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I'm developing my first app for Android. It's a small productivity app for smartphones and tablets. (I'm using Flash CS5 and Adobe Air to build it.)

Is it recommended to use/copy the native Android look and feel or should it also look a bit different?

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Not 100% the same, but this question deals with a very similar issue: What are the drawbacks of designing a Windows application to look like a Mac application? –  Ben Brocka Aug 23 '12 at 13:46

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well, using the native UI Look 'n Feel has its own advantage
1. People already know how to UI is going to work. They are already used to the UX also.
2. The default controls also make an impact on the UI & UX. Most prefer them.

If you are not going to create anything innovative or out of the box, that might create a buzz in the App Market, or if you don't have the time and money to invest into its development and innovation, i would ask you to stick to the basics and get it right.

If you try something different, you might hit a lot of critics on the way,which might make it a win or lose situation for your App. If your willing to risk it, go ahead with it.

More info on all these things at : UX Magazine
Hope my inputs are useful.

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Can you add a source to support the idea that "most people prefer [the native UI]"? –  dhmholley Aug 23 '12 at 13:34
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@dhmholley well source aside, consistency is nice, and the Holo UI debuting with ICS has been pretty well received critically. Especially compared to earlier, pre-design standards Android apps. –  Ben Brocka Aug 23 '12 at 16:01
    
@dhmholley here is one of the many links i found : universalmind.com/mindshare/entry/… And as mentioned the article, people are definitely comfortable with the UI of their phone, and want things which work similarly. –  aliasgar Aug 24 '12 at 7:52
    
That source really doesn't support the assertion. I don't disagree with you, because as @BenBrocka has said it's been well received, but can you find anything more substantive than a thin blog post? –  dhmholley Aug 24 '12 at 8:26

Unless you know what you're doing, use the standard design patterns. Your users will love you more if you just stick with what they know and what they are used to. Look at youtube and facebook - they both employ the split screen menu design. Youtube, facebook, twitter, google play, baconreader, etc etc etc etc etc (for like 80/90% of useful popular apps) all use the Action Bar. These are all well designed apps run by big companies and they use the "standard" design patterns.

There is nothing wrong with it, and although I am all for innovation and progression (especially in design and user experience), if you stray too far from "the norm" you may come up against resilience - even if your design patterns are much better.

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Both aproaches are fine in my opinion as long as app is easy to use and look nice. You can copy some elements and make some other better than those recommended or commonly used. :) Even Googlers are encouraging people to be inovative and a bit different. Make sure to keep it simple and modern and always put yourself in end user perspective.

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