spiegel Online: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.spiegel.android.app.spon

I also used this app as a bad example when I talked about tabs in my blog some time ago: http://www.androiduipatterns.com/2012/08/tips-for-android-tabs.html

I think this app does everything wrong that is possible to do wrong. See the attached images for details.
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+Alvin Brinson 
Agreed!
Also, some stubborn clients want their app to look exactly the same on both Android and iPhone. Even though the developers repeatedly explain that Android and iOS have different UI designs. And that mimicking other platform UI designs is a very bad idea.
But, what can you do other than declining their projects. So, the developers, tired of having their advices ignored by the clients and not wanting to lost revenue, will just do it.
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This is an anti-pattern that seems to be becoming more widely used lately. This is also something that is very simple to avoid.

I'm using an app called NVision as an example here (which is otherwise a pretty nice app). This app shows notifications for new stories by default (which I think is the wrong default but that's not the point of this post). The problem is that when I tap the notification I'm taken to a screen saying "loading content". This should not happen! If your app notifies that there's a new content that content should be instantly accessible by tapping the notification without any loading screens or splash screens. 

Bottom line: don't show a notification about new content until that content is finished loading so you can show it to the user without any delay.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.velosmobile.tribble

Post by +Juhani Lehtimäki 
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Loading screens are boring and sometimes the dev blocks every possible action when loading something in that boring screen...
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New Google+ "Quick Return" Action Bar

The recent update to +Google+ on Android includes an emerging pattern called "Quick Return". You can read more about it at +Android UI Patterns here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115177579026138386092/posts/iQvkJmHnXPM

It's very useful in certain situations, like Google Now, but the implementation in Google+ is questionable. These are Action Buttons, which Google has clearly defined in the #AndroidDesign guidelines. However, they seem to go against almost all of the recommendations. Here are some of the issues:

- Not using Split Action Bar pattern. [1]
- The bar is taller than 48dp. [2]
- The icons are too large. [3]
- Can easily be confused with Top Bar Actions (like tabs). [4]
- They don't pop into the action bar when in landscape and on large/xlarge screens. [5]
- The user must perform a scroll in order to access an Action, in certain situations.

 If Action Buttons are supposed to make "important actions prominent and accessible in a predictable way," I'm not sure what to call these.

By +Paul Burke

[1] http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/actionbar.html#considerations-split-action-bars
[2] http://developer.android.com/design/style/metrics-grids.html#48dp-rhythm
[3] http://developer.android.com/design/style/iconography.html#action-bar
[4] http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/actionbar.html#elements
[5] http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/actionbar.html#adapting-rotation
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+Adam Powell I've been thinking about it, and there are a few things I can immediately recognize. There is definitely this feeling that  adding a new post belongs at the top of the content, which is perhaps, influenced by the chome-vs-content emphasis you speak of.

Over the years, I have been trained to expect the main actions of a web interface to be in the content area, while navigation typically resides in the header. Using the + Share button, for me, would initially require a conscious effort.  

It's also influenced by the time-sensitive nature of most of my posts. I often check that what I am sharing has not recently been shared, before posting.

Lastly, the in-content field inherently feels more likely to maintain it's state (drafts). I, irrationally, expect the popup nature of the + Share button to be fragile.
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PayPal

One of the worst things a company can do is to lose sight of the core competency of it's product. Version 5 of +PayPal for #Android  is a great example of this. It perfectly articulates why design should always accommodate the most-common use case, not the one the company most desires.

Things are immediately off to a bad start when you launch the app and are greeted with a splash screen. (1) A ubiquitous unwritten #AndroidDesign  principle is, "Don't make me wait". PayPal shows the splash screen while it logs in and attempts to acquire the device location, so that it's able to present shops nearby. This is egregious on two levels:

First, the main functions of PayPal are to transfer money to other people and act as a middleman for online transactions. My location isn't needed for either of those tasks. PayPal would like brick-and-mortar shopping to become part of it's business, so they made it the first thing you see. (3) I have no interest in using PayPal this way, but I must now wait for my location to be determined every time I open the app.

Second, even if the (overzealous) product designers insisted on "Shop" being the landing page, there is simply no reason to prevent the user from accessing other parts of the app while the location is being fetched. What's worse, after waiting upwards of 10 seconds for the splash screen to go away, the list of shops is not even populated. The screen is empty and there is another spinner! (2)

PayPal also completely disregards the established patterns for the Navigation Drawer. Not only is the Action Bar moved with the sliding content (4), but the Drawer is opened by a back button press. These types of things may seem minor, but they throw off flow and confuse user's expectations.

