Tag Archives: design

Articles about UI, UX, graphic design for mobile applications and websites, brand identity, design events, tips and resources.

UI navigation design elements

UX Design Glossary: Interface Navigation Elements. Set 2.

Interface navigation belongs to the core issues of UX design. That’s not surprising: it’s hard to get to your destination if you can’t see the way. Being surrounded by more and more websites and applications every day, users are high-fed with the diversity of offers and expect intuitive navigation as a must-have. So, let’s continue our talk about the theme with a new issue of navigation glossary to learn more about this powerful booster of usability. Earlier we presented you the first set of UX glossary for navigation covering the definitions and examples for navigation, menu, button, CTA, bar, picker, switch etc.  Today let’s add the new ones to the list: check the details for icons, search field and tags.

 

information architecture for designers tubik

 

Icons

 

An icon can be defined as an image which has a high symbolic value and is used for the purpose of communication. Icons present signs which are informative and support data exchange between the informer and addressee alongside with words and sentences: while copy is served with letters or characters, icons communicate via the images showing pictorial resemblance with an object of the physical world. In computing and digital design, icons are pictograms or ideograms used in the web or mobile interface to support its usability and provide the successful flow of human-computer interaction.

 

One of the most valuable benefits of icons among is the ability to effectively replace the text. This feature is able to boost usability and strengthen navigation as most users tend to perceive and decode images faster than words. However, even the slightest misperception or double meaning can become the reason of poor UX so the solutions on the type of icons should be carefully tested to reach the good balance of icons and copy for a particular target audience. One of the effective variants is using both copy and icon so that different categories of users could feel good with that: this approach is particularly popular in various catalogues of e-commerce websites where different positions are presented by both words and pictures giving the user double support for quick and clear navigation.

UI icons in interface design tubik blog

 

Based on their functions, icons can be classified as: 

— interactive icons: icons which are directly involved into interaction process. They are clickable or tappable and respond to the users request doing the action symbolized by them. They inform users about the functions or features of the buttons, controls and other elements of interaction. In many cases, they are obvious and don’t need the copy support.

— clarifying icons: icons aimed at explanation, visual markers explaining particular features or marking out categories of content. They may be not the layout elements of direct interaction; also, they are often found in combination with copy supporting their meaning. 

— entertaining and decorative icons: icons aimed at aesthetic appeal rather than functionality, often used to present seasonal features and special offers. They present the effective way of attracting user’s attention and enhance the general stylistic concept of a digital product.

— app icons: interactive brand signs that present the application on different platforms supporting the original identity of the digital product.

— favicons: represents the product or brand in the URL-line of the browser as well as in the bookmark tab. It allows users to get a quick visual connection with it while they are browsing.

 

tubik studio tapbar ui

 

Read more about types and functions of icons here

 

Search Field

 

A search field, which is also called search box or search bar, presents the interface element enabling user to type in the keywords and this way find the pieces of content that are needed. It is one of the core navigation elements for the websites or apps with a big amount of content, in particular blogs, e-commerce and news websites etc. Well-designed and easily found search field enables the user jump to the necessary point without browsing through the numerous pages and menus: as this approach respects user’s time and effort, it is highly demanded in user-friendly interfaces.

 

In terms of design, this element can be presented in different ways, from the framed tab to the interactive input line, or even minimalist clickable icon. In the vast majority of cases, the search field is marked with the icon featuring a magnifying glass. This symbol is recognizable by a wide variety of users so it has proved itself effective for setting intuitive navigation. Experiments with this icons can influence badly on interactions and usability of the layout, so if other symbolic images are applied, they should be carefully tested. The flow of interaction can also be supported with the dropdown menu offering possible options or auto-filling functionality.

 

tubik studio ice ui website

Another important issue is the placement of the search graphic control in the interface. In web design, search field can be often found in a header of a website and this is a good choice: as we mentioned in the article devoted to design practices for website headers, for any website it is the zone of the highest visibility, so putting a search field there enables users to quickly get transferred to the pages they really need without wandering through the website and scrolling down. For example, it is actual for big e-commerce websites often visited by users who have a particular goal, a specific item they are looking for — if they can’t find it quickly and conveniently, the risk is high that they will leave decreasing the profitability of the resource. Moreover, the power of habit should also be taken into account: as numerous websites include search into their headers, users are accustomed to looking for it there when they need it.

