Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Mar 2014 10:57 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

Fantastic article about design on Android by Cennydd Bowles, design lead at Twitter.

Android design is indeed more difficult than iOS design in that it offers fewer constraints. But any skilled designer can handle that with a bit of effort. My uncharitable interpretation for this class of responses is simple laziness, and if Android forces designers to drop a pixel-perfect mentality and adopt approaches that suit a diverse world, then that’s no bad thing.

The evidence is out there for all to see. Android developers - developers who are Android-focused instead of iOS-focused - come up with absolutely beautiful Android applications all the time. I have no doubt that it's harder to do so on Android than it is on iOS, but the cold and harsh truth is that there are also a hell of a lot more Android users and devices out there. If your iOS application requires two full-time developers, is it really fair to expect your Android application to require the same, even though the user base is four to five times as large?

A translation consisting of 3000 words takes me about a work day. A translation of 12000 words takes me four work days. None of my clients expects me to translate 12000 words in the same amount of time as 3000 words without a serious degradation in quality.

Bowles also dives into the argument that Android users are less willing to pay than iOS users.

Socially, excluding Android users seems almost prejudicial. Unlike Android is difficult, this isn't about about mere convenience; it's a value judgment on who is worth designing for. Put uncharitably, the root issue is "Android users are poor".

If you are an iOS developer, and you port your Android application over as a side-project, is it really so surprising that Android users aren't buying your application? Could it simply be that your potentially poor iOS-to-Android port simply isn't even worth paying for? If you do not develop and design with Android's strengths in mind, Android users won't be as willing to pay as your iOS users, the platform whose strengths you do develop and design for.

I translate English into Dutch, and since this is my speciality, I'm pretty good at it and my clients are willing to pay good money for my services. I could also translate German into Dutch, but since my German isn't nearly as good as my English, my clients aren't going to pay for it. I can translate German into Dutch just fine, but the quality will be far less than my English-to-Dutch translations.

Even then, Android's userbase is far larger than iOS', so even if only 50% of your Android users pay, and 100% of your iOS users (unlikely figures), Android still provides a more worthwhile revenue stream.

Still, the core issue is that Android is a different platform and ecosystem than iOS, with different strengths and weaknesses, and as such, requires different talents and mindsets. Translating English is different than translating German. I realise that. Developers should realise the same, and understand that being a good iOS developer does not make you a good Android developer - or vice versa.

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RE: Comment by stanbr
by kurkosdr on Mon 24th Mar 2014 13:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by stanbr"
Member since:

Come on dude, your text show no evidence what so ever. Every research shows the otherwise, that iOS users pay more for apps.

IMO a great percentage of Android phones are bought as feature phones that also have the ability to play Angry Birds, Asphalt 8 and Temple Run and run free apps (like apps from TV stations, social services and gas station finder apps).

I am not saying said phones are junk. To the contrary, they usually have quad core CPUs, 1GB ram and other goodies. What I am saying is that the people buying them aren't invested enough on mobile games or mobile apps to do a purchase.

I know, because my dad, mom and sister have an Android phone. They use a lot the camera, radio and music and they use free games and apps, but haven't purchased a single game or app. They don't care about mobile gaming enough to buy games, and their mobile app needs are covered by free apps. Only I buy stuff. That's 1 out of 4.

Instead, when you shell out 600 or 700 euros for an iPhone, chances are you are invested on mobile gaming and mobile apps enough to do a purchase. So almost every iOS user is a payer.

So, if you port to Android and expect 4x as much sales (because Android has 4x the market share of iOS), you are going to be dissapointed.

PS: Another problem is Google Play still requires a credit card in most countries (aka there is no Google Play Store reload card), which is something not everyone has outside the US. I had to go to a bank and issue a prepaid card to buy from Google Play.

Edited 2014-03-24 13:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 10

RE[2]: Comment by stanbr
by henderson101 on Thu 27th Mar 2014 12:00 in reply to "RE: Comment by stanbr"
henderson101 Member since:

PS: Another problem is Google Play still requires a credit card in most countries (aka there is no Google Play Store reload card), which is something not everyone has outside the US. I had to go to a bank and issue a prepaid card to buy from Google Play.

Do your banks not issue Debit cards with a VISA/Mastercard attached? In the UK, every Debit card is backed by either VISA, Mastercard or similar. The money still comes directly from your bank account, not a "credit line" and you can't spend more than is in your account (including overdraft), but anywhere that accepts VISA etc, will accept your card. I can't believe/don't understand why this isn't common place elsewhere.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by stanbr
by Johann Chua on Sat 29th Mar 2014 11:31 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by stanbr"
Johann Chua Member since:

It's been a while since I set up my payment info with Google Wallet, but IIRC they require a credit card. A long time ago I tried linking my debit card to PayPal and that didn't work either. Guess it depends on your bank's usage policies.

Reply Parent Score: 2