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How to Design an Android App for Dummies?

By TechAhead|22nd Apr 2019
Android is probably the most popular and widely used operating system in the world. At present, Android devices outnumber all other forms of operating systems used on mobile devices. According to StatCounter, Android has a share of 74.15% in the Mobile Operating System Market.
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While developing an Android application might seem challenging and sound complicated, it can be quite fulfilling and interesting from the technical perspective.

Nonetheless, being an application developer or an application designer can be very rewarding. A major reason being that Android gives you access to more than 2 billion active users per month. This is indeed a great platform to showcase your App Development skills. Developers can have an opportunity to create mobile applications which can be used by millions of persons all over the world.

Here as some tips for rookies towards to help them with how to design an Android App.

1. Learning the basic rules on how to design an Android App

As in the case of every discipline and area of study, developing an Android App has its own basic rules and fundamentals. These fundamentals need to be followed and implemented towards ensuring the development of a robust Android App and a good product.

These set of rules help the developer towards establishing a solid foundation and framework for their Android App design. Moreover, these fundamentals and guidelines aids amateur developers to know how to design an Android App with full technical & programmatic know-how and enables them to avoid failure of the mobile app startup/launch.

Designing an Android App is no rocket science. As a matter of fact, some of the best Android Apps available on the Google Play Store are created following the basic rules.

While designing the Android App, it becomes essentially important to comprehend the Android Ecosystem & grasp a variety of ideas and solutions that are linked with Android. For this reason, understanding the fundamentals and guidelines are important.

Here are some basic rules that should be followed positively to design an Android App:

1.    Ensure to keep a consistent design of the App for almost every device in the range.

2.    Analyze the requirement of the user to ensure optimal delivery of the app.

3.    While structuring the Android application, ensure to use Integer rather than floating. This is because float takes more space than integer.

4.    Compliment the functionality aspect of the app with creativity. To make sure that your app works effectively, balance functionality and creativity.

5.    An essential component of Android App is the Responsive User Interface (UI). Thus, focus on building a response android app.

2. Learning the Design Language of how to design an app for Android

While designing an Android App, it is vital for the application developers to learn the concept of ‘Material Design’. Material design is more than a basic guideline for developing an Android mobile application. It is a visual language that integrates the golden rules of good app design with technological & scientific innovation. It is a process of documentation of the visual language of application development and is an essential concept to learn to know how to design an app for Android and create your first Android app.

Material design is an important aspect as it makes the android apps more compelling and eye-pleasing.

3. Creating a robust visual hierarchy

Android application developers cannot create apps offering a good user experience without the formulation and implementation of a well-structured visual hierarchy within the application’s user interface.

Hence, while learning how to design an app for android, it is essential to acknowledge that grids and whitespace are the foundational elements of Material Design. Developers need to focus on content, rather than the aesthetics and this is the fundamental lesson taught in how to design an app for Android.

Three important components of the visual hierarchy are:

1.    Space - Space in the designing landscape is referred to as the white space. There must be a perfect blend of white space with other elements of the app. While too little white space can make your app look cluttered, too much of white space can lead to a disconnection between the elements. Thus, you need to make sure to include the right amount of space between the elements of the app.

2.    Colour - Color of the app plays an important role in determining a good user experience of your Android app. Understand the colour psychology and learn the significance of different colours. Moreover, it is recommended to use one or two colours throughout the app for consistency.

3.    Size - Size plays a major role in letting the user focus on more important elements of the app. For example, use a larger size for important elements so as to grab the attention of the user.

4. Leveraging common patterns within the system

Most application developers often design all the interaction patterns from scratch while developing a new product or an Android application. But one of the basic fundamental rules of how to design an Android App recommends is avoiding this route.

The custom component which might differ from the Material design language can depreciate user experience. The increase in the cognitive load on the users while using the application is not a good sign of a desirable mobile application. Also, creating the custom components and interaction patterns from scratch will cost the developer a lot of time and money.

Using standard colour schemes, navigation, standard layouts etc. are the standard components that are recommended while designing a new Android application. It can aid in the reduction of engineering & design overheads during the initial development phases and also during the long-term support period. Android has many patterns which are considered as standard within the industry and are also used while teaching amateur developers how to design an Android App.

5. Using motions for describing spatial relations between different views

One of the most difficult lessons in how to design an app for Android is establishing strong relations between the various user interface elements or different pages. This can be vital while using flat design.

This can lead to an absence of a logical and a clear connection between different pages and elements of the application. Hereby, the users might face difficulties in relating and connecting different pages and elements of the application with one another. Material metaphors help in putting attention towards the motion design. These aid in communicating the meaning of the interface by making it much more dynamic.

