The following is the first few sections of a chapter from The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, plus headings for the remaining major sections, to give you an idea about the content of the chapter.

The “Ten-Foot UI”

Increasingly, Android devices are being used to drive screens that are somewhat larger than those found on your average phone or tablet:

Technically, writing for these displays is a bit different than you would do for a phone or tablet. In some cases, such as with Google Cast, writing for these displays is more substantially different.

However, in all cases, the design of the UI needs to be different, owing to different physical and usage characteristics of large screens. This chapter will focus on this so-called “ten-foot UI” and help you understand what sorts of changes will need to be considered.


Understanding this chapter requires that you have read the chapter on focus management.

The sample of the “leanback” UI is a revised version of a sample app profiled in the chapter on the MediaStore ContentProvider.

What is the “Ten-Foot UI”?

The “ten-foot UI” is not referring to a UI that is 3.048 meters high or 9.87789527 by 10^-17 parsecs wide.

Rather, the distance referred to by the “ten-foot UI” indicates the approximate distance between the viewer and the screen. People usually sit farther from TVs, monitors, and projectors than they do phones or tablets when using them. Partly, that is because the screens are a lot bigger, so they do not need to sit as closely. Partly, that is because often times the screens are being “used” by more than one person (e.g., an audience watching a presentation on a projector), and everybody needs to be able to see the screen.

The expression “ten-foot UI” refers to the design constraints inherent in developing user interfaces to be used across such a distance. Even though the screen may be bigger, the apparent screen size (or “visual angle” may be no bigger than phones or tablets, or sometimes even less. That, plus user input differences, technical differences between TVs and other displays, and so on all go into the “ten-foot UI” design guidance that UI experts give us.


The preview of this section was fed to a gremlin, after midnight.


The preview of this section was last seen in the Bermuda Triangle.

Stylistic Considerations

The preview of this section is en route to Mars.

The Leanback UI

The preview of this section is en route to Mars.

Testing Your Theories

The preview of this section took that left turn at Albuquerque.