Design for Small Screens

The small size and portability of mobiles are a challenge for creating good interfaces, particularly when users are demanding an increasingly striking and information-rich graphical user experience.

Write your applications knowing that users will often only glance at the (small) screen. Make your applications intuitive and easy to use by reducing the number of controls and putting the most important information front and center.

Graphical controls, like the ones you'll create in Chapter 4, are an excellent means of displaying a lot of information in a way that's easy to understand. Rather than a screen full of text with lots of buttons and text-entry boxes, use colors, shapes, and graphics to convey information.

If you're planning to include touch-screen support (and if you're not, you should be), you'll need to consider how touch input is going to affect your interface design. The time of the stylus has passed; now it's all about finger input, so make sure your Views are big enough to support interaction using a finger on the screen. There's more information on touch-screen interaction in Chapter 15.

Android phones are now available with a variety of screen sizes including QVGA, HVGA, and WVGA. As display technology advances, and Android expands beyond mobile devices, screen sizes and resolutions will continue to increase. To ensure that your app looks good and behaves well on all the possible host devices it's important to design for small screens, but also make sure your UIs scale well on larger displays. You'll learn some techniques for optimizing your UI for different screen sizes in Chapter 3.

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Mobile Apps Made Easy

Mobile Apps Made Easy

Quick start guide to skyrocket your offline and online business success with mobile apps. If you know anything about mobile devices, you’ve probably heard that famous phrase coined by one of the mobile device’s most prolific creators proclaiming that there’s an app for pretty much everything.

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