6. Enabling accessibility for the Differently-Abled

Most courses teaching how to design an Android App lay too much emphasis on the aesthetics of a mobile application. This can cause application developers to often ignore the basics of mobile application, i.e. user accessibility. Accessibility allows different users the ability to use the user interface of the application. A good application design enables users with disabilities such as blindness, visual, hearing, motor and cognitive impairments etc. to access and utilise the application.

Accessibility can involve taking care of with minor details. These include the selection of the correct contrast for the user interface, text copy functions etc. Only after incorporating these basic elements right, should the developer move towards much more complicated elements. These complicated elements can include audio, animation, visuals etc.

Hence, application developers should ensure making these effects are optional. This enables users with visual and hearing impairments to switch off features which are not required. The mobile application needs to have a transcript, captions or some other alternative audio alerts or vital motion effects.

7. Using the Device Specifications

An important lesson taught in how to design an Android App involves leveraging the strengths, technical specification and the hardware of the Android devices. Further, there are several variations in Android-enabled devices with each brand having its range of products and models.

Smartphone manufacturer such as Samsung, OnePlus, Sony, Vivo, HTC etc. all utilise the Android operating system. Every manufacturer has a wide variety of models starting from entry-level smartphones to flagship products. The application should be usable on all these different smartphone models.

8. Optimising the Application for different screen and how to design Android apps for different screen sizes

Every Android-enabled smartphone has a different screen size, different types of displays etc. An essential lesson of how to design an Android App also involves how to design Android apps for different screen sizes. Different smartphone models have different screen sizes, different pixel densities and different types of displays. Thus, mobile application needs to be optimised for all Android-based smartphone models.

This can be done using density independent pixels as a unit of measurement instead of px. Maintenance of density independence is essential as without it the various user interface elements such as screen icons might appear smaller on screens with high-density and larger on screens with low intensity.

Hence an important lesson in how to design an Android App includes checking how different elements of the user interface appear on different screen sizes. An app developer’s goal should include ensuring objects and elements such as text objects, images and icons, dynamic content etc. so as to appear good in screens of all sizes and pixel density.

9. Utilising Internal Capabilities of Individual Smartphone Devices

Different Android-enabled smartphones have a wide array of hardware and capabilities which intent to enhancing user experience. These includes a camera, Bluetooth, GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer and much more. All these hardware are meant to have functionalities to make the user’s life easier.

Lessons for how to design an Android App need to include incorporation of these features within the mobile application towards enhancing the user experience, saving valuable time of the user and building a high utility application.

10. Marketing Your Brand

An important lesson of how to design an Android App includes branding your application. When designing a new Android application, it is essential for the developer of the app to give the brand a personality and market it. The product created should reflect your brand.

Designers can utilise a wide array of tools and marketing principles for branding their Android App. This includes creating a logo, a brand name, using colours which suit the personality and functionality of your brand.

There are many marketing courses which the Android application developers can undertake to help them learn about marketing and branding. These courses can aid developers in identifying their target market and audience etc. and to enable them to build better and more useful Android applications for the users.

11. Prototyping and Design Testing

Every course and lesson on how to design an Android App emphasises a high degree of importance on the concept of prototyping and design testing. It is quite rare for any product, or mobile application to be perfectly created within its very first attempt. Hence, no mobile or Android application should be immediately launched on the Google Play Store. Launch it only successful prototyping and design testing of the application.

The developer can provide a limited group of people to use the application and ask for their feedback. The feedback can help in identifying bugs, making rectification and enhancing the user experience of the android application. Prototyping and design test helps taking out the guesswork and provides actual user feedback to create a better product.

The Webinar on The First 30 Days of a Mobile App could help developers to understand the techniques of application prototyping and design testing before a full-fledged launch of their application.

12. Tracking Design Iterations

It is important to keep track of the application design, changes and amendments that are made within the application. It helps the developer to better understand the evolution of their application design and has greater impact on the performance of the application.

Tracking both the successful and the failed iterations is important in android application development. It helps the developer to rectify their mistakes and avoid repeating them while working on the existing application or while creating a new application. Tracking design iterations can offer developers important lessons in how to design an Android App and how to design Android apps for different screen sizes.


The essential aspect needed to be taken into consideration while learning how to design an Android App and developing a new Android application is that the product has been developed for the users and not the developers. Developers should focus more on working with other users rather than pushing pixels, enhancing aesthetics etc. 

Experimentation and trying new approached for different elements of application is an important element in the learning curve of how to design an Android App. Developers should select their target consumers and provide value to the users before developing and marketing an Android application.