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Android Design Patterns Chapter 3: Android Fragmentation Summary by Kirk Scott 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Android Design Patterns Chapter 3: Android Fragmentation Summary by Kirk Scott 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Android Design Patterns Chapter 3: Android Fragmentation Summary by Kirk Scott 1

2 What’s Fragmentation? As of 2012, one source counted 3,997 different Android devices Samsung had about 40% of market share, with the rest divided up among many different players There is also diversity in which version of Android is installed 2

3 Screen size is varied Screen resolution is varied The range of sizes literally goes from the smallest handheld devices to big screen TV’s. This degree of number of differences presents design challenges How do you create apps that will run on all or most of them? 3

4 Everything Is in Time and Passes Away This section heading is based on a Buddhist aphorism The point applies to both hardware and software Different device makers and devices have had large amounts of market share—and do not now And there is a steady migration to higher versions of Android 4

5 Fragmentation is international in nature In some countries, one brand might be strong, while in other countries another brand might be strong The concept of market dominance does have a beneficial effect for designers: You can design for the top 2-3 models/versions and reach a large part of the app market 5

6 The book cites a timeline of 6 months back— no need to support things older than that And similarly, although you may be thinking about the future, it hasn’t been designed, implemented, or rolled out yet Focus on the present leaders 6

7 Examples of companies which are no longer leaders: Palm and Web OS Motorola (eaten by Google and lost its hardware edge) Nokia (eaten by Microsoft and…) Blackberry (how uncool to have real buttons instead of virtual buttons…) 7

8 Don’t design to a device, per se Design to touch technology and device trends The difference is this: The ergonomics of the human hand (and mind) are not going to change Lasting design patterns are based on this 8

9 Android Device Trends Next stop: Flexible screen material For the time being, the following factors are relevant: Thickness and weight of the device The cost of the components The size of the screen The size and flexibility of hands and fingers The size of pockets 9

10 Five basic categories of device: Compact phones Full-size mobile phones Tablet-phone hybrids Small tablets Large tablets Each presents its own set of design issues 10

11 Compact Phones These are the form factors the book identifies: Inexpensive Device size: 4.5” X 2.5” Screen size: 2” X 2” Whole screen reachable by thumb However, large amounts of screen covered by hand 11

12 A split navigation bar is probably impractical There can only be a few buttons across the screen To be convenient for one-handed use, the buttons need to be taller Menus, wheels, and other controls will tend to fill the whole space when opened Transparent menus can be a big benefit in using them 12

13 Here is an irony: An on-screen keyboard is too small to be usable The solution is a flip phone format or other format with physical keys Even the hardware keyboards are barely usable However, they do save space on the screen 13

14 The compact phone is summarized on the following overhead Not the buzzword in the caption: the hot zone is marked in red This is the area easily reached depending on the grip used 14

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16 Full-Size Mobile Phones Representative sizes: 5”-6” X 3” device size 5” diagonal screen measurement Note that resolution is not mentioned Current device resolution tends to be high enough for UI purposes Higher resolution is nice to look at, but doesn’t affect user interaction 16

17 Still small enough for a one-handed grip The bottom action bar becomes usable But the top action bar tends to go out of reach, especially for people with small hands In this case, the other hand ends up tapping items at the top of the screen 17

18 An even bigger problem is that reaching the top tends to cover up the rest of the screen Note how all of this is at odds with Android standards—put the most important stuff in the (top) action bar This becomes hard to reach and forces you to cover what you’re looking at 18

19 Within this category, there are international and marketing variations Because of Apple’s market share in the U.S., Android phones in the U.S. tend to try to compete with an equally large size This is less the case in Europe, where smaller, full-sized Android phones are popular 19

20 There are various interaction patterns that help cope with screen size issues Most will come up later We’ve already seen one: If you want to put options in the drawer, there is an alternative to opening the drawer from the top Swiping from right to left over the edge can open the drawer 20

21 This size of device has also been sold with a hardware keyboard in the past But those days seem to be over Enablers of “soft” keyboards: Increasing screen size Predictive text input software The full-sized phone is summarized on the following overhead 21

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23 Tablet-Phone Hybrids The book doesn’t mention actual sizes for this category It says one inch taller and one half inch wider than a full-sized phone It mentions a product as an example, the Galaxy Note Also, the next section is for, small 7 inch tablets, so this category falls between full- sized phones and 7 inch tablets 23

24 They may be unwieldy as phones you hold to your ear But the screen is large enough to support text reading and Web surfing The resolution supports the same kind of resolution/interface quality as a full-sized cell phone 24

25 The hot zone covers less of the screen than a full-sized phone Therefore, it may become necessary to use two hands, as described above Or, solutions like swiping to get the drawer may solve the problems The tablet-phone hybrid is summarized on the following overhead 25

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27 Small Tablets Small tablets bring two new complexities: Two-handed grip And horizontal orientation The challenge is to build an interface/navigation features that arrange themselves suitably in the different orientations, and are usable with different grips 27

28 An illustration is shown on the following overhead And on the overhead following the next one, the hot zones are shown for the different grips 28

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31 The book claims that in vertical orientation, users still tend to hold the device with one hand There is a limited reach with the holding hand Tapping with the other hand becomes necessary It is not really practical to hold a device horizontally with one hand 31

32 Users may use a two-handed grip in both orientations This gives access to the whole screen, but in different ways In either case, there is full access to the action bar and the split action bar 32

33 The tricks which aid navigation on a small device aren’t necessary here Things can be out in the open Hiding them to save space makes the app more cryptic—leading to cognitive friction—at least the first time it’s used Using straightforward Android UI guidelines works fine, and is recommended 33

34 What is the preferred orientation of devices? What uses are they put to in the different orientations? As a general rule, for reading text, users prefer vertical For using the soft keyboard, horizontal is preferred With convenient controls, simple actions like reading may be supportable with a one-handed grip 34

35 Overall, a small tablet can be defined in this way: The whole screen is reachable with a two- handed grip The device is still physically small enough to support one-handed use, as long as the app controls can be arranged suitably 35

36 Large Tablets These tend to be in the 10” range or higher— although 8” and 9” tablets are also coming out It turns out that the Android v. 4.x user interface guidelines are not entirely ideal once you reach this size And illustration is given on the following overhead The hot zones are illustrated on the overhead following the next one 36

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39 Note that the whole screen is not reachable On the other hand, the screen is big enough to use the keyboard in either orientation Users may prefer horizontal because a full form width is visible Depending on the type of activity, such as reading or surfing, readers may alternate between the orientations, spending ~50% of their time in each orientation 39

40 One handed use is not practical in any realistic sense Also, because of the demands of holding the device, the lower part of the screen is less accessible than the upper part of the screen Things like the back button are not easy to reach And things in the middle of either action bar may not be within easy reach 40

41 There is no escaping letting go with one hand and tapping with a finger The book cites something called Fitts’s law: The time required to move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target Reaching small, distant targets is a time- waster 41

42 Unsupported gestures like this are awkward They are prevalent in horizontal mode, when using the action bar There are various proposed solutions: Use only part of the action bar Try arranging controls down the sides Use the drawer menu, etc. This is a real issue, worth solving, in order to make an app easy to use 42

43 Celebrate Fragmentation Supporting different devices and formats is a big deal, because there is a multiplicity of users Android has reached over 195 countries The top 5: The U.S., Brazil, China, Russia, and Mexico Android is reaching a more diverse demographic than any other medium 43

44 It is important to be able to support diverse users with various kinds of hardware Making sure this really happens involves testing That’s the topic of the next chapter 44

45 The End 45

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