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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Who said #Android #apps can’t look good?



Today we are releasing Bump 2.4 or what we have been calling the Visual Refresh. Earlier this year we hired our first (and so far only, we're hiring) badass visual designer, Shona Dutta. Since then she’s been on a crusade to make our apps and everything else we present (including the recent infographic) look as awesome as our technology.
So when it was time for the Android app to get it’s much needed facelift we wanted to jump on it right away. Unfortunately we were still finishing up some other major features in the app, so our team’s summer intern Will Whitney, cut a branch and started churning away (If you’re an awesome Android dev, this is why we need you, there are too many things to get done and we are currently only two people). He left about a month ago, and finally in the last two weeks we had the time to finish up the work he started.

In the last 10 months we’ve learned a lot about the ins and outs and how to build a great app on Android. One of the things we learned quickly was people rightfully bagged on Android apps not looking as good as their iOS counterparts. But the reasons they pointed to were just plain wrong.
It’s a common misunderstanding that Android apps are harder to program than iOS. People say it’s because the lifecycle behind Activities (Android’s rough equivalents of iOS UIViewControllers) are hard to work with. Not true, I think reading through the documentation on that once should clear up a lot of confusion. People say it’s because the UI code is a bunch of messy xml. Not true, yes it’s xml, but it’s xml used in the way it should: declaratively and in a DRY manner. The xml based layouts are what make UI programming quite a lot nicer: one because it forces view code to be purely view code; two because simple parameter tweaking can produce great results.
In fact I joke with our iOS team that android UI is ridiculously fast to iterate on. Case and point is the global network status bar we have on top of the new app. Whenever the network goes down or is unavailable on any screen of the app a thin black bar rolls down above the whole UI (squeezing the content area below it) letting the user know what went wrong. This simple squeezing of the UI and adding a view on top of every screen took less than two hours to put together.
The real reason Android Apps historically haven’t looked good is because people haven’t put in the same care in building those apps. From a business sense that made sense in the past. Android has never been the primary platform for app users. But the rate of growth of the platform is phenomenal, and even if you believe that in general an Android user is less likely to use apps than an iOS user, the raw numbers should shock you into putting the same care into your Android app as your iOS app.
So it’s finally here: Bump 2.4 for Android. An App that finally looks as good as it works.

Source : Here

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