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information architecture for designers

Information Architecture: Effective Techniques For Designers.

Content is a constituent that can make any digital product valuable. Informative copy and well-thought visual elements of UI design are able to create the foundation for the successful product. However, even good content may fail in case it is structured badly. One of our previous articles was devoted to the basic points of information architecture and today’s post continues the topic.

 

In a nutshell, information architecture (IA) is a science of structuring content of the websites, web and mobile applications, and social media software. IA study aims at organizing content so that users would easily adjust to the functionality of the product and could find everything they need without big effort. Nowadays, when the user-centered approach in design is a top trend, many designers learn the principles of information architecture science which are believed to be a foundation of the powerful design. There are many experts working on IA development now, so loads of various techniques appear. Our article presents four efficient IA methodologies commonly used in design.

 

tubikstudio teamwork

 

Content inventory

 

Before you start constructing a layout of the product, you need to understand what elements your project will consist of. One of the first stages of building information architecture is called content inventory. The technique considers creating a list of the components for the future design project. The inventory list usually includes various elements such as title, author/provider, meta elements (keywords, description, tags), copy, images, audio, video, and document files.

 

A content inventory list assists designers at the different stages of the workflow. First of all, the list helps identify the essential content components in so that designers could plan the product structure. Knowing all the constituents, designers can place them properly. Furthermore, it’s an easy way to discuss the structure peculiarities of the project with your clients. It is much faster and easier to edit the list rather than modify the design project when it’s been started. Finally, the list of components can help designers deeply comprehend the content that results in creating appropriate connections between elements so that the design of the product would look integral.

 

tubik studio wireframing UI UX

 

Wireframing

 

Information architecture is something like a blueprint of the layout which needs to be generated by a visual scheme. The majority of designers constantly use the well-known technique called wireframing helping to create a simplified and schematic visual representation of a layout for digital products. Wireframes are similar to architectural blueprints: they are usually black and white illustrations, sometimes with bright marks or spots to outline specific areas or points, that give a clear vision of the project structure and connections between different parts.

 

Wireframing is a fast and cheap technique to plan the information architecture of the page or screen. Designers use wireframes to outline visual and typographic hierarchy of user interfaces, set the interactive zones and elements, plan transitions and interactions, organize the general layout markedly for the target audience. Since a wireframe is focused on the structure, not the visual and emotional perception of the details, designers try to keep it simple. They mostly limit it to monochromatic color schemes, with boxes and lines representing copy, pictures and all the interactive elements on the page.

 

tubik studio design process ux

 

Wireframing gives numerous advantageous opportunities not only for designers but for the whole development team and clients too. First of all, a wireframe is the first visual representation of a designer’s abstract idea. This step ensures that the developers and the clients get the full understanding of the project’s design. Furthermore, developers can clearly see the placement of the elements on the page. Some software for creating wireframes allows seeing all the sizes and spacing by clicking a single button that saves time for both design and development teams.

 

Organization structures and schemes

 

In our article “Information Architecture. Basics for Designers” we’ve defined four essential components of IA: organization systems, labeling systems, navigation systems, and search systems. The organization systems are the groups or the categories in which the information is divided. It helps users to predict where they can find certain information easily. To categorize the design components effectively, designers apply the technique of division into specific structures and schemes.

 

There are three main types of content structures: Hierarchical, Sequential, and Matrix.

 

Hierarchical. In one of our previous articles, we’ve mentioned well-known technique of content organization called visual hierarchy. It is initially based on Gestalt psychological theory and its main goal is to present content on the carrier, be it a book page or poster, web page or mobile screen, in such a way that users can understand the level of importance for each element. It activates the ability of the brain to distinguish objects on the basis of their physical differences, such as size, color, contrast, alignment etc.

 

Big City Guide tubik

Big City Guide

 

Sequential. This structure creates some kind of a path for the users. They go step-by-step through content to accomplish the task they needed. This type is often used for the retail websites or apps where people have to go from one task to another to make the purchase.

 

jewellery ecommerce app UI

Jewellery E-Commerce App

 

Matrix. This type is a bit more complicated for the users since they choose the way of navigation on their own. Users are given choices of content organization. For example, they can navigate through content which is ordered according to date, or some may prefer navigation along the topic.

 

health care app interactions tubik studio

HealthCare App

 

Content can be divided according to the organization schemes which are meant to classify the design components into certain groups. Here are some of the popular schemes:

 

Alphabetical. Content is organized in alphabetical order. This scheme works best when users know exactly what they’re looking for and know how to describe or name the object of search, so it can serve as a navigation tool for the users.

 

Audience. The type of content organization for separate groups of users. As an example, there are many educational resources which divide the information according to the skill level of the learners.

 

Chronological. This type organizes content by date and time. It’s often used on the news websites, event apps, and blogs.

 

Topic. Content is organized according to the specific subject. For instance, online book shops divide the products according to genres.

 

bookshop website animation

Bookshop Website

 

Content organization models

 

Designers have been working on the development of the information architecture field for a long time and so far they have established some efficient models of the content structure. Knowing them, designers can choose appropriate information structure for a product. Let’s take a look at the most common models.

 

Single page model

 

When the digital product requires a minimum of the content, the single page model is a perfect choice. Websites for a single product and with focused purpose often apply this type of data structure. As an example, we can consider design for the website promoting the brand new application. Its purpose is to make users upload the app, so generally, it provides a limited amount of copy with the focus on the button “Available on App Store”.

 

Upper App Animation

Upper App

 

Flat model

 

This model works best for the small websites or landing pages. In the flat structure, all the pages are equal and they are put at the same level of navigation, so they are interchangeably accessible for the users. This type of information structure is good for the websites which have a limited amount of the content and it’s not going to grow anytime soon. It may be a good idea to apply the flat model to the design of a startup company.

 

landing page design tubik studio

 

Index model

 

The index structure is one of the most commonly used. All the pages are equally similar to the flat model but the navigation system differs. Index model allows users to access pages via the page list which is available on every page of the product. This way, index model may contain more content and remain usable and simple for users since they can skip useless pages.

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

Vinny’s Bakery Website

 

Strict hierarchy model

 

The model received its name, not by chance. It’s called “strict” because it gives users only one way to access the subpages: from the main page. This structure is a good choice for the digital products that have a specific purpose. For example, e-commerce websites use the structure so that the users wouldn’t skip the important information about their new offers. Also, educational platforms may apply the model in order to make the educational process gradual.

 

Co-existing hierarchy model

 

This kind of information structure is probably the most difficult to apply. It combines the ideas of a few models. Similar to index model, it provides users with various ways to access the content still it aims at guiding people through the certain path so that they would take expected actions. That’s why to create such a structure, designers need to have a bit of experience in this area. However, it may be worth trying.

web design UI concept tubik studio

 

The Big Landscape

 

Daisy model

 

This type of content structure is common for educational websites and apps as well as the others which require users complete certain tasks. The daisy structure is built that way so users return to a homepage (sometimes other specific points) after they accomplish the tasks. For instance, many to-do apps automatically return the users to the main screen when they point the task as complete.

 

upper app UI design case study

Upper App

 

Information architecture is vital for the powerful design but it needs to be done right. The various IA techniques we’ve discussed above can be combined and applied depending on the product and the clients’ requirements. Moreover, they are constantly improved since the design field never stays still, so many new methodologies may appear soon. Our next article will continue the topic of IA so stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

A Practical Guide to Information Architecture by Donna Spencer

 

The ultimate guide to information architecture

 

How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody

 

Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond

 

Information Architecture Basics


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

ux design for ecommerce tubik blog

UX Design for E-Commerce: Principles and Strategies.

Quite long time ago known British author and scholar Thomas Gray stated: «Commerce changes the fate and genius of nations.» For the last decade, commerce has got hundreds of new ways to reach the customer, especially with the leap of innovation in technology and its growing role in everyday life. More and more buyers are turning to the experience of shopping online, more and more sellers start new channels and methods responding this trend. And this is the sphere in which design of positive user experience directly moves the stakeholders to profits. Today we are talking about UX design for e-commerce.

 

What is E-Commerce?

 

As we mentioned in our free ebook «Design for Business», in general terms, e-commerce (Electronic Commerce) is the direction of business activity when the process of providing customers with goods or services is done by means of electronic devices and the Internet. This sort of communication and finalization of sales adds some new aspects to data management, sales channels, advertising, presenting goods and services and moreover — enabling full cycle of commerce operations, including payments, delivery and refunds.

 

The last decade witnessed booming e-commerce development. Today it provides the opportunities for not only e-trade both from businesses to buyers but also online auctions and user-to-user sales platforms. E-commerce systems and activities today include presenting and booking wide range of services, e-banking, commercial operations with e-money and e-wallets, diverse forms of e-marketing and many other things which customers are using more and more often on everyday basis.

