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Android™ Tablet Application Development For Dummies® by Donn Felker

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Seeing What Makes a Menu Great

If you have an Android device and you've downloaded a few applications from the Android Market, I'm sure that you've encountered a few bad menu implementations. What does a bad menu implementation look like?

A bad menu is a menu that provides very little (if any) helpful text in the menu description and provides no icon. Common menu faux pas include

  • A menu without an icon
  • A menu item that should be in the action bar yet is not
  • A poor menu title
  • No menu
  • A menu that does not do what it states it will

Although all these issues indicate a bad menu, the two biggest are the first two. This may sound a bit odd, but think about it for a second. If a menu does not have an icon, that means the developer has not taken the time to provide a good user interface — and therefore a good user experience — for the user. A good menu should have a visual as well as a textual appeal. The appearance of a menu icon shows that the developer actually thought through the menu-creation process and took the time to decide which icon best suited the application. Also, failing to support the menu in the action bar reflects a poor design, especially if the menu has items accessed often in the application. If a developer does not place an actionable item into the action bar, it's clear that he has not properly thought through the use of the application.

image It's not enough just to ...

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