Oct 05 AT 3:56 PM Nick Sarafolean 16 Comments

Pixel perfect: tips for sprucing up your homescreen


First, we’d like to offer our profuse apologies. Yes, we realize that this has been delayed. A nasty mixture of sicknesses knocked us flat on our back when it came time to write the last Pixel Perfect. Nonetheless, we’re back with another round. And this week’s tip is…

Tip: Keep it simple

It happens so frequently that most of us barely wince when we see it anymore. A cluttered homescreen. And we can own up to our mistakes, we’ve been guilty of this before. Letting your homescreen get cluttered is one of those bad habits that you can easily slip into. And a lot of people do. In fact, it can be found on an almost daily basis, a homescreen that simply has too much on it. One of the worst parts about this is that average consumers who aren’t nerdy often say that they don’t like the way Android looks. But when asked what they don’t like, they often show their homescreen which is almost inevitably cluttered. Reaction? Facepalm.

A cluttered homescreen is just a turn-off. It makes it look haphazard and thrown together. When there’s a random blend of apps, widgets and folders on a homescreen, it doesn’t look like the person even thought about how it was laid out. And that’s why simplicity is so important.

The simpler your homescreen is, the more appealing it will be to the eye. It allows our brain to quickly process what we’re seeing and then enjoy it. We live in a culture of short attention spans and when we have to stop and think about something or look at something for more than just a couple of seconds, it automatically loses some appeal. That’s why simple homescreens look so nice. Our brain can easily figure out what is going on in the scene and will immediately attach some sort of appeal due to its simplicity. And besides all that stuff with your brain, a simple homescreen usually just looks better.

The gist of what we’re saying is that, in general, a simple homescreen is just more attractive. It makes you appreciate every element of the homescreen and recognize the value in having a simple and minimal setup. And honestly, sometimes you just like to admire your homescreen.


Widget: UCCW with MNML Digital

Once again, Ultimate Custom Widget (UCCW) gives us a great way to get the perfect widget. In this instance, we went with a clock and date skin called MNML Digital by arandompackage. This skin is free so you don’t have to worry about paying for it or anything. And it should automatically pop up in your list of options when using UCCW without having to do anything extra.

The widget is simple and minimalist. It uses modern, flat typography to bring a clean look to your homescreen. You can also adjust the colors of different parts. If you want the same color configuration as the above screenshot, then use #4d4b4b for the month and day color and #ffffff for the other things.



Icon pack: Stark

Stark is a popular icon pack designed by kovdev, who is also the developer of the popular Nox icon pack. It’s simple, flat and retains a uniform shape. But unlike some icon packs, it still features plenty of color in the icons. As a whole, the icon pack carries on the modern design in a way that doesn’t get boring. At $1.99, it’s not cheap but it’s well worth the money.


Wallpaper: Stark wallpaper

In order to keep the theme going, we used one of the wallpapers that comes with Stark. The wallpaper pairs well with the icons and also goes well with a variety of widgets, including the one that we chose. And besides, if you’re paying for it along with your icons, you might as well take advantage of it, right?

Launcher: Action Launcher Pro

Action Launcher Pro still works perfectly for this sort of set-up. The semi-translucent buttons in the action bar are the only things that still remain with the typical launcher look. You even have the option to hide the notification bar, which is something that we chose. If you want to have the same exact look as above, you’ll need to crank the option for height screen padding all the way to the fullest. Other than that, there’s not much to say except that you should really invest in Action Launcher Pro.


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 @nsarafolean.

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  • uknowme

    Yes but there is a huge difference between simple and minimalist.

    • isacco1

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      • jakejardashian

        Haha her co-worker’s half sister. Such elaborate spam.

        • Tangent

          What makes me scared for humanity is the fact that *some* people must actually fall for these if they’re still being attempted…

  • BlueScreenJunky

    Am I the only one who just leaves the default Cyanogen Wallpaper, throws a bunch of apps I use regularly, and never bothers with my homescreen ?

  • Jens

    I trend to disagree. I didn’t go for the large screen to put nothing on it! On the other hand, a clock widget is the most useless to me, I see the clock on the unlock screen and on the status bar all the time, wasted space having one also on the homescreen.

    Some frequently used apps, widgets for train departure, next task and calendar entry. there is so much space on the display: use it :-)

  • John in Brisbane

    Dude, I appreciate the aesthetics of what you’re saying … Seriously … But I just want to use stuff as quickly as possible after I have the thought. So my home screen has the stuff I use the most organised in a partly logical and partly arbitrary way. It’s where I expect it to be and I’m using it asap. Torch under my thumb bottom right. Screen filter just above that. The big five on the bottom bit. Camera top right, although it’s on the lock-screen as well. Some count down date timers on the left for looking at rather than touching. Maps, evernote Etc etc. It ain’t pretty and my friend Mark totally agrees with you, to the point that his home screen is indistinguishable from yours, but a pretty phone is like a nice car interior. You look at it a bit when you first get it, then after that hardly ever because you’re using it to do something else :-). My background is that 3d gyroscope solar system one for when I feel like taking a second to jizz in my brain but that’s pretty rare sadly.

    Seriously, are you my friend Mark but with a much cooler alter ego name? You guys should get together and discuss fonts and your new lives together lol.


    I like.

  • Albin

    The home screen is a showcase for my own photographs. Agree with above about clock widget being redundant, and I don’t predictably need specific icons exposed. I keep four folders (Files, Media, Travel, Tools) on the main screen and move to a clean screen to glory in my image.

  • khaleader

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    or twitter

  • smeghead68

    Homescreen….handful of apps that i use most of the time. That’s all you need.

  • donger

    Great info.

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