 

Talking about search field in mobile interfaces, the situation differs as the designer is much more limited in the usable space. If the app is based on a lot of content and search is one of the central elements of interaction, it can be found in the tab bar and easily reached. In case the search is not crucial for the user goals and usability of the app, it can be hidden in menus or shown only on the screen where it’s potentially needed.

 

tubik studio motion design ui

 

Tag

 

Tag is an interactive element presented with a keyword or phrase that enables the user to move quickly to the items marked up with it. Tags are actually pieces of metadata that provide quick access to specific categories of content so they support navigation with the additional way of content classification. Moreover, tags are often the elements which users create by themselves comparing to the names of categories that are fixed by the website and can’t be changed by users.

 

design for users website interface

 

Tags are widely used on the platforms based on user-generated content: when you upload the photo to the stock, post on the social networks or write on the blog, you can mark your content with the particular keywords which will then unite all the pieces of content marked with the tag. The screenshot above shows you the part of the home page of Design4Users Blog which actively uses a cloud of tags to enhance navigation around the blog content. In terms of interaction, click on a tag moves the user to the webpage collecting all the content marked with this tag. Also, tags are SEO-friendly technique increasing the chances that the content will be found via search engines.

example of tag in the interface

As another example, here’s the tagging offered by Unsplash, the well-known platform of free stock photos. When users download a photo, they are offered to type their own tags aka keywords which would describe this photo in the best way helping other users to find it. As we can see, the input field for adding tags also supports users with prompts for better usability. So, tags present user-generated elements of navigation that makes the interface closer and clearer to its target audience. 

 


 

Planning the navigation is the hard work which demands a good knowledge of psychology and interaction patterns, user testing and serious approach to information architecture from the earliest stages of an app or website design. However, it becomes the solid ground for positive user experience which will solve users’ problems and motivate them to get back to the product again and again.

 

Today’s set of our glossary is ready for those who need it and we are going to continue this practice before long. Don’t miss the new sets — the next one will continue the issues of navigation with deeper insights into types of menus, buttons, and breadcrumbs. If there are any specific terms you would like to see explained, described and illustrated, feel free to contact viadirect message on our Facebook page , via Twitter or our Quora representative. New definitions are coming soon!

 

Recommended reading

 

Here is the set of recommended materials for further reading for those who would like to get deeper into this topic and learn more on the theme.

 

UI/UX Design Glossary. Navigation Elements.

iOS Human Interface Guidelines

Navigation patterns for ten common types of websites

Small Elements, Big Impact: Types and Functions of UI Icons.

3 essential rules for effective navigation design

Perfecting navigation for the mobile web

Understanding Web UI Elements & Principles

User Interface Elements

The Most Creative Mobile Navigation Patterns

Basic Patterns for Mobile Navigation


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Welcome to read us on Quora

mood boards in UI design tubik article

Design Mood. 7 Motives to Create Mood Boards.

Just imagine you worked hard, spent plenty of time creating a detailed prototype, and then a client rejected it saying that it isn’t even close to what he wanted. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Every designer at least once has been through such an unpleasant situation. Probably right now everyone expects some relevant advice how to avoid this kind of situations but truly saying there is no a perfect decision.

 

However, there are several methods helping to reduce risks of clients’ rejects as well as save designers’ time and nerves. Today’s article is devoted to the technique called moodboarding. Let’s see what mood boards are and how they can help in the designer’s workflow.

 

What’s a mood board?

 

The technique of moodboarding is popular not only in design field but among many creative professionals. Mood boards are literally boards (digital or material) which people fill with different kinds of things from photos to various textures so that they could visualize ideas and concepts.

 

Unlike wireframes and prototypes, mood boards don’t show the detailed picture of a future project. They are meant to transfer the right mood and bring the emotions expected from a product.

 

Mood boards are a useful tool helping designers effectively collaborate with clients and team members. Boards can be easily created within a tight time frame and turn an abstract idea into a real one. This way designers can effectively share their ideas with the others because visual material always works better than fluent phrases.