 

tubikstudio travel gear landing

Travel Gear Landing Page

 

The role of design for e-commerce

 

«If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful» says CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, and it’s hard to argue. Obviously, the success of e-commerce activity depends on several factors among which:

— the quality of the product or service offered

— the quality of the content presenting the offer to customers

— the quality of design for the electronic platform — website and/or mobile application — via which the sales are going to be delivered.

 

So, it’s easy to see that UI/UX design part plays the vital role. Thoroughly thought-out logic and transitions, simple and clear microinteractions, fast feedback from the system, attractive product presentation, easy payment flow and plenty of other details and features can directly influence increasing profits for the business involved in such a popular e-commerce game. This is the field where designers and business experts can work as one team for good of everyone, first of all of the target user.

 

Designing e-commerce website or mobile app, designers should definitely consider the following aspects:

— operational simplicity

— strong branding

— security of users’ data

— effective use of visual elements

— clear data presentation via menus, catalogs etc.

— user’s ability to leave feedback about goods and services

— easily available general and contact information about the business providing goods or services

— design that supports the offer not overshadowing it.

 

tubik studio landing page toys

Handmade Toys Landing Page

 

On that ground, let’s check the details in three key perspectives whose combination in design makes success for e-commerce platforms: business aspect, UX aspect and UI aspect.

 

Business Perspective: Branding and Promotion

 

Websites and mobile applications for e-commerce are (well, should be) always the products created within a particular business scheme. It means they are the part of a certain business plan with the specific goals in mind and the planned ways to achieve them. Therefore, design for this sort of products definitely starts much before the first real line appears on the paper or screen. There are several important issues which should be considered and agreed upon before actual design starts.  Among them we would mention the following:

 

USP of the product. It’s essential to set which benefit (or set of benefits) will differ this website or application from the others and make it the core value presented via design.

 

defined target audience. In e-commerce, it’s important to set who your buyers are from the initial stage of the project. Knowing their age and culture, potential problems and wishes, level of tech literacy and trust to the idea of online shopping, the social circles influencing them and aspects forming their habits, designers can be more precise searching for the shortest way to successful purchase.

 

positioning, tone and voice of the brand. How would you describe your brand? Is it friendly? Fun or serious? Mass or luxury? Easily available or exclusive? Does it communicate to potential buyers in formal, informal or semi-formal style? Does it open much or mostly keeps reserved silence creating the mystery around the offered goods? These questions may seem far from business which has to be all about finance, profits, points of sales and other stuff of that kind. Still, these issues present the number of features which will set the future brand image. And design is somehow going to be its face, outfit and make-up.

 

marketing and sales channels. No doubt, it’s hard to immediately set all the channels for selling and promoting the future product; however, effective business planning means thinking over the core of them from the start. It will enable design team track and support the consistent experience of both getting to product and actually interacting with it. Even more, designers take active part in setting and strengthening marketing and sales via variety of means from branded items, landing pages and product videos to exclusive photos, posters and banners attracting customers to the platform where they actually can buy.

 

— type of business relations. Type of business relations based on target customers deeply influences the core aspects of UX design. Set from the start whether it’s B2C, B2B or B2C to create proper layout and predict possible user behavior.

 

typical environment of use. Designers need to know when, where and in which conditions users will typically use the website or app: these factors have a considerable impact on the decisions about layout, color scheme, typography, transitions and interactions, which all need to have the global objective to make the process of shopping easy, quick and enjoyable.

 

gym landing page concept by Tubik

Gym Landing Page

 

It’s easy to see that all the mentioned points directly influence design solutions as well as techniques and approaches for their realization. It means that the best way to go is to involve designers into the discussion together with stakeholders and marketing specialists at early ideation stage if it’s possible; if not, then specification and tasks provided to designer afterward have to include maximum information about those aspects. In case you work in outsource design team, make sure you get this information to be more concentrated on the key aspects of the task, and if not, communicate with the clients as long as it’s needed to get all those points clear. This communication will save many hours of iterations, which happens in cases when design is started out of the thin air without the basis of information and goals.

 

UX perspective

 

Talking about e-commerce, it’s vital to understand that selling the goods once via the website or mobile application is the minimal program of actions. What stakeholders of the business really aim at is having this user buying via their website or app again and again. User retention is the direct condition of growing profits. And we have to admit that this aspect makes e-commerce sphere highly attractive for designers. The objective which should be achieved is clear and simple: people have to reach the e-commerce platform and buy items offered on it.

 

Make no mistake, positive user experience is the key thing for user retention. In case of e-commerce, the four key aspects of UX are quite clear:

  • utility lies in the nature of the product: it helps users to choose and buy things and services they need.
  • usability has to make the customer journey clear and easy, without unnecessary clicks, time lost on loading overloaded pages or inconvenient menu, frustration of not getting feedback from the system etc.
  • accessibility has to bring up design which can be used by different categories of users, for example people with disabilities (dyslexic, color-blind etc.) or low level of tech literacy.
  • desirability means that the app will get the look and feel which will make the experience enjoyable and users will wish to get back again.

 

bookshop website animation

Bookshop Website

 

Among the core aspects dealing with the mentioned issues and considered from the early stages of design like UX-wireframing and user research, we would mention the following.

 

Intuitive navigation

 

You can have an amazing website with stylish and trendy design and breathtaking images, but the success of it will be measured not by the number of «wows» it will bring out. The efficiency is measured simply: by the number of complete purchases. If users don’t buy, design means nothing while stakeholders lose their money. Clear intuitive navigation plays the premier violin here. At every step of interaction, users need to understand clearly plenty of simple things, like:

— what company or brand they are dealing with

— what page they are at

— where the menu is

— how they can get back to home page or catalog

— where is the search and filters

— how long the page-loading process is going to take

— how they can see the detailed information about the item

— how they can choose between the option for the same item (color, size etc.)

— how they can pay for the item

— how they can save the items they would like to get back to later

— how they can contact the seller

— how they can see the rating and reviews of previous buyers etc.

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

Bakery Website

 

Every button, link and card can play the crucial role and change the conversion significantly. What’s vital to bear in mind: in terms of intense competition we have in e-commerce now, buyers aren’t ready to wait or waste their time on unnecessary operations. What they demand from e-commerce is the experience which is faster, easier and more convenient comparing to going to the actual store. If you don’t give it to them, they will look for it somewhere else.

 

Sales funnel

 

Sales funnel (in other words — purchase funnel) is a technique that moves the customer through several stages of involvement providing him/her with necessary information about the product and benefits persuading to make a purchase. As we described before in the book, basic sales funnel includes the following stages:

 

  • Introduction (Awareness). User gets the initial information about the product, its brand name and nature. In other words, user learns that the product or service exists on the market.
  • Education (Interest). User is provided with more detailed information about the features and benefits of the product or service that can potentially interest them and solve their problems.
  • Evaluation (Analysis). User gets the chance to compare the offer with its competitors and obtain the information about USPs (Unique Selling Points) of the offered product or service.
  • Decision (Engagement). User gets final vital arguments engaging him/her to make a decision; it can be short summing-up about core benefits of the offer, data about additional bonuses or special offers, engaging call to actions and explanation of purchase process.
  • Purchase. User makes a decision and takes the ability to make a purchase. The sale is done.
  • Retaining (Repeating the experience). User gets the opportunity to leave feedback, obtain additional contacts supporting the offer, subscribes to updates, gets the chance to repeat the purchase easily if desired.

 

In terms of e-commerce, sales funnel is supported with diversity of functions digital products can offer. Awareness of the principles of sales funnel leads to customer-centric, informative and engaging design solutions. Sales funnel can be either fully represented on the website or landing page as well as in mobile application or from outer source, for example, social media taking over the mission of awareness and interest and directing engaged traffic to the platform enabling users to buy.

 

home page landing tubikstudio

Comics Online Shop

 

Effective presentation of the items

 

The layout of the product pages or screens is another core aspect to think over. On the one hand, it’s advisable not to overload the page with too much information which will overwhelm users and can distract their attention from the major goal — to make the purchase. On the other hand, users aren’t ready to go from one page to the other to get different information about the item. Therefore, the designer has to take the time for thorough research of the issue and find the right balance of data given on one screen. The analysis of target audience and user testing can give the clues what information is required by the target audience for the specific categories of items or services.

 

jewellery ecommerce app UI

 

jewellery ecommerce app

Jewellery E-Commerce App

 

UI perspective

 

Being concentrated on not only logic and transitions but also looks and style, UI design stage also contributes much to the success of the e-commerce project. It is the aspect which creates visual performance and sets the solid ground for the desirability of the interface and positive emotional feedback from the buyer. At UI design stage for e-commerce, designers have to find the general stylistic concept which will support UX aspects mentioned before and will give the online point-of-sale the attractive looks. Some aspects, which designers have to take into account in this perspective, are:

 

— choice of colors that correspond to the brand image and strengthen emotional feedback

 

— setting the style corresponding to the nature of the commercial offer: reaching the website, people should instantly understand if it sells household goods, fresh vegetables, trendy clothes, exclusive devices or anything else

 

— visual hierarchy which makes the core zones of interaction instantly noticeable

 

— general harmony of perception which sets the feeling of aesthetic satisfaction supporting positive user experience.

tubikstudio ui animation website design

Design Studio Website

 

Points to consider

 

For the bottom line, here’s a simple check-list for some essential aspects designers would rather consider working on e-commerce projects:

 

— Know the buyers: user research will help to get the needs and wishes of target audience.

