Cross-Platform Design Strategy Tips in 2019

Cross-Platform Design Strategy Tips in 2019

Android and iOS users have been at odds for over a decade. Each platform carving out its path and even stepping on each other’s toes in the process. However, for many consumer app developers to pick a side would mean to ignore a large chunk of users. Android and iOS make up 97% of the mobile operating system market share with iOS dominating the profit share because of user’s high activity levels and Android dominates with 74% of the global total. So a cross-platform design strategy is needed to reach as many users as possible.

Design implementations can change from platform to platform. These differences in convention can affect the user’s ability to understand the UI or complete certain tasks. Platform-specific conventions are recommended, however, in cases where the design differences are minimal, adapting to the platform is optional. 

When I approach implementing a design I always look for components that may seem difficult. It gives me time to brainstorm an approach or raise any red flags that I may have. It’s always good to approach designers with other options that both fit that style and also make it much easier to develop. We wrote a blog post on design trends to take into consideration when building your strategy, which is another layer to the process. Larger changes like app navigation, or custom interactions may take further explaining to make others aware of the risks. These concerns from a developer are necessary to make for a smoother development cycle.

Cross-Platform Consistency 

When going the route of creating custom components so that each platform looks and feels the same way, understand there are things that you must be aware of. Although the design may stand out visually it is likely that users won’t understand how to interact with the UI and will likely give up in confusion. With that in mind consider the following: 

  • Custom components come at a high risk and a high cost. This requires more development work and further testing with a higher tendency to fail for users. For example using cards to approve and deny requests in a tinder/card deck style. Although it may sound and look cool however in combination with asynchronous tasks, creating, updating, deleting, card animations and transitions it can get a bit trick later on if not setup correctly. 
  • There may also be technical constraints for a platform that may result in an easier implementation of a component on one platform than the other. For example, creating a Floating Action Button may seem easy to add on Android but iOS may run into more problems regarding the FAB down the road.
  • Consistency is a key principle of UX Design so consider what may be familiar to the user. This may mean that you should tailor components to other apps the user may use on that platform.

Platform Specific Design

platform specific design

When taking a more platform specific approach to design it is recommended that you use iOS Human Interface Guidelines and Google Material Design native components. This way is one of the best approaches, especially coming from a development perspective. With fewer custom components it  will reduce the time it takes to development. Furthermore, users should be more familiar with native platform patterns and controls. However, strictly following these native guidelines can leave little room to create unique and innovative experiences.

These are Guidelines, not Hard Rules.

“It’s important to understand the idioms and behaviors of each platform before you start design and development. That way your users will be able to use and easily understand your app on the platform that is native to them, and you will have the most clear and true version of your product — no matter where it’s used.” Design from iOS to Android (and Back Again)

The key for platform specific design is that it is important to understand the actual platform itself in order to explain the reasoning behind any design decisions. Are we following the guidelines or are we doing this because we are concerned about users experience? 

 

When taking this approach you’ll run into native features that are relatively simply to do on one platform than the other. Navigation has always been pretty troubling in how many different configurations you can come up with. Android apps typically use the Navigation Drawer while iOS takes advantage of Bottom Tabs. However, Android does have support for Bottom Bar Navigation, this may conflict with Android’s on-screen navigation buttons. Gestures and interactions can also get tricky when trying to mimic 3d touch on Android and other native navigation gestures on iOS. In these cases take some time to decide what’s worth replicating and how to do it natively.

Moving from iOS to Android and back

In my experience, making the transition between developing for Android and then moving to iOS and back can be difficult, at first. When you begin to understand each platform’s tools and limitations you are able to separate concepts from implementation. You’ll see that many of these platforms have similar interactions and tools. With more updates to development tools, sdks and physical devices, what’s done on one platform can be replicated on the other (in most cases). 

Pro Tip: Forget About iOS When Working on Android

Apple has been known to be the standard for mobile design due to their commitment to UX and _ . Along with many 3rd party platform tools catering towards iOS, Android gets less attention and this is why we come across many Android apps that have been ported from iOS. However with many improvements to Material Design it would be in your best interest to understand both platform’s guidelines. Being built on a foundation of best practices in both traditional and web design, Material Design is informed by user experience research and cognitive science. These guidelines that were developed from these findings are intended to be universally applied across all platforms and devices.

In Conclusion

These are just my recommendations from the other side. Shouting from across the street to look out for oncoming traffic. There’s no one correct way to design for cross platform, although you’ll know where you stand from user’s reactions and feedback or lack thereof. Using these guidelines will of course lead you in the right direction however don’t be afraid to set your own path. All means of solving a problem are correct if they work.

Want to find out if your design strategy is working? 

Shae Hazelwood

Shae Hazelwood

Developer

Shae is a mobile developer with a passion for producing business-focused applications and strategy-based mobile development. What began with home-grown app prototypes has turned into a career at Shockoe focused on Titanium and Android development as well as considering market deployment practices. When he’s not deep in code, Shae spends his time playing video games and listening to Hip Hop.

