I often got asked how do I inspect an app from design perspective, especially on the layout, alignment, keylines etc., so I thought to share this in my blog. Sometimes we are able to spot some issues by just looking at it, but with some nifty tools, the design inspection can be done much easier.
Below screenshot is what I usually see when I do a design pass on the static design implementation. It’s an IMDb app screenshot with keyline grid + layout bound shown, which is very useful to spot misaligned elements and incorrect paddings.
- Keyline Pushing app by Faiz Malkani – This awesome free app will print the 8dp gridlines on your screen which have the proper keylines recommended in Material Design. It also has some other gridlines like 4dp typographic grid which can be very useful sometimes. (Update: Another new app called Material Cue can do the same thing as well)
- Show Layout Bound option in Developer Options – This will show the bound of each element in blue lines (clip bounds), red lines (optical bounds) and pink area (margins). This helps a lot to spot unnecessary padding or misaligned bound. To access this option, turn on developer mode in Android. Then Settings > Developer options > Show layout bounds.
How this can help Android developers?
Few months back I introduced these 2 tools to my developer friends, and below are their comments on this tip:
It is useful to see the view paddings and margins, and immediately understand which view is causing the keyline misalignment. However, for standard views, paddings and margins have an expected behaviour so you can fix the issues without the layout bounds. Layout bound option can be really useful for custom views and custom groupviews. For these views, you can do whatever you want with the paddings, so having the layout bounds visible helps understand how your view occupy the space, which is useful to have the correct keylines.
It helped me mostly to check that clip to children works to prevent shadow, animation, and ripple effect cut-off. Also I am able to quickly check that all cards/pictures are correctly aligned based on the key line and the left/right edge of the layout bound. For layout bound, it helps to check that the touch target of images has been extended and is not only limited to the image edges. It also helps ensuring that some views ‘visibility’ are gone and not just set to invisible. With keyline pushing app, it is mainly to ensure that the Material Design spec has been fulfilled.
Happy designing and developing!
In the first UI Animation in Photoshop tutorial, I have shown the way to do simple animations in Photoshop like moving, scaling and style changing – if you are new to this and haven’t check that out yet, I recommend you to look into Tutorial #1 before this.
In this second tutorial, I will share my experiences in applying easing into the animation made with Photoshop. Special thanks to Jovie Brett Bardoles for sharing his manual way of applying easing in his animations, which inspire me to explore and dig into the Timeline feature in Photoshop.
It has been a few weeks since Material Design announced during Google I/O this year, and it’s great to see many developers and designers are excited about it – that’s including me, of course.
I have seen people started to release design resources for Material Design (slowly, but yeah), and it’s awesome! I have started to look into Material Design, and I thought it will be nice to have the new icons sit in my Photoshop Custom Shape drawer (for my usual design flow), but so far, none seems to convert the icons from SVG format to CSH format, so I’ve spent about half a day to do the conversion one by one (and removed the redundant ones), and here is it! Thanks to Shreyas Achar for his archive of extracted Material Design SVG icons!
431 Material Design Icons in Photoshop Custom Shape
Go awesome with these!
Besides Material Design, I am sure everyone is also pretty excited about the new Android product family, especially Android Wear – so here’s a simple PDF sketching kit for Android Wear in both LG G Watch and Moto 360. I have tried to have them as close as the real physical size of these watches, so when you print the PDF, please select A4 size and print at actual size.
Unleash your Android Wear creativity with these!
Get Android Wear Sketching Kit PDF
I was working on a client request for a realistic screen preview in a device for marketing purpose, and I realized while there are so much love for the iPhone/iPad mock up, there are rarely such mock up preview kit for Nexus devices for free. So while I am working on that request, I also made the Android Design Mock Up Preview Kit (Nexus 5) freely available for any use.
What to expect
- 1 x Adobe Photoshop file (.PSD)
- 1 x Microsoft Powerpoint file (.PPTX)
- My left hand (in the image, not the physical one)
- Nexus 5 device with replaceable smart object for the screen
How to use
It’s rather straight forward to use them. You should have the screenshot/mock up image (ideally in PNG format) ready with the resolution of 1080×1920. Android UI Design Kit for Photoshop 4.4 can output at this resolution.
