One thing I learned from publishing this site is how much some users LOVE to customize the look-and-feel of their computers and devices. If you want a neat way to customize your Android then consider this one: replacing your icons with glorious, artfully crafted images to launch your apps or make calls.
‘Desktop Visualizer’ is a free Android app that can create Android Widgets to launch all sorts of actions, such as launch an app, open a URL, or make a phone call or text message a specific contact.
The best part, though, is that these widgets can display any image that you like in a wide variety of sizes, and can be custom labeled in any way you like. It is a bit labor intensive to set up, but it opens the doors to customizing your Android in many very unique and creative ways (see screenshots below).
The examples in the screenshots above show widgets that, in the left screenshot, allow me to make phone calls to some frequently used contacts just by clicking their image, and in the right can launch some game apps.
How to use:
First off, create a widget in the normal way, then select a ‘Desktop Visualizer’ widget in the size that you want. The program deserves credit for the wide range of widget sizes from large to small (see screenshot below). It is quite helpful if you use a launcher that will let you resize widgets (I use Nova Launcher), otherwise the onus becomes greater to get the widget size right from the get go. Or you can install a free add-on called DVRSizeConfig that will help you measure the proper widget size (link at the bottom of the post).
Next, select the image you want to use and the action associated with it. Transparent areas in image files such as PNG are supported and will display as transparent. The label can be skipped if you like, or customized as you wish. Possible actions are shown in the right screenshot below. If you want your widget to make a direct phone call select ‘other’ and then ‘direct call’. Note that if you want a widget which can make a direct call, you need to install an additional add-on from the Google Play store (see download links below).
The best effect can be had by using interesting, customized images that you may have to work on manually using am image editor program or a program that can apply effects. As an example on such variations, see the screenshot to the right, which shows images tweaked to look like sketches, just to create a unique look and feel that you can impress people with.
A very nice app that opens many possibilities for those who like to customize their interface in many creative ways. It is somewhat labor intensive if you want to create many different widgets, as each has to be created on its own, but the result can be worth it.
Although the program is ad-supported, you only see the ads in the settings page, so once you have your widgets set-up that’s the end of it.
This program can be improved if it allowed for image cropping within the program itself (which I believe is available as a paid add-on). Also, I wish there was even larger widgets supported, including an all page widget. It made me think of the opportunity to create a similar app whereby a single widget might contain several images that trigger different actions each, and that can be easily resized or manipulated from within the program.
- You can get Desktop Visualizer here.
- If you want the option to make direct calls from your widgets, you will also need to install a free add-on called DVRDirectCall.
- You can also get DVRSizeConfigTool, a free add on supposed to help get the appropriate sized widgets for your screen (we have NOT tested this one).