This is a follow-up post to this one on using folders.

The newest addition to my Android arsenal is the HTC Droid DNA. The phone is fast, furious, and fantastic. It’s missing a few of my previous “must haves” such as expandable SD card slot and removable battery, but it’s an otherwise great phone, and I’ll forgive the missing items.

One element I couldn’t forgive is the Sense UI. If you don’t know, Sense is HTC’s user interface. Manufacturers “bake” their own flavors into Android when they create their mobile devices. In my opinion, Sense is HTC’s way of saying, “we hate you.” I come from a line of Motorola, Samsung, and ASUS devices, which are pretty well clean when it comes to manufacturer-created UI tweaks.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t grow to love the Sense UI like others (and I’ll admit I didn’t try very hard). For me, Sense needed to go. So I tweaked my HTC user experience.

That’s not a problem with Android though because of its open system. Because Developers have access to Android’s core elements, they can create themes or whole UI replacements to customize your experience. These replacements require very little effort install and setup, and typically change the entire look and feel of your device, without requiring you to root your phone or install a custom ROM (though a custom ROM can help change your user experience too).

My favorite theme platform, really a home screen replacement, is Nova Launcher ($4.00).

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher replaces any stock launch screen (what you see when you unlock your phone), and adds elements like an app drawer, gestures, and custom tabs.

Nova Launcher App Drawer

You can use the app drawer to dock frequently used apps or folders for quick access across every home screen.

Nova Launcher includes special customizations for the look and feel of the Android desktop, folders and apps.

Nova Launcher Settings

Nova Launcher also includes a sweet unread count add-on that allows you to display the number of unread text or email messages.

Unread Counts for Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher Unread Count

I really couldn’t stand the Sense UI lock screen, which features a ring you drag around to unlock the device, so the second flavor-tweak I added to my device was WidgetLocker Lockscreen ($2.99).

The WidgetLocker Lockscreen is a simple way to replace the lock screen on your phone or tablet. I replaced the default with a more traditional Jelly Bean unlock.

HTC Droid DNA Sense UI Lockscreen

HTC Droid DNA with Android 4.1 Lock Screen

I could, if I wanted to, add a custom theme to my device, which would change the appearance altogether.

The great thing about Android is the number customized tweaks available.

Jeff Taylor

I'm just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I'm also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.

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