Open thread: is Timely the new standard in Android app design?

August 20, 2013
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Timely, a newly launched clock app for Android, has been received with almost universal praise. Have you tried it?

timely screenshot

Epithets like “beautiful” and “well designed” get thrown around pretty liberally when it comes to apps. But few Android applications have been received with such general acclaim as Timely.

Timely is a clock app developed by Bitspin, a team of four Swiss developers, over a period of four months. While it’s obviously hard to deliver a mind-blowing experience in a mundane clock app, Bitspin managed to impress reviewers and users alike with Timely’s polished and carefully thought out design and functionality.

One noted Android app designer in particular was so enthralled by Timely that he declared it the best Android app he’d ever seen. Juhani Lehtimäki, who literally wrote the book on designing Android UI, heads Android development for a British startup and writes about app design on his blog Android UI Patterns. This is the conclusion to his blog post on Timely:

I'm speechless. This is the best Android app I've ever seen. This is the one I'll be sending to designers I work with. This is the app I'll be referring in my presentations and this is the app that'll be waking me up every morning.

We, as Android community, are in debt to the Timely Alarm Clock team. Hopefully companies around world will see this as a challenge and proof that you can be awesome on Android. Let's hope that we'll see this as a start of a trend. Let's show the world that you can push the Android design forward and create stunning apps without breaking the guidelines. The guidelines aren't limitations, they're there to help you!

Now, if you haven't yet, go to Google Play and get yourself the app that defines the next generation of Android design.

I encourage you to read Juhani’s entire post, where he makes some great points on Timely and Android app design in general. Also read this great write up from Matias Duarte about the “rules” of Android design and when you should and when you shouldn’t break them.

Others in the Android community have echoed Juhani’s sentiments. Just Google Timely news for a wide assortment of posts that praise it. Our own Nate Swanner called it “gorgeous” and “sublime.”

Of course, there are some who are not awestruck with Timely. My colleague Joe Hindy declared that the app, or any clock app for the matter, is “hardly worth a trip around the blogosphere”. And there are some who point out that parts of the app’s interface are seemingly inspired by Rise, an iOS app.

Is Timely really “the best Android app ever?”

Personally, I like Timely – I am impressed with its functionality and design and love how intuitive and smooth it feels. With that said, I think that some of the hyperbole swirling around it is a bit overblown. Yes, it’s probably the best clock app for Android, but is it the best Android app ever? I am not sure.

How about you? Have you tried Timely out? Is it worth the hype? What are you looking for in terms of design in Android apps? What examples of great app design can you think off? Sound off in the comments.

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