Design Your Mobile App For Multiple Platforms

These days it has become commonplace – if not necessary – for mobile apps to be designed across multiple platforms. Whether you’re starting from scratch or adapting an existing app to a new OS, the biggest challenge when designing for multiple platforms is balancing the consistency of branding and functionality with the conventions of individual platforms. Without the right balance your app may feel out of place or hard to use.

Designing an app for the iPhone is different than designing for Android as the UI and UX conventions can vary dramatically. While designing, it’s important to consider not only the unique design patterns and standards but the user’s expectations so they will feel at home no matter what platform they are on.

This lesson will equip you with some important details about successfully designing a mobile application for multiple platforms.

  1. iOS and Android Design Guidelines Cheat Sheet

    Over the last few years both Android and iOS have compiled thorough guidelines and best practices for designing apps for their respective platforms. Make yourself familiar with the Interface Guidelines for both iOS and Android. There are many differences between these two platforms and this handy cheat sheet will give you a high level summary at a glance so you don’t have to constantly reference the lengthy documentation.

  2. Designers Should Be Using Both iOS and Android Together Daily

    In this post Designer Michael Surtee discusses his experience using both Android and iOS devices daily. If you are designing an app for multiple platforms it is important for you to become very familiar with each and incorporating both into your daily workflow is a great way to familiarize yourself. Compare the examples of apps Michael uses. Make note of the key differences between the apps. Then, be sure to get yourself a device on each platform and compare the differences and similarities of your favorite apps.

  3. When Designing for Android, Forget iOS

    A common pitfall of designing an app for another OS is mimicking other platforms in the process. This is seen regularly in Android apps that have been ported from iOS apps. This article breaks down some of the core UX differences between the two platforms, particularly around navigation. Think about how you might adjust the navigation within your app(s) to feel appropriate on each platform.

  4. 7 Key Questions to Ask When Taking Your App from iOS to Android

    Read this thorough case study from the creators of HowAboutWe. Make a note of the key questions they raise about cross-platform app design. Whether you are adapting an existing app to a new platform or designing for multiple platforms simultaneously, create a list of your own questions and considerations and be sure to regularly review to ensure you are designing the best experience on each platform.

  5. Cross-platform mobile UX design – follow guidelines or innovate?

    This post asks the question: should we strictly adhere to a platform’s unique guidelines OR make our apps as consistent in appearance + functionality as possible? The answer most often will be an important third option – focusing on creating the best user experience for your customers. Now that you understand the unique conventions and guidelines for platforms like iOS and Android, it is important to remember that they are recommendations and should be treated as a starting point for your UX/UI design process.

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