Ensuring a Seamless User Experience

The idea of a seamless user experience is an important, if somewhat nebulous, concept. What do we mean by seamless? The goal is a consistent user experience in which applications start, stop, and transition instantly and without noticeable delays or jarring transitions.

The speed and responsiveness of a mobile device shouldn't degrade the longer it's on. Android's process management helps by acting as a silent assassin, killing background applications to free resources as required. Knowing this, your applications should always present a consistent interface, regardless of whether they're being restarted or resumed.

With an Android device typically running several third-party applications written by different developers, it's particularly important that these applications interact seamlessly. Using Intents, applications can provide functionality for each other. Knowing your application may provide, or consume, third-party Activities provides additional incentive to maintain a consistent look and feel.

Use a consistent and intuitive approach to usability. You can create applications that are revolutionary and unfamiliar, but even these should integrate cleanly with the wider Android environment.

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Persist data between sessions, and when the application isn't visible, suspend tasks that use processor cycles, network bandwidth, or battery life. If your application has processes that need to continue running while your Activities are out of sight, use a Service, but hide these implementation decisions from your users.

When your application is brought back to the front, or restarted, it should seamlessly return to its last visible state. As far as your users are concerned, each application should be sitting silently, ready to be used but just out of sight.

You should also follow the best-practice guidelines for using Notifications and use generic UI elements and themes to maintain consistency among applications.

There are many other techniques you can use to ensure a seamless user experience, and you'll be introduced to some of them as you discover more of the possibilities available in Android in the coming chapters.

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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