Ask a Developer Series: Mr. Simon Marquis

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Welcome to the first in our series “Ask a Developer” at the AndroidDev101 blog.  In this series we hope to gain knowledge and techniques from experienced Android developers.

The first in our series is a “Q & A” with Mr. Simon Marquis, developer of such popular Android applications as Paper Airplanes and English Training.  

How do you begin to design an Android application and what are important aspects that you focus on in the UI design?
When I begin the development of an application, I always take a sheet of paper, a pencil and an eraser. The first thing I do is draw, from scratch, the different views of the application and the actions applicable to each.

This won’t be the final design but it helps a lot to have a good overview of the application. Then I start developing/programming the application. Finally, I use Photoshop to create icons, backgrounds and other pictures to decorate the application and to make it unique.

The key of a good UI is to try it again and again, and ask others to test it. It really helps to have comments from the users. They will tell you things like “I don’t like this button, this color” or “Why is this here?”. The simpler the design, the more intuitive it is. I always keep in mind the acronym KISS (Keep it Simple Silly).

From where do you get your ideas for new Android applications?
This is the most difficult part of creating an application. Indeed, developing/coding an application for an IT student is not that hard, because we have enough knowledge, but arriving at an idea is really a problem. My ideas come from my free time.

For example, I asked myself about the possibility to use my phone to instruct me on how to do something. And I developed an application that shows you how to build multiple paper airplanes (details below). Of course it is important to listen to the needs of your family or your friends, they can be very valuable.

How long do you usually take to build an application and to publish it in the Android market?

It depends on the kind of application you are building. It could take you a week of work (about 15 hours) for a little app to an unlimited amount of time for bigger application. I mean, the first version of the application comes quite early and then, thanks to the reviews, the ratings and the comments, you can update and release a new version and so on.

For example, my first application which is an implementation of the Game Of Life (invented by John Conway) was published more than a year ago, and I’m still working on it (in my free time) to improve it. So it really depends

What do you enjoy the most about developing apps for Android?

The fact that people need my applications, or at least use them and rate them. Users’ feedback is very “heartwarming” 🙂

About the Developer

Mr. Simon Marquis is currently studying the field of computers and has several popular applications in the Android Play Market.

Paper Airplanes

“I’m still working to adapt it to tablets. This app has been reviewed by Android Developpers Reto Meier on the Friday Review 

Friday review link –!

“I’m really proud of how this application came out.”

English Training

“This application is my latest one, it was released (and updated) recently. It was at first a school project that become an entire application. “

If you have questions for future interviews, would like to participate in the series, or know of a developer that would be advantageous to interview for the series please email us at