Why is it important to design with a specific platform in mind? The simple answer is because your users will notice the difference. It is easy for users to recognize when an app is built with a specific platform in mind and is simply ported over to another platform. However, when the design blends into the device seamlessly the user interface is intuitive and goes unnoticed. It just feels right!
By conforming to the design standards of a specific platform, you allow the user to effortless use the app as it was intended and do not let the interaction with the device distract from the app mission statement, the engaging content or your brand.
To further the point, here are two (of many) design differences between iOS and Android to consider.
- Navigation - iPhone and iPad users are used to tab icons and on-screen back buttons to navigate through the app. However, Android users expect action bars coupled with dedicated back and menu buttons that are built into the hardware. The structure of apps can also be different. For example, iOS apps are often broken into specific sections using tab icons. Android apps are less structured and allow users to navigate from screen to screen more like a web page.
- Look and Feel - Android has a native look and feel (especially since the release of Ice Cream Sandwich) of solid, simple colors and wide-open areas. The buttons and icons often appear to float with no visible bounding box. iOS apps tend to use more detailed textures and skeuomorphic design elements to enhance the user experience. A great of example of this is demonstrated in the visual depiction of a camera lens snapping closed when a picture is taken in the Camera app on iOS.
Both Google and Apple have well-documented guidelines and principles to help you design a superlative user interface and experience as it relates to their operating system. To learn more, check out the links below…