Notebook and pens, photo from Skylar Kang

Do you ever open the app and cannot read the full text because it’s cut off in some way? This scenario became frequent to me once I increased the font size on my phone. Technology agency from the Netherlands, Q42, carried out extensive research on 1.5 million iOS users and found that as many as 33% of people change the text size on their phone, and increasing text size is more common than making the text size smaller (20% increasing vs 13% decreasing). …


Person using Microsoft To Do app with list open in reorder mode
Person using Microsoft To Do app with list open in reorder mode

In Microsoft To Do we put a lot of work into making our features available for everyone using our apps. We discovered that the way our task reordering was implemented was not accessible and this is how we approached this problem.

Drag and Drop Challenges

In Microsoft To Do apps the functionality to reorder the list of tasks was only available via drag and drop, which uses pointer gestures. Pointer gestures work well to allow user interaction with the interface directly, however not every user is able to carry out these gestures. The following user groups could struggle with this approach in different ways:


A path through the forest by Skitterphoto

Many Android applications suffer from similar Talkback issues and at Microsoft To Do we run into these often as well. We use multiple strategies to make our app more accessible. This article covers a few scenarios where Talkback experience is improved.

A companion Github repository containing the sample code is available here. You can check it out and try running the demo app on your device to experience the issues and try the solutions yourself.

Combining views into groups

Not everything visible on the screen is meaningful; some views are used only for decoration, some images illustrate the text without adding additional information, and…


Sticky notes and pens by Maria Tyutina

Does your team struggle with pull requests? Is there never enough time in the day to review others code? Do you feel like you need to keep asking your teammates for code reviews? Is the list growing everyday with no end in sight? Pull requests are hard. Our Android team at Microsoft To Do made some changes recently to improve the process. I have suggested adding labels to pull requests and this article shows my solution.

What is complexity

To start with, I thought about how we define complexity. Take a moment to consider these: What makes a pull request easier or harder…


A question mark drawn on blackboard with white chalk
A question mark drawn on blackboard with white chalk
Question mark by pixabay.com

Making sure as many people as possible can use an app you are developing is so important for many of us. If you are just starting to think about accessibility in your Android app, it can be hard to understand what the requirements are and how to get started. This article will allow you to start exploring common accessibility issues in Android apps; making these small improvements will help many users of your app.

Tools

The main tools used for Android accessibility testing are offered by Google and many come pre-installed on every device. …


My tips for customising Android Studio

Coloring materials, including paintbrushes, pencils and paint
Coloring materials, including paintbrushes, pencils and paint
Colouring materials by Sascha Düser

When I install Android Studio, I like to make some adjustments which help me be more productive.

Theme and fonts

I prefer the dark theme for my IDE, I use ChroMATERIAL Darcula. A dark theme might be helping with eye strain, though the research is inconclusive. I also find the default font too small and help my eyes by adjusting to at least 14pt, depending on the font. My current choice is Hack Nerd Font at 15pt.

Preferences -> Editor -> Font -> Size

Cannot see enough lines of code with a bigger font? Make your methods shorter, reducing code complexity.

Logcat Colours

By default…


Attending Grace Hopper for the first time? I have some advice

I have attended my first Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) this year. I was really excited to go. It is the biggest conference for women in tech fields, named after Grace Hopper: computer scientist, admiral, inventor of the first compiler and a lot of other contributions to the fields of computing. GHC has been running since 1994, starting out with 500 attendees. In 2019, this number grew to 26000.

I was very happy to have a chance to go, but conferences are out of my usual comfort zone and GHC is the busiest conference I ever attended. I try to plan…


Hand-drawn heart by pixabay.com

I have been using Kotlin for about a year now, and also started using Kotlin Android Extensions recently. These are a few of my favourite Kotlin things!

Data classes + Parcelize

Most Android apps I have worked on needed to fetch data from the network, which means writing a lot of models. This is not the exciting development work anyone really wants to do. Kotlin makes this task a lot less tedious.

Data classes allow implementing data models in just a few lines. Parcelize from Kotlin Android Extensions adds Parcelable in just one annotation!

With Java, a simple object model with Parcelable implementation would…


Happy 10th birthday, droidcon Berlin!

This year was droidcon Berlin’s 10th birthday and I enjoyed three days packed with all things Android. In this post, I am sharing my experience and the things which stood out to me the most.

Day 1

Day 1 was barcamp-inspired. As well as talks decided on the day, there were some pre-scheduled panel discussions. I liked the room set-up, with some rooms available with traditional conference set-up, but also having a room with tables for workshops and a room with chairs in a circle for more conversation-based sessions.

The first session I attended was “Sketchnoting” workshop. This was a big hit…


Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/top-view-of-phone-earphones-pen-and-diary-6662/

There are many parallels to be drawn between the software development and minimalism. I have noticed that the reasons unused code keeps hanging around the software projects are the same emotional reasons which cause clutter to collect at our homes. These are the reasons I have encountered most.

“Just In Case”

Everyone likes to feel prepared. Some preparation is good, like a few spare batteries in the kitchen drawer. Other times, we keep items only out of fear of needing them again, even if they long lost their value. …

Sigute

Android Engineer

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