- Adobe Photoshop version: Open it up, double click on the smart object with the label ‘REPLACE SCREENSHOT HERE’, paste the screenshots or mock up in it, and save. The screenshot should be reflected in the preview kit. Drop a background image, apply some light Gaussian Blur on it, and you are good to go! If it’s necessary due to brightness difference, adjust the color overlay effect for the hand layer.
- Microsoft Powerpoint version: Open it up in Microsoft Powerpoint 2013, right click on the hand layer, send to back. Then right click on the screen layer > change object > select the screenshot/mock up. The screen should be changed to your selected. Send the hand layer to the front. Drop a background image, send backward, apply blur, and you are done! You can turn on the Selection Pane to make the layer management easier.
If you are wondering how this preview kit can be used, below are some examples (click on them to view full size):
As usual, it is ready to download via my Mediafire storage space – Android Design Mock Up Preview Kit.
Hope this helps in creating some awesome marketing material! I will try (no promise) to release a few more variants of such preview kit if I am able to do so.
As you might have aware, Google has announced Android Wear specifically designed for wearables, and I am really excited about it – new form factor and new UI/UX to explore (and the sexy Moto 360).
I was playing around with mock up on a small app called Haze Watch (to monitor Haze condition in Malaysia), and it’s really fun – with that very limited screen estate, it’s really important to only show crucial information that is meant for a glance, not read – and this design principle is well explained in the official Design Guideline. I am really looking forward to see how Android Wear change the very new wearables market, I guess exciting time ahead?
Android Wear UI Design Kit for Photoshop 0.1
Then I was thinking, why not a simple design kit for those who want to play around with this new form factor which has a very small screen estate? So I decided to make one very simple Android Wear UI Design Kit for Photoshop. What you can expect from it:
- 2 Adobe Photoshop files – Square (280×280) and Round (320×320)
- A few different layout like Incoming Notification, Notification Stack, Contextual Card etc.
That’s it! It’s not meant for accurate mock up as of now since I don’t have the design specs, but it’s good enough to play around and get prepared for the next wave.
You can download it from my Mediafire account Android Wear UI Design Kit for Photoshop 0.1. For the round one, it goes really well with Spiderfly Studio Moto 360 Mock Up tool for Photoshop (though you might have to do a little bit of resizing)!
Happy New Year folks! In the past few weeks, I have worked slowly on the new Android UI Design Kit for Photoshop 4.4, which is a Nexus 5 version, and today I am happy to announce that it is ready! This time it only comes with Photoshop version though, I am still working on the GIMP version, mainly on replacing the text layers (which I just found out recently the text layers from Photoshop won’t work in GIMP!). If there is any GIMP gurus would like to help out replacing the text layers, do let me know in the Comments section.
This update the Design Kit to Nexus 5 resolution (Portrait Mode – 1080×1920), with several new building blocks added in it.
What’s new in 4.4?
- Action Bar – PullToRefresh
- Action Bar – NotBoring
- Scroll Bar
- Search Action Bar
- Contextual Action Bar
Other than that, every building blocks from the previous version are included, making it the most complete Design Kit to date.
- You must first install both Roboto and Roboto Slab fonts before using the Design Kit. It’s a must. If you doesn’t want to install them, you won’t be able to use the Design Kit at full potential.
- The recommended way to start designing is to use the Quick Start file, then Shift+Drag the required UI elements from the Building Block file
- Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 Design Kit is available in the previous version
Free. As I mentioned previously, getting every designers to use this and create awesome high fidelity mock ups will already be a very good motivating factor.
However, if you think I deserve to have a cup of coffee from the work that I have done, you can always support me via Paypal, so that I can maintain the chakra to produce awesome stuffs for the community.
As usual, the Design Kit is made available in my MediaFire account. Go get it and be awesome!
Android UI Design Kit for Photoshop 4.4 [Nexus 5] ~14MB
If you are using GIMP and wanted to use the WIP version, feel free!
Android UI Design Kit for GIMP 4.4 [Nexus 5][WIP] ~9MB