We’ve seen a renewed interest in the subject of Android fragmentation lately, whether that means issues with app compatibility, unpredictable update cycles, or any of the many custom user interfaces smartphone manufacturers install. If your problems with the operating system are more along the lines of that last complaint that all these differing options are resulting in the absence of a unified Android look-and-feel Google has some new resources it’s just revealed that should help to formalize what we think of as the Android smartphone experience.
Now that Ice Cream Sandwich is about to start coming to existing devices in a big way, Google wants Android developers to start paying extra attention to how their apps come across as part of the larger Android community. To that end, the company has launched its Android Design site, advising developers about how they can craft apps that both match the look and spirit of what Google’s reaching for with Android.
The guidelines Google provides cover everything from menu layout, to user feedback, to what language choices should be used to address users. It’s important to note that these are, in fact, guidelines, and not requirements. Google’s strategy for encouraging their use seems to be something along the lines of shaming developers into conformity, arguing that ignoring these guidelines will result in apps that don’t feel quite right on Android phones, driving users away to those that seem more familiar to them.