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I am creating an app that provides users information about a building that the app is being designed for. For example it will tell the user the location of the building, hotels/restaurants/cafes nearby and some other useful information.

I will be creating separate activities to carry this out, so an activity to tell user the location and maybe contain a map, an activity listing hotels and an activity listing nearby cafes etc.

My problem is that I am not sure how to design the interface for this. I was thinking of having tabs at the bottom of the screen where each tab opens the corresponding activity. Is this a good way to do it or is there a better way?

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I've often seen tabs at the top so you can always switch categories immediately from any page but don't have any explicit recommendations. As a side note try droiddraw.org for prototyping, it's a great android layout tool. –  Ben Brocka Sep 28 '11 at 13:18

3 Answers 3

I would check out this link:

Android UI Design Guidelines

Which should give you a good idea of how an interface should look and behave across most applications. This would undoubtedly help your app be more intuitive to users used to using Android apps.

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Best 2 sites for Android Design Patterns with plenty of examples

As @Roman Nurik mentioned, the pretty well established design pattern are Dashboard, Action Bar, and then Quick Action Menu. Regarding tabs, on Android they should be at the top, because of the potential collision with hardware buttons when trying to press the tab if at bottom.

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Before you jump in to a particular navigation model, I would lay out the formal data model (kind of like an entity-relationship diagram), then a list of all possible screens you'd like to present the user, and their relationships, and only then begin choosing interface patterns.

Since you allude to fairly separate sections of content, you can use lateral navigation patterns like:

  • Tabs, as you mention. On Android, these belong at the top of the screen. If you're designing for Honeycomb or later, you'll want to include tabs in your Action Bar, and there are framework features for this.

  • Dashboard. The dashboard is a single 'home' activity with a grid of icons representing different sections of the app. The dashboard is most commonly used in conjunction with the top-of-screen Action Bar pattern, which offers a 'Home' or 'Up' affordance leading the user back to the Dashboard to choose a different section.

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