As if hijacking the back button's natural behavior wasn't bad enough, PayPal then shows a "are you sure you want to exit" dialog when trying to back out (from the Drawer). (5)

A small annoyance: When you send someone money from the app, it now shows a ridiculous "Sent using the PayPal Mobile application". There is no way to disable this.

Perhaps the worst offense: PayPal is locked to portrait orientation. Come on people, this is getting old. It's pure laziness.

It used to be fast and easy to get in-and-out of PayPal. Doing things like making transfers and checking balance were immediately available. After-all, that is it's primary purpose. It's too bad that it seems the company is more focused on what it wants, instead of what users want.

There are many parts of the redesign that are nice, where Android patterns are used appropriately. Unfortunately, these aspects of the app are overshadowed by it's fundamental issues.

By +Paul Burke
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Good review. From the screen shots it actually looks like a very nicely designed and Android-y app, but the UX is very flawed -- as your review clearly and concisely shows!
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Selective Orientation

It's been a while since we've posted here, and though  #AndroidDesign  has come a long way it the past year, the anti-patterns have not disappeared.

Orientation locking has always been one of the most prevalent Android anti-patterns. The only thing worse that locking an entire app to one orientation is only allowing select screens to be rotated. There are still many phones that have landscape hardware keyboards, and even some blackberry-style devices that are naturally landscape. Using locked apps on these types of phones are embarrassing, and provides great motivation to leave 1 star reviews.

Digg recently released their Android app, and this "selective orientation" issue taints an, otherwise, well-done and Android-appropriate app. This is compounded by the fact that the article screen doesn't maintain scroll position when changing orientation. That's pretty unacceptable for a "reader" app.

These issues are extremely easy to fix (if the app is built properly). Hoping to see Digg get to it sooner than later!

By +Paul Burke 
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For me, it's a reason to immediately uninstall.

The only exception are must have apps like banking apps. But as a category banking apps are the worst offenders. 
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Android Anti-Patterns

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If your Android app shows a compatibility menu button on Android 4.0 or above... #androiddev

(Paid for by the android:targetSdkVersion="14" or newer foundation.)
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+1 for anything Zoidberg
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Android Anti-Patterns

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Changed our name to Android Anti-Patterns, since our discussions often go beyond user interfaces.

That is all.
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Android Anti-Patterns

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Just wrote the 1st Android UI/UX Tips for my blog which aimed to share my opinion on some not-so-great UI/UX examples and their possible improvements.

In this issue, I've looked into some examples that used confusing/inappropriate colors, as well as unnecessary (and ugly) navigation.

Feel free to comment on them if you have anything in mind. I will write more if I have any in the coming future.

#Android #AndroidDesign #AndroidDev #UI #UX   
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Android Anti-Patterns

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Pinterest

I had never used +Pinterest until I just tried it on my Nexus 7. I must say, the Android app is very well done, and really looks good. They've taken some small liberties on #AndroidDesign patterns while maintaining strong branding, and delivering a great presentation without sacrificing familiarity.

At a high level, there are Action Bars (kind of), ViewPager (swipe-able views), proper action menus and sharing, and layouts that scale well to different screen sizes and orientations. The app is fast and responsive, and a pleasure to use.

With those virtues, you may be wondering why we're posting about it...

This is, admittedly, nitpicking, but if you're going to create a new icon for Android, and especially if that means simply adding slight perspective, why not follow the guidelines?

Google on Android icons:

Three-dimensional, front view, with a slight perspective as if viewed from above, so that users perceive some depth.

When they say "above," it's in the context of a 3-dimensional space. By contrast, the Pinterest icon is viewed from below.

http://developer.android.com/design/style/iconography.html#launcher

By +Paul Burke 

Portions of this page are reproduced from work created and shared by the Android Open Source Project and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License.
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Danny Holyoake's profile photoTaylor Ling's profile photoJoshwin Greene's profile photoPieter-Jan Vandormael's profile photo
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Yeah everything except the icon is great. BTW anyone know how they created those nice animations between activities?
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Popular apps that don't follow Android design conventions.
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Discussing popular apps that don't follow Android design conventions, and how they could be improved.