Why Does iOS Look Better Than Android? Google Doesn’t Value Design As Seriously

It is no question that Android is starting to look more polished and refined, but I would in no way say it is at iOS’ level. For the most part this has to do with iOS developers taking more time to make their apps look better and of course the App Store’s more closed approach.

If you asked Chris Hulbert — an iOS developer who had an internship with Google for a few months — why Android isn’t at the same level as iOS in terms of design, it would be because Google doesn’t take design as seriously.

Although you might find the fact that Google is hiring iOS developers strange, it really isn’t. Google has numerous apps in the Apple App Store and relies on a strong iOS development team to keep these apps updated and of course launch new ones. This isn’t to say that Google is iOS-orientated in any means. According to Hulbert, almost everyone is Android users at heart, which could “possibly” be to do with Google giving all of its employees the latest Nexus devices free for Christmas. Hulbert says “there’s nary an iPhone to be seen in the place besides the test units in the iOS teams.”

Google App Design Process

The first thing Hulbert has to say about how Google’s app development differs from an average iOS app developers design process is the following:

As an iOS dev, I’m used to a design-first approach: someone in a suit dreams up their app, tells the UX guy who comes up with wireframes (aka scribbles on paper of each screen), then the designers mock up each screen exactly how they want it to look, and it is finally passed to us developers to make the magic happen as close as possible to the designs.

This design process seems to work very well and is something Google needs to pick up on. For the record, it isn’t that Google doesn’t have the resources to create some great designs, it just isn’t at the top of their priorities.

However at Google it was noticeable that designs aren’t really taken seriously. Which explains things like android’s less-than-beautiful UI, and google’s generally noticeable lack of focus on design.

Hulbert further mentions that the reason why the new iOS Google Maps looks so good is because Google actually put design first for once. If you are interested in a quick overview of what it is like to be a developer at Google the entire blog post from Hulbert is worth the read.

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  • Callum B

    I honestly think ICS and Jelly Bean look way better than iOS. I have an iPod Touch and an HTC ChaCha with CM9 on it and I much prefer the HTC in terms of UI and aesthetics in general.

  • Alu Zeros

    I think android looks better than ios, but there are some aesthetics in certain parts that are cleaner and done better compared to the respective counterparts in android

  • ste

    Because Google is open source and they encourage people to have a go at developing and apple are just too strict. And its easier for apple as they only develope for there own devices which have the same core structures where android need to be versatile as to work with lots of different makes of devices. I agree android is behind in some stuff but light years ahead in others. I’m a fan of both and have owned both but the customisation possibility with android makes it more appealing to a lot of customers.

  • Matroska

    iOS looks way better, much more polished and animations are smooth. That “wow factor” in Android is not there.

  • Callum B

    Eh, it’s subjective. I think the Android 4.x UI is much better than the iOS UI. It’s just mu opinion.

  • NCWLucas

    In my opinion, Android looks different but no less polished or ‘good’ in any way. People always claim glitches and jagged animations hold back the visual side of Android – those people need to leave Froyo and Honeycomb in the past (where they belong), and take a look at ICS and JB. I’d also say that Project Butter is at least some kind of proof that Google do take design seriously… And besides, this whole argument is based on the fact that design is most important, which it isn’t. Apple might make pretty little devices, but Google give their users a rich feature base and the ability to customise beyond belief – I’d take that any day.

  • Stocklone

    Seriously? Smooth animations. Go pick up a Nexus 4.

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