Let’s face it. Without mobile shell UI launchers like ADW and Launcher Pro, most of us would only be dreaming of the themes we design and manifest. Making it easy for the end user to develop their themes in Photoshop or by trail is what drives the diversity on the Android platform. Minimalists and babes seem to make of a good portion of the designers tastes on DA but we’re beginning to see people take it a step further. With the introduction of XML templates to these launchers, we’re seeing a few designers make entire custom themes with widget/dock skins, clocks, fonts and icons. It’s important that theme designers begin to take this into account and understand not just how to design a theme, but how it works on the user interface. I touched on these points in my recent interview with Deviant Art news.deviantart.com/article/14… . I’m all for simple design, but I’m afraid it not going to last. Theme designers need to start learning the basics of how an interactive theme is compiled in XML and ported to their favorite Android launchers. There is some coding involved, but once you’ve got the basics of how things work within a launcher environment, your options become almost unlimited. ROM themers have been doing this for 2 years now. With the new ADW Launcher and the upcoming recode of Launcher Pro, it’s imperative to get this stuff down or else we as visual themers, are going to get left out of the theming loop. Here are some quick links on what Launcher Pro and ADW Launcher are doing and how to learn and access it.
Launcher Pro Skinning: www.launcherpro.com/forum/view…
ADW Launcher Theme Templates: jbthemes.com/anderweb/2010/07/…
If you are interested and need help getting started, both of these apps forums are full of good information and have great designers helping each other out through this change in theming.
That's it for now. Keep pluggin' along!
Go Launcher EX is another launcher that provides some nice alternatives for the app drawer functionality and customization options.
GO Launcher Pro FTW
First ELSE was an interesting and complex UI concept. Keeping everything focused toward the middle of the screen and designing the outer interactive elements to come in and function, made for some creative UI techniques. Not sure about best, but definitely intuitive. I think something like that is for more advanced mobile device users on a resource abundant phone. Makes me wonder if Android has the ability to capitalize on something like that. Than again, I can also imagine how much code rewrite would be involved.
I'm sure there would extensive code rewrite required, especially for the menu design, which is what makes the Else distinctive. There is a need for new innovative designs and interfaces, rather than the same old "icons/widgets on homescreens view". It is surprising that in spite of such developments in technology, we still do what we did with our first GUIs, click on icons.
I wonder when the rewrite will be done (of LauncherPro)