 

— Have users informed: make the screens or pages filled with information and functionality users really need for making purchase.

 

— Keep design consistent: not only does the website or app itself need consistency of design for all the screens in terms of general branding, but also social networks, print materials and actual point-of-sales appearance if they exist.

 

— Refresh the experience: minor changes or attractive details added to the interface from time to time without breaking general visual consistency can give the feeling of refreshment, like new looks of mannequins do in the window displays of the shop.

 

— Check your solutions: user testing can have a great impact on understanding the factors that boost conversions. Ideally, it should be applied not only in the process of design but also after the launch of e-commerce platform on the basis of real user interactions and troubles which can arise.

 

— Be careful about revolutions and wow-effect: the power of habit plays the big role in the products of this kind. Choosing layout, menus or icons, which stand too far from the ones users are generally accustomed to, can bring confusion and frustration. For example, usage of any other image instead of the magnifying glass to mark the search field can result in bad user experience as buyers know that visual symbol and will look for it. So, making this sort of experiments, take time to test them well.

 

— Respect the buyers: remember, that they are not abstract metrics — every figure in conversion report is about real people. Look for the interface that will respect their time, effort and needs and it will bring positive experience of shopping for both sides.

 

Landing Page Animation Tubik Studio

Organic Food Shop

 

Recommended reading

 

Here is a bunch of links to the articles and design collections which could provide further interesting explorations of the topic:

 

Two Types of User Motivation: Design to Satisfy.

 

The ultimate guide to designing ecommerce websites

 

Ecommerce UX: 3 Design Trends to Follow and 3 to Avoid

 

Designing for 5 Types of E-Commerce Shoppers

 

20 Common UX Mistakes In Ecommerce Websites

 

Everything You Need to Know About Designing for eCommerce


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

Welcome to read or download the free e-book «Design for Business»

information architecture for designers tubik

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

The World Wide Web contains a tremendous amount of information which is hard to imagine unstructured because a human brain wouldn’t be able to perceive any single thing. People got used to seeing content and functionality of the digital products as many of them are now: structured and easy to use. However, it doesn’t occur unintentionally. Designers and developers take a responsibility of constructing content and navigation system in the appropriate way for users perception. The science that assists experts in the content structuring is called information architecture. Today’s article is devoted to the essence of information architecture and presents the basic points every designer should know.

 

What’s information architecture?

 

Information architecture (IA) is a science of organizing and structuring content of the websites, web and mobile applications, and social media software. An American architect and graphic designer, Richard Saul Wurman, is considered to be a founder of the IA field. Today, there are many specialists working on IA development who have established the Information Architecture Institute. According to the IAI experts, information architecture is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable.

 

Information architecture aims at organizing content so that users would easily adjust to the functionality of the product and could find everything they need without big effort. The content structure depends on various factors. First of all, IA experts consider the specifics of the target audience needs because IA puts user satisfaction as a priority. Also, the structure depends on the type of the product and the offers companies have. For example, if we compare a retail website and a blog, we’ll see two absolutely different structures both efficient for accomplishing certain objectives. Information architecture has become the fundamental study in many spheres including design and software development.

 

UX design process tubik

 

The role of information architecture in design

 

Nowadays, when the user-centered approach in design is a top trend, many designers learn the principles of information architecture science which they believe is a foundation of efficient design. IA forms a skeleton of any design project. Visual elements, functionality, interaction, and navigation are built according to the information architecture principles. The thing is that even compelling content elements and powerful UI design can fail without appropriate IA. Unorganized content makes navigation difficult and inexplicit, so the users can easily get lost and feel annoyed. If the users face first bad interaction, they may not give the second chance to your product.

 

Many companies don’t see the importance of information architecture because they think it’s impractical. It’s hard to argue that IA takes some time to create it and requires specific skills to do it efficiently. However, powerful IA is a guarantee of the high-quality product since it reduces the possibility of the usability and navigation problems. This way, well-thought information architecture can save both time and money of the company which otherwise they would have spent on fixing and improvement.

 

IA and UX design

 

After reading everything written above, many people may have the question: “Isn’t IA the same as UX design?”. Technically, these terms relate to each other but they are far not the same. IA is a blueprint of the design structure which can be generated into wireframes and sitemaps of the project. UX designers use them as the basic materials so that they could plan navigation system.

 

UX design means much more than content structuring. In the first place, UX designers aim at making pleasant interaction model, so that users feel comfortable using the product. They encompass various aspects influencing users’ behavior and actions such as emotion and psychology when the IA experts stay focused on the user’s goals.

 

Let’s get this straight: good information architecture is a foundation of efficient user experience, so the IA skill is essential for the designers. Effective IA makes the product easy to use but only united with design thinking the product has the powerful user experience.

 

tubik studio design process ux

 

IA system components

 

If you want to build strong information architecture for the product, you need to understand what it consists of. Pioneers of the IA field, Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville in their book “Information Architecture for the World Wide Web” have distinguished four main components: organization systems, labeling systems, navigation systems and searching systems.

 

Organization systems

 

These are the groups or the categories in which the information is divided. Such system helps users to predict where they can find certain information easily. There are three main organizational structures: Hierarchical, Sequential, and Matrix.

 

Hierarchical. In one of our previous articles, we’ve mentioned a well-known technique of content organization which is called visual hierarchy. It is initially based on Gestalt psychological theory and its main goal is to present content on the carrier, be it a book page or poster, web page or mobile screen, in such a way that users can understand the level of importance for each element. It activates the ability of the brain to distinguish objects on the basis of their physical differences, such as size, color, contrast, alignment etc.

 

web ui design city guide

Big City Guide

 

Sequential. This structure creates some kind of a path for the users. They go step-by-step through content to accomplish the task they needed. This type is often used for the retail websites or apps, where people have to go from one task to another to make the purchase.

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

Vinny’s Bakery Website

 

Matrix. This type is a bit more complicated for the users since they choose the way of navigation on their own. Users are given choices of content organization. For example, they can navigate through content which is ordered according to date, or some may prefer navigation along the topic.

 

mobile app design tubik studio

MoneyWise App

 

In addition, content can be grouped according to the organization schemes. They are meant to categorize content the product. Here are some of the popular schemes:

 

Alphabetical schemes. Content is organized in alphabetical order. Also, they can serve as a navigation tool for the users.

 

Chronological schemes. This type organizes content by date.

 

Topic schemes. Content is organized according to the specific subject.

 

Audience schemes. The type of content organization for separate groups of users.

 

book swap app tubik studio

Book Swap App

 

Labeling systems

 

This system involves the ways of data representation. Design of the product requires simplicity, so a great amount of information can confuse users. That’s why designers create the labels which represent loads of data in few words. For example, when the designers give contact information of the company on the website, it usually includes the phone number, email, and social media contacts. However, designers can’t present all of this information on one page. The button “Contact” in the header of the page is a label that triggers the associations in the users’ heads without placing the whole data on the page. So, the labeling system aims at uniting the data effectively.

 

gym landing page concept by Tubik

 

Gym Landing Page

 

Navigation systems

 

In one of our UX Glossary articles, we’ve defined navigation as the set of actions and techniques guiding users throughout the app or website, enabling them to fulfill their goals and successfully interact with the product. The navigation system, in terms of IA, involves the ways how users move through content. It’s a complex system which employs many techniques and approaches, the reason why it’s wrong to describe it in a short paragraph. So, we’ll go back to the topic a bit later on our new blog’s article.

 

Searching systems

 

This system is used in information architecture to help users search for the data within the digital product like a website or an app. The searching system is effective only for the products with loads of information when the users risk getting lost there. In this case, the designers should consider a search engine, filters, and many other tools helping users find content and plan how the data will look after the search.

 

tubikstudio-ui-ux-design

 

To sum up, we can claim that information architecture is a core part of the powerful user experience design. Efficient IA helps users quickly and easily navigate through content and find everything they need without striking a blow. That’s why designers are recommended to learn the basics of the IA science.

 

The topic of information architecture is wide and there are more interesting and useful aspects. Our next article on this theme will be devoted to the various techniques and methodologies which designers employ to create efficient IA. Stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

IA for the Web and Beyond

How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody

Information Architecture Basics

The Difference Between Information Architecture and UX Design


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

home budget app case study

Case Study: Home Budget App. UI for Finance.

