Kobo’s Top 5 Tips for Android Developers

Posted by Kobo Labs February  05, 2013

Innovation is at the forefront of app development today. With hundreds of thousands of apps available, design and execution are critical to ensuring apps stand out from the crowd. Kobo, a leading global eReading company, who offers free eReading apps for virtually any platform, has developed five essential best practices for developers to create the ultimate user experience.

1. Up and Back are two different things: Up means going up to the previous page in the app, and back means going back irrespective of where you are. Controlling this in code can get messy fast, which is why the Kobo team suggest ParentActivity in the AndroidManifest.xml. This tells Android that when you press “up” in the action bar, to go to that activities parent, and when you press back to go to the previous screen the user was on.

2. Progress Animations: That pinwheel is generic and boring. With all of the options out there for progress animations the Kobo team suggests you switch it up and customize the look and feel so it’s unique to your app and your users. Your app will almost always have a page where there is wait time, make it matter.

3. Out Of Memory Errors: OOM errors are most common on Android devices, and to make matters worse the problem is phone dependant. It’s important to take steps to prevent these errors; if you can’t avoid loading large images try using SoftReferences to store the image in memory, or when you download the image store it in a temporary cache without decoding the entire bitmap. The Kobo team put a large emphasis on these steps when creating the new user face Tapestries, to ensure it delivers a seamless user experience for its new Android 4.0 7” tablet.

4. Android Animation: It’s all about moderation, but developers usually go one of two ways, all or nothing. Bombarding users with animation can be just as, if not worse, than not including any animation at all. It’s important to find the perfect balance that creates rich content and enhances the user experience.

5. Proofing: According to the Kobo team Monkey is the single most useful tool on the Android SDK. Monkey simulates use of your app and will alert you when things are going wrong, allowing you to fix them before it gets in the hands of real users.

By following these simple tips app developers can take their apps to the next level, making them the best user experiences they can. Plus, if you haven’t already – check out the Kobo Android app today!

 

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