How do you layout your widgets and apps so they are the most functional and pretty?

Discussion in 'Android General Discussions' started by Sacheltry, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. Sacheltry
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    Sacheltry New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new to Android (had an iPhone for several years) and I got a Samsung S4 about a week ago. There is a bit of a learning curve but already I am really enjoying it.

    One of the things that I am having a little trouble with is understanding widgets and the best way to use them. By that I mean, design and layout on my phone. I am not a designer but I think that if I choose the right widgets that are both functional and pretty and lay them out nicely I can have an even better Android experience.

    Obviously the question in the title to this is very subjective, but I thought if I could see some examples of how others are doing things, I could better layout my own stuff. The great thing about Android is that there is so much customization to choose from, but it is also the most difficult thing.

    Thank you!


    p.s. As an aside, is the only way to layout widgets/apps is on the phone itself? I thought I might have a little more control doing it from my Windows desktop.
  2. leeshor
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    leeshor DF Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You didn't specify what phone you have, (may or may not make much difference), but the question is very much a personal choice. The problem with widgets is that it can get cluttered so select a screen to keep the main widgets on that's convenient for you.There really is no answer for your original question other than does it work for YOU?
  3. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Do you mean something like this screen shot of my main screen? There's only 3 actual widgets on there,a Bluetooth toggle on a robot arm, Verizon data network toggle on the other arm and the photo of my daughter holding a phone is a widget of my phone dialer I made myself. Everything else is either a stock app icon or stock app icon modified with a custom photo by my launcher. The widget of my phone dialer was made with Desktop Visualizer,a free app on the Play store
    If you truly want to make your phone screen you look at launchers, another word for home screen user interface. I also highly recommend Desktop Visualizer for creating custom widgets.
    Good luck, have fun with it and don't worry that you'll harm your phone if you mess up your setup attempts. You won't.
    Edit. I forgot I've got an invisible widget in the robots body that is a screen off one. I set the opacity to totally clear so it doesn't show up but if I tap the robot body anywhere between the neck and legs my phone goes to sleep and "I'll be back" ,from Terminator 1, ringtone plays.

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  4. mattman5000
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    mattman5000 Member

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  5. Sacheltry
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    Sacheltry New Member

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    I have a Samsung Galaxy S4.

    And you are correct, it is a very personal choice. I was looking for some suggestions on what others have done to see what is even a possibility.
  6. Sacheltry
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    Sacheltry New Member

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    mountainbikermark,
    I appreciate the response. A screen shot is very nice, but I am looking more for what you use/do with your phone. (Now that I think about it, a screen shot would probably be most helpful). For example, what widgets do you use, if any?
    Does your phone look like an iPhone with only app icons?
    Did you put your homepage in the middle with a calendar/tasks on the left page and pictures/weather on the right?
    Is there a good way to design/layout your apps? I know that is subjective but I assume there are some basic design rules that most people should follow to help usability. For example, having all tiny green apps on one page and then two huge glowing red ones on the next may not be so good (or it might, again, it is subjective).

    Thank you for the Desktop Visualizer recommendation. I will definitely look at it.
  7. Sacheltry
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    Sacheltry New Member

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    I did see that thread and you are right, information overload! While that is a great resource, I was looking more for what widgets you do use and maybe an explanation (or a screenshot) of it. For example, maybe you've tried 5 different calendar widgets and you finally found one you really like.
  8. harrellj
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    harrellj New Member

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    I'm a bit of a minimalist and only have 2 widgets on one screen (lock screen is Dashclock and Google Keep).

    The screenshot is my home screen, widgets are Pure News and Pure Calendar. Dock icons are modified with DesktopVisualizeR and the icons themselves are DCikonz. My most used apps (3 games, Aldiko, Kindle, Omnibeam, Tapatalk, Facebook and Slacker) are all in the folder there on the dock).

    Side note, since you have the S4, get Omnibeam. The ability to really and truly use the phone to hold loyalty cards and have no problems getting the barcode scanned is insanely convenient.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 4

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  9. Sacheltry
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    Sacheltry New Member

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    harrellj ,

    This is great information. I saw Pure Calendar, but wasn't too sure about getting it. I think now I will.

