Sep 07 AT 10:15 AM Nick Sarafolean 8 Comments

Pixel perfect: tips for sprucing up your homescreen

Android_apps_design

One of the more appealing features of Android is that you can customize the operating system in different ways. Unfortunately though, there are plenty of users out there who aren’t sure where to start when customizing their phone’s homescreen. With that thought in mind, we thought that we’d start a feature about designing your homescreen. We’ll give you some sort of tip and then throw together a design that incorporates it somehow. Quickie note, these designs won’t always be perfect or suited to your taste. That’s completely understandable. Just try and be respectful of different people’s choices down in the comments. Kapeesh? With that being said, let’s get started!

Tip: Use color wisely

One of the biggest mistakes that we’ve seen people make is to use a whole lot of vividly colored objects when designing their homescreen. Believe us, it can happen without even thinking. There are occurrences where this can look alright but the majority of the time, it’s overwhelming. The excess of color is confusing and the design often seems haphazard. That happens because the eye doesn’t know where to settle with all of the colors vying for attention. Should it look to the blue widget, the orange wallpaper or the multi-colored icons?

One of the ways to help solve this is to try and accent with color. Don’t make everything colorful but instead choose one or two things to incorporate color into your design. Also a note, don’t think that your homescreen should be devoid of color. It gets boring so fast that it’s not even funny. So instead of going to one extreme or the other, try to incorporate color in one to two elements. One of the most interesting ways is implementing color through the wallpaper. It’s easy to find the perfect background to toss in a splash of color.

But another good way to add some color is through your icons. While you can choose to use your phone’s stock icon pack, we can only encourage you to dabble in icon packs. There are plenty out there, and they can easily spice up your homescreen. Another good way is to use some sort of interesting widget. Something that looks sleek but is also functional. Above all, make sure you like it. If it’s simply not working for you, go ahead and experiment any way you like. There are no mandates in design, and we’re just trying to get your noggins buzzing with some ideas.

And with all of that long-windedness now over, we’ll give you a sample homescreen that goes easy on the color. Also, if you like winter, you might like it. All of the components used to create the homescreen will be listed below with Play Store links. Enjoy!

Screenshot_2013-09-06-20-42-54

Widget: UCCW with Circle UCCW Skin

Ultimate Custom Widget, UCCW for short, is one of the best ways to find that perfect widget for your homescreen. There are scads of different themes and skins available for it, and one of said skins is the Circle UCCW Skin. It’s just a simple, minimal clock, date and battery widget. Nothing too fancy but still functional and sleek. If you want to purchase a “Donate” version, you can do so to unlock a few more extra goodies. But for most, the free version should work just fine.

A couple notes. First of all, you must have UCCW installed for this to work. I’ll include that link as well. Second, you may have to separately install this skin outside of the Play Store. Check if there’s an icon for it in your app drawer. If there is, open it and press install. After that, it’ll disappear from your app drawer and be accessible through UCCW as a theme.

 


 

Icon pack: Holler! wht Icon Pack

Funnily enough, this icon pack is actually designed to go with another UCCW skin called Holler! But after trying out several different icon packs and not getting any good results, we finally tried this one and were pleasantly surprised. It matches the circular design of the widget and even uses another partially opaque background for a similar look. They’re not the most perfect match, but they do work together.

 

Wallpaper: Go Launcher Ex wallpaper

Apologies in advance, this wallpaper is actually a part of Go Launcher Ex so unless you can find it elsewhere, you’re going to have to download the entire launcher for it. On the bright side, it’s both a beautiful and subtly colorful wallpaper. It’s not incredibly vibrant with its colors but rather sticks to things that are a bit more muted and cool. Either way, it pairs extremely well with the opaque widget and icons.

 

Launcher: Action Launcher Pro

As one of the most beautiful and functional launchers out there, Action Launcher Pro often finds itself being one of our daily drivers for launchers. It offers decent amounts of customization and also packs in some nifty features such as shutters and a slide-in app drawer. Plus, it already uses white/opaque icons in the navigation bar so it worked with the other opaque things. Fair warning though, Action Launcher Pro is going to extract $3.99 from your wallet, but it’s money well spent.

 

Your turn

We don’t want to have all the fun. You guys have a chance to get in on it, too. We know that you all love showing off your painstakingly crafted homescreens, so we’re giving you the chance to get it up here in the post. To have that opportunity, all you need to do is shoot me an email at nicksar@androidandme.com containing a screenshot of your homescreen and links (preferably through the Play Store) to the apps that you used to create it. If you want include a really brief summation about it, you can do that too.

And that’s it. We’ll pick one or two each week to show off at the end of these posts. And we know that we probably won’t be able to get everybody’s homescreen designs in, so if you want to send your design to us and then post it in the comments as well, that’s totally fine. This is just a chance for you guys to show off what you can do. Take a shot. Even if it doesn’t get posted, we still enjoy seeing what you guys can come up with.

Pixel Perfect will be posted every other week.

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @Zricon15.

    Most Tweeted This Week