CJ Frost, Technical Evangelist for Amazon Kindle, is our guest blogger for this post.
Kindle Fire tablets are designed to be rich content consumption devices. To make sure your app supports this goal and provides the best user experience, keep in mind that you are building for a tablet, not a smartphone. Many apps are derived from existing Android smartphone apps and do not scale well to the tablet form factor. Scaled apps generally do not look as good as dedicated tablet apps and are feature-limited when compared to a similar app designed specifically for a tablet environment. These scaled apps can also suffer from significant degradation in graphics quality as the UI and elements are dynamically scaled up, by the Android platform, to fit the screen.
Optimizing your app for tablets offers numerous benefits. It enables you to offer a rich,easy-to-navigate, and more detailed user experience, allows you to optimize user engagement, and can potentially improve your monetization opportunities.
To help you create the best user experience for both small and larger screened devices, we've put together a list of our top phone-to-tablet app development tips.
Exploit the real estate.
Apps that are scaled up from a smaller screen size generally do not look as good as dedicated tablet apps and are feature-limited when compared to a similar app designed specifically for a tablet environment.
For example, many mobile phone apps are designed as lists of items (e.g., postings, photos) that link to new pages. When viewed on a Kindle Fire tablet, these apps appear feature-limited compared to a similar app designed specifically for a tablet environment. The lists do not fill the screen, nor do they take advantage of the potential user experience features.Apps designed to be multi-pane leverage the screen real estate so users can directly open content they'd otherwise page to on a phone app.
For more information on how to design your app for larger screens, see the Android documentation on devicesand displays,planningfor multiple touchscreen sizes, and movingfrom multi-page to multi-pane designs.
Optimize for dynamic resizing.
Apps designed for phones tend to be created as portrait apps only. Apps designed for tablets are optimized to be viewed in portrait or landscape mode by providing orientation-specific layouts, as demonstrated in the Simple RSS Reader Sample,and re-size dynamically using the accelerometer to sense orientation.
Apps designed primarily for use on phones can also suffer from significant degradation in graphics quality as the UI and elements are dynamically scaled up, by the Android platform, to fit the screens of larger devices.
For more information on how to design your app for dynamic resizing, see the Android documentation on supportingdifferent screen sizes.
Design for interactivity.
Apps designed for phones are intended to be used with one hand and provide single-point touch elements with larger touch targets to accommodate thumb navigation. In contrast, apps designed for tablets are developed using multi-point touch elements that can accommodate tablet users'normal two-handed pinch-zoom and swipe actions, providing a richer and more dynamic user experience.
For more information on how to design your app for interactivity, see the Android documentation on making interactive views.
Increase your reach.
Apps designed for phones tend to provide a static representation of non-interactive content. Apps designed for tablets offer additional opportunities for interactivity and can help you extend the reach of your business by including partner content, such as ads or additional game offerings, as well as interactive applets, in a multi-pane design.