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Experience Design

Android Design Site

Someone at Google Android must be reading my blog.  Seriously though, Google just announced a website focused on aiding developers in the creation of smartphone applications for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).  The website will focus on features, design suggestions and approaches to different issues in Android  application development. This website will augment the current Android Developers website that has been the main resource for developers since Android first debuted.  Now, the design site does not have the depth of Human Interface information that Apple’s site has but it is a good resource for Android developers and it gives Google a base to expand from.  For instance, I have found a number of apps that seem to pop up the progress indicator for almost every swipe.  There was a study done back in 1968 (Miller, R. B. (1968). Response time in man-computer conversational transactions. Proc. AFIPS Fall Joint Computer Conference Vol. 33, 267-277) that is still valid today:

  • 0.1 second is about the limit for having the user feel that the system is reacting instantaneously, meaning that no special feedback is necessary except to display the result.
  • 1.0 second is about the limit for the user’s flow of thought to stay uninterrupted, even though the user will notice the delay. Normally, no special feedback is necessary during delays of more than 0.1 but less than 1.0 second, but the user does lose the feeling of operating directly on the data.
  • 10 seconds is about the limit for keeping the user’s attention focused on the dialogue. For longer delays, users will want to perform other tasks while waiting for the computer to finish, so they should be given feedback indicating when the computer expects to be done. Feedback during the delay is especially important if the response time is likely to be highly variable, since users will then not know what to expect.

So in the case of a swipe, no special processing indicator should be used as long as the new screen appears or new data is presented in a second or less.  It is this type of information that Apple’s site would have that the Android site does not, boundaries around what circumstances you would or would not implement a specific widget.

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Perry Hoekstra

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