Thursday, October 19, 2017

With Android, there is a huge range of devices, screen sizes, input mechanisms, and OS versions.  You simply can’t guarantee a client or your team that the app that is delivered will look and feel perfect on every possible device out there.  While you will certainly do your best to design so that it works well on a broad range of devices, you won’t be able to succeed 100%.  It’s also not reasonable to declare that you will only contractually agree to design for one device and OS version — at least not if you want to remain in demand as a designer.  So what do you do?

There are two things you must do:

  1. Have an open discussion about design parameters with your team or client at the start of the project.
  2. Specify a few target device configurations for which your design will be optimized.

Here are the minimum set of design constraints you need to discuss:

Rather than just discussing the design parameters above directly, another approach to arriving at these design parameters is to work backwards from a set of target devices.  For example, you may research some of the most popular devices (eg. Droid, Evo, Nexus, Galaxy) and agree to design to the shipping specifications of those devices.

Once you have discussed these design parameters with the team or your client, don’t just file it away in your notes!  As we discussed earlier, it is almost inevitable that the app will not look or feel perfectly on some Android devices even with all of your best effort at accommodating the broadest range of configurations.   This can lead to a lot of design iterations on your part to accommodate a little-used device configuration that happens to be used by your client’s top executive.  While you should see it as your responsibility to design to the broadest range possible, you also need to realistically set expectations clearly and openly at the beginning of the project.


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