Android’s Dashboard pattern and screen changes

I’m on record here with my appreciation for the Twitter for Android client and the introduction of UX patterns for Android. In particular, the Dashboard pattern — the large grid of icons as the “main menu” of an app — is a good way of introducing users to functionality and easily tapping around various parts of an app.

Unfortunately many of these apps that use the Dashboard pattern do something really annoying: they prevent the activity from changing from portrait to landscape. This may be acceptable for people sporting a Nexus One, an EVO 4G, or any of the other phones with virtual keyboards. But what about those with a first generation Droid? What about all the rumored phones in the pipeline with physical keyboards?


Alas, one of the offending apps is, in fact, Twitter. The new version of Facebook’s app, while adding a cool photo scroll on the bottom, is another culprit. It seems that, rather than make these activities work well in landscape mode, these apps have taken the easy approach that “works” but provides a poor experience for someone who likes using their phone in landscape mode — and serious texters practically live in this mode.

Don’t let a good pattern be let down by half-done implementations. Let’s give some love to landscape mode!


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