People sometimes ask me why I chose to buy an iPhone instead of an Android. I always reply the same thing: iPhones (and Apple devices in general) are more user friendly, in my opinion, than Androids. But I can't really pinpoint exactly what's different.

Take the home screen, for instance. On an Android device, you need to touch a button in order to get the apps. On the iPhone, they're already in the home screen. Why did Android designers make this extra touch necessary? I sometimes don't even know which is the button to access the apps on my mum's Android phone.

(Incidentally, my mum is not an IT geek, and she has all sorts of trouble arranging her shortcuts on the home screen, an issue which wouldn't exist on an iPhone because there are no shortcuts.)

Also, consider the buttons. The fact that most, if not all, phones have a "options" or "settings" button. Why is this? Why did Apple get rid of all buttons but the home button? Why does it work?

I am aware that the way I worded my question is not very clear. I just want expert's opinions on the issue.

closed as not a real question by rk., Benny Skogberg, Graham Herrli, JohnGB, ChrisF May 5 '13 at 22:12

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to UX.se! Please check out the faq and tour pages as well as this question from User Experience Meta to learn what sorts of questions belong here. This question is too broad and needs to be narrowed down or broken into several questions to really fit SEs Q&A format. – elemjay19 May 5 '13 at 7:22
  • Regarding the home screen I find the opposite to be true. The iOS disorganized homescreen is extremely frustrating. It might be easier to use the first time, but once you get more than a few screens of apps it is quickly disorganized. On Android a user can put their most frequently used apps on their homescreen and the rest stay completely organized in the app drawer. Much easier to find. – powerj1984 May 5 '13 at 13:57
  • One quote I've heard (though I can't remember from whom) is that if you borrow someone else's Android phone you'll most likely not be able to make sense of its home screen. Just like cooking at someone else's kitchen, the way cooking appliances are organized makes sense only to the owner because it's heavily personalized to how they used the kitchen. You need to own your own Android device and arrange things to your own liking to be able to properly assess Android's usability; borrowing someone else's won't give you an accurate perception. – Lie Ryan May 5 '13 at 18:56

iOS developers/designers usually honor design patterns established by the millieu of the platform. This creates a sense of consistency across apps that makes users feel that the device is easier to use.

Example: Pull-to-refresh was first established by Tweety on iOS and has now been adopted by countless other apps. Even Apple themselves jumped on this convention when they released updates to their mobile mail app. When a user is presented with a need to refresh a page, they'll probably be trained to pulldown on the screen and most likely will be pleasantly surprised when this gesture does indeed work even in newly downloaded apps!

Another example is the Home buttons (three horizontal lines) lovely known as the "hamburger" button. This too is widely employed by iOS developers as a great solution to a large list of home items. How many apps utilize this convention that's imprinted on the mind of user? Too many to count.

Many apps function the same, maybe 80% of the time, so you often feel like you've seen this before, which gives a user a sense of confidence that they know what they're doing. There's always some similarities between apps that one has purchased in the past and will purchase in the future.

It seems that Android doesn't have as strong of a community or dedication to understanding the trends in UX design being established by top-shelf developer/designers. So when you switch between apps or download a new one, the similarities between what you know and have experienced in the past will not line up as often or as strong. That there is probably why it's so hard to articulate the differences.

It's subtle because it's a gestalt of many experiences across several apps.

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