 

mood board UI design

Mood board compiled by Tubik designer Ernest Asanov

 

How to create mood board?

 

Mood boards are a good way to experiment with a color palette, fonts, and style as well as plan visual hierarchy of a project. Everyone decides for themselves what components to include in a mood board. UI/UX designers usually use the various samples so that they could characterize interface elements. There are several common types of mood boards. Let’s see what they are.

 

Free collage

 

Designers often collect free high-resolution photos so that they could use the material in the future projects or elsewhere. These collections may come in handy for the mood board creation. A free collage consisting of beautiful photos is an effective way to transfer a mood of the design concept. Also, collages can be filled with illustrations, fonts, and color examples.

 

This type of mood boards is the fastest and the easiest among the others. However, if a client is detail-oriented, they may not be excited with a free collage as an example of a future project.

 

mood board graphic UI design

Mood board compiled by Tubik designer Ludmila Shevchenko

 

Reference collection

 

Another source of inspiration and a method for idea visualization is quality references. There are plenty resources such as Behance and Dribbble where designers can find inspiring concepts and real projects with a free access. Collection of design works united by a common style or any other feature can easily illustrate an idea for a new project. Moreover, such mood boards help clients effectively comprehend a concept because they can see similar references and imagine what their product will look like.

 

Template board

 

These mood boards are more like prototypes and wireframes. Their aim is to show the structure and visual hierarchy of a product. The difference is that UI elements on a template board are not detailed as in prototypes or schematic as in wireframes. Components are shown via random illustrations and photos presenting a layout of a digital product. In addition, images can be selected that way so it would be easy to recognize corresponding color palette. This method is faster than prototyping because it doesn’t require details.

 

ui moodboard design

 

Mood board compiled by Tubik designer Ludmila Shevchenko

 

Why should UI/UX designers create mood boards?

 

Many of us may notice that wireframing and prototyping are always described as essential stages in design workflow while moodboards are rarely mentioned. Some may consider them as the waste of time or just entertainment. Nevertheless, there are many people who include moodboarding as a part of every creative process. But why do they choose the technique? Here we’ve gathered the list of reasons for designers.

 

1. To save time and effort.

 

The first and a big advantage of moodboarding is that it doesn’t require much time to be done. It means that in a few hours, or maybe less, designers can create a visual guide for clients presenting a concept. A mood board can be easily edited so it saves both time and effort.

 

Such a guideline is a good foundation which allows quickly jumping to the next stage of prototyping. Moreover, designers save their nerves if a client is not satisfied with the outcome and demands a new concept because they don’t spend a whole day to create a detailed presentation.

 

2. To get inspired.

 

Of course, designers can’t always rely on inspiration because they have work to do, still, things are done more effectively if the creator is inspired. Moodboarding is a good way to find ideas and enthusiasm. Beautiful photos and illustrations help to find the right mood and style. In addition, if you can, try to create a material mood board via things surrounding you. It is said that handwork has a powerful impact on creative thinking. So, why don’t take a try?

 

3. To find a right color palette.

 

A collage can include photos, illustrations and color samples forming a compelling composition. By mixing images in different colors on a board designers can experiment with a color palette even if UI elements are not ready yet.

 

4. To enhance communication with customers.

 

When a product is at the stage of an abstract idea, it is sometimes difficult for a designer and a customer to understand each other while discussions. For example, both sides can see the certain style a bit differently so it can cause an argument. That’s why it is always a good idea to have some visual references such as a mood board.

 

5. To talk less and show more.

 

Continuing the point above, it should be said that any long report can’t explain your plans and ideas better than a visual presentation. Words can fail in shaping a picture in a client’s head but the visual material is a reliable guide helping customers to dive deeper into details and understand your ideas correctly.

 

Illustrate your ideas at the early stages so that clients could see what you plan and how their product is shaped up.

 

6. To find a style for a design.

 

If a creative team hasn’t received directives from clients about the style of the design, the task lays on a designer’s shoulders. To see how one or another style works, there is no need to build a detailed prototype for each of them. Add to a mood board different textures, experiment with types of illustration, test fonts, and change colors. It’s faster and more convenient to try options with a mood board than spend time changing prototypes one by one.

