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Why you need to know about Android design guidelines
November 28, 2013

Software design combines a wide variety of disciplines. Typography, user interface, user experience, graphic design, color theory and so on. There are seemingly infinite choices one can make while making a piece of software or an app. Luckily there are guidelines available for app designers from the operating system in which apps live.

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What is good design?
November 25, 2013

The first question we ask while trying to review an app for the site is whether this app is well designed. What separates good design from bad design? Some notable designers have tried to distill their knowledge of design into a few principles. These principles helped them in their own work while also giving a framework to think about design problems. We believe these principles are as applicable to app design as they were in their original context.

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Latest apps

Carbon for Android

Set in a distinctly (and vocally) dark theme, this Twitter client relies heavily on gestures to ensure the content remains central to the application. While a refreshing alternative to the original (arguably, cluttered) app, it seems to be doing a little too much with the dark

January 29, 2014

Recollect

Recollect—the to-do list that follows you around. Capture your tasks and reminders based on specific places like “the house” and “my office,” or more general place types like "any pharmacy" or “all bookstores.” As you go about your day, Recollect reminds you of the things you need to do so you can focus on what matters most. You just might find what you’re looking for.

January 28, 2014

Field Trip

Field Trip is your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you. Field Trip runs in the background on your phone. When you get close to something interesting, it pops up a card with details about the location. No click is required. If you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you. Field Trip can help you learn about everything from local history to the latest and best places to shop, eat, and have fun. You select the local feeds you like and the information pops up on your phone automatically, as you walk next to those places.

January 17, 2014

Tumblr

The new Tumblr app is beautiful and shows how a completely native app can result in a much smoother experience than a hybrid approach. There are nice animations in empty views, preloaders and image thumbnails. Screen transitions and list items have bouncy effects which make the app fun to use. The content creation icon effect on the home screen is reminiscent of the Path app. The action bar on the homepage is replaced by tabs similar to the Twitter app. It's probably the only inconsistency in an otherwise brilliant app.

December 8, 2013

Airbnb

airbnb's re-designed Android app is absolutely gorgeous. Listings look amazing with photos being the centre of attention. The clean typography as well as the simple icon set keep the focus on the content. Colors are the primary means of asserting the brand throughout the app which also ensures that the app meshes in with the OS perfectly while maintaining it's individual identity.

November 26, 2013

Yahoo! Mail

Yahoo's latest re-design of it's Mail app is very refreshing. The account creation process on the phone was a bit of a pain. The app follows familiar navigation patterns, relying primarily on the navigation drawer and the action bar. The navigation drawer has 4 slots for other Yahoo apps. Yahoo seems to be following this pattern of advertising across all it's apps. One cool aspect the app is customizing the entire app using a background image. The background is blurred for regions which are text heavy increasing it's legibility.

October 21, 2013

Duolingo

Duolingo might be one of the most amazing apps on the Play Store. I have been using the website for a while and was absolutely delighted when the app came out on Android. The app is superbly designed. Right from the onboarding process to doing the lessons, everything seems perfect. Instead of just copying what was there on the website, the designers have optimized the UI for Android in little ways which makes a big difference. The app sticks to the Android style while maintaining a very unique identity.

October 20, 2013

Soundcloud

Soundcloud let's you hear tracks uploaded by bands and music producers from around the world. The app starts off with a short tutorial after which you have to sign up or log in to use the app. The login screen puts more emphasis on social services like Google+ or Facebook. Screens are held together by the slide in navigation strip from the left. The Soundcloud icon in the action bar with the orange background is a little jarring. While you are playing a sound the actionbar shows a dynamic visualization of the sound frequencies which I found quite cool and very different from static icons.

September 23, 2013

Soundwave

Soundwave let's you share the music you are listening to with your social network. The app has a nice personalized onboarding tutorial which uses your name and location. It also gives you a small demo of the core feature just after onboarding. However, there is no demo or a tutorial on first launch and you are forced to sign up.

September 16, 2013

Grand St.

Grand St. bills itself as a curated marketplace for highlighting hardware from independent producers. And it does that job really well! The app splits up the Actionbar in two parts which allows images to bleed till the top edge. The product being showcased really gets a lot of space without feeling constrained or the functionality being restricted in any way. The product pages split up the content nicely and sections can be reached by hitting the icons in the left.

September 12, 2013

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