Benjamin Franklin once said: “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” Management of finance and accounts has been an actual issue for a long time; still, for the recent decades, it has got a new perspective with the advent of modern technologies and the internet which is becoming more and more accessible. It presents a new challenge for designers and developers in terms of digital products which will help people to track and manage their money flows both professionally or just for themselves. 

 

This theme built up the foundations for a new UI design concept created in terms of Tubik UI Fridays: one of the creative sessions was devoted to Home Budget, the application for finance management. The creative team of UI/UX designers Ernest Asanov and Dima Panchenko and motion designers Kirill Erokhin and Andrey Pixy worked under art direction by Sergey Valiukh. Let’s review what design solutions were presented for the task.

 

Task

 

UI/UX design for the web and mobile versions of a personal budget manager

 

Process

 

Describing the functionality of the app in general terms, Home Budget allows users to manage their expenses and incomes, creating the extended database for tracking financial flows or changes and getting comprehensive stats. The app was planned to have two variants: the web version presented with an informative dashboard and the mobile version giving simpler information and enabling to add new data quickly and easily. 

 

For both variants of interfaces, the designers agreed about the dark background of the layout and the fonts which would have the high level of legibility for both letters and numbers. 

 

Dashboard

 

The web dashboard was aimed at presenting extended stats for the particular period. The choice of generally dark interface enabled the designer to create the attractive layout with prominently visible colored details drawing users’ attention to the interactive zones of key importance.

 

Dashboard_home_budget UI

 

With the dashboard, the users can get the data about their expenses and incomes processed and shown as a variety of statistics for a particular period. As we can see, different blocks of data are organized around cards. The presented page features the overview of the core blocks for the period of the recent week. The horizontal menu in the top part presents the navigation zone enabling the user to set the default periods of overview such as last week or last month as well as choose the custom period they are interested in. 

 

The cards present such information blocks of data:

— the menu with quick access to popular categories of expenses

— information on total expenses and frequency of transactions

— the list of popular transactions

— the cloud of expenses and weekly average rate in comparison to the previous period

— the line graphs of expenses and income for the chosen period graded by day on the horizontal axis and sums on the vertical axis

— the map with the pins marking the most frequent locations of spending money

— the block of recommendations based on financial operations of the period.

 

Another visual detail that could be mentioned is that for the graphs and markers presenting actual financial changes, the designer applied green and red colors which are widely recognized as signs of positive and negative financial balance. Also, the list of popular categories supports the presentation of each particular category with both name and icon to enhance navigation and make interactions intuitive. 

 

Home_budget_app_dashboard_animation_tubik

 

Here’s a piece of animated interactions with the dashboard. Slight unobtrusive motion of the layout elements supports natural microinteractions. When the graphs expand, the other blocks shrink naturally leaving the names of theme blocks visible and readable so that users could continue transitions easily.

 

Mobile UI

 

The other direction of the creative process was focused on the UI for a mobile app. While the dashboard is aimed at not only adding information but also presenting the results of its analysis, the mobile interface has the other core focus of functionality: first of all it is concentrated on having the user informed about the operation of the current day and enables to add new data in different environments and on the go.

 

home budget app mobile screen

 

Here is the feed of the latest financial operations, marked by categories shown via icons. The top part of the screen shows the tab of the users’ basic data and marks the credit card used currently. Also, you can see the graph reflecting the flow of finances during the day showed with vertical bars. To interact with it, users can apply horizontal scrolling. When the tab is active, the bottom shadow gives a prompt on that imitating interaction with physical objects.

 

home budget app mobile notifications

 

To get the access to the core zones of interaction, the users can press the hamburger button located in the bottom left corner which supports usability for those, who use devices with big screens. The application also shows the important notifications or recommendations to the user: they are shown in the top part of the screen, under the profile tab and over the bar chart zone. The notifications are presented in different colors that mark the nature of the message, for instance, applying orange for warnings and blue for reminders. 

 

Also, the user can interact with each particular position in the list. Left swipe opens the menu of options marked with icons: the entry can be quickly edited, shared or deleted.

 

Home Budget app interactions motion tubik

 

The mobile interface was also supported with animations. The one above shows the interaction with the hamburger menu divided into three sections.

 

home budget app interaction animation tubik

 

Another piece of animation shows interaction with the feed of financial operations for the current day. The warning notification adds more dynamic experience, attracting user’s attention with pulsing movement, and can be removed with a left swipe.

 

home budget app case study

 

This project has started the deeper immersion into the world of digital products for finance management for Tubik team and that was definitely the inspiring experience to be continued in further creative sessions. Follow the updates for new concepts and welcome to check the previous cases from Tubik UI Friday: landing page for Big City Guide and mobile interface for Night in Berlin app.


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Night in Berlin app design case study

Case Study: Night in Berlin. UI for Event App.

Have you ever felt the urge to leave the planned and predictable routine and do something impulsive? Maybe go to the random concert of an unknown band, or visit the exhibition you are walking by? Certainly, you know that feeling. Nowadays, people move in the circle of the everyday drills and the desire to drop everything naturally appears from time to time. But when the moment comes, we often don’t know the places to go or where to find interesting events. Here is how we have come up with the idea for a new mobile app concept called Night in Berlin.

 

Night in Berlin is one of the design projects accomplished in terms of Tubik UI Fridays. In one of previous case studies, we told about our new tradition presenting the set of creative sessions when the designers have a day to work on the design concepts out of current projects. The concepts are created within a particular general idea of a digital product but with all the passion and freedom for the designers’ artistic souls. Today’s case study describes the creative process of the unusual mobile application design.

 

Task

 

UI\UX and motion design for a mobile event app.

 

UI Design

 

During UI Fridays the designers sometimes receive objectives far from ordinary. In this way, the team has an opportunity to create something absolutely unique. This time, the task given to the designers was to design a mobile application of the future. To specify the task, the art director gave them the background story. The designers had to imagine themselves in Berlin of 2019 where every night is extremely eventful. Their objective was to create the design concept for the mobile application that would come in handy to people who love hanging out at night. When the task was set, Tubik designers Ludmila Shevchenko, Eugene Cameel and Olga Popova started their work with art direction by Sergey Valiukh.

 

After active brainstorming, the designers’ team determined the concept of the app. It should be a simple application which enables people, who love socializing and visiting the latest events, to see the list of all the events, parties, exhibitions and the like taking place in Berlin. In order to add the effect of bright impulsive decisions, the list is shown at a particular time and only for the current day. The core thing the designers were supposed to keep in mind that the application is meant for the users of the future, so the design needs to be absolutely original and extraordinary. Let’s see what the team managed to create.

 

night_in_berlin_onboarding_tubik_ui

 

The first screen featured the onboarding with the countdown to the time when the list becomes available. The chosen gradient colors accurately convey the atmosphere of the night since they are associated with lights in night clubs. The illustration of the Fernsehturm, the famous television tower in central Berlin, is made in the corresponding colors, so the design of the screen looks solid. The app’s name is situated at the left bottom part of the screen. All the functionality is hidden behind the hamburger menu button placed in the top left corner allowing to make the focus on the countdown.

 

night_in_berlin_event_list_tubik

 

The screen above presents the list itself, informing the user about the variety of events. The data is organized along the cards for every event, which users can review scrolling vertically. Each card shows the key details about the event: its type, title and the time when it starts as well as the thematic image in the background. Being interested, the user can tap on the card and see more details about the offer.

 

Night in Berlin Event Details

 

When the users tap on the event card, they see the event screen. This concept features the exhibition in the art gallery, which is marked in the top right corner. The name of the artist and the exhibition are situated in the center of the page. The background image presents an actual artwork by the artists so the users are able to quickly catch the style and artistic manner, read the description and see the time when the event starts. All that combination provides the information to the user quickly, in clear and stylish manner.

 

night_in_berlin_app_event_screen_tubik

 

Motion Design

 

When the static variants of the screens were ready, motion designer Kirill Erokhin started working on the animations.

 

night_in_berlin_animation_tubik

 

Here is the animated version of the onboarding screen. The major element is the countdown numbers which are smoothly animated. The background is moving similar to haze changing the colors.

 

ui animation design tubik

 

This animation presents the screen with the list of events showing the user interactions. The data is organized along the cards for every event, which users can review scrolling vertically. The user can tap on the card and see more details about the event. The arrow button on the top of the screen brings the user back to the list.

 

Work over the design concepts of this kinds gives designers the prominent chances to think out of the box. It stimulates their creativity which beams brighter when given regular practice. Follow our blog and check out our Dribbble page not to miss the updates on the Tubik UI Fridays. More concepts and case studies are coming very soon. Meanwhile, you can be interested in reviewing another case study for the creative design concept called Big City Guide. Stay tuned!


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user motivation design

Two Types of User Motivation: Design to Satisfy.

