8 Tips to Design Apps for Android Screens

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Useful Resources | 0 comments

Is it really difficult to create apps specifically meant for Android devices? Is Android being an “open source” platform a concern for app developers owing to which safe and secure apps seem to be out of Android’s dictionary? A lot of developers and competitors believe that the open source is a cause of concern especially when it becomes the source of costly and time consuming app development.

Nobody can deny the fact that developing apps for Android is indeed a challenging affair, but it is not secure or it is too difficult would be exaggerating the matter. There are developers who vouch for the fact, that though it is difficult and challenging, it is one of the best platforms to develop an app for. It is a robust ecosystem, but the only hitch is that you should know the trick of the trade. Here are 8 tips that might just help you design an app for Android screens.

Use Relative References

An app developer should always maintain relative references when trying to create an app specifically for Android screens. It is important to understand that Android does not understand or comprehend absolute references. A relative layout view group container is the perfect solution for the apps that you will plan to develop using Android platform. The whole issue with absolute layout view group container is that it works best for old Android devices that run on cupcake platform.

Avoid Hard Coding Image Sizes

As an app designer and developer, try avoiding hard coding the image sizes. Instead of giving them the specifics, try using codes like wrap_ content or match_parent which can match the dimensions of the image in a much better way. With wrap_content you will see that the image and its contents are resized on their own. With match_parent you will need to specify a size which will be the benchmark for resizing.

Define Values of DIP

If you are specifying actual values for the dimensions of the images, try to use density independent pixels instead of mentioning the pixel size. This has been introduced on Android SDK to perfect the dimensions of your images. With this DIP being specified, you can always gain optimal resolutions and sizes of your images on Android based devices. You would never have to deal with specific resolutions or densities. You can easily play in the world of generalized solutions.

Using Resource Folders

Have you tried scaling Bitmaps for your app? You would see that scaling and perfecting a bitmap can become a strangulating affair. With Android, there is a feature that allows you to define the various resources like density etc. specifically for the various bitmaps. All you need to do is use the resource folders and recreate a bitmap atmosphere.

Res/<resources_name>-<config_qualifier> is the code that you would need to use to create resource folder and place the specific resources within these folders. The resource folders would be called in when the app begins and thus the various resources would be specified. You can define as many resources as you want using this tool.

Use XML Shapes

Here is yet another tip to work with Android apps. Try creating XML based drawables for the Android screens instead of hitting on custom shapes that you might get easily. This approach not just reduces the number of bitmaps and hence the resolution required for the screen, but also lowers the use of overheads and custom assets. This in short helps you reduce the size of the Android SDK, and thus fastens the app without any hiccups.

9 Patch Bubbles

Instead of creating an image specifically for one of the several standard elements on your Android app, try using 9 patch bubbles. You can use these bubbles to fix a button or a patch on your app. This will help you decide which part of the image needs to be increased in size while which part should stay fixed. It is a great tool especially for Android SDK.

Real Time Preview

There is a real time preview available with Android’s layout editor. This allows you a sneak peek into text as well as design view of the app. You can configure the various devices as well as the designs using this editor. It is one of the best ways to preview how your app would look on a particular device.

Fragments for Tablets

While it is easy to develop for mobiles, it becomes extremely difficult when you start developing an app for the tablets. You won’t see the same effect building up on two differently configured devices, and that is a cause of concern for the developers. What you will need to do is use resource folder to help you out in this situation. You will need to specify the layout for tablet using the resource folder. Fragments, introduced by Google, which allows you to use the different modular dimensions of an interface in different combinations, can be used to build a layout for your application on specific android device.

About the Author
Juned Ahmed is IndianAppDevelopers consultant for software, he joined IndianAppDevelopers company in 2009, following 10 years of software marketing experience with various software companies. He also writes a blog on mobile and web technologies.

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