Android Customization: Concepts and Home Screen
After fiddling with my phone for a couple of weeks and a friend having a new phone, I thought I woule be time to write an article on customization.
Before we start customizing our funky phone, I'll explain some concepts we need to keep in mind. Our goal is to make our phone both beautiful to look at and easy to use. You'll probably use and stare at your home screens or desktop the most so it's a good idea to have it look beautiful and be functional.
Probably one of the most important aspect to consider. If you're using shortcuts, folders or widgets, you have to be able to actually read the tidbits. If you don't pay particular attention, you might be prone to opening a wrong application or squinting just to read what that weather forecast is.
|For humanity's sake, don't ever use white with yellow.|
For text size, there is not much rule because I think it depends more on the font that you use. Is your font too bunched up together? Are the letters easy to distinguish? I would suggest to just test it out. Look at your phone at arms length. You should be able to read it without having to put your phone within a few inches of your face.
Simple Beautiful Wallpaper
On the beauty aspect, I think minimalism works best. Since you're putting a lot things on your home screen you might want to pick a wallpaper that is not overly complex. What do I mean by complex? A wallpaper becomes complex if there seems to be too many things happening. There are lines going all over the place or a variety of colors that don't blend. To easily determine if a wallpaper is complex is to try to see it loaded up shortcuts. Will it still look good when it has a lot of things on it?
A simple background:
A more complex one:
|Here's what I used a while back.|
You can also use some apps to search for wallpapers. I've used backgrounds for a while. Check it in the marketplace. Demo below.**Show Relevant Information** A great feature of widgets or more like it's purpose is to show you information without having to open an application. The amount and type of widget all depends on what you like best. Do you want weather or your twitter? There are an insane amount available at the marketplace. It would be a good idea to just think about the only information you need. Don't overload your screen with information. Prioritize.
For my phone, I have my main screen showing weather, battery life, time and date. On my second one, I now use a widget for calendar events and quick controls for WiFi, GPS, etc.
Easy to reach applications
One of the concepts about having a usable interface is the amount of steps you have to do to reach a or do a task. We can shorten it my categorizing, memorizing and placing shortcuts (or lessening steps). What I did on the image below was to create folders for each type of application.
Once I had it set up, it gave me a couple of great advantages. First, I no longer need to search for each application. They are categorized in regards to their uses. Having folders also allow me to store a ton of shortcuts without sacrificing space. With this, I can also hide apps that I don't use because I won't use the app drawer much. I would also reduce the time searching for apps in the drawer.
|Folders to almost all my apps.|
In the next posts, we'll talk about the apps that help you customize your phone. Stay tuned!