The Verge Android App v2 [Mock Concepts]

Hey all,

I was feeling a little creative, and I thought I'd try my hand at refreshing The Verge's Android application. The existing app as it is now is actually pretty decent. However, I've always thought it could use just a little more refinement to bring it up a notch.

I didn't set out to completely reinvent the app. Rather, my goal was to refine the application to make it cleaner, more visually rich, and 'pure Android'.

On phones

I'll start with the app on phones.

My first change was to use the Roboto font family exclusively with the Android app. The current app uses The Verge's own fonts, though I've never thought it looked right. They're just not very clear, and can be hard to read. Instead, for my version, I've chosen to use the new Roboto Slab font, which matches The Verge's branding very well. I find Roboto to be a beautiful font on Android, and it really ties the app into the platform.

Here on the first screenshots, you can see that I elected to increase the size of the 'feature/hero' story image. Those are an iconic part of The Verge's look, and I felt they should be more prominent on the app. I've also killed the iOS'y dots signifying which story you're viewing in favor for something more true to Android. Finally I addressed the app's action bar, giving it a higher resolution logo and icons with proper alignment and spacing.

*Note: the images in this post were kept smaller to conserve size. A link to a higher resolution is below each image.

Current app on left, redesign on right.


View a higher resolution here.

Next is reading a story or feature - in this case a review.

Again, I've switched everything over to Roboto. I'm using a combination of Roboto Slab, Roboto Condensed and Roboto Regular to match The Verge's theme, while keeping everything very consistent with Android.

Another area of change was the image. The existing app uses an embarrassingly low resolution image that then gets cropped. My version calls for a higher resolution, full bleed image. The Verge is full of beautiful photos, why not show them off in the app?

Finally, the action bar has once again received a facelift.


View a higher resolution here.

On tablets

I've always found it amusing that The Verge is always complaining of a lack of tablet optimized Android apps when their own application lacks any sort of tablet support. I aim to address that with my redesign.

First up, The Verge app on 7" tablets (a Nexus 7 in these mocks).

The 7" Android tablet is interesting to design for. It's too small for a full tablet layout, but too large to just use the phone layout. For The Verge's app I went with a hybrid. For the main screen, I'm still using a single feature image, however the stories below become a two column grid, rather than a single column list. The story page, on the other hand, keeps similar layout to the phone layout, with only font sizes and padding adjusted to make proper use of the screen size.


View a higher resolution here.

Where things get more interesting is when we move up to a 10" Android tablet (Nexus 10 here).

With the 10" size, I set out to really bring The Verge's iconic front page to the app. Here we get multiple feature stories with the same color gradients and large serif titles. It's truly beautiful to look at on a Nexus 10.

Additionally, with the extra space, the stories below can now be laid out in a 4 column grid (vertically scrolling for more).


View a higher resolution here.

The story page was a tricky. 10" Android tablets are extremely wide - too wide to only display a single story. Here I elected to give generous padding on the sides to give the content some breathing room, and to make it comfortable to read. Then, on the right of the screen, I added in a quick way to move between stories.


View a higher resolution here.

That's all I have for now. I have some more ideas on how to improve upon the other areas of the app, but first I wanted to get the opinion of the amazing Verge community of what I have so far. What would you like to see in The Verge's app? Depending, I may take you guy's opinions and put together some more concepts. Let me know!