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Basic UI patterns for Android application development

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As Android application development is gaining popularity, I think the overview of the basic UI patterns for Android applications will be helpful to someone.The basis for the article is this one here source. The patterns we’re looking at are: Dashboard, Action Bar, Quick Actions, Search Bar, and Companion Widget.
In my opinion, the topic of UI patterns is important for several reasons :

  1. Attracting users : patterns help to make the application more usable, more understandable.
  2. Market penetration : following the patterns can play an important role in promoting the app on the app markets.
  3. No need to build a bicycle : when you know the patterns, it’s much easier to design the app interface using existing solutions.

Interface design principles, noted Google engineers:

  • Simple vs Clear : The interface must be simple (not cumbersome) and clear to use
  • Content vs Chrome : you should use maximum screen while reducing visual complexity (use limited number of buttons/icons)
  • Consistent yet engaging Consistency of user response – the user must understand what they are doing/how to do what they need to do
  • Enhanced by cloud : user data should be stored in the cloud; the user should be able to select settings(organize data) once, without having to do it again.

UI Design Patterns (similar to Software Design Patterns) describe a generic solution for recurring tasks/problems and arise as a "by-product" of the development process.
Listed below are five UI patterns with examples based on well-known application


Basic UI patterns for Android application development
Dashboard (Dashboard) – presents a description of the main features of the application, is the main menu of the application. The Dashboard takes up the whole screen, focuses on the 3-6 most important functions of the application, and can also contain information about updates.
Since the Dashboard pattern is essentially the face of the application, you have to be particularly careful when designing it.

Action Bar

Basic UI patterns for Android application development
Action Bar provides quick access to additional functions of the application, it is the best solution for presenting functions used from anywhere in the application (search, synchronization, refresh, etc.).
The Action Bar is not a full menu replacement but contains the key actions that the user can perform (the user does not have to enter the menu to perform these actions). A pattern should not contain contextual actions (such as copy/paste) An Action Bar can also be used to guide a user around an application (namely, show them where they are).

Quick Actions

Basic UI patterns for Android application development
Quick Actions – provides access to the contextual functions of the application, called by clicking on the "target" and displayed as a popup. The key characteristics of Quick Actions are: the actions should be contextual, simple and understandable (using icons is possible) and not too many actions. It is also worth mentioning that the popup should not overlap the "goal" (it should appear either below or above the "goal"). It is recommended to use this pattern when there is no detailed description of the item and when the application needs to perform additional actions related to the context. Quick Actions should not be used when multiselect is available.

Search Bar

Basic UI patterns for Android application development
Search Bar – is used to search the application (replaces the Action Bar). Search Bar must support search suggestions, and may also contain a selector for selecting the type of search.
Recommendations for pattern implementation : should be used for simple application searches, present rich search suggestions(e.g. header with icon and description).

Companion Widget

Basic UI patterns for Android application development
Companion Widget – Widget, presents the basic information about the application, can be customized by the user. It must have some content besides icon (description, update icon, maybe some functions of the application), must save the desktop space, and also provide the user with the possibility to set the widget’s appearance.
Google engineers recommend paying more attention to this interface element because it plays an important role in user interaction. A simple app shortcut is not a good solution.
Considered patterns are basic in the development of Android applications, but this does not mean that all of them necessarily need to apply. The main thing is still the idea, based on which you can consider different solutions (this is to say that, nevertheless, you should develop from the idea, not from a pattern).
Good luck with your ideas!
P.S. If the topic is interesting, you can continue with reviews of other UI patterns.

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