Tips on how to improve your ‪Android‬ ‪UX

During recent Android app clinics I hosted and/or attended, I started noticing developers/designers implement some common UX flaws and found myself questioning if they know how to do proper UX.
Some of those Android applications I’ve seen are really well thought out from a technical point of view, but lack good UX.

So maybe I should share some techniques/tips on how to improve the UX.

1) Analyze

Do some analysis on your current (or future) UX design. As designer and/or developer we tend to think we know everything, but we don’t. Your application may be used differently than you might think.
Knowing how users are using or will use your application is valid information in making a good UX design, as the focus is, and always should be, the user.

  • Do usability tests to discover problems or bottle-necks in your design. This can be done by actually sitting down with a user and observe his/her behavior while he/she is using your application or prototype.
  • Use analyzing tools like Google analytics to find how user are using your application, so you know the user focus (or lack of) inside your application.
  • Or just look around how people are using there device to know basic human-device interaction. A good example might be when you application is using the camera as feature. You’ve probably seen that “selfiesticks” are becoming more populair, so your application might be needing front-camera support as well.
  • And finally have a look at user reviews in Google Play. They might supply you with vital information on how to make your users happy (and getting good ratings at the same time).


2) (Re)Think

It might be a good idea to have a second (or third) look at your current UX design and re-think.
Try to look for these bad UX omens:

  • Additional texts to explain how it elements work. You can’t document your way out of confusing UX.
  • Novel paradigms. Stick to known patterns, so users feel quickly at ease.
  • FAQ section. The information presented to the user should be obvious and clear.
  • “Pop-ups”, like a confirm dialog. Don’t block the UX. Don’t say that something is dangerous if you can’t fix the danger. Do support “undo”.
  • Too much information. Keep it simple (is always the hardest to do).



So how can you test if your new UX is wel thought out you may ask, well:

  • You might want to prototype your new UX design first in stead of rewriting your app. This is quick and easy to do and can test if your redesign has been improved.
  • Try doing A/B testing so you can compare the new design against your current one. Testing eliminates guesswork and turns “I think” into “I know”.


3) Adapt

As described in the previous section it’s important to stick to known patterns, so the user can quickly become acquainted with your application features.
Adapting platform standards is the way to go. And Google has done a great job with the introduction of Material Design, by suppling us with well thought out UX design patterns.
Learn these pattern and apply them to your UX design.
One question I get asked a lot is when an application is adapting Material design will it still contain its uniqueness and will my branding survive. My answer is yes.


Branding can by maintained by:

  • The application or product icon.
  • Use of colors.
  • And the actual application itself, meaning your brand should be reflected in the application.



Let me explain this by giving you an example giving to me by Marie Schweiz about her redesign of the Top Gear application.
The succes of Top Gear (brand) is not the cars, but the three guys hosting it and the fun they have with cars. This should be reflected in the UX design, so make if playful.

4) Add

It might sounds strange, adding features to transform UX design, but it’s not. Let me be clear, I’m not talking about adding more content but adding features like feedback, value and user aid.
So you can add:

Interaction feedback, which gives the user confidence that he/she is using the content correctly


Error feedback, which warns the user and a possible solution. But be careful not to block the user while giving this type of feedback.
Loading feedback, which gives the user options, should I wait or just continue. Again don’t block the user.
Action aid, which gives the the user the option to “undo stupidity”





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I really want to thank my friend and colleague Ali Derbane for reviewing this post