There has been a recent trend among new apps to use a mostly-default Holo theme and follow the design guidelines as if they were a strict requirement. I would argue that this is incorrect and is actually worse than deviating from them a bit. The Android Design Guidelines should be treated as you would a GPS in your car--it's there to navigate you along logical paths but it is still you who must do the driving.

Applications which use the stock theming on Android will never go away. With the last few iterations of the platform the default theme has gone from a disjointed plastic mess to a sleek and clean blue wonder. For this, I think everyone is thankful.

However, just because we now have a document that defines use of widgets, relative sizing, and interaction patterns as well as a pretty theme to slap on top does not mean that there is no work to be done for those writing applications. If anything, simply following that formula creates an application that becomes distant, emotionless, and boring.

Designing is hard. It's also strongly an opinion-based field which makes it a lot harder. I had a specific application that is becoming very popular in mind that I was going to critique but I think it's best to let them iterate on design themselves.

For every application that is following the design guidelines (and that should be every single one) there are two things that you must do:

Provide non-default styles to UI-defining widgets. Most notably, of course, the action bar and all its intricacies. Providing a single color background here is not enough. The design guidelines states that "the action bar is arguably the most important structural element of an Android app. It's a dedicated piece of real estate at the top of each screen that is generally persistent throughout the app." If we users must stare at this widget on every screen of your application you damn well better make sure it looks good.

Theming the action bar has a fantastic side-effect of branding your application. You can easily create a unique look through this widget so be sure to take the time here. There is a lot to consider, but I assure you that the benefits are worth it: icons, background, split background, stacked background, action item selector, tab selectors, and your app icon/logo. Need some examples? YouTube, Friendcaster, Papermill, and the Play Store client.

The other big thing that applications must do is to not overuse these patterns and not be afraid to deviate from the norm. Not everything necessitates an action bar and a view pager. Moreover, the design guidelines are not strict laws. If your widgets look better with 10dp spacing instead of 8dp then do it. It is more important to adhere to the 'Pure Android' section than it is including every single pattern.

This task is certainly not easy but it is by no means difficult. I urge all you developers out there to spend some serious time on providing a unique look to your application. Through this you will evoke emotions in your user leading to better engagement and providing that so-called "X" factor of why your app is simply more enjoyable to use than others.

I had originally intended to call out specific examples of where this was needed in a few applications that have recently garnered a lot of attention. I think each of the teams and developers behind those applications are slowly moving in the right direction and with each update comes a warmer experience. I didn't think it would be appropriate to call them out directly. The key here is to realize where you need improvement and ensure that you are taking steps toward a better solution.
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