I’m currently working on a design for an Android app and came across a few useful tools that are easy to use and save a lot of time:
#1: Android UI Templates
It’s certainly not a secret that there are many great UI template kits for Android out there. You should make use of that! They provide ready-made standard UI components that help you to quickly mock-up a nice looking app. Taylor Ling offers high quality and up-to-date Android UI PSD kits on his website. Even if you’re planning on designing a heavily customized app, those templates are a great starting point so you don’t have to design everything from scratch.
#2: Android Design Preview
Google’s Android Design Preview tool is an extremely useful app that let’s you mirror a part of your desktop screen to your Android device. This enables you to design your app in Photoshop and check how the design looks on your smartphone in parallel. This is obviously much easier than exporting screenshots from PSD and copying them to the phone to see how they look.
Here’s a quick demo by Google:
However, when I downloaded the app I had some trouble getting it to run on my Android phone. Turns out I had to enable USB debugging. Here’s a blog post that explains the problem and the solution: http://www.envis-precisely.com/blog/how-to-setup-design-preview-on-your-android/
#3: Device Art Generators
So you’re done with your design and want to show it to others? The Google Device Art Generator is a great tool to wrap your screens in a real device. You could do this using one of the countless device templates out there but Google’s generator is much quicker and easier. This is especially useful for mockups and presentations. Just drag n’ drop your images on one of the various Android devices and download the artwork as a png-image.
Another great device art generator is PlaceIt by Breezi. It offers various images of people holding mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android etc.) in different situations. This great, if you want to show how your design looks in a real world setting. Breezi offers a drag n’ drop interface and high-resolution photos.