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Android Design Principles

"These design principles were developed by and for the Android User Experience Team to keep users' best interests in mind. Consider them as you apply your own creativity and design thinking. Deviate with purpose."

Also check out this talk called, Enchant, Simplify, Amaze: Android's Design Principles from Google I/O 2013, where Rachel Gerb and Helena Roeber introduce these principles and explains them in greater detail.

Source: Android Developers - Design Principles

The principles

  1. Delight me in surprising ways
  2. Real objects are more fun than buttons and menus
  3. Let me make it mine
  4. Get to know me
  5. Keep it brief
  6. Pictures are faster than words
  7. Decide for me but let me have the final say
  8. Only show what I need when I need it
  9. I should always know where I am
  10. Never lose my stuff
  11. If it looks the same, it should act the same
  12. Only interrupt me if it's important
  13. Give me tricks that work everywhere
  14. It's not my fault
  15. Sprinkle encouragement
  16. Do the heavy lifting for me
  17. Make important things fast

  1. Delight me in surprising ways

    A beautiful surface, a carefully-placed animation, or a well-timed sound effect is a joy to experience. Subtle effects contribute to a feeling of effortlessness and a sense that a powerful force is at hand.

  2. Real objects are more fun than buttons and menus

    Allow people to directly touch and manipulate objects in your app. It reduces the cognitive effort needed to perform a task while making it more emotionally satisfying.

  3. Let me make it mine

    People love to add personal touches because it helps them feel at home and in control. Provide sensible, beautiful defaults, but also consider fun, optional customizations that don't hinder primary tasks.

  4. Get to know me

    Learn peoples' preferences over time. Rather than asking them to make the same choices over and over, place previous choices within easy reach.

  5. Keep it brief

    Use short phrases with simple words. People are likely to skip sentences if they're long.

  6. Pictures are faster than words

    Consider using pictures to explain ideas. They get people's attention and can be much more efficient than words.

  7. Decide for me but let me have the final say

    Take your best guess and act rather than asking first. Too many choices and decisions make people unhappy. Just in case you get it wrong, allow for 'undo'.

  8. Only show what I need when I need it

    People get overwhelmed when they see too much at once. Break tasks and information into small, digestible chunks. Hide options that aren't essential at the moment, and teach people as they go.

  9. I should always know where I am

    Give people confidence that they know their way around. Make places in your app look distinct and use transitions to show relationships among screens. Provide feedback on tasks in progress.

  10. Never lose my stuff

    Save what people took time to create and let them access it from anywhere. Remember settings, personal touches, and creations across phones, tablets, and computers. It makes upgrading the easiest thing in the world.

  11. If it looks the same, it should act the same

    Help people discern functional differences by making them visually distinct rather than subtle. Avoid modes, which are places that look similar but act differently on the same input.

  12. Only interrupt me if it's important

    Like a good personal assistant, shield people from unimportant minutiae. People want to stay focused, and unless it's critical and time-sensitive, an interruption can be taxing and frustrating.

  13. Give me tricks that work everywhere

    People feel great when they figure things out for themselves. Make your app easier to learn by leveraging visual patterns and muscle memory from other Android apps. For example, the swipe gesture may be a good navigational shortcut.

  14. It's not my fault

    Be gentle in how you prompt people to make corrections. They want to feel smart when they use your app. If something goes wrong, give clear recovery instructions but spare them the technical details. If you can fix it behind the scenes, even better.

  15. Sprinkle encouragement

    Break complex tasks into smaller steps that can be easily accomplished. Give feedback on actions, even if it's just a subtle glow.

  16. Do the heavy lifting for me

    Make novices feel like experts by enabling them to do things they never thought they could. For example, shortcuts that combine multiple photo effects can make amateur photographs look amazing in only a few steps.

  17. Make important things fast

    Not all actions are equal. Decide what's most important in your app and make it easy to find and fast to use, like the shutter button in a camera, or the pause button in a music player.