No doubt, every designer — as well as any creative person — wishes to make something desired by lots of users, preferably on a regular basis. There is a group of creators who claim that they are interested in the process or the fact of creation and don’t care about the further life of the product, still, it’s incredibly tiny if compared to the number of people who want to see the results of their creative work usable, useful and regularly used. One of the key factors to achieve this goal is knowing the final users and ways to motivate them. So, today let’s take another little journey to the psychology of users, this time concentrating on types of motivation and their influence on design solutions.

 

What is motivation?

 

Basically, motivation is the term coming from psychology and dealing with behavior. This concept describes something that makes people do particular actions giving specific reasons for these actions or needs. Motivation is the force that gives people motives, defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary as «something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act». According to professor of psychology J. Nevid, «The term motivation refers to factors that activate, direct, and sustain goal-directed behavior… Motives are the «whys» of behavior — the needs or wants that drive behavior and explain what we do. We don’t actually observe a motive; rather, we infer that one exists based on the behavior we observe.» (Nevid J., Psychology: Concepts and applications. 2013)

 

Motivation appears on the crossroads of biological, cognitive, social and emotional factors, that all together influence its strength and behavior it stimulates. Three basic features which could describe the motivation of any kind are the following:

  • Activation — the decision to activate the particular type of behavior, often stimulated by formulating a particular goal or achievement
  • Persistence — the power of effort which is taken in short-term or long-term perspective to achieve a particular goal
  • Intensity — the level of concentration and desire applied by a person to achieve the goal

 

Why is it important for designers to understand the types and mechanisms of motivation? Because it shows the direct way how to make the product correspondent to users’ expectations and solving users’ pains. The product, which is designed, can be extremely helpful, but to learn that, the user should be motivated to try. And design, being the part of the product, which is both functionally and emotionally appealing, is the first and powerful way to give a user the reason to try the app or website.

 

UI design product management

 

Two basic types of motivation

 

There are two major directions of how motivation evolves and they deeply influence the decision-making process. In short, they are based on what is the source when «Why would I do that?» appears and encourages us to act: some of these reasons come from the outer world while the others are found inside ourselves. On that ground, psychologists define extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

 

Extrinsic motivation

 

This term unites the group of factors that come from outer sources. These motives can come from family, professional environment, competitions, contests etc. The motives of this sort encourage the person to deal with the outer world of other people as there is no other way to achieve the particular goals. It means that they involve the diversity of social reasons as well as stereotypes. Cultural background, age and gender, level of education, country of residence, religion and family status — these and many other factors can form and correct the reasons coming from outside and motivating people to communicate and behave this or that way. In the vast majority of cases, extrinsic motivation is a seek of reward, which can be tangible (money, prizes, diplomas, certificates, trophies, medals etc.) and intangible (praise, support, recognition etc.). The situation of competition itself presents the strong extrinsic motive: some of us are more motivated with not the prize we get but purely with the understanding that we won the others. Moreover, this factor can become even stronger in the case when there is direct support from others like friends or followers.

 

These factors should be the object of thorough research for UX designers as they actually present the doors opening the digital products to the world. The motivation via rewards has been widely used in all the kinds of games — without it for many users, a game usually doesn’t make sense — it should present the real goal which is achievable and stimulates persistence in the process of getting it. The wide invasion of the internet technologies and social networking added the element of constant competition with others strengthening the power of outer sources of motivation.

 

However, this mechanism of attracting and retaining users is applied in the variety of digital products now, including those which are far from games in their traditional understanding. When you are marked as the most loyal customer or are promised to be given a discount in case of the particular purchase; when you get the certificate via the online educational platform of which you can boast to you friends via social networks; when you are marked as the top writer or top contributor on the blog platform, and so on so forth — all that stuff presents the signs of extrinsic motivation. And that’s not bad: that’s just the way to make specific activities reasoned, which is crucial for most users. The trick is to find which reason works for this particular audience.

 

snake battle app UI design

Snake Battle App based on the extrinsic motives of winning the battle and getting rewards

 

Intrinsic Motivation

 

This is another side of the coin: that set of motives and stimuli comes out from the inner world of the person. These are the motives which are formed by the wishes and needs the person has due to its intelligence, soul, and heart. These are the motives which can be much harder to find and understand, but much longer to work successfully.

 

Intrinsic motivation is the inner engine moving a person to self-improvement whatever it could mean. In fact, people are born with this need and wish, which gets the higher level of development when the person satisfies basic needs like food and shelter and goes to the next stages in the hierarchy of needs. It’s natural for us to wish trying new things, to accept new challenges, to try our own abilities and gifts, to feel satisfaction from getting new knowledge and mastering new skills. This type of motivation is often stronger than the previous as it comes from what nature the person has and what personal likes or dislikes move decision-making process. In everyday terms, we often call this type of motivation «interest» or «desire» which becomes a significant factor for retaining users. And it’s a well-known factor that the simple explanation: «I do it just because it’s interesting» is one of the strongest motives which can only exist. It moves the user to act because of the subject of the activity itself rather than reward or recognition.

 

underwater world encyclopedia design tubik

Underwater World Encyclopedia based on intrinsic motive of getting new knowledge

 

wedding planner app UI design

Wedding Planner based on the intrinsic motive to optimize personal effort in organization of the event 

 

toonie alarm UI design

Toonie Alarm combining intrinsic motive (getting up on time) and extrinsic motive (getting stickers as rewards)

 

Getting the knowledge about target audience at the stage of user research, designers can analyze which types of motives and which their combinations will work for the specific users.

 

Intrinsic_extinsic_motivation_by_IDF

 

The visual presentation of two major motivation types by experts from Interaction Design Foundation 

 

Building motivation with design

 

Knowledge on the mechanisms of motivation can become the great help for UI/UX designers and information architects. The advantage of providing appropriate motives for the target audience can be applied at the levels of:

— thinking over the clear application or website structure and organization of triggers and informational blocks supported with rigorous user research

— building navigation and call-to-action elements according to things which engage users motivating them to act

— creating appropriate layout demonstrating key benefits or rewards

— providing supportive onboarding process motivating to try the product and test its functions

— presenting visual design solutions appealing to the target audience and adding the motive of aesthetic satisfaction

— including the copy which stimulates users, describes the key benefits of the product, the achievements users can get and support available in the process of interaction

— adding the features of setting short-term and long-term goals

— enabling users to share their achievements via various social networks — approval and praise of virtual communities is the powerful extrinsic motive nowadays.

 

user motivation design

Upper App using the mechanism of intrinsic motivation to boost users’ productivity

 

The bottom line is simple here: if you want users to like and use your product, give them a reason to love it. They will start their journey with «Why?» and will repeat that question regularly at different levels of interaction — so get prepared to show them the answer.


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big city guide web ui design

Case Study: Big City Guide. Landing Page Design.

People say the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. It’s hard to argue since traveling is always a chance to learn new things, meet new people and do something absolutely extraordinary. What’s more, a nice trip can become a source of life energy and inspiration. Today, travelers have more opportunities than ever before and the World Wide Web plays the significant role here. The Internet provides loads of information about various countries and their cultures helping travelers decide where to wend their way.

 

Tubik designer Tania Bashkatova loves traveling as much as design, so she often combines these passions to create sophisticated concepts devoted to travelings and nature. Today we present the case study on the design concept of the website for travelers called the Big City Guide.

 

tubik ui designer

 

Task

 

UI/UX design for onboarding landing page presenting a website about big cities all over the world.

 

Process

 

The Big City Guide (BCG) is one of the first works made in terms of Tubik UI Fridays. Those following Tubik team on Dribbble already know about our new tradition which is the set of creative sessions when the designers have a day to work on the design concepts out of current projects. The concepts are created within a particular general idea of a digital product but with all the passion and freedom for the designers’ artistic souls.

 

During one of these creative sessions, the task was given to design the landing page for the online resource providing the information about big cities around the world. Typically for the design of landing pages, the designer decided to apply expressive and informative potential of the background images. The objective set for the visual design was to convey the mood and the atmosphere via one photo for each city. The solution found for this aim was the animated widget with horizontal scrolling presenting three big cities in order to create the efficient visual perception of the information for the target readers. The three different capital cities were chosen to show how dissimilar styles can be united in one design.

 

The first page of the BCG concept presents Berlin. The city is filled with various sights so it was the difficult choice to make. The designer tested many pictures to find the one which would bring the right mood of the city. In the end, there were two variants.

 

Berlin big city guide ui

 

big city guide berlin tubik

 

Both pictures make an effective design but the second conveys the atmosphere of solid and futuristic Berlin better so the designer favored it. The name of the city becomes the center of the composition, bold and quickly readable in strong uppercase letters. The word sets the high perspective of the famous tower. The letters are arranged among the spires in the way which gives the feeling they always were there.

