I am in the midst of redesigning my Android app, and I've already done it for the iPhone. I think I "nailed it" on the iPhone, however I'm having a little bit more of an issue with Android, mainly because of the differences between the two. (Most phones have hardware buttons and so on)

Does anyone have some examples of apps that have excellent usability? And why you think so?

I know most, if not all examples won't be able to directly impact my app, but I hope I'll be able to pull some commonalities out of them.

Also, what really frustrates you when using an app?

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this, but I figured I'd try anyways!

  • Put the most common "actions" on the screen, typically in an "action bar" at the app (this is a common UI design pattern, see the official Twitter app as an example). Put the rest of your "actions" in the menu button. Don't be afraid to use the menu button, people do use it. :) – Bryan Denny Jan 26 '11 at 16:08
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    I think this is offtopic, being both subjective and a dev question. See meta.android.stackexchange.com/questions/299/… – Matthew Read Jan 26 '11 at 20:26
  • Try ui.stackexchange.com. – gary Jan 27 '11 at 0:56
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    Not a real question. Needs to be more specific as to what is being asked. – Charles Boyung Feb 7 '11 at 16:00

Tweetdeck, Gmail, Google Maps - all very good applications.

Frustrations when using apps would be a lack of responsiveness and not being intuitive for the user (if I have to guess how to do something, it should be a logical step). Functionality should work as expected with no exceptions. Violating this rule is the fast track to an uninstall.

Sleek look and feel combined with responsiveness is key. Additionally, if it is possible, offline mode for the application is a big plus (Google maps just got their act together on this and it is a gem if you are on a train underground).


Keep it very simple. Look at the default apps as well as things like Dropbox and the newly released Todo.txt Touch. Google's apps are pretty good as well.

What not to do: make it look like an iPhone app. Android is not iOS; embrace that.


Some examples of apps I really like:

Facebook, twitter, GMail, Google reader

Some web versions (aka going to the mobile website with the browser) of google services are also quite good (almost as like if they were native applications) - gmail and google reader.

What I don't like: slow applications, heavy background services -- in terms of RAM or CPU (hey! I'm running on a HTC Magic here!)

What I like: beautiful & responsive applications

Yes, my answer its subjective... but is there any other way to answer this?

  • I certainly don't think there is an easy way, and the best way for any particular app is likely from user/beta feedback, but I do what I can with looking at how other apps are doing it. – Hosemeyer Jan 26 '11 at 15:47

Also, what really frustrates you when using an app?

When I used the Home button or the notification bar to switch to another application for a while to read an incoming mails or such, and when returning to the application either a few minutes or a few hours later, I lost what I were doing (Opera Mobile, I'm talking about you).

The rest of your question is probably better asked in ui.stackexchange.com


Perhaps you'd benefit from a thorough read through the Android User Interface Guidelines? iOS benefits from a set of rather strict UI guidelines. This holds true for both the mobile and desktop versions of the platform. If Android implemented similar rules – while allowing them to be bent when necessary of course – I believe that the user would have to guess what a UI element does far less frequently.

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