Android niceties: One year on

It’s been a year and two days since I started Android niceties. What a year it’s been!

The site began as an experiment in Tumblr, and got going with this rather misguided post on /r/Android. Considering some of the apps I chose to initially include and the lack of customisation I put into the base theme, it’s little wonder that I got slammed in the comments. There was more than enough encouragement there though.

I plodded on, and woke up to a flurry of emails on December 2, 2011 when Matias Duarte, the head of Android Design shared it on Google+. Then The Next Web a couple of days later, and Gizmodo Brazil a week after that.

The introduction of the official Android Design site by Google earlier this year has really helped Android apps to begin forging their own direction and visual identity. The action bar, the typography, the minimalism. I think it’s safe to say apps look uniquely Android now. Even scrolling through the site in the last five months, you see that coming through loud and clear. 

I’ve had emails from developers of apps asking me to update their screenshots I posted from a previous version, but I like to keep them there, because the site has unknowingly served as a great indication of how Android design has evolved. If there’s a better looking version that I like, I’ll happily post it as another set, as I’ve done with Catch and Google+.

Now, I say that apps look uniquely Android. Most are still ports from iOS-first apps. There are a few exceptions, but overall, yes, many of these are ports. This is a common criticism I get [second-handedly] when I foolishly delve into comments on sites that reference Android niceties. There’s not much I can gain from reading them, especially on some of the more iOS-centric frequented blogs. It’s a valid point though, and nothing would give me greater joy than seeing a growing number of Android-first apps in the next year.

Another point I made in that very first Reddit post also still stands. If there are interfaces that are platform agnostic, I’m more than happy to feature them. Just because there’s an Android Design site now, I’m not going to stick purely to the “Holo” world; you’ve got Holo Everywhere for that.

Did I mention I got fireballed? Yes sir, John Gruber, slightly of the Apple ilk, gave the site its biggest hit yet in February. This was an interesting day, as the flurry of tweets from a totally different crowd to what normally browse the site was actually rather positive for the most part.

Even got a shoutout from The Verge and Time’s Techland.

Amidst all this, I began using the Android niceties Google+ account a LOT more. I started posted other Android design related links, and it’s organically become my defacto blog. I love the community and discussions. It’s a great companion the site itself, so definitely check it out if you want to add a comment around a particular post or chat.

Just this past week was the craziest week yet!

Jolie O’Dell from Venture Beat featured the blog and this started two days of unbelievable momentum. A short mention in the NY Times Bits blog, then this Hacker News post.

If I were to aggregate the 1000+ tweets that came through in those two days, the title of that Hacker News post summed it up. 

Android can be beautiful.

I take slight offense to that, but seriously, the majority of people expressed that “oh, who knew Android could look decent?!” attitude. I take it as a win more than anything else if the site can help convey that shift in mindset.

It’s gratifying to know that the site has helped a lot of people and serves its initial lofty mission statement that has been slightly abbreviated over time.

Thank you to every single person that’s mentioned the blog, offered an app suggestion to feature [I do read and check out every single one sent through], commented on various channels and continues to visit it today. Welcome to all the new visitors!

I have no doubt Android design will continue to get better. It’s great to see the developers and designers paying attention to the guidelines out there, and I can’t wait to see how things progress in the next year and beyond!


4 thoughts on “Android niceties: One year on

  1. First of all, thanks for the shoutout!Your blog is what inspired mine, and got me really interested in Android design. When people told me that Android was "ugly" I would (and still do) point them to your great site.Great work and a great year for Android Design. I can only hope to see increased passion and design love from Android developers! Congrats again and thanks for all you do!–Chris (HoloEverywhere blogger)

  2. c0uP says:

    @Chris: Thanks, and you’re welcome, sir!I know you’ve had that success yourself, and found your niche in holo, plus that added level of analysis, which is great to see.We’re both definitely on the same page, so cheers indeed to the next year.

  3. Hopefully this comment is better late than never – but I very much like the site, and have referenced it a ton lately. (I’m designing an Android-first app.)

    A feature request: could you (or your users) tag the images thematically? (“Camerea”, “List”, “Confirm dialog”, etc.) I’d love to see, say, how 20 different designers tackled camera buttons.

    But mostly: thanks for building the site!

    • c0up says:

      @Christina; Thanks for the comment! Glad the site is of use ^_^

      I could try adding some tags, but since they’re done at the post level, there’d be a smorgasbord of tags for each post :/ All I do now is tag the category of the app. I’ll see if I can add a few key ones. It’s one of those things that in retrospect I would have handled differently; now it’s a beast I don’t want to mess too much with.

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