Guidelines for Building Android TV Apps - dummies

By Michael Burton

It goes without saying that the way people use their Android TVs is different from the ways they use their phones. TVs are good for browsing information, but they’re not as great for entering information, given their lack of a keyboard and touchscreen. Android TV is designed for casual consumption, simplicity, and a beautiful, cinematic experience.

Consequently, you should build your TV apps differently than you build them for tablets or phones. Here are some of the differences you should take into account when building TV apps:

  • Build for browsing, not for data entry.

  • TVs have no touchscreen, so build your interfaces so they can be navigable with a D-pad (imagine a remote control with up, down, left, and right buttons).

  • Put onscreen navigation controls on the left or right side of the screen and save the vertical space for content. Do not use an action bar.

  • Don’t just reuse your phone or tablet activities; they will be hard to use and won’t look good on the TV.

For more information about designing for Android TV, visit Designing for Android TV. For more information about developing for Android TV, visit Building Apps for TV.

You will use these techniques to transform your Tasks app into a TV-like browsing experience.