 

7. To involve clients in a process.

 

One of the ways of gaining clients’ trust is to let them feel they are deeply involved in a project. So, at this stage, if they wish, they can actively participate in the selection of styles and samples. Moodboarding is an easy technique which can be accomplished if you’re a non-designer.

 

Clients can be suggested to make a collage of photos and pictures, or maybe even references if they are not new at this. This way designers can easily learn clients’ tastes and preferences and see what they expect from the project.

 

Examples of mood boards for digital design projects

 

For more practical presentation of the issue, we would like to show you the set of extended mood board, compiled by Tubik designer Dima Panchenko for his projects on user interface design. He also practices adding the general notes presenting the mood board to the client which has a positive effect on the process of communication and choosing the concept for the project.

 

1. The mood board for setting the client’s preferences about the general stylistic concept of the screen.

 

moodboard for UI project

 

2. The mood board presenting the vision of the style corresponding to the project requirements.

 

moodboard for UI design project

 

3. The moodboard with a variety of concepts for a sport app with football theme.

 

moodboard sport app UI design

 

Moodboarding can become a useful habit for every creative person. Designers can create mood boards to find the inspiration or use them as an additional tool in their workflow. Stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

24 pro tips for creating inspirational mood boards

Creating Better Moodboards for UX Projects

 


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Binned case study storyboard

Case Study: Binned. Promo Video Design.

Creating a catchy and stylish promo video for a product or service is a challenging task. However, if realized wisely, it pays itself, becoming another powerful tool for growing brand awareness and promotion. Earlier we already unveiled the creative process of making a year-in-review video for Opera Software designed by Tubik team; today’s case study is going to show you a new story on graphic and motion design for a short and bright video introducing Binned, the local cleaning service based in the USA. This time the challenge was assigned to studio designers Arthur Avakyan and Andrey Drobovich. Let’s have a look at the creative flow.

 

video design animation tubik

 

Task

 
Design of an animated promotional video presenting the local trashbin cleaning service.

 

Process

 
Binned is a service supporting cleaner and healthier environment for the local community by washing and deodorizing the trash bins outdoors. At the first stage of collaboration with the company, Tubik team created the brand identity for the service including the logo in static and animated versions as well as the pack of branded items — you could have seen the detailed design story in our previous case study. The promo video had to look consistent with the visual style applied for branding and support the idea of the helpful service improving the quality of everyday life for its client and also making the environment healthier for everyone.

 

binned logo animation design

Binned logo

 

 

Storyboarding and graphic design

 

At the first stage, the client and the team agreed upon the visual concept for the video and general story it should transfer. Having got the brief and basic script of the video from the client, the graphic designer started the research and developed the first rough version of a storyboard for the story in the footage — the illustrations arranged in the sequence of their flow for the video. They featured the images of a bin as mascots presenting the service and the main character. In general terms, the video presented the story about a dirty and smelly trashbin which was really sad about its condition but then the truck of a cleaning service came and solved the problem quickly: dirt, insects and bad smell are removed and the bin is happy to serve people again. Below you can see the set of sketches for this stage.

 

binned video design storyboard

binned video design storyboard

binned video design storyboard

 

After discussing the flow with the client and agreeing upon the final number and sequence of shots for the future video, the next step meant creating a storyboard for the video showing the scenario scene by scene. In a funny and friendly way, the short story showed the problems, which potential target audience could have, and the ways how Binned solves them easily. The style chosen for the video reflected the idea of the hand-drawn cartoon with a friendly and cute mascot. The color palette was focused on green and blue shades associated with a clean and healthy environment. One by one, the graphic designer made the final version of every part in the storyboard sequence following the consistent style and visual performance.

 

Binned case study storyboard

 

One of the microtasks at this stage was creating the funny images of the rats, insects and harmful bacterias that inhabit dirty trashbins and threaten the healthy lifestyle of the local people. Even being the negative characters of this story, they still supported the general cute and funny look chosen for the video.

