An exploratory study on the usage of common interface elements in android applications

Seyyed Ehsan Salamati Taba, Iman Keivanloo, Ying Zou, Shaohua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The number of mobile applications has increased drastically in the past few years. A recent study has shown that reusing source code is a common practice for Android application development. However, reuse in mobile applications is not necessarily limited to the source code (i.e., program logic). User interface (UI) design plays a vital role in constructing the user-perceived quality of a mobile application. The user-perceived quality reflects the users’ opinions of a product. For mobile applications, it can be quantified by the number of downloads and raters. In this study, we extract commonly used UI elements, denoted as Common Element Sets (CESs), from user interfaces of applications. Moreover, we highlight the characteristics of CESs that can result in a high user-perceived quality by proposing various metrics. Through an empirical study on 1292 mobile applications, we observe that (i) CESs of mobile applications widely occur among and across different categories; (ii) certain characteristics of CESs can provide a high user-perceived quality; and (iii) through a manual analysis, we recommend UI templates that are extracted and summarized from CESs for developers. Developers and quality assurance personnel can use our guidelines to improve the quality of mobile applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-504
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


  • Common UI elements
  • Mobile applications
  • User-perceived quality


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