Android Marketplace to Get Design Overhaul

by Dale Wright

Users of Android devices sometimes feel that Android apps lack uniformity and style. If you’ve switched from an iPhone 4 or iPad 2, the difference in the visual style of the apps could be quite significant.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich

But all that could be about to change. Part of Apple’s philosophy is to tightly integrate software and hardware to make the whole experience very easy for users, and now Google want to do the same thing.

Google are attempting to re-align the Android Marketplace and standardise the feel of their apps with the new Android Design project. Android Design is a new set of guidelines to try to make Android apps look a little more stylish and refined. They hope that a common set of rules will also make apps easier to use, giving users of Ice Cream Sandwich a better and more integrated experience. Developers have been given recommendations for the fonts they use, and they’re encouraged to clearly position buttons and tabs. The guidelines contain lots of tips to cut down on confusing icons and long, lengthy in-app instructions.

The new Android Design website has been built to encourage app developers to follow a set of common standards to make the OS “beautiful” and “powerful”, according to Matias Duarte, the director of Android User Experience at Google. Duarte’s comments mark a change in direction for Google as they seek to make their mobile OS more refined. The Android Design website gives developers suggestions around the user interface they choose and even the length of their sentences, providing tips on tried-and-tested ways to make an app more enjoyable and effective. Ice Cream Sandwich is the fourth incarnation of the Android OS, and it seems Google are now keen to take it to the next level.

What are your favourite apps for Android? Do you think a better design would help to improve them?