Binned video design

 

As we mentioned in our guide to promo video design, at this stage it’s vital to set a constructive dialogue between the design team and the client: every single image in the storyboard should be discussed and approved in terms of general idea and goals set for the video. Motion design has many specific features and designers have to be ready to explain them: it can happen that clients express ideas and wishes which technically can overload the footage or look bad in the limited timing. Getting deeper into the goals and results which the client expects, designers looked for the optimal solutions which will make the video both good-looking and effective.

 

Animation

 

When all the storyboard was agreed upon, it was a good time to continue with motion. Here you can see how motion designer worked on visual details in different parts of the video: the magnifier glass featuring the process of a trashbin inspection, the process of loading the bins into the service truck and washing, the bins jumping happily after the wash. 

 

binned_promo_video_animation_tubik

 

binned_promo_video_animation_tubik 

binned_promo_video_animation_tubik

 

It was another project for Tubik that proved the benefits of having graphic and motion designers in one team as they work together on all the details and assets from the earliest stages of the creative process and can consult with each other any moment it’s needed. It makes the workflow dynamic and productive enabling the client to get the video without wasting time on trying to bring several teams together.

 

Outcome

 

After the animation of all the shots was finished, it was thoroughly checked along the required timing and harmonic combination with the voice-over.  Here’s the final version of the video.

 

 

Binned project added one more bright page to the Tubik history providing the extensive case of participation in brand strategy for a service company, from creating visual identity elements up to consistent brand style guide and promo video. Don’t miss the updates, new case studies are just around the corner.


Welcome to read a case study on Binned Brand Identity Design

Welcome to check Binned Video project in Tubik Portfolio

Welcome to read a step-by-step guide to promo video design

interface testing UI design tubik

Make the Right Choice. A/B Testing for UX Improvement.

To be or not to be? That is a question and a constantly repeating situation. People often have to face some choices which are hard to make. Designers’ job is also full of the situations when two solutions seem like right but you need to make a choice and not to stumble. When it happens, a creative team runs tests for both to find out which solution is the best. One of the popular methods is called A/B testing. The article describes the facets of A/B testing methodology and shows how designers apply it for UX improvement.

 

What is A/B testing?

 

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method of comparing two versions of a digital product in order to find out which one performs better. A creative team divides users into two groups and each of them is shown different variants. One half sees A version, the other — B. Such an approach helps to determine a more profitable solution.

 

The differences between A and B options can vary from the smallest to the big one. For example, it can be a color of a small element or different placement of all the components. The effectiveness can be measured by different criteria such as page views, clicks, number of subscriptions, or sale-leads. The choice of criteria for measurement depends on the goals a company or a creative team has established. In some cases, it may be good to combine these metrics to achieve deeper insights of all aspects.

 

How can designers use A/B testing?

 

UI and UX design for a product is always created to gain certain goals. Designers thoroughly choose all UI elements as well as plan clear and pleasant interaction and navigation system for effective user experience. However, what once worked well, may not have the same effect after a while. Business goals constantly change during the time a product functions, so the design requires some improvements.

 

A/B testing is an approach helping to make design changes carefully so that users wouldn’t feel inconvenient. Designers can collect the needed data and metrics while people continue to use an app or website.

 

So, what do designers get from A/B testing? First of all, it’s a good way to learn behavior patterns and peculiarities of the target audience. By testing different versions of UI, designers can see what kind of influence each solution has on users and which one performs more effectively. Moreover, A/B testing assists to remove bad design decisions if there were ones and replace them with something more profitable.

 

In addition, A/B testing can reduce conflicts between designers and the clients. It often happens that the opinions of both sides differ and no one wants to step aside. To solve such a kind of conflict, designers can run A/B testing for two variants which a creative team and a customer see as the best solution.

 

As we said above, differences between versions A and B can be either small or big. Here is a list of elements which designers often choose for A/B testing.

 

  • CTA buttons (their placement, size, color or copy);
  • Headings and subheaders;
  • Images on landing pages;
  • Presentation of clients’ form on websites;
  • Copy (length, placement and content);
  • Offer display;
  • Videos (presence or absence).

 

A/B testing is not a one-time operation. Designers can test different elements one by one and then combine gathered information to check which of their solutions is more user-friendly and goal-oriented.

