The Android UI received a major update two years ago with the introduction of the Holo design language. First seen in the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, this design was a major departure from the dated style of Android Gingerbread. But there’s a problem and that’s with the way developers make apps for Android. The apps are fine themselves, but the criticism we have is that they often do not follow the Android UI design language, at all. That’s where Holofication Nation comes in. It’s an effort by a couple of people to redesign popular apps in accordance with the design language of Android.
Holofication Nation began as just another small project on XDA developers but just two weeks in and it had more than 700 community members. The major work is still handled by just two people – Connor Kirkby and Brandon D’Souza. The aim of the project is to the correct the design mistakes that even big-name developers make. They aren’t necessarily making the apps any better, they’re just making sure that they look better and more integrated into the Android environment. The official Steam app for Android is a prime example of a badly designed app by a big developer. The app has good functionality, but is an absolute eye sore to look at. But the Holofication Nation team has looked to this and completely redone the design. The result is an app that looks miles better than the original with most of the design elements matching the Android design language pretty well. The Holofication Nation have released their own app, called Holofication Nation, which will help users keep track of what app the developers are redoing next. They will also be able to suggest apps that need to be reworked, as well as easily download apps that have already been redone.
The Holofication Nation team has so far reworked several famous apps, including Instagram, Grooveshark and Steam. Instagram is a surprise because normally you’d expect an app that promotes photography to at least look good. And it does look good, albeit a bit out of place on Android because of its design. The Holofication team has made subtle changes to it, making it flat and minimalist. It almost looks like it could be the official Android gallery app.
Grooveshark has also received the extreme makeover treatment from team Holofication. The original app seems like it hasn’t had its design looked at since the days of Android Gingerbread. It looks terrible. But Holofication Nation have completely transformed it, bringing it up-to-date with modern design conventions and certainly in line with the Android design language.
Holofication Nation is a very admirable effort indeed. It shows the staggering eye for detail that some people have, and also that bad design can sometimes make people angry enough to redesign whole apps. Hopefully this will force Google to be a little more strict about the enforcement of their design guidelines. And hopefully, major app devs will finally start designing apps that look like they belong on Android.