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I'm not really a designer/UX expert, however I have been developing on Android for some time now and I always try to stick to the look and feel of the standard (ICS) look and feel (with some degree of variation).

I've been recently tasked to port an iOS application to Android and I have some questions about what UI elements should and shouldn't be carried over and why some elements shouldn't be carried over.

  1. I noticed in iOS, gradients are used quite heavily. In Android, not so much. I presume the use of gradients in the ActionBar, or other areas in Android are sort of a no-no?
  2. Right pointing chevrons in list items. I brought up the fact that "you don't really see chevrons in Android" and was immediately countered with, "well, I think most people recognize that as a 'more...' action so we don't need to get rid of it." Yes, you don't see these in Android, but is that enough to justify getting rid of them or is having those icons/indicators completely OK in Android and not considered too much like iOS.
  3. Bottom tabs. Ok, bottom tabs should be brought up to the top in Android, however in the case of top tabs already existing, where should the bottom tabs go? Should they stay? It may depend on what those tabs do exactly, so for instance, lets say the bottom tabs sorts the data.

This is all I can think of so far. If anyone else has further "words of wisdom" or experiences from past projects that can help me understand what is OK and what isn't for porting an iOS application to Android (in terms of design), please do share.

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We just released: PortKit: UX Metaphor Equivalents for iOS & Android [kintek.com.au/blog/… It has side by side comparisons of the native ui widgets and links to downloadable PSDs for designing. –  Madhava Jay Jun 17 '13 at 4:11
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

These elements are specifically recommended against in the Android design guidelines: http://developer.android.com/design/patterns/pure-android.html

While the guidelines are simply guidelines, it's important that they be broken with purpose. As Google says on the Pure Android page: While a "design once, ship anywhere" approach might save you time up-front, you run the very real risk of creating inconsistent apps that alienate users.

Gradients: you could still use a gradient on the action bar, but de-emphasize it compared to its iOS counterpart. They are not unheard of, but the ones I see on Android are always much more subtle than the screenshots I see from iOS. For buttons and icons, I would strongly recommend against. They will look cartoony and out of place in the more subtle, flat look of Android.

"More" indicators: Android users are quite accustomed to tapping an option in a Settings list to see more details. If the "more" is to expand a content pane downwards, the down arrow is completely accepted (see Google Play app descriptions for the most common example of this).

Bottom tabs: You're right that it depends on what the tabs do.

My personal behavior here is that if an app is simply a 1 to 1 iOS port, I skip it. The UI will likely not behave in the ways that I expect, and there is ALWAYS another app that does what I want and looks how I want that it is not worth wasting my time messing around with an app that couldn't be bothered to tweak a few UI details.

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