What are App Widgets and Make an App a Widget – A Beginner’s Guide
App Widgets are miniature app views that can be embedded in other applications and the home screen of your smartphone. Widgets provide any user with quick information without opening an app.
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The use of widgets is slowly becoming popular. They are very important to users as they help app makers communicate with users even when they are not using apps. An app maker can virtually adjust every aspect related to the appearance of the widget.
The usage of widgets can also be optimized to work as an asset for the users. For example, a weather app widget displays temperature and an icon summarizing the day’s forecast ; similarly a widget of a calendar app displays the date on the user’s screen. In this blog, we are going to discuss more on the various types of widgets and how you can create your own widgets. But first, here’s an infographic:
Why are Widgets Created?
The basic purpose of a widget is to optimize user experience. Sure, a user could manually open an app to check data but widgets help in reducing the extra steps. A user can simply unlock their phone and directly view the information they want to view with a widget. For example, you have a message on WhatsApp. So,you can either open the app, look for the message and then reply or simply add the WhatsApp widget to your home screen ,view messages and reply without actually opening the app.
Widgets also help simplify the user experience. Widgets are usually focused on one function of an app. Continuing with the example of the WhatsApp widget, the whatsapp widget simply helps you reply to messages. Viewing Stories, updating status, other features can be enjoyed after opening the app.
Things to Remember Before Creating A Widget
Widgets are a rarely discussed topic. There is a lot of debate on what widgets are supposed to do and whether they are actually that necessary. However, the widget is a necessary feature of any app which must be added in the development phase. Not every app has or needs widgets. There are certain things that you need to keep in mind when creating widgets:
- Information Source
- Navigate to Your App
Widgets are a source of information. Your widgets should always be simple and update the user of latest trends and events. For example, a stock market app’s widget should regularly show the user updated points on various stocks.
Since a widget is a source of limited information, it should always redirect your users to your app for complete update. Try and ensure that your widget redirects users to the most frequently used features in your app. It can help round out user experience and also get people to use your app more.
Your widgets can be resized by the user. Consider that fact when creating a widget. Show information that can be resized without affecting the clarity of the widget.
To make it easier for the users to recognize your app’s widgets, include your brand’s logo and color palette in your app widget.
Types of Widgets
Before we proceed on to creating app widgets, you must learn about the various types of app widgets. There are 4 types of widgets:
- Information Widgets
- Control Widgets
- Collection Widgets
- Hybrid Widgets
Information widgets are those which display information. Widgets for calendar apps, weather apps, news apps usually qualify as information widgets. Information widgets have a simple interface and their main goal is to provide relevant information to users on screen itself and avoid the pain of opening an app.
Control widgets are widgets that include triggers in them. The triggers in control widgets can perform an action without a user needing to open an app. An example of a control widget is the Spotify widget. The Spotify Widget shows you which song was playing previously and through the play/pause, you can straightaway play the music from the widget which can save your time required to open your app.
Collection widgets are widgets that show information through multiple elements at the same time. A gallery widget or the whatsapp widget for messages is a good example of a collection widget.
Hybrid widgets are difficult to create and rare to find. They are usually a combination of both information and control widgets. A weather widget that allows you to check weather of different places through the same widget is an example of a hybrid widget.
You can turn on app widgets in both Android and iOS. Our help center has a simple article that will tell you how to add widgets on your smartphone.
That was all you needed to know about app widgets. Coming to apps, Appy Pie AppMakr is a great platform to start building your apps. You could create your own apps without coding a single line and add widgets to them. Check it out!
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