Android User Interfaces Resources

DevToolsGuy / Thursday, April 25, 2013

One of the biggest challenges for Android developers is the swift development of the operating system. No sooner was ‘Ice cream sandwich’ released (December 2011) then ‘Jelly Bean’ came along (twice actually - June and November 2012 - Google didn’t deem the second release worthy of a new name). This poses a number of issues, not least changes to the user interface standards and styles used in the various versions. ‘Honeycomb’, released in February 2011, is a case in point. This was the first version of the OS designed specifically for tablet devices, and as a result had its own unique interface requirements. ‘Ice cream sandwich’ unified the OS for the first time, and again Google introduced new guidelines to cater for the wider range of devices supported.

So how is a good developer supposed to keep up? What help is available to ensure Android interfaces match their mobile rivals? One of the best ways is to use pattern libraries. These websites and resources provide standard interface patterns (as well as tips and tricks, and code samples) to help developers create beautiful user interfaces. Specialist sites exist, which focus solely on Android devices, and below we present our current favorites. Check them out and let us know in the comments if you use any other good ones.

Android Pattern Libraries

  • The official Android developer’s site
    • Your first stop should be the official Android site. This contains the latest guidelines and documentation, and should be treated as the most up-to-date advice available.
  • Android App Patterns
    • This site includes well over a thousand screenshots across a wide range of categories (such as calendars, maps, menus etc.). This site also includes screenshots of 150 complete apps, which provides a really nice way to look holistically at how an app is made up.
  • Android Patterns 
    • This site contains a great number of wireframes covering all aspects of Android apps. The depth of content is fantastic, with many pages offering extra tips, pros and cons, sample screenshots and more. An essential resource.
  • Android UI Patterns
    • More of a blog than a traditional patterns site, this site offers a number of useful articles and resources.
  • Smashing Magazine
    • Smashing Magazine is a great resource for developers, and generally has a good focus on interface and design articles. The linked article, from last year, includes some very useful tips for designing Android apps.

If you are looking for a High quality book on Android design with a focus on patterns and anti-patterns check out “Android Design Patterns” by Greg Nudelman.  This book was tech-edited by Infragistics Principal Design Technologist, Ambrose Little