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Optimize for large screens and tablets

  • Engage
  • Design
  • Tablet

Design a great user experience for more than just mobile, reach a wider audience across larger form factors, and create a seamless experience when switching between devices.

Why it works

Tablets and other large screen devices have become companion devices for many people, and expectations have changed accordingly. People expect an experience that is tailored to each device as they move between their phones and tablets.

Engagement per session tends to be higher on larger screen devices since they're often used for specific tasks, such as productivity, content consumption, or gaming, that require the user to sit down with the device. Optimizing the experience for large screens can provide more meaningful engagement. Additionally, the latest Android versions let your apps dynamically choose responsive layouts with features like split screen and multi-tasking.

Best practices

  • Consider the tablet experience from the start: As you design and develop your mobile experience, think about the tablet experience from the beginning, rather than an afterthought. Think about how use cases might differ between form factors, and how you can tailor to each case while still providing a cohesive experience. For example, on a mobile device an app may be used to complete a task, like tracking an exercise activity, whereas on a tablet with a larger screen, the primary focus may be to review or manage the fitness data that has been tracked.
  • Use the extra space on the screen: Try to use the entire screen, avoid too much white space. While you can simply scale the content to fill the screen and make it easier to view, don't be afraid to add more information as well. Users expect to see more on larger screens. Try to maintain a balance between the amount of content and the density of the layout. Be sure to use a variety of layouts and components to break up any visual monotony that might be created when showing more content. For example, mobile games may interact only via dialogs or lower level screens, but on tablets users could interact directly on the main screen.
  • Think about orientation: Mobile users generally hold their devices in portrait mode. People using larger screens may vary the orientation depending on the device and their preference. Allow users to experience your app comfortably in any orientation.
  • Check the navigation experience: Large screens and form factors change how users hold and view their devices. What worked on mobile might not be ideal on large screens. When choosing a navigation drawer pattern, consider using the permanently exposed pattern or the mini variant.
  • Make use of a typographical scale that works with the larger space: Explore using different font weights and label styles to help users scan the larger display. Small text strings that are easily read on a mobile device might be difficult to see on large screens. In this case, larger text size or heavier weight should be used to improve legibility.

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Tablet app quality