10 User Experience Tips for Successful Android Apps
Nov 16, 2009 5:00 AM –
As we know, app sales on the Android platform has not been as strong as iPhone. AndroidTapp.com has summed up a few tips to help Android Developers create better Android Apps from a user experience perspective. Which could induce more organic exposure and/or sales. Here we go…
Allow users the option to kill your app
One of the perks devs receive from the Android OS is it’s own ability to kill your app by handling it’s own multi-tasking. Allowing users the option to kill, quit or log off your app is very convenient.
Save data to SD Card
Most developers save data to the internal memory (which is a known problem for early Android phones with little internal memory resources). Saving to SD card would be preferable when possible, then default to internal memory when no card/full card is detected. Saving small bits of information like settings, configuration or session states on internal memory is fine.
Allow cached data to be deleted
Application Info Comparison
If you’re forced to save data to internal memory, allow the option to clear data in the application settings menu. One of my favorite Android apps is K9 Mail for handling multiple email accounts, yet all data is saved internally and grows as your inboxes grow. The highest I’ve seen it grow was just over 7MB, the only way to reduce the data size was either; sync email with Outlook which reduces the recent number of email on the device or wait until new emails cycle larger older emails out. Which leaves the option of uninstalling, reinstalling, reconfiguring inboxes to reduce data size… (but luckily you can clear the Cache from the app)!
Give users the options for update intervals
Allow Setting Update Interval
Some Android apps and widgets have a set update interval for the app to grab data. Intervals too short (like every minute) keep the app updated frequently, but the downside is the toll on the known-to-be-weak battery life on Android phones and the performance hit due to frequent background processing. Allow users the option to change update intervals in the settings menu, and set the default interval to something more suitable to the user.
Invest in a User Interface/User Experience Designer
DoIt List of Tasks
When you can bring the harmony of stunning yet user friendly user interface design with solid functionality, you’ve created a solid base for your app. Take Apple’s philosophy with setting up iPhone developers for success with their default OS UI… even a developer designed app looks good. Android however doesn’t offer the sexy OS UI as it’s rival, meaning some developers/firms should hire a designer to create this for them. Especially those firms brand conscientious.
Organize your app, don’t over complicate navigation
Complex or inconsistent navigation gives user the flux. Tabs appear to be the most practical and intuitive navigation structure.
Assume the customer is impatient
Defunct Espressomind.com once wrote “13 Personal Proverbs for Good Android App Design” and one point talked about the impatience of the typical user mobile app user. Assume that users don’t care for waiting on your app in any way. Benchmark your app in the testing life cycle for speed.
Don’t run background processes if not necessary
In our review of PhotoShop.com Mobile, this app exhibited probably the worse case scenario of this at debut. The background processing was meant for continuous upload to PhotoShop.com when using that feature while doing other tasks, but the background processing on this app is very persistent… even after you kill it with task management apps. Poorly controlled background processing apps can attribute to a sluggish phone and fast battery consumption.
Listen to customers and provide updates
We recently wrote “Google’s Late Release of Android 2.0 Hurting Developers” article to help raise developers awareness regarding getting their apps updated to Android 2.0 to support new Verizon DROID customers (which sold over 100,000 phones in the first week)! Which points out Google’s trend of short SDK releases to developers and how they should expect this, adjust to it and get those Android apps updated ASAP!
You should also listen to your customers complaints in the Android Market as well. Some complaints may even lead you to great feature enhancements that propel your app ahead of your competition.
Factor in your own customer service along with technical support, because Google ain’t providing it
Google’s Android Market Turning Developers into Customer Service Reps?
If you’re selling apps, you should factor in Customer Service which is different from Technical Support into your business model. In our gripe “Google’s Android Market Turning Developers into Customer Service Reps?“, we point out Google’s Android Market lacks the delegation of customer service, yet pushes them back on to developers. Allocate some resources to answering billing questions or “the app didn’t download” issues although that should be Google’s turf. To a customer… they don’t care who’s at fault and gripe in your feedback area in the Market.
In all, these tips can save users headache, make them appreciate your app more and incline them to tell others, which may increase exposure and/or sales organically. Android developers can’t just hope their app sell well relying on the “App Boom” model… (Good Idea + First to the Market = Good Sales). If your app is well rounded including aforementioned model, you build something worth organic potential sales growth. In conclusion, stay tuned to AndroidTapp.com for a new program we’ll launch soon to help Android Developers sell their apps in serious volume!