3rd time’s a charm: Shockoe Makes Inc. 5000 List Again

3rd time’s a charm: Shockoe Makes Inc. 5000 List Again

Inc. Magazine Unveils Its Annual List of
America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000

For the 3rd Time, Shockoe Appears on the Inc. 5000,
Ranking No. 1051 With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 445 Percent

 

RICHMOND, VA, August 14, 2019 – Inc. magazine today revealed that Shockoe is No. 1051 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

10 years ago, Shockoe saw an opportunity to change businesses with mobile. And we did. Now, we’re excited to leverage our capabilities with emerging technology over the next 10. 

To think of how far we’ve come, from a basement office with 3 employees, to where we are now, being recognized by Inc. 5000, is an award that not only validates our hard work but our teamwork as well. Our team is what drives us, it’s what encourages us, and it’s what inspires us. 

Mobile is essential, but that doesn’t stop us from finding what’s next and tackling that as well. I’m excited about the future of our organization. Let’s get to work.”

Edwin Huertas

CEO

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” said Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”

The team here at Shockoe is honored and humbled by this recognition. Today, we celebrate our growth, innovation, and above all, teamwork. Our extraordinary team of designers, developers, strategists and the support teams behind them are what makes Shockoe, well Shockoe. 

To our clients who make our jobs so much fun and our employees who make it all happen, thank you. We’re excited to continue learning, growing and pioneering the mobile technology space.

Media Contact:
Ryan Waltz
+1 877 696 7001
ryan.waltz@shockoe.com

Designers Unite: Shockoe to host AIGA

Designers Unite: Shockoe to host AIGA

We have a small but mighty design team here at Shockoe. Any given day one of us might be discovering needs from a client, drafting UI standards for another, then refining designs for the most intuitive and impactful experience. With so many facets to everyday workflow, the term “designer” has become a bit nebulous.

Design is more than just making visual choices, but at what point does “Experience Design” or “UX/UI Designer” become too vague? Where do things like research, and strategy fit in?

Join us for some fascinating conversation around the role designers play in technology and a team dynamic. We’ll share some of the things we’ve discovered along the way, both the things that worked and some that didn’t prove all that helpful. Most of all, we want to hear from you and get the dialogue flowing around this topic.

The Deets:

Cost of Attendance: Free
Time & Date: Thursday, August 29, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location: 3122 W Marshall Street #201

What to Expect:

  • Get an inside look at the roles our design team plays here at Shockoe. Explore our workspace and get a taste of our processes (and perhaps some beer too).
  • Flex your thinkin’ muscles in a fast-paced collaborative brainstorming exercise. When the world of mobile development is framed in sprints, design must be too. We’ll share a practice that has helped us expand our idea of what design truly is.
  • Socialize, network, and snag free food & drink to your heart’s desire. We’re keeping things casual, and we know happy hour truly is the main event.

If you’re interested in hanging with the design team here at Shockoe, sign up. Let’s get our design on.

Clutch Names Shockoe a Top Developer in Virginia

Clutch Names Shockoe a Top Developer in Virginia

Align Mobile Technology to Human Behavior

Shockoe brings a holistic view of what it take to bring emerging technology to the edge. We bring a deep experience in mobile apps and the latest in AR and voice technology. Understanding the changing world of software development and our dedicated team of developers, designers, and strategists are what have allowed Shockoe to stand out in the industry for almost a decade. It is clear through our final products that we have chosen the right profession and aren’t going anywhere. We are thrilled to announce that in a recent report, Clutch named us as a top developer in Virginia, for the second year in a row, out of thousands of other agencies!

“Being recognized by Clutch as a Clutch Leader is an honor and confirmation of the work we are doing with our clients. At Shockoe, we know that jobs come in many shapes and sizes: Managing a warehouse? Shopping for groceries? On-the-clock or not, work is work. That’s why we build apps that make work easier—so that people can have more time for the things they care about.”

-Alejandro Otanez, COO

Who is Clutch

They are a B2B ratings and reviews site that works to connect businesses to service providers around the world. Their team of analysts conduct in depth research on aspects such as company market presence, work quality, and most importantly, client experience. Clutch analysts interview former clients of service providers over the phone, publishing the raw feedback onto the provider’s public Clutch profile. We’ve received an unprecedented amount of positive reviews (11 to be exact) and have secured a top position among leading developers.

We are also featured on The Manifest as a leader in our industry! The Manifest is a Clutch sister site that publishes business news and how-to guides with practical business advice for firms of all sizes. Visual Objects is another sister platform that allows businesses to showcase their visual portfolio to potential buyers.

Our achievements thus far have come about as a result of our hard work and dedication, which fortunately runs abound in Shockoe! We look forward to growing our presence on Clutch and encourage you to read more about the latest Shockoe news on our blog!

Want to know more about how Shockoe can do to help you bring technology to the edge?

