A lot of questions seem to be of the form "What's the best way / another way to provide functionality X on platform Y?". See, for example, Alternative for circles page indicator for many pages?

My go-to in these cases is to refer to the official UX style guides for that platform (in this case Android, but in the last couple of days I've also referenced Windows and iOS documentation). I actually worked on Windows for a couple of years, during which time I developed a very strong appreciation for (a) the level of thought that goes into building these guidelines, and (b) how easily a UX can fall apart when people just make up their own way of doing things that have well-understood solutions.

But that raises a couple of meta questions:

  • Is that a legitimate use of this site? Is the intent that I provide an original answer rather than merely cite some existing source?
  • Is it fair to assume that, when a question is asked, the asker already has some reason why they're not using the official guidelines as a starting point? My inclination is to say "no", but it feels cynical to assume that the asker didn't do due diligence.
  • How much legwork should be done on behalf of the asker? Some possibilities:

    • Just link to the guidelines and say "figure it out yourself"
    • Link to the appropriate page and say "read section Z"
    • Copy/paste the relevant sections (potentially along with images) into the answer
    • Provide a summary of the relevant guidance
    • Provide an additional level of analysis on top of the guidance
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1 Answer

Just give a good answer. If your answer is better because you referred to the style guide, that's a good direction to take it in. Answers are usually better when they're based on some reference, but sometimes an original or creative answer shows up that is just original thinking.

Don't assume either way what the motivations of the OP are. Just provide the best answer. Even if the OP didn't do their homework, the question may still be a good question and of use to people in the future.

A good test to use for questions is "Is the answer easy to find by using Google?". If that's the case, a comment suggesting as such may be a quick and effective way to hint to the OP that they should do some more research. If more effort is needed in the form of interpreting information, searching a little further, or just not really knowing where to find the answer, then UX.SE should become the definitive place to find that answer on Google so that people asking the same question in the future immediately find your answer.

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