Widgets should always have the option for a transparent background

A neverending issue with Android customization is that widgets never look like they belong together unless they happen to come from the same developer. This has caused widget creator apps to become very popular, and it’s more and more common to have widget skins. Typical examples of the latter are GO Widgets for GO Launcher EX or the standalone Android Pro Widgets. For the most part though, widgets seem to come in whatever form the developer thought looked good.

It’s very hard to make a widget that works everywhere, but the one way to do it that often works is to always allow for a transparent widget background. It doesn’t have to be the only option, but it should be an option. That also means there needs to be a dark and a light theme for the text, so that it works on both light and dark backgrounds. If those options are in place though, you have a widget that will fit in a lot more places than your average comes-with-a-background widget.

I have widgets that I can’t make myself use because they simply look so out of place. Some examples of such widgets can be seen in the far right screenshot above. They simply look out of place when put in with my other widgets, all of which are designed to work with the wallpaper, not their own background. It seems as though widget creators try so hard to avoid to make a customization system for the widget that they try to make a universal look, which in the end just ends up making devices look like they’re running Android 1.5.

Another really annoying trend among widget creators is to make 1×1 widgets that have labels. The chance of matching the exact icon setting for a specific instance of a launcher isn’t very high, so you basically end up with a widget that doesn’t look like a widget nor an icon. I’ve tried to place a few of those in my time, and it frankly looks like you dropped your phone and accidentally broke the corner icon so it no longer fits perfectly in the spot.

So, to all you developers out there, please put some thought into your widgets. A light and a dark version each with and without a internal background isn’t too much to ask, and it just makes it so much easier to fit the end result into an existing setup.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.