 

The second featured city is Madrid. It is often thought that Spanish capital city fully consists of medieval buildings but that’s not exactly true. Today Madrid is one of the modern European business centers, so the designer decided to present the modern side of the city. Here is one of the examples made while searching for the best fitting picture.

 

Madrid big city guide ui

 

Yet the priority has been given to the bridge in contemporary style. Keeping the consistent scheme with the previous page, the center of the composition remains the name of the city. The word shows the deep perspective with the modern construction echoing the form of the swirl or vortex. The subheading presents the motivating line gives the mood of the energetic and bright city. Here is the final result.

 

Big City Guide Madrid tubik

 

Every new day brings new knowledge. Searching for the perfect background photo the designer missed the fact that there is not only Madrid in Spain but also another one in Iowa, USA. The Internet played a joke with the designer mixing photos of two Madrids, so it’s impossible to distinguish them for those who haven’t visited all the corners of these places. Well, that’s good to take lessons from the errors, and this case gave us all the chance to learn something new.

 

The last city featured is Stockholm. It is full of magnificent ancient buildings and modern-styled places, so the designer experimented with various photos of the city places. Here is the example with the picture of the underground in Stockholm which presents the part of the creative search for the visual concept.

 

Stockholm big city guide ui

 

However, all the urban photos couldn’t convey the unique atmosphere of Stockholm. That’s why the designer comes from the other side. Stockholm is one of the biggest Scandinavian cities, so nothing can deliver the Nordic vibes better than its nature.

 

web ui design city guide

 

This is the final variant of the Stockholm page. The content elements on the page are placed similarly to the previous with the name of the city in the center. The word is harmonically inscribed into the thematic picture with deep and magnificent Nordic forest. The subheading presents the motivating line whose message naturally combines with the image and the associations set by the city.

 

The onboarding landing page applies simple structure recognizable for users. The left part of the header features a clickable logo BCG taking users to the home page. The header menu allows people to see the full list of cities, go to the blog or learn the maps. Also, the service provides the registration feature. The search icon completes the header.

 

The vital part of any city guide is the description copy. Since the pages are focused on the name of the city, short copy is placed at the left bottom part of the page. CTA button under the text provides users with an opportunity to read more if they are interested in detailed information. The users can also find social network links easily in the footer.

 

The final stage of work on the landing page was the animation of the presented layouts, accomplished by motion designer Kirill Erokhin.

 

Big City Guide animation tubik

 

The static variants of pages have different colors of the background, but in the final animated version, all pages are united with one color. Smooth animation adds the dynamic nature of traveling and supports the feeling of consistent interaction. Navigation through the pages can be accomplished in two ways: via navigation button and with the help of progress bar placed on the top of the page. They both use the same contrast color to keep the visual consistency and make all the ways of navigation clear.

 

As we can see, despite the fact that all cities differ by style and energy they bring, the designer managed to keep them in a single tone creating the feeling of the website unity. Moreover, such a construction of the landing page makes it flexible for further alterations, for example, adding more pages of the cities which are particularly popular with readers of the website.

 

Tubik UI Fridays go on for more concepts and case studies we will share with you soon. So, follow our blog and Dribbble not to miss the updates.


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UI research web and app design tubik

User Research. Empathy Is the Best UX Policy.

Starting any project, which is not their personal presentation but a product for users, designers should be deeply aware: they work primarily not for self-expression, not for showing their creativity to the world, not for creating something revolutionary new that will make the world go round in opposite direction. They work to solve users’ problems, satisfy their wishes and achieve business goals.

 

That is why it’s vital to establish who the potential users of the future product are and which their wishes and needs could be met. This is the time when the designer turns into the researcher to get as much information as possible and analyze it for the sake of user-friendly solutions in design and interactions. In our earlier articles, we have already mentioned the significant role of user research in creating problem-solving user-friendly designs, and today we suggest getting deeper into its definition, methods, techniques and benefits in the process of creating a digital product.

 

web design tubik studio

 

What is user research?

 

Generally, the word «research», being quite universal for the diverse spheres of professional activities, roots into the Old French word recercher meaning «seek out, search closely»; first, it was the verb and later transformed into the noun of the same semantics. The modern definition of the noun according to Cambridge Dictionary state the meaning as «a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding». This sort of activity is widely applied in a variety of sciences and practical fields, including informational architecture and user experience design.

 

Basically, user research is the comprehensive and multilayered activity whose aim is to collect information about the potential target audience of the product. Via a number of techniques, user researchers collect and then analyze the information obtained from real users, and this outcome usually allows the design team to work on the optimal solutions which will make the product user-friendly and attractive.

 

Therefore, user research means getting deeper into details of core target audience to understand their preferences and psychological peculiarities, the influence of different factors like colors, stylistic decisions, and logic of interaction on emotions and experience of the defined group, the sources of information and creative performance ways which could engage users and make them active. On this basis, visual design presumes to create the original and recognizable style that will make the product stand out of the crowd and draw potential customer’s attention.

 

User research is actually the way by which designer is able to step into the shoes of the user and go along his or her path feeling all the stones on the way. This is the way to create designs based on empathy — the ability to place yourself onto the place of the other person, to feel what they are feeling and see what they are seeing. This precious ability enables designers to create things which not only work well and look good but also do what the particular users need them to do.

 

web development

 

Why is user research needed?

 

Famous guru of advertising David Ogilvy emphasized the great importance of research for creating effective result: «Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.» Time has changed the means, goals and technologies, still, the vital role of research established even stronger. Neglecting the research stage and relying only on their creative intuition, experience and talent, designers risk failing this task as they will not know the conditions of the app functioning and will not be able to make it efficient, user-friendly and original.

 

As we mentioned before, designers who start creating a product just at once when they get the task are quite risky guys. There are plenty of things to do before the designing process itself. Ignoring those things can give the interesting but not viable result. It’s important to analyze the competition, to understand the target market, to find out the sources of traffic and potential expectations of the users before setting off. Otherwise, you can waste much more time on loads of inefficient variants.

 

Toonie Alarm UI design

 

When is user research applied?

 

Describing the typical stages of product creation process here in Tubik, we have mentioned the set of the following stages: setting the task and initial scope of works; estimation; user/market research; UX wireframing; prototyping; UI design; animation; software architecture planning; development; testing; release; updates. Still, it doesn’t mean that all these stages go one-by-one in this order — some of them are interconnected and some of them are spread around the whole creative process. User research is applied at several different levels of creation, somehow changing the perspective and the goals on the data which should be obtained and analyzed.

 

We would mark out three typical stages when user research is a must-do essential for creating the efficient design.

 

Pre-design research: this is actually the initial stage of the creative process when designer working over the project is exploring the requirements of the stakeholders and collects the maximum information about the target audience.  As well as in a scientific project, the scientist collects and analyzes the heritage of the previous specialists involved in the sphere to make the product actual, the UX designer needs to do the same to offer the solutions correspondent to what users need and want.  This is the time to talk, read and analyze a lot. This is when the designer needs to dive into psychology and behavior, together with the stakeholder set the goals of the product and investigate the factors which influence choices in this domain. Certainly, with every next project and each next dose of experience, the designer can get accustomed to user research techniques and needs less time for them. However, there never comes the day when the designer doesn’t need any time for research as long as every project has its unique requirements and its own USP which should be enlightened by design.

 

In-process research: it is applied at different stages of the actual design process when, having the chances to interact with users, discuss their wishes, watch their behavior and analyze the problems they have, designers explore the offered solutions in action and on that basis can alter some positions of their research and add more efficiency to the user interfaces.

 

Real product research: this is the another level of research applied to actually existing digital product users operate with. Applying various techniques of user testing, designers collect actual experience, analyze it and make improvements in terms of real cases of the product usage in different environments and conditions.

 

UI design Upper App

 

What are the dimensions of user research?

 

Certainly, there are numerous approaches to the process of research. Among them, we would like to draw your attention to the dimensions outlined by Nielsen Norman Group, highly experienced in the domain of research and analysis and regularly sharing their findings in this sphere. They offer to view the methods of user research along a 3-dimensional framework with the following axes:

  • Attitudinal vs. Behavioral
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative
  • Context of Use

ux-landscape-questions

 

As we can see from the scheme, attitude is what people say while behavior is what people do. In real life, they are often different things and aspects, due to numerous reasons like individual traits of character, temper, education level, age, gender, beliefs and so on. Another opposition presents qualitative analysis, which is usually measured by definite numbers (like «how many clicks the user makes before accomplishing the payment») and qualitative analysis («why user can leave the page without registration and how this problem could be fixed»). And the context of use analyzes all the additional factors which can influence the outcome of interaction with the product, for example, is the user goes along the preliminary given script or interaction is full improvisation.

 

Analyzing the data in terms of different dimensions, designers are able to take the comprehensive outcome enabling to make solid decisions about the interactions and visual performance.

 

What are the methods of user research?

