What are different Android UI Layouts?
By Sourojit Das, Community Contributor - March 10, 2023
Android is the world’s most popular operating system, with over 2.5 billion active users in 190 countries. Android, developed by Andy Rubin as an open-source alternative to iPhone and Palm OS, became the most popular mobile operating system in the early 2010s.
With industry titans such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, and HTC releasing Android-powered phones, it swiftly became the most popular mobile operating system, surpassing one billion active users by 2014.
As Android evolved, so did Google’s dominance over the operating system. Initially, manufacturer partners were able to customise the majority of the platform to their satisfaction; but, each year Google has imposed more mandatory services and conditions, giving its own suite of apps an advantage.
Google Play’s income will reach $38.6 billion by 2020, a tremendous increase over the past decade. In 2020, the app store offered approximately 2.9 million apps, which were downloaded 108 billion times.
Android is the leading platform in the majority of countries, but has struggled to overcome Apple in Japan and the United States. In nations such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey, its market share exceeds 85 percent.
Android Market Share over the last decade
The UI is what the end user sees and interacts with to navigate and use the various Android OS components within an Android application. They are given to the user in several formats, including those listed below:
- GUI – This allows people to interact with visual representations on digital devices or cellphones like a Samsung phone.
- Voice-controlled interfaces, such as Siri and Alexa, allow users to engage via voice instructions.
- Gesture-based interface: Users can interact with the interface by moving their bodies.
A poorly designed UI can make it exceedingly difficult for users to interact with the Android OS; therefore, it is crucial that the UI layout is professionally created with user-friendly navigation. This is where Android User Interface Design comes in.
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What are Android Layouts
Android Layout is used to establish the user interface that contains the UI controls and widgets that will be displayed on the screen of an Android application or activity screen. Every application is often a combination of View and ViewGroup. As is common knowledge, an Android application has a huge number of activities, each of which can be considered a page of the program. Hence, each activity comprises numerous user interface components, which are instances of View and ViewGroup. All of a layout’s elements are constructed utilizing a hierarchy of View and ViewGroup objects.
A View is the user interface used to construct interactive UI components such as TextView, ImageView, EditText, RadioButton, etc., and is responsible for processing events and rendering. They are commonly referred to as widgets.
A ViewGroup serves as the basic class for layouts and layout parameters that contain additional Views or ViewGroups and define layout characteristics. They are typically referred to as layouts.
Android layouts can be declared in two different ways:
Define the user interface elements in XML. We may also generate the XML layout using the drag-and-drop interface in the Android layout editor. Instantiate layout elements at runtime. The application can programmatically build view and viewGroup objects and manipulate their properties.
Also Read: How to perform Drag and Drop using Appium
Types of UI Layouts in Android
1. Linear Layout
This view group aligns all of its children in a single direction, either vertically or horizontally. The android:orientation attribute specifies the layout’s direction.
The below code snippet demonstrates the inclusion of a Linear Layout in the XML file.
<LinearLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" android:layout_width="match_parent" android:layout_height="match_parent" android:orientation="horizontal"> <!-- Include other widget or layout tags here. These are considered "child views" or "children" of the linear layout --> </LinearLayout>
Setting android:orientation helps specify if the child views are displayed in row or column format
2. Relative Layout
RelativeLayout is a view group that places its child views relative to one another. Each view’s location can be set relative to sibling components (such as to the left or below another view) or relative to the RelativeLayout area of its parent (such as aligned to the bottom, left or center).
3. Frame Layout
FrameLayout is designed to display a single object in a section of the screen. In general, FrameLayout should only be used to host a single child view, as it can be difficult to organize child views in a manner that is scalable to various screen sizes without the children overlapping. Nevertheless, you may add several children to a FrameLayout and manage their position by providing gravity to each child using the android:layout gravity feature.
4. Constraint Layout
ConstraintLayout permits the creation of complicated layouts with a flat view hierarchy (no nested view groups). It is similar to RelativeLayout in that all views are set up according to the relationships between sibling views and the parent layout, but it is more flexible than RelativeLayout and easier to use with the Layout Editor in Android Studio.
Because the layout API and the Layout Editor were purpose-built for one another, all the power of ConstraintLayout is accessible immediately from the Layout Editor’s visual tools. So, developers may construct the layout with ConstraintLayout using only drag-and-drop instead of XML.
5. Android Table Layout
TableLayout is a ViewGroup that presents its children in rows and columns. TableLayout arranges its children into columns and rows. TableLayout containers do not display row, column, and cell border lines. The table will have the same number of columns as the row with the most cells. A table can leave cells vacant. As in HTML, cells can span multiple columns in Tableau. Developers can span columns using the TableRow’s span field. Class layout parameters.
Best Practices to Plan Android UI Layouts
- Optimise the number of page views
I believe that one of the rules is to minimise the number of views or the hierarchical depth of your layout. This is one of the things you should always keep in mind.
- Don’t Only Design for One Screen Resolution/Size
Android devices feature a wide variety of screen resolutions and sizes. When building a layout, it is essential to constantly observe the elements.
- Consider the Kind of Layout You Desire
Also, it is essential to know the precise layout you desire. Choose whether you want to create a bespoke view or a basic one.
To Sum Up
UI design is an essential component of Android application development since it provides the means for end users to engage with the app. However, it is crucial to test all these layouts in a real device cloud for the best results.
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