Android Expert Profiles

Awesome Android Home Screens: The Googley Hexagon

Playful colors and simple shapes take center stage in this easy-to-navigate home screen setup.

Awesome Android Home Screens: The Googley Minimalist

Some home screen setups are noteworthy for their intricate nature. Others stand out with distinctive designs.

But sometimes, it's sheer simplicity that makes an Android home screen appealing. That's the case with this latest Awesome Android Home Screen pick -- a configuration I like to call the Googley Hexagon.

The Googley Hexagon is the brainchild of an Android user who goes by the (fittingly minimalist) name "Craig D." Mr. D seems to have wanted something simple and evocative of Google's colors and general aesthetic, so he came up with this lovely creation:

Awesome Android Home Screens: The Googley Minimalist  (1) Craig D

Fresh, free of clutter, and utterly pleasing to the eye -- don't ya think? I recreated it on my own phone with a few slightly different touches:

Awesome Android Home Screens: The Googley Minimalist (3)

The best part: This setup is super easy to implement and customize to match your own personal preferences and needs.

Want to try it for yourself?

The Googley Hexagon setup shouldn't take more than five minutes to get onto your device. Here's what you need to know:

The ingredients

To implement the Googley Hexagon home screen on your own Android phone, you'll first need to install the following apps from the Google Play Store:

  • Nova Launcher (free). One of the most customizable home screen replacements for Android; it serves as the foundation for this setup and allows everything to function the way it should. If you want extra features that'll let you do even more cool stuff, consider also grabbing the Nova Launcher Prime key ($4.99). You don't need the key to make this setup work, but it'll give you a bunch of useful advanced options that you'll almost certainly appreciate.
  • Zooper Widget Pro ($2.99). A versatile widget app that's the backbone of this design's clock centerpiece.
  • Craig D's custom Zooper clock skin (free). Follow the link to download it onto your device directly from Craig himself.
  • Craig D's custom Material wallpaper (free). Open the link on your device, then tap the image, tap the menu icon in the upper-right corner, and use the "Set as" command to make it your wallpaper (or select "Download" if you want to save it directly to your storage).
  • Dives Icon Pack ($0.99). The icons you need to complete this look.
  • A file manager like Solid Explorer (free for 14 days) or any comparable utility. You'll just need this once during the setup in order to unzip and then move a file on your device.

So all in all, you're looking at about four bucks for the home screen's basic functionality -- $9 if you want to go all in with Nova and take advantage of its full set of features.

Remember, too, that Zooper Widget is incredibly versatile and has tons of user-made skins available in the Play Store -- many of which are free. And Nova, of course, can be used for all sorts of custom creations beyond this one setup. So whether you spend $4 or $9, you're investing in apps that are well worth their cost and capable of opening up many more possibilities for your home screen in the future.

The recipe

Once you have the above ingredients installed on your device, follow these steps to get your new home screen up and running:

(Fair warning: This may seem like a lot to do, but that's only because I'm breaking everything down into detailed individual steps. If you follow these exact instructions, the process is actually pretty straight-forward and shouldn't take long to complete.)

1. Hit your device's Home button, then select Nova Launcher and tell the system to do that same thing every time. (You can always change this in the "Home" section of your main system settings if you later decide you want to go back to what you were using before.)

2. Open up Nova Settings, which should be available as an app either on your home screen or in your app drawer. Tap "Desktop," then "Desktop grid." Set the vertical value (the number to the left of the grid) to 7 and the horizontal value (the number below the grid) to 6 and make sure "Subgrid Positioning" is checked. Tap "Done" when you're finished.

3. While still in the "Desktop" section of Nova Settings, tap "Icon layout." Tap the toggle next to "Label" to turn that option off, then tap your device's Back button once.

4. One more thing while we're still in the "Desktop" section: Find the option labeled "Page indicator." Tap it and select "None." (This isn't part of the original design, but I think it adds to its minimalist vibe. If you decide you prefer having the page indicators present, feel free to disregard this step and leave that option active!)

5. Tap your device's Back button to get back to the main Nova Settings menu, then tap "Dock" followed by "Dock icons." Set that value to 6, then tap "Done." (The original design has a platform-style background behind the dock. I prefer it without the background, personally, but if you like the background in place, you can enable it via the "Dock Background" option in this same settings section.)

6. Tap your device's Back button to get back to the main Nova Settings menu, then tap "Look & feel" and "Icon theme." Select "Dives" from the list.

7. Head back to your home screen (either by pressing your device's Home button or pressing the Back key a couple of times). Now open up Solid Explorer (or whatever file manager you have on your phone) and use it to navigate to your "Download" directory and find the file called "material_google_clock_craigd.zip." Tap that file, then keep tapping until you get to a folder within the zip called "Templates" and see a file called "material_google_clock_craigd.zw."

Next, you're going to need to move that file into a different directory on your device. In Solid Explorer, tap and hold the file until its line becomes highlighted, then tap the scissors icon at the top of the screen. Tap the words "Internal Memory" in the folder navigation structure toward the top of the screen, then find and tap the folder named "ZooperWidget" -- then, within it, find and tap the folder named "Templates."

Once you're in the "Templates" folder, tap the yellow paste icon at the bottom of the screen. The "material_google_clock_craigd.zw" file should now appear.

8. We're almost done! All that remains is to set everything up on your home screen. First, clear out everything that's there so we can start with a completely blank canvas. One by one, touch and hold every item on the screen -- including all shortcuts and the Google search bar at the top -- and remove all of the items by dragging them one at a time up to the "x" at the top of the screen.

Now, open your app drawer and drag all the apps you want on your home screen into place. There's no real secret to creating the hexagon pattern in the main part of the home screen; you just drop each shortcut you want into the proper spot to form the shape:

Awesome Android Home Screens: The Googley Minimalist  (4)

The same goes for the dock; just drag and drop your desired shortcuts into place. If you want to use the transparent square icon for the app drawer shortcut, meanwhile, tap and hold that shortcut for a moment and then select "Edit" from the menu that appears. Tap the app drawer icon in the edit box, then select "Dive" and find the transparent square design.

9. Last but not least, the clock widget: Tap and hold an empty space on your screen, then select "Widgets" and find "Zooper Widget 5x2" in the list that appears. Tap and hold that, then drag it to the appropriate place on your home screen.

The widget is pretty much ready to go as is, though you may want to change a couple of things while you're in the initial configuration screen. First, if you want the widget to do something specific when you tap it -- like open a certain app -- look for the option labeled "Widget OnTap Action" and adjust that setting accordingly.

If you prefer the traditional American date format ("Wed, July 13") over the style used by default ("Wed 13, July"), tap "Layout" and then look for the line labeled "Date." Tap it, then select the option to "Edit text manually" and adjust it as needed, using the selectable quick-codes on the screen to represent variables like the day of the month. (You could also change the text to something completely different, like the current weather and/or the name of your favorite Milli Vanilli member, if you want.)

When you're done, hit your device's Back button until you're back on your home screen. If the clock didn't land exactly where you want it, just press and hold it and then slide it to the right spot.

The result

That's everything! Enjoy your newly minimal and Googley home screen setup, and keep your eyes open for more interesting arrangements in the weeks to come.

Check out more Android expert profiles below or in the official Google+ collection -- and send your own creative home screen submissions to AwesomeHomeScreens@gmail.com!

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