 

usability testing for web and mobile

 

A/B testing process

 

If you never tried A/B testing before, it’s never too late to experiment. Besides, experimenting with new approaches can help to open new opportunities. Moreover, A/B testing is not a complicated method. It can be accomplished easily if you take the following steps.

 

Step 1. Gather data and rates.

The first aim of A/B testing is optimization. It can be revenue optimization, user experience improvements or just a product upgrade as a whole. That is why the first step before you run A/B testing should be data collecting. Analytics results can help to understand what aspect needs the optimization the most. Pages with low conversion rates or CTA buttons with a small amount of clicks can be the first targets.

 

Step 2. Set the goals.

To make the improvements work right, designers need to determine what they expect to gain from them. For example, it can be more subscribers for a blog, more time spent on a website, or more clicks on CTA buttons. Setting the goals you can track the effectiveness of your decisions.

 

Step 3. Build a hypothesis.

This step is needed so that designers could use the gathered information for the future improvements. After the goals are set, you need to think of the reasons why the new solutions will work better. A research on the target audience helps to generate some hypotheses about what can improve the current version. It will guide designers when the testing ends and will give deep insights on the target audience preferences.

 

Step 4. Create A and B versions.

When designers have decided what changes they want to implement, it’s time to bring them to life. There are many free and paid tools helping to divide the users’ stream into two groups. It may be a good idea to QA the testing at the beginning to make sure everything goes as it should be.

 

Step 5. Go testing.

It is the most pleasant part of A/B testing for a creative team because it’s time for users to work. People use an application or visit a website and everything they do is measured and transformed into useful data.

 

Step 6. Results analysis.

The experiment lasts for certain time and when it’s complete designers work on results. All the data and metrics from two versions are gathered and compared. Based on the results designers decide which variant performed better and is capable of accomplishing the goals that have been set at the start.

 

gamification in UX design

 

Benefits and limitations of A/B testing

 

There is no perfect methodology which would suit any situation. However, each approach is unique and brings certain advantages which others can’t. Let’s see what A/B testing can offer to designers and what are its limitations.

 

Benefits

 

It measures the actual user behavior. People use a product without knowing they are a part of the experiment now. That’s why they act naturally which helps to identify the model of their behavior quite accurately.

 

It is a cheap method. A/B testing doesn’t require applying expensive tools and hiring people who’d like to test a product. All you need is two versions of the experiment and a software which would randomly divide users into groups.

 

Quality content. A/B testing is a good way to find out what content is valuable and works best for a product.

 

User-centered design. A/B testing is absolutely oriented on users’ needs and their behavior patterns. After the experiment designers get the data helping to make a product even more user-friendly.

 

Fast and easy analysis. A/B testing is usually focused on a few certain metrics. So when the results are delivered, it’s not that hard to determine which version performed better.

 

Everything can be tested. Not all the approaches allow testing really small things such as buttons color, fonts or headings placement. However, even such little elements can have a great impact on users’ behavior and their perception of the design.

 

Reduced risks. Some mistakes may cost a lot if they are made at the important stages. A/B testing can reduce the risks of losing money because of the wrong design decisions. By testing several versions of design at the early stages, designers make sure UI elements work well.

 

Limitations

 

A/B testing works only for fully implemented design. You can’t test just CTA buttons in UI without copy content or any other component because the results won’t be the same. Everything should be as a fully accomplished product ready for the usage.

 

It doesn’t tell you why. A/B testing is an effective method of gathering certain data and metrics showing what works well or not. But if you are looking for the answers why it is so, you need to do user research which will go deeper into the peculiarities of the target audience.

 

It can’t tell you what is wrong. Continuing the point above, we need to add that A/B testing isn’t meant to identify the problems in design. It only can show which improvements work effectively.

 

If design goes into real usage without proper testing, there is a high risk of its low effectiveness. That’s why designers are recommended to make testing an essential part of UX process. The choice of approach is a matter of circumstances and designers’ preferences. Stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

A/B Testing, Usability Engineering, Radical Innovation: What Pays Best?

Putting A/B Testing in Its Place

How to A/B test landing pages

Tests Go First. Usability Testing in Design


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

video design animation tubik

Step by Step Guide to Custom Promo Video Design.

