While designing an android desktop widget is there as UX guidelines to be followed? what are the steps to be taken care while designing an widget?

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UPDATE: We've published new guidelines for App Widgets for Android 4.0:


These include a PSD template package.

Although this isn't comprehensive, I have some PSD and PNG templates that may help with the visual design of app widgets:


Also, most design guidelines remain true for app widgets. I've put together some slides on design tips that can help.

Some more widget-related tips:

  • Make sure the widget layout is accessible via directional (D-pad, trackball) navigation. There are still a lot of Android devices with directional navigation hardware.
  • Make the widget deep links into your app when possible, for whatever content it is showing. If deep links don't make sense, the widget should at least jump into your app's home screen.
  • Do not occupy an exorbitant amount of space—user's home screens are sacred, and you must respect them. A 4x4 or 3x3 app widget is rarely necessary.
  • Offer a customization step during the widget-adding process if you have a lot of content.
  • Don't refresh too often; be conscious of battery implications. If allowing users to customize the widget refresh interval, expose this setting in the app's settings, and not during the widget customization step.
  • Be unique and be true to your brand, but adhere to system widget design themes and behavior. For example, customize the background color and show your logo, but use proper dimensions, shadows, and interactivity behaviors.
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    Also remember that as of Android v3.1 widgets can be set to be resizable vertically and/or horizontally, which is great as it means the app could just have one widget that shows more/less depending on how big the user wants it. Many apps currently include lots of widgets and it's a pretty ugly experience.
    – Ollie C
    May 16, 2011 at 15:58
  • Why not have the update frequency in the widget customisation? Say I have a widget which shows location dependent data. Is the correct place to set how often the widget updates in the app for the widget? The app itself only needs to update when the users runs it so this setting would only be used in the widget. Any advice?
    – matto1990
    May 17, 2011 at 19:32
  • The reason for offering widget update frequency settings in global app settings is that it gives the user better control without needing to remove and re-add the widget. If your app settings are not very discoverable or otherwise useful, it may make more sense to include widget update frequency in the customization step. But that is not a common pattern. May 17, 2011 at 23:12

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