Important Differences in UI Design for Android, iOS, and Web Applications

  • Date Published
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Different operating systems follow different design principles, and it’s important to note which system follows which principles if you want to create a rich user experience.

The first question every app developer out there asks himself or herself is what is the best operating system to target for their project. As you know, there are two main systems to choose from these days when it comes to apps: iOS and Android. Besides these, there are also web apps. Both systems are extensive, and they provide developers with a lot of useful tools. Furthermore, you can see that the penetration rate of these two systems is enormous.

The differences between these systems are obvious, and the app developer needs to pay attention to them. That’s the only way to be as successful as possible with development. The differences between the systems will have a significant impact for obvious reasons, as they will dictate the tools and processes used. Taking all of these things into consideration is an extremely tricky thing, so developers need to be experienced.

Of course, making the decision on which system to use is not an easy one. Instead, developers should research until they find the answers to all the important questions. But for now, we wish to emphasize one particular topic that is widely considered important these days: UI design. Without further ado, let’s point out all the most relevant info you should pay attention to.


The first thing we want to point out is navigation. It is definitely one of the most significant differences to pay attention to. It is crucial for the overall user experience. Always-visible navigation is present on Android, but you cannot find it on iOS. What does bottom navigation mean? Android users can navigate between viewing all their apps and returning to a previous screen easily, including their home screen.

The situation with iOS is completely different. There is no back button and it is not possible to return to a home screen immediately. Still, it is possible to take a look at all pertinent apps at once easily. When we are talking about the top navigation platform, you will see that it is almost the same. This means that you will not be experiencing too many problems as a developer. Still, some will find the details interesting.

At first, navigation might not seem like something crucial for your app as a whole. But, when you scratch the surface, you will see just how impactful it can be. Remember, you are not building software that people will use once every couple of months. Because we are talking about apps, there is a good chance that your app might be used every day. When you adopt that mindset, it will be much easier to make a decision.

App Icons

If you have used both Android and iOS devices before, then you know just how different their app icons can be from one another. We can see that the iOS platform is much more straightforward than the Android platform. Because iOS icons are simpler, it’s clear that making them is relatively easy. Such ease and simplicity can make a difference to developers who prefer such icons.

All iOS icons are square-shaped. If, however, you are interested in creating icons with various shapes, then you should opt for Android. Android icons are widely different from iOS icons. Android icons tend to be transparent, so you can see their background. Overall, they also tend to be much more complex. Of course, whether you should use iOS icons or Android ones depends on your needs and preferences.

Control Design

The next thing we believe is important to address is control design. In the case of iOS, we can see that primary buttons are usually located at the upper-right of a screen. It is a good option for those who are used to this approach, and it doesn’t require any sort of effort. When we are talking about Android, the primary button will be located at the bottom-right of a screen. Once again, this is something that might seem unimportant at first, but the feedback you get from users will tell you it is important.

Another significant element of control design is the search function. Search can be controlled in different ways. What is important to note is that the search function is critical, as it is used every day. Therefore, it is important for users to use it as easily as possible. Developers should pay attention to flexibility, as a rigid search function can be a major turn-off for many users.

Developing Both

Lastly, we want to discuss the potential for developing apps for both operating systems. These days, you will see that practically all software development companies opt for building both. The reason is quite simple, the market is enormous and there are billions of people from all over the globe who use a mobile phones. Furthermore, both operating systems should feel the same for consumers.

But when you think about it, it is more than clear that this is not easily achievable. The functionality should be equally the same. With that in mind, it is essential that you should be clear about what you should pay attention to during this process. At the same time, it is essential to prevent potential violations of a platform’s native design patterns.

To prevent potential problems, you should develop the iOS and Android versions of your app separately. While this can be a time-consuming and costlier approach, the benefits are quite obvious. For the two versions of your app to work separately, but similarly, their respective development procedures should go hand-in-hand. Teams should collaborate between the two processes and share insights on their thoughts. It is a great way to make your software as best as it can be.


As you can see, iOS, Android, and Web applications are different, yet in other ways they can be the same. You should be careful about how to conduct development processes. In this article, we’ve outlined some of the most important elements that require your attention, and how you can conduct these segments properly.