We are living in the times when information is absorbed faster and faster via numerous ways and sources. Videos of all kinds are increasing their popularity in many spheres including education and entertainment. Surely, one of the fields where video production is rapidly growing its presence is marketing with the aim of promoting and selling products and services. It’s not surprising as videos are often faster and more expressive than other ways of sending the message to the potential buyers or customers. So, creative teams accept the challenges of making original video content which is not so easy under the conditions of tight competition and tons of already produced commercials and promos.

 

Watching a short promo video on web or TV, most viewers don’t even imagine how much time and effort those short seconds of animation take from their creators. In the vast majority of cases, the visual part of the video is made by the team of illustrators and motion designers. Today we would like to show you the creative flow of the design process we have for this kind of projects as well as answer the questions frequently asked by the clients who need the custom design of a promo video.

 

Types and benefits of promo videos

 

In one of our previous articles devoted to design of promo videos for websites, we have given a classification. Let’s just briefly review the frequently used types:

introduction video usually gives the first insights about the company, product, or brand and shows what benefits the users can get

product presentation videos gives details about product’s features and advantages, informs about special steps of interactions and shows the problem-solving potential of the product

landing page videos strengthening the message driving users to a particular call-to-action offered on the page

video testimonials showing the reasons and signs of trust and loyalty to the company, brand or product

entertaining and educational videos rising emotional appeal and often presenting the material for viral marketing.

 

All the mentioned types can serve efficiently for marketing goals and increase brand awareness. A creative and catchy video is a good way of attracting customers’ attention and the proven method of informing them quickly and brightly. A video activates several channels of perception — audio, visual, sound — simultaneously and usually do it in a way of telling a story. All the mentioned combination of factors tend to make the presentation strong and memorable especially if based on high-quality graphic design and animation. People are daily overloaded with tons of information of all kinds, so most of them aren’t ready to devote much time learning about products or services, especially the new ones. In these conditions, video can become the way of communication which is dynamic, informative and attractive.

 

No doubt, technically design any sort of video is the complex multi-level process in terms of design. Promotional video adds its own specific aspects being focused on the particular business goals.

 

opera video graphic design case study tubik

 

Creative stages of video production

 

Generally, the process of video production includes the following steps:

research stage: target audience and market research

pre-production stage: script writing and storyboarding

production stage: creating the graphic assets and animation

post-production stage: video editing, adding sounds, music and voice-over etc.

 

Pre-production

 

Being a full-stack design team, Tubik is usually involved in the process at pre-production stage which means that the creative flow starts from discussing a video script we get from the client. Obviously, the most effective scripts are the ones based on the preliminary market research learning what kind of promos are used by the competitors on the market. Another important factor of making the idea behind the video appealing is the definition of the target audience. To make the final promo attractive and interesting, designers need to know who are its potential viewers, their age, preferences, and goals. So, if this information is not provided by default in the project brief, designers have to be ready to ask for all the missing data while the clients would better consider all these aspects beforehand.

 

Script and voice-over

 

The scripts for the future videos come to us in different forms: some of them are really basic, containing preferred timing of the video, general description of the scenes and their sequence while the others present the documentation with the full scenario of the scenes and even the audio with its voice-over. Is that essential to present the audio before the graphics for the video start to be done? Well, it really helps. Having the ready-made voice over, motion designer can achieve the best synchronization of the footage with the sound right from the start of the production process. 

 

As a tip for clients who are considering custom video design for their business projects, we would recommend ordering voice-over from professional voice-actors aka specialist voice talents. Be careful choosing the voice as it should correspond to the offer and mood of the video, all the words should be legible and the tone would better correspond to the preferences of the target audience. The same could be said about the music if the promo doesn’t apply speech: sound and imagery should harmonically support and strengthen each other instead of living their own lives. That is why if needed our team is always ready to take part in the process of choice and recommend possible types of voices or background music which could work well for the created type and style of the video. 

 

Is it possible to start working on the promo video before the voice-over or soundtrack is ready? Certainly, yes. However, the client should be ready that the additional time will be needed for alterations and editing combining the sound with the already created footage which wasn’t based on the given sound initially. This is really the matter of seconds when all movements and sounds have to feel like clockwork.

