Doing your homework is important. Even more so if you’re setting out to design a mobile application. As much as I encourage innovation, I am also a big fan of gradual transition i.e., following some universal standards before making your own.
Designing a mobile application on the iPhone and making sure it works the same way on an Android isn’t as important as designing an app for the iPhone and making sure it fits with all the other apps on the iPhone. Chances are, your end-user isn’t going to be someone who uses an iPhone AND an Android. Yes, there are people out there like that, but the majority of the users stick to one OS. Design for the majority.
Let’s look at the photo attached. The first photo on the hard left is of the native iPhone text messaging interface. The text circled in red is mine. i.e., I sent that text. I’ve been using my iPhone for a little over a year. When I look at text bound in a green speech bubble, I have been taught to recognize it as something I sent. What’s App and Kik Messenger, as you can see, have followed suit. They realize that iPhone users have been trained to recognize the two colors - green and white as messages sent and received respectively. They did their homework and it paid off. I don’t even feel the difference when I use their interface because it’s so similar to the native interface. They make me not think. I love it.
Now look at Ping Chat and Words With Friends. They haven’t just picked different colors. The designers behind these messaging interfaces have taken the same hues (green and white) and reversed them. #doublefacepalm. So they’ve completely flipped the switch on this to confuse me more than I need to be. Why they would’ve done that, I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t appreciate it.
Ever heard of the KISS principle? Keep It Simple, Stupid!