    Also, thank you for the tip about OmniBeam.
  10. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    This is where going with a different launcher can really make a difference. I'm my screenshot, only the docked icons at the bottom fit into a "grid" such as what you'd see on an ios device or stock Android. With some launchers you can change the standard grid size (if memory serves, standard is 4 across, 5 down, making a total of 20 icons on 1 screen the most possible , larger widgets taking up more grid space) to bigger or smaller and the Next 3D launcher I'm using has no grid so I drag and drop literally to exactly where I want them. An example is Power Amp and MX Player are the eyes in the Android, the toggle widgets on the arms are supposed to look like tattoos, the screen off widget is invisible so when you do the Pillsbury dough boy tap of the tummy instead of a giggle you get a terminator warning of "I'll be back". Maybe I'm just warped with that one but.....
    If you don't mind losing some screen real estate check out One More Clock Widget. It's very customizable and makes a very nice effect.
    I also use Multiple Picture Live Wallpaper on my other screens with them set up to double tap the screen changes wallpaper photo. Each screen has its own folder so every screen will do a different slide show when tapped. Unlike most live wallpaper it uses very little battery to have running because it doesn't use cpu unless you double tap the screen to switch photos.
    I wrote before about launchers. Another nice thing about them is your ability to change the dock settings. On my Nexus7 I have no on-screen icons because I utilize the dock fully and the above written wallpaper app using only 1 screen and a double tap slideshow like I my phone. On my phone I have icons on 2 screens only, one the screen shot from before, the other a screen setup for my 5 year old daughter. It's got 1 widget , Circle Launcher, that has her books in 1 folder and her games are on the screen using stock icons but in special places she chose to drop them.
    I guess my point is just pay around, decide what you like , and enjoy what you've created. It's a little frustrating at first setting up a new launcher because it's so customizable but it's well worth the effort. I'd suggest Nova Launcher or Go Launcher because they both work very well and aren't as user unfriendly to set up.

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  11. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    As far as what I do with my phone, I have the main screen set up for my most used apps. Along with the others mentioned, my camera is in 1 robot hands, gallery in the other, below them is my Dish app below the gallery and Play Store app below the camera. In the chest of the robot is my Bible app.
    The dock on the photo, from left to right, has a card game, weather app, Tablet Talk (text to/from tablets like they are my phone over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi), auto bright on/off, Color Notes (well worth looking at because it's the Swiss Army knife of note apps), Verizon Messages (my regular texting app) and Tapatalk. I have 7 dock pages, each having a certain theme such as 1 page for Amazon related stuff,1 for phone maintenance and file finding,1 for cloud storages,1 for business type purposes (calendar, email, calculator, etc) and one for browsers with the last 2 just there and yet to be filled.
    Hope that helps.

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  12. SFGate
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    SFGate New Member

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    I don't worry about pretty, as for functional, I just go with listing them alphabetically.
  13. alafferty82081
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    alafferty82081 New Member

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    Just keep it simple

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  14. Sacheltry
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    Sacheltry New Member

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    mountainbikemark,

    Again I really appreciate all the information. Now if I could only figure out how to have enough time to play around with all this!:wink:
  15. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Mine took months to get like I want it and I still mess with it every now and then as my uses change.

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  16. bdubnpaw
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    bdubnpaw New Member

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    I've been using Launcher Pro for a few years now. Like what was said above...launcher apps are very customizable. Have fun, and welcome to the apple eaters...lol. Ooops almost forgot. The clock with weather is called Beautiful Widgets.

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  17. Sacheltry
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    Sacheltry New Member

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    Thank you for the tip. I will definitely take a look.
  18. AECRADIO
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    AECRADIO Member

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    As for widgets, only the apps used the most, ar on the home screen, the remainder are swiped to the other screens.
    I have only one contact widget for my wife, and the others are actually shortcuts to the apps I prefer over the others.
    Secondary apps and usage items are placed in other locations, and not used as often, as is the calendar.

    The home menu is where I have my text message shortcut, dialer, and the 'all apps' button to open that menu option.
    I have no use for cute apps, and since I don't play games, I surely do not want candy crush or anything like this, taking up screen space.

    Necessary tools used daily, or more often, are always residing on my main screen, others are placed in their appropriate screens, and those apps and icons I rarely or never used, are trash canned back to the 'APPS' menu for future selection.
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