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I have to start designing for an app which will be used by Android & IOS users both on Smartphones and Tablets.

Do I need to design four different apps or have one common design and then instantiate for different uses.

Is there something in mobile apps like Platform Independent level Design, which can be further instantiated for Platform specific depending upon Design guidelines say for Android and IOS?

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Web apps or app store downloadable apps? Phonegap is a platform to develop once for all mobile platforms but you might need to do some added tweaking to fit guidelines/good UX for each platform – Ben Brocka Feb 10 '12 at 15:20
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Different apps for different platforms?
Please first take a look at this similar question and excellent answers: Should Android and iPhone UI be different?. In general you want to tailor your UI to each specific platform. Users on that platform are going to have platform-specific expectations, such as availability of home screen widgets and BACK button behavior on Android, as well as solid familiarity with the metaphors and design patterns on that platform (and not necessarily those found on other platforms).

Different apps for phones vs. tablets?
When it comes to phone vs. tablet, at least on Android, you're not really designing separate applications, unless of course they have entirely different purposes. Rather, you're ensuring that the single Android application you design scales well to a variety of different screen sizes. In practice, oftentimes you can begin by designing a number of different modules (e.g. contact list, contact details, etc.), each of which are individually scaleable to a variety of container sizes. Then, mix and match these modules to produce single-screen or multi-screen task flows depending on screen size. Implementation note: these modules/content panes are generally implemented as Fragments.

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Well the other answers were giving the cross platform tools and I believe this should be answered with design perspective,

Yes You have to design different layouts for android and IOS , this is where you need to target the devices. The overall app design flow will be common but with little changes for android and IOS will give the native users a natural feel.

For example:

Like , there is no back button in most of the android apps whereas in iPhone almost all apps should have a back button or similar as there is no physical button for the IOS devices.

So I would say , "keep the User journey common and target the devices"

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You don't have to design 4 different apps, just make a responsive layout. Use % in your layout and think about thumb-friendly.

Stay clear and do not overload your app design. Look at from google, they have nice tips for mobile apps :)

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I actually asked from design point of view. Anyways Thanks. – carora3 Feb 10 '12 at 21:32

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