 

Today, user experience design has already grown into a sphere with the considerable background of project and research cases, which have resulted in the extensive set of different research methods. Some methods are used on a regular basis, some are more rare and specific, yet it’s good for designers to be aware of a variety of them. Let’s briefly review the popular ones.

 

Interviews. Perhaps the most widely spread method when, having set the target audience of the product, people involved into the creative process interact directly with potential users and ask them questions to collect information. The quality of questions is the issue of high importance here. It’s effective to apply both close (yes/no) and open (giving the detailed answer) questions to let users provide diverse information.

 

Personas. The technique which has been applied in marketing and sales for a long time with client/buyer personas and now has transformed into a new perspective of user personas. With this technique, designer collects the data about the potential target audience, its psychological and behavioral preferences and habits and creates a bunch of imaginary users with these characteristic. On the ground of this data, the designer models users’ interactions with the product and possible issues that can arise in the process.

 

Sorting cards. This technique is effectively applied in cases when designers deal with the products presenting complex interfaces and variety of diverse content. The users are asked to categorize the content and set the hierarchies. In this way, the designers obtain the data showing how users see this sort of content and what way of its organization would be efficient for quick and easy navigation around the app or website.

 

Surveys. Another traditional method of scientific and social explorations when users are offered the set of questions. Answering them, users give the actual information enabling designers to understand their preferences and wishes deeper.

 

Focus group. Popular method presenting the moderated discussion of the product, its features, benefits and drawbacks within the group of people potentially close to the target audience. Altering some characteristics of the group, for example, age, gender, education level, tech literacy, researchers can receive the variety of data and see how these features can influence user behavior.

 

Task analysis. The method exploring the tasks and goals which users have interacting with the product. Understanding what users want to do enables designer to consider the fast and effective ways to achieve these goals.

 

Eyetracking. Special devices enable the designer to review which zones of the website or app users interact with more actively and use these zones in the most efficient and informative way.

 

Participatory design. Users are offered the set of elements for the layout and can suggest their own vision of the construction.

 

Clickstream testing. The analysis of the most clickable parts of the layout with the aim of designing clear interactions and reveal the problems.

 

A/B Testing. The users deal with one variant of design (version A) for some time and then another variant (version B) while the researcher collects the information along the necessary metrics and makes the conclusion about the efficiency of the versions.

 

Daily Reports. The user is asked to interact with a product for a particular period providing the reports on a daily basis. This helps to check the usability of the product in the perspective of long-term use.

 

Desirability testing. The users are usually offered visually and stylistically different versions and provide the feedback which version they would prefer and why.

 

design navigation UI UX tubik studio

 

What are the important points to consider in user research?

 

Collecting the data about user behavior and preferences via diverse methods and techniques, the designer has to take into account the following factors:

 

— the environment of use (the factors of using the product indoors or outdoors, the level of light, noise, available time and tons of other things can have an impact on design solutions)

— factors of intrinsic motivation (the internal personal stimuli moving the person to act)

— factors of extrinsic motivation (the outer factors of getting a reward or avoiding punishment that encourage people’s behavior)

— longevity of the product (based on the period for which the product is planned for use: if it grows together with the user or is applicable only in a particular age).

 

It’s should be remembered that removing the mistakes in design, even if its already high-fidelity level, is faster, cheaper and less painful for users than fixing negative issues with already launched and operating product.

 

The bottom line is simple. Don’t be lazy to research vital points of the project before you start designing. Don’t fancy doing the research? No problem, go to duck and dive in loads of baseless concepts instead of going along the solid path of understanding the user’s needs and wishes. Just don’t forget: it’s not you who decides that the product is successful, it’s not even other designers or stakeholders. It’s users. So, empathy is the best policy.

 

Recommended reading

 

Here are some articles we recommend for those who would like to get deeper into the topic:

 

Complete Beginner’s Guide to UX Research

 

When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods

 

User Research Basics

 

Pareto Principle-Based User Research

 

How To Conduct User Experience Research Like A Professional

 

Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions in User Research

 


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psychology of design article tubik blog

Psychology in Design. Principles Helping to Understand Users.

Some people are used to thinking of design as a purely artistic job but there is much more standing behind it. The sense of beauty and inspiration are not enough to create the proficient design. That’s why designers should possess certain knowledge and skills of distinct sciences to do their job right. And it’s not only the art of design, it’s also about various fields of knowledge and practice which help them work efficiently and productively. One of the basic studies helping designers to understand users is psychology. Today, we will figure out what a big part psychology plays in design and what psychological principles are essential to remember during the design process.

 

tubikstudio ted-talks collection

 

The role of psychology in design

 

Today the tendency of user-centered design makes designers reconsider approach to their work and go deeper into the understanding of the target audience. Donald A. Norman in his book “The Design of Everyday Things” defines design as an act of communication, which means having the deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating. In order to get better insight into people’s needs, designers are recommended to bear in mind the psychological principles of human behavior, aspirations and motivations.

 

The outcome of the work can be even more positive if a designer applies psychology in the creative process since the science gives the close understanding of the target audience. Psychology knowledge helps to create the design which will make users perform the actions they are expected to such as making a purchase or contacting the team.

 

Designers may see psychology as a complicated approach to improving the design and for that reason neglect this part of research and analysis. However, you don’t need to be a Ph.D. in psychology to use it at your work effectively. All you need to consider are the basic principles constantly presented in design. Based on our experience and the conducted research, we’ve defined six effective psychological principles often applied in the design process.

 

tubik studio quote collection

 

Gestalt Principles

 

This psychological theory is almost 100-year-old but it hasn’t lost its actuality. The word “gestalt” means «unified whole» so the theory explores users’ visual perception of elements in relation to each other. In other words, it shows how people tend to unify the visual elements into groups. The principles, on which users form the groups, include:

 

Similarity. If a user sees objects that look somehow similar, they may automatically perceive them as the individual elements of one group. The similarity between elements is usually defined with shape, color, size, texture or value. The similarity gives users the sense of coherence between the design elements.

 

Continuation. It is the principle according to which the human eye moves naturally from one object to the other. This often happens through the creation of curved lines allowing the eye to flow with the line.

 

Closure. It is a technique based on the human eye’s tendency to see closed shapes. Closure works where an object is incomplete but the user perceives it as a full shape by filling in the missing parts.

 

Proximity. When objects are placed in close proximity, the eye perceives them as a group rather than seen individually even if they aren’t similar.

 

Figure/Ground. This principle demonstrates the eye’s tendency to separate objects from their background. There are lots of examples of pictures that shows two faces depending on where your eye is focused the object or background.

 

website design for photographers

Photography Workshops  website

 

The Gestalt principles confirm in practice that our brain tends to make tricks with us, so designers should consider that fact during the creation process to exclude the possibility of misunderstandings.

 

Visceral Reactions

 

Have you ever had that feeling when you fall in love with the website after the first second when you’ve opened it? Or maybe an application has made you sick only with the quick glance at it? If yes, then you’ve already known what’s a visceral reaction. This kind of reactions comes from the part of our head called “old brain” responsible for the instincts and it reacts much faster than our consciousness does. Visceral reactions are rooted in our DNA, so they can be easily predicted.

 

How do designers use this knowledge? They aim at creating a positive aesthetic impression with the design. It’s not that difficult to guess what looks nice to people and what doesn’t if you know your target audience and their needs. So, the tendency of using the high-resolution beautiful photos or the colorful pictures at landing pages, websites or any other web and mobile products is not accidental.

 

jewellery_e-commerce_app_concept_by_tubik

Jewelry E-commerce Application

 

Psychology of Colors

 

A science studying the influence of colors on the human’s mind, behavior, and reactions is called the psychology of colors. Today we won’t go deep into the aspects of this study since it is complex so deserves to have a specialized post devoted to it (on which, besides, we’re already working). In a few words, the main idea of the study is that the colors have a great impact on the users’ perception. That’s why designers should choose the colors knowingly to make sure their work presents the right message and tune.

 

Here is the list of the basic colors and the meanings which they are typically associated with:

Red. The color usually associates with passionate, strong, or aggressive feelings. It symbolizes both good and bad feelings including love, confidence, passion and anger.

Orange. An energetic and warm color bringing the feelings of excitement.

Yellow. This is the color of happiness. It symbolizes the sunlight, joy and warmth.

Green. The color of nature. It brings calming and renewing feelings. Also, may signify inexperience.

Blue. It often represents some corporate images. It usually shows calm feelings but as a cool color it also associates with distance and sadness.

Purple. Long associated with royalty and wealth since many kings wore purple clothes. It’s also a color of a mystery and magic.

Black. The color has a great number of the meanings. It associates with a tragedy and death. It signifies a mystery. It can be traditional and modern. Everything depends on how you employ it and which colors go with it.

White. The color means purity and innocence, as well as wholeness and clarity.

 

tubik studio web UI design

Slopes Website

 

Recognition Patterns

 

You may have noticed that website or applications united with one theme usually have common patterns in their design. The reason is the users’ psychology. The thing is that people visiting a website or using an application are expecting to see certain things associated with the definite kind of product.

 

For example, visiting a website of a barbershop, the users are not expecting to see bright colors or pictures with cats or anything like this because if they do see it, this will definitely make them think of a website as an untrustworthy resource.

 

However, not only the colors and pictures matter. Some obvious and common things such as a list of blog posts on the front page of a blog or the filters in the e-commerce website are also important for successful navigation. Users become accustomed to things quickly and their absence makes them feel uncomfortable.

 

todo list UI app tubik studio

To-do list concept

 

Scanning Patterns

 

In our article Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces, we’ve already mentioned that before reading a web page, people scan it to get a sense of whether they are interested. According to different studies, including the publications by Nielsen Norman Group, UXPin team and others, there are several popular scanning patterns for web pages, among which “F” and “Z” patterns.

 

F-pattern is referred to as the most common eye-scanning pattern, especially for web pages with the big amount of content. A user first scans a horizontal line on the top of the screen, then moves down the page a bit and reads along the horizontal line which usually covers a shorter area. And the last one is a vertical line down on the left side of the copy where they look for keywords in the initial sentences of the paragraphs. It usually occurs on text-heavy pages like blogs, news platforms, thematic editorials etc.

 

Z-pattern is applied to pages which are not so heavily concentrated on the copy. A user first scans across the top of the page starting from the top left corner, looking for important information, and then goes down to the opposite corner at a diagonal, finishing with the horizontal line at the bottom of the page, again from left to right. This is a typical model of scanning for landing pages or websites not loaded with copy and not requiring scrolling down the page, which means that all the core data is visible in the pre-scroll area.

 

Knowing these patterns, designers can place the elements in an effective way for users’ perception and help them perform expected actions.

 

Hick’s Law

 

The law states that the more options users are exposed to, the longer it takes them to make a decision. This means that the more options you give to users, be it products to choose or pictures to look at, the more time and energy it takes to make a decision about the next step of interaction. The possible result here is that the users make the choices but get unpleasant feelings after using the product, or in the worst case, they may not want to take such a significant effort and just leave.

 

That’s why designers are recommended to keep any options including buttons, pictures, pages to a minimum. Removing unnecessary choices, you make the usability of the product more effective.

 

ui animation cafe app tubikstudio

Cafe Coupon App

 

Psychology is an effective tool in design which makes the creative process more productive while the result is going to be more user-centered. We’ve told you about six useful principles but they are only the tip of the iceberg because there is much more to learn on the topic. Don’t miss our next blog posts continuing this useful theme!

 

Recommended reading:

 

Here are some more articles we could recommend for those who would like to get deeper into the topic:

 

Gestalt principles

 

The role of psychology as a design tool

 

5 psychology rules every UX designer must know

 

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things by Don Norman

 

The 5 pillars of visual hierarchy in Web design

 

6 principles of visual hierarchy for designers

 

On Visual Hierarchy

 

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

opera video design case study tubik

Case Study: Opera. Year-in-Review Video Design.

A picture is able to tell a lot instantly. It can inform, call associations,  set the mood and atmosphere, give the insights and wake up curiosity, get people inspired or engage further considerations and do that all in a beautiful and attractive manner. Still, to spark all that amazing potential, the picture needs to be created by a professional, who knows how to do that magic via talent, skills and experience.

 

Having the whole set of such professionals on-board, we finished the last year with an interesting and challenging project. In December Tubik team got the chance of creative collaboration with Opera to work on the bright and catchy year-in-review video. You could already have seen the video and design process presentation in Tubik Portfolio, and today we invite our readers to take a deeper look at this design story in a new case study.

 

opera video graphic design case study tubik

 

Task

 

Design of a short animated video «Opera 2016: Year in Review» within a tight timeline.

 

Process

 

Introducing a customer, Opera is a web browser developed by Opera Software. According to Opera Software, it had more than 350 million users worldwide in the 4th quarter 2014. Total Opera mobile users reached 291 million in June 2015. According to SlashGeek, Opera has originated features later adopted by other web browsers, including Speed Dial, pop-up blocking, browser sessions, private browsing, and tabbed browsing.

 

The initial stage of project discussion with the customer showed that they needed an animated video accomplished in an attractive manner immediately setting the positive and cheerful mood. The video had to present the essential milestones of the year when Opera, one of the actively used web browsers around the world, presented fresh innovative features to its numerous users. Opera team enjoyed bright colors and lifestyle object compositions and the approach they wished to use for the video was to devote each composition to a specific month when a particular feature was delivered. It was agreed that the visual performance should feature the 3D flat style, minimalistic animations and lush colors — everything that Tubik team is strong at.

 

Meanwhile, the early stage of discussions on creative process also established the biggest challenge of the project: the timeline was extremely short. The team of designers had only 5 days for design and animation of 8 complex flat illustrations full of details, transforming the company message, looking bright and fresh and keeping visual consistency to look natural in one video. This was the type of project that proved the great power of teamwork when all the participants of the creative process worked like a clock.

 

Illustrations

 

The first creative stage of the project had to result in a set of flat illustrations presenting the prominent innovations of the year: Ad Blocker, Battery Saver, Video Pop Out, Personal News, VPN, Faster Startup, Currency Converter. All the illustrations had to present the interiors decorated with bright details close and clear for every user, and also set the atmosphere of the particular season and the visual element showing the presented browser feature. In this way, combined in the video and replacing each other, the illustrations would support the feeling of the year flowing. Here is the final set presented to motion designers who had to do further work on breathing life into the pictures.

 

opera video animation case study

 

This is the intro illustration opening the video, setting the cheerful mood and giving the strong link with the brand.

 

opera video animation case study

 

This illustration presents the feature of native Ad-Blocker, which Opera presented in spring, so the color palette corresponds to the shades traditionally associated with this time of the year.

 

opera video animation case study

 

The next illustration presents the feature of Battery Saver, which got active in late spring: the season is supported with general bright and sunny color palette, flowers in the vase and green trees outside the window.

 

opera video animation case study

 

Another illustration was designed to present the feature of Video Pop Out, enabling users to watch videos while browsing. Big window shows the green plants and blue sky and the diagonal light shadows let us guess the shiny sun, the table sets the scene with a couple of books and a glass of lemonade, and even the video on the screen shows the sea shore and people having fun — everything allows viewers to understand easily that this user-friendly innovation was added in summer.

 

opera video animation case study

 

The next artwork is associated with the feature of a personal newsreader. A bit darker sky, a bit longer shadows, some clouds, the cup of tea and red-ripe apples on the tree say: when users got the ability to read the news right from their browser, the summer had almost finished. 

 

opera video animation case study

 

The feature of built-in VPN enhancing the privacy of browsing was set up in autumn, which us immediately clear from the view with yellow trees outside, while the passport seen on the table sets the strong connection with the matter of privacy.

 

opera video animation case study

 

Next illustration featured the faster speed of start-up loading, so the key visual element of the composition is the speedometer shown on the computer screen. It immediately sets association with the issue of speed while the color palette chosen for this artwork enables users to feel the vibes of deep autumn.

 

opera video animation case study

 

The last innovation to present was the built-in currency converter enabling users to shop online faster and easier. Some details in the picture, like the calculator, the decorative recognizable model of a shop placed on the shelf, the delivery truck behind the window as well as the layout on the screen set the atmosphere of shopping, while the outside view and the gifts let us know it’s the busy time of buying Christmas presents. 

 

Having a full set of illustrations approved by the client, motion designers came into play and presented the variants of transitions, while graphic designers worked on the fonts for the short descriptions to be used in the video. The fonts had to look highly readable and correspond to the general stylistic concept.

 

opera video animation case study

The sample of animated transitions between the slides livened up with the natural movements of the details close to motion in real life.

 

opera video animation case study

The sample of the fonts used on the slide in combination with the illustration

 

Final video

 

Five days of hard and coordinated work of the design team resulted in the final video of about 40 seconds showing the full set of key innovations Opera presented in 2016.

 

 

In one of the previous articles, devoted to design processes and work styles, we mentioned: the studio experience lets us believe that teamwork organized wisely and thoughtfully doesn’t take away designers’ individual space or freedom — vice versa, it adds to it the power of solid support and prospective ways for bigger and more complex, therefore more interesting and challenging projects and tasks. The project for Opera became one of the convincing proofs.

 

opera video design case study tubik

 

In their testimonial to Tubik team, Opera Software team mentioned: «The loose storyboard and tight timeline we presented you with were undoubtedly a challenge but everyone is very happy with how well your team delivered on it!» No doubt, this project became not only a great and absorbing challenge but also the case of fruitful collaboration and bright finale for the extremely busy design year.


Welcome to check out the presentation of Opera project in Tubik Portfolio

Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance