What’s the difference: Designing for Android and iOS platforms

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If you have taken up the route to become a UI designer, it is definitely an interesting and challenging job profile. There are too many things on your platter. And, most of it associated with the technical issue of designing for the platform. But, before reaching out to the dilemma you are facing as the specification for Android and iOS, it will be beneficial to understand what lies in store for your role as a UI designer!


The objective behind any interface is to make sure that the user is able to accomplish the goals. So, when you are a UI designer you are expected to-


  • Fabricate something attractive
  • Understand the mindset of the user
  • Be as smart to have an idea of what they expect
  • Make a user-friendly design.


Take care of the above to reach the top!


And, now that you know the deal, you might be a little or a lot perplexed with regards to the designing for mobile. There is variation in devices and specification in design, which you cannot obliterate. The platforms iOS and Android have typical UI patterns which need to be taken care of. If, you even for a bit are planning to stay away from the pattern you are committing a crime!


So, what is the process which aids in designing an app for an Android and iOS?


In order to aid you, the readers with the specification, technical details and comparison, it will be of benefit to take care of each question associated one at a time!


Distinctness of the Android and iOS Platforms


Distinctness of Android and iOS Platforms

  • Manufacturer- iOS was always available on the iPhone or even the iPad. When you know the manufacturer for the same is Apple, it is a predictable move. It is because it complements with the aim of the Apple to have a complete control of their software and the user experience. This definitely leads to a connected user experience. However, with the Android it can be installed on any device. Hence, the manufacturer is able to utilize a plethora of devices. The good aspect about this is the control manufacturer can pursue on the Operating system. Yet again, the negative aspect is that the Android devices are most of the instances not able to provide the connected user experience.
  • Back button- The Android devices have a sequence of physical buttons on the phone. These include home, overview and back. However, with iOS there are only 2 buttons, home and a lock button. These aspects need to be kept in mind while designs the app for a better user experience.
  • Patterns- undoubtedly, the two patterns offer similar features, but they are executed in different ways. Each Operating System has a different standard. So, you need to always keep in mind the iOS list patterns and Android list patterns, if you aspire to pursue your work with excellence and not confuse the users. In order to make sure that you are following the mark, pay attention when you are utilizing your favorite apps. It will give you the required idea and guide you well in your pursuit.



There is no doubt with this one considering the more popular platform. If you consider the viewpoint from the consumer perspective, Android wins the popularity competition with flying colors. The acumen can be attributed to the price of the device, the availability and the fact that there is always more device manufacturer for Android.


If you go by the facts, Android tops the list with 82.8% of the market, compared to Apple (iOS) which is 14%.


But, then iOS too has its fan following. Talk about the developed countries, like Canada, UK and USA, if your device is not iOS it is not a device!


Hence, if you are a UI designer you have to be excelling in the quirks and design patterns of each of the platforms. You have to keep a tab on the latest in technology and innovation. Since, you have chosen a career which is appealing as well as tech-savvy; you can only pursue the best when you are the best. You cannot let go the knowledge requirement, the technical specification and most significantly the need and choice of the users. You need to be really smart with every aspect of availing excellence in this field.


Amidst a plethora of challenges which you will face while pursuing the process, will be the fabrication of design of the 2 versions of the same app. So, here is some guidance for the same:-


It will be really confusing when you are given the task to manage the designing and execution of 2 distinct platforms.


Why will it be tedious?

Well, when you are given the task of designing and managing the execution of 2 distinct platforms, it is imperative that the app should have a similar feel on each platform. If should be able to offer the same features and attributes. And, all this without compromising on the native design patterns of each platform!


To aid you

  • There is the availability of many UI kits for each platform that will make the inception easier. Sketch posses iOS templates and when you browse you will be able to find the same for an Android as well with ease.
  • There are some elements which should have the same size in your app. These elements are status bar and some common buttons. Now, you cannot take granted for these aspects, hence, it is worth to consult the UI kits, which will give you the specification required for the platform design.
  • There are always availability of guidelines and design specification online. You just need to browse them. It will be only through them that you will be able to adhere to the common patterns.
  • The design specs cover switches, lists, icons, buttons, cards, alerts etc.
  • It is again imperative that you have 2 separate design files for your app. However the user flow should be identical.
  • And, then you have the coding part to take care of. When you are on the way for this one there are a variety of frameworks available which can help you with it. The frameworks will aid to code a single version of your app. At the same time, it will aid in compiling it for either of the platform.
  • For a basic app, you can avail the above. However, if you want a better experience you need to fabricate a separate version of your app for each of the platforms.

So, go ahead get all the details about the platforms. Read well. Have a look at the most appealing apps. Try to understand how they work. Do make sure that you avail immense idea about the technical specification. With the right guidance, good knowledge and plethora of skill you will achieve the goal of designing an exceptional app as a UI designer.

Ready to Take the Next Step?


Rahul Singh

Sr. App Developer

Rahul has been associated with the apps industry for more than 9 years now. He has seen the apps economy grow from its nascent days to a full fledged industry with its complete ecosystem as of today. His interest lies in pursuing and getting to know the best app development technologies, processes and platforms. He is truly an app enthusiast. In his free time he loves playing console games and reading history.

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