 

tubik studio teamwork designers managers

 

Storyboard

 

The other part of pre-production stage is fully done on the design team side: it’s a creation of a storyboard for a future short video. Storyboard is the set of organized graphic assets: these are the illustrations arranged in the sequence of their flow for the video. This technique is not a new thing: its early version is said to be invented by the Walt Disney Animation Studio in the 1930s and has been adopted by many animation studios around the world. Storyboard visualizes storytelling and gives the better idea on the flow of the video. It allows design team and the client to discuss the details about the visual part and the sequence of scenes before motion designer starts the actual animation. Depending on the requirements and urgency of the project, images applied for the storyboard can feature various level of fidelity, from simple sketches to sophisticated and detailed illustrations.

 

At this stage it’s vital to set a constructive dialogue between the design team and the client: every single image in the storyboard should be discussed and approved in terms of general idea and goals set for the video. This type of design has many specific features and motion designers have to be ready to explain them: it can happen that clients express ideas and wishes which technically can overload the footage or look bad in the limited timing. Getting deeper into the goals and results which the client expects, designers look for the optimal solutions which will make the video both good-looking and effective.

 

storyboard video design tubik

 

Sometimes the clients come with only the basic understanding of what they want to get not having strong visual preferences. In this case, moodboards compiled by motion designers can give the client a variety of possible styles and flows to feel better what they want to see. 

 

Production

 

When the storyboard is all agreed upon and every illustration in the footage is accomplished hi-res according to the approved style, graphic designers polish all the details and prepare all the necessary assets for the motion design stage. At the moment, the software used for these types of work here in Tubik is Adobe After Effects, so motion designer can work on some elements by himself on the basis of the existing functionality of the tool and without additional effort from the graphic designer side. However, most of the assets are prepared by illustrators and altered in the process if necessary: when it comes to motion, sometimes even slight changes measured in millimeters can have a big impact on the result. That is another advantage of our having graphic and motion designers in one team as they work together on all the details and assets and can consult with each other any moment it’s needed. It makes the workflow dynamic and productive enabling the client to get the video without wasting time on trying to bring several teams together.

 

After the animation of all the shots is done, it’s thoroughly checked along the required timing and harmonic combination with the voice-over. The final version of the video is then delivered to the client to be transferred to the professional sound designer — this service isn’t provided by our team. 

 

animation video production tubik

 

Case Studies

 

Here is the set of short promo videos designed by Tubik team: to check more about the project, follow the links.

 

Promo video for PassFold project

 

Year-in-review video for Opera

 

Promo video animated for Binned

The described creative flow is used here in the studio for not only promotional videos but also for educational videos and cartoons for various purposes. Productive work and effective result are always based on thorough research and tight collaboration with the client to satisfy the viewers and support the business goals at the same time.


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ui design for music apps

Feel the Beat. UI Design for Music Streaming Services.

People like listening to music. It’s an axiom and never a question. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Without music, life would be a mistake.” And who would argue? All of us listen to music daily. Some may prefer rock, others — classical compositions still no one misses a chance to enjoy their favorite tracks. Considering this fact, the need of having a twenty-four-hour access to music seems as a today’s must-have.

 

It’s hard to say how many music service products exist today but the industry constantly grows so designers have lots of work to do. We devote a new article to the peculiarities of UI design for music streaming services. Let’s see what screens are typical for this type of digital products and what elements their UI requires.

 

What do users expect from music streaming products?

 

Music streaming products aim at providing users with an access to the various musical tracks from all over the world. There are both free and paid services trending on the digital market and they are available for different devices including PCs and smartphones. Of course, all music streaming apps strive at uniqueness still they have a common base of tasks to accomplish. Let’s see what this kind of products usually offers to their users.

 

Online and offline music streaming. The majority of music players usually provide online streaming so that users could enjoy various tracks without downloading them on their devices. However, people can’t always have an access to the Internet so the feature enabling to download certain compositions and play them seems to be essential.

 

Playlists. Music streaming products contribute thousands of different tracks but even the biggest music lovers won’t listen to all of them. Playlists are a core part of music players. They allow users to choose and combine their favorite compositions for different mood and situations.

 

Music flow. Sometimes, people get bored of their playlists and want just some random tