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I'm thinking of designing an Android app, however I'm falling at the first hurdle, the layout.
The app will display a large amount of categories for the user to choose from on the first screen. There's no way I can think of to lessen the amount of categories (they're food types, for instance Chinese, Thai, Italian, Greek etc), even by sub-classifying them. There are two layouts that I have come up with:

1) A dashboard (grid) with images of each type of food

2) A list view of all the different types of food, probably using some form of icon for ease of differentiation.

These are both bad options for me, I want an app that's quick and easy to use and doesn't require loads of scrolling. I could add a search bar or button to mitigate of the scrolling problems but that throws up the problem of the user calling a category something different to what I have called it.

In essence I am looking for a way to display a large number of categories on the opening screen (after splash and log in) of an app that doesn't require searching or scrolling. Is there a good way of presenting a large category list that's easy to use and quick to navigate?

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The first hurdle you are actually facing is the information architecture and content design, not the layout (which is just a symptom of the problem). Think about the trade-off between having lots of categories versus the usability of the app, and you'll probably want to group them a bit more. Of course, you don't want very deep navigation for the users, so this is where going back to the drawing board and considering the IA will help. –  Michael Lai Sep 19 '13 at 2:52

2 Answers 2

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What about using tabs where you can scroll (horizontally) easily or press it directly and inside of each tab/section the subsections with pictures? More in the way of the Android Market. It's a native component and it will work in landscape mode as well.

You can even use the first page as a lading page with offers/grid in the way that you can navigate directly from the landing page or through the tabs.

If you want to show a long list of items with sub-items in mobile device there are not too many options with a easy a comfortable navigation. We have a small screen and a lot of information to show which needs to have an easy access and use.

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Hadn't considered tabs, that could very well be the way I go... I run into this problem every time I have a complex category layout to do, I thought it was time to ask the community! –  KitP Sep 11 '13 at 13:15

if there is more content within the categories why not go for an expandable view:

enter image description here

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