Efficient software development can pretty much guarantee the success of any operating system and for efficient software development, developers are needed. Android is probably the most successful OS on this front since, due to its open source nature, it has constantly been attracting scores of young and fresh software developers to undertake the process of app development. Other than the apps, these developers also indulge in the development of an efficient Adnroid UI for which specific steps laid down by Google are followed.
An attractive and easy to use user interface is among the most important components of an operating system, and Android is certainly quite efficient on this front. The user interface team of Android undertakes the process of development under certain guidelines and rules which ensure the proper development scenario. The guidelines about the entire Android UI are broadly divided in several major parts. Some of these include Icon Design Guidelines, Widget Design Guidelines, Activity and Task Design guidelines, and Menu Design Guidelines.
Under the Icon Design Guidelines, the development of the icons such as menus, dialogs, tabs, the status bar, and lists is handled. The details of the icons such as the color, size, shading and other specifications are dealt with. Under the Widget Design Guidelines, the development of the display information on the home page is discussed. This also includes dealing with graphics and various templates. Then we have Activity and Task Design guidelines which aim at better development of activities. An Activity can be considered a basic and independent building block of module of an application.
Finally, the Menu Design guidelines deal with the various menus such as option menu and context menu which perform various extended operations related to the applications. All this complex implementation is performed behind the actual interface that is presented to a common user with no knowledge of programming behind it.
Various open source libraries and components are utilized in the development of Android UI. Some of the component libraries used in UI implementation include GreenDroid providing implementation for design patterns such as action bar, wordspaces, dymanic list and action bar; ActionBarSherlock, Android Compatibility Package, UI Components, Android-pulltorefresh and several others. These libraries can be considered short cuts in the process of development and can be considered very important tools for inexperienced software developers.
The extent to which customization is allowed for a user on Android user interface is virtually nonexistent in any other mobile software development platform. At present, various manufacturers of Smartphones use their own user interface in conjunction with Android OS since they think that the user interface of Android needs improvement. But the pace at which improvements are being made in the overall structure of Android, this desire of the manufacturers would soon wither away.
The user interface of Android that was released with the latest version of Gingerbread is a delight to use and this has been improved even more with the release of Ice Cream Sandwich. With the passage of time, Android user interface is being constantly improved and considerable noteworthy additions are being made to it.