Christina Warren on Mashable presents some of the most popular mobile applications around.
Among them are the redesigned Google+ for iOS, the ingenious Stocktouch, Spotify, Sparrow for iOS and Evernote.
It’s clear that these applications have been designed with great attention to detail and in some cases provide a better user experience than their desktop counterparts. What might go unnoticed here is that the designers and developers behind those applications actually chose to be consistent with the device/platform each app was running on instead of trying to provide a consistent cross-platform experience:
For example, Evernote for Android [Google Play link], which was updated back in May is an example of an Android version of an app that outshines its iOS counterpart in nearly every single way.
For the redesigned iOS Google+ app:
A consistent user experience — across all platforms — is something that most design and usability experts encourage. Still, it isn’t always necessary.
Taking advantage of the unique UI features of each platform, allows the app to be consistent with what the user already knows about the interface language of the specific device. This approach, in conjunction with a very good understanding of the usage context, makes the app much faster to learn and easier to use.
This doesn’t mean that every application has to look and behave completely different on each platform. It simply means that being consistent with the specific platform should come first even when it might sometimes come at the expense having a less consistent cross-platform experience. Ideally, this kind of prioritization, early on in the design process of a cross-platform service, could lead to decisions that would create a visual language that is in turn easier to apply across different devices.