Ryan Waltz

Ryan Waltz

Junior Marketing Analyst

Ryan graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor’s Degree focused in Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia . She is skilled in communication, staffing services, Spanish, and social media. When not at Shockoe, Ryan runs her own wedding photography business & can be found hanging with her cat Kai.

Shockoe’s 1st Meet-Up: React Native

Shockoe’s 1st Meet-Up: React Native

The Meet-Up Overview: 

Shockoe would like to provide a space for the RVA React Native community to share its knowledge and grow together. There are many options today for creating mobile applications, and React Native is a great solution for a cross-platform approach. Join us to strengthen the community by bringing in new developers and sharing our knowledge with one another!

Cost of Attendance:
Free

Time & Date:
Friday, August 16, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Location: 
3122 W Marshall Street #201
Richmond, VA 23220

What We’ll be Covering:

Our first React Native meetup will be targeted towards beginners and more advanced developers.

Part 1:
An introduction to React Native and review resources that are available to get you started. We will discuss how React Native works, and draw parallels to other frameworks and platforms. Additionally, we will run through some newer JavaScript concepts that are prevalent in the React Native community.

Part 2:
A focus on the tools and tricks available to the React Native developer. We will explore the standalone React Native Debugger as well as extensions available in Visual Studio Code. We will also share some development tricks to make your job easier!

I’m a Beginner- What’s React Native?

React Native is a framework, backed by Facebook, for creating cross platform applications. React Native essentially cuts developer effort in half by removing the need for an isolated codebase for each platform. This is achieved by allowing developers to write JavaScript code, which maps to native elements, and can be ran on both iOS and Android. That allows for a smooth transition from web developers that are already used to creating single page applications with JavaScript.

This cross platform idea is not a new one.

Cordova and Ionic achieve a similar goal by utilizing WebViews. Developers actually create websites that are ran on mobile. Plugins are provided to interact with native APIs where needed. This means that all of the UI is not truly native, but instead just a website. UX can suffer when going this route.

Flutter is also not a native experience, but it is not web either. Flutter provides its own UI engine that is super fast and runs on both platforms. The development team has created components that mimic native Android and iOS components, but do not always behave identically. UX will generally be better with Flutter than a pure web solution, but integration with native elements can be strange.

React Native, NativeScript, and Titanium, and Xamarin all allow for a developer to write in JavaScript that then drives true native components. Xamarin falls into this category as well, but it substitutes JavaScript for C#. This approach isn’t flawless, but it does utilize native components instead of attempting to mimic a native feel. We feel that React Native is the strongest in this category due to its dependency on React and the outstanding support from the React Native community.

If you would like to speak at a future event, please contact us through Meetup or send a direct email to kevon.adonis@shockoe.com

Interested in coming? We’d love to meet you!

Meet Your Hosts:

Andrew Rumbley

Andrew Rumbley

Cross-Platform Development Lead

Andrew is a Senior Mobile Developer focused on creating quality user experiences. He is a full stack developer with experience working on every piece of a mobile application from backend APIs to frontend UI. Andrew is passionate about creating high performing native applications. He also has the distinguished mantle of being the longest-tenured developer at Shockoe.

Kevon Adonis

Kevon Adonis

Full-Stack Development Lead

Kevon Adonis is a senior full stack developer with 12 years of development experience spanning Java, PHP, C#, Javascript, HTML, CSS, and SQL. Being a certified AWS Solutions Architect, Kevon also brings cloud solution and dev-ops experiences to the table. When not writing code, Kevon focuses on algorithm analysis and computational theories that impact his everyday coding challenges.

eTail East: Transforming Retail. Together

eTail East: Transforming Retail. Together

We’re heading back to Boston! From August 19 – August 22, Shockoe will be attending and speaking at eTail East in Boston, Massachusetts. 

About eTail

eTail is where the top minds in retail meet, collaborate and learn about what’s disrupting the industry today and what’ll change tomorrow. Shockoe’s COO, Alejandro Otañez, will speak from his seven-years experience at IBM, on how digital technology investments can be implemented and measured for success and impact. 

Why we’re attending

Having all the technological expertise in the world means nothing if you don’t understand your customers. Mobile phones and digital technology are the ultimate culprits of the way things operate today, making tough tasks easy. The two together fundamentally unify the entire experience.

We believe that every company operates in a way that is as unique as its offerings. Every technology solution should be as well. Our team of strategists, consultants, designers, and developers work to embrace existing processes, question inefficiencies and deliver custom digital mobile tools that can improve the overall quality of your customer experience.  

If being out-of-the-box has felt like forcing a square peg into a round hole, we get it. Come to talk to us — we’ll help you create a custom technology solution that will help you truly fulfill your customers wants and needs.

The proof is in the pudding

We’ve worked in several facets of the retail industry— learn more about our work here

If you’re interested in learning more or will also be attending eTail, we’d love to speak with you! Click the link below & we’ll make it happen.