I am working on an Android App that requires users to select my app as their default launcher in my first use. The "Complete using" Dialog is shown and users need to pick "My App" then "Always".

Currently the user is prompted to complete the task through a bitmap overlay with text instructions telling the user where to tap to continue (and use the app finally). However according to tests, the text instructions are not read and users are left wondering what to do.

So any help in picking what would be best practice is greatly appreciated.

I have seen several alternatives in other apps such as :

Showing the exact dialog prior to popping the "Complete using" Dialog with the correct buttons selected.

  • Pro : Would show the user visually the process.

  • Con : Needs one picture per resolution for every version of Android supported. Devices with manufacturer user interface layers may look slightly different from our image (which is a big worry to me). The sequence of the process would not be shown (First "My App" then "Always") unless the image is animated or arrows show the sequence. Creates an extra screen in my flow (trying to cut down the number of necessary taps to get to the core of the app).

Pointing at the correct sequence with an arrow while on the dialog

  • Pro: Step by step, shows the correct sequence. Not version dependent. No extra screen

Showing instructions through text (current solution)

  • Pro: Step by step, shows the correct sequence. Not version dependent. No extra screen

  • Con : Not read by users Real estate is limited in lower resolutions phones.

  • Why would anyone want an app that requires you to set it as your default launcher? (which does what exactly anyway?) Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:13
  • 5
    @MarjanVenema Android uses something called intents which allows developers to specify their app as being able to "handle" an action, like opening a webpage would be for a browser. When clicking a link, a user would then get a screen with all apps being capable of opening a web page, and select which one to (always) use.
    – kontur
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 18:44
  • 1
    Please provide your actual use case, or some examples of similar use cases of applications where this needs to be done, to give some context. Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 12:52
  • 1
    It is in the case of an Android launcher app that needs to replace the device current launcher to be used.
    – downje
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 15:02
  • It's a bit hard to visualise
    – micap
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


You've mentioned that tests have showed that users are often confused with bitmap overlays and are left wondering what to do. Have you considered that this might be due to the UI rather than the general practice of doing so?

Many apps use them, often referred to as coach marks or contextual help. Overlays are placed on the screen, often with windows and labels showing specific parts of the screen.

Coach screens on Kitkat

You could probably test some variations of coach screens. They're a pretty standard and accepted practice, so you should have no problem after some variation testing. You can find examples of coach marks on Android here, and for iOS here.

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