Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Nikolai Sander, CEO of EODSoft. He wrote to answer this question, why do apps from the same company look worse on Android than on iPhone. Thank you, Nikolai.
I think I also know the reason why Android apps have so much worse UI’s.
I’m an independent developer with over 20 years of experience, working for bigger and smaller companies. I have about 10 iPhone apps in the app store with over 10 million apps sold.
I just recently ported one of my apps to the android platform and was shocked when I learned the User Interface API. It is the worst UI library I have ever worked with (and I have worked with quite a few)! I would even go so far as calling it amateurish. It looks like it was designed by at least 3 to 4 different people without common design guidelines. The naming conventions are inconsistent and the static nature of declaring the UI in xml files might work for the web but for a dedicated device interface it’s a nightmare. This along with the fragmentation of devices (mainly different resolutions) it is close to impossible to create a nice UI on Android devices.
I wouldn’t blame the developers or designers of the apps for the bad UI. After all most of them wrote the iPhone version first and they sure have all the assets (bitmaps etc.) available but in most cases I assume that they got so frustrated with the UI SDK on the Android that they decided to create a simpler one in order to not waste too much time. I know I have. Trying to get the UI look right on the Android platform is a trial and error process and with trial I mean “you try it on all possible device resolutions and encounter mostly errors”. On the iPhone, you just build it in Interface Builder for 2 resolutions (320x480 and retina, which is almost identical to the iPad) and you’re done.
Believe me, I’m not an apple fan boy. My background is actually Windows for most of my career but I have never ever seen anything as bad as the Android UI SDK. I’m a huge fan of Android and really want it to succeed but am deeply disappointed by what I’ve encountered.