Build apps with templates

Designing an app with the Android for Cars App Library involves sequencing templates into task flows and customizing them for the goals of your app and its users.

Use the library to create apps in the following categories:

To understand the design process at a high level, see the process steps below. For details of your role and the app library’s role in creating the experience for users, see Who handles what.

Process steps

Designing with the Android for Cars App Library involves the following steps, in general:

  1. Define user tasks. Figure out which tasks are important for users to perform with your app in vehicles.
  2. Plan task flows. Choose a sequence of templates to lead users through each task.
  3. Consider driving state. Make strategic use of parked-only templates and task-flow strategies.
  4. Plan communications. Choose appropriate communication options for all scenarios in which your app communicates with users.
  5. Customize your app. Customize the content of each template to reflect your users’ needs, and customize styling to reflect your app’s brand.

Who handles what

When you create an app with the Android for Cars App Library, the app library takes care of many aspects of the app experience, including making it work in a driving-optimized way in all compatible cars.

What the library handles What app developers handle
  • Input: Handling user input to templates via mechanisms available in specific cars, such as touchscreen or rotary
  • Screen sizing: Adapting content to screen sizes
  • Screen transitions: Motion transition between screens
  • Consistent, driving-optimized UI: Ensuring that the UI and interaction patterns are familiar and consistent across apps
  • Light and dark mode (except as noted below): Adjusting template features to appropriate mode for ambient light conditions
  • UX restrictions based on driving state: Limiting text or disabling certain features, such as the keyboard, while the user is driving
  • Maps for non-navigation apps: Drawing the map in the Place List (map) template
  • Voice input: Processing recorded audio
  • User flows: Creating customized sequences of templates that address critical user journeys
  • Metadata: Providing metadata such as list items and locations to be pinned on maps
  • Branding elements: Providing app iconography, imagery, and custom accent colors (with light and dark variants)
  • Maps (navigation apps only): Drawing and updating maps (light-themed or dark-themed, as instructed) including a map for cluster display if desired

For AAOS, vehicle OEMs take care of:

  • Vehicle-specific styling: Customizing styles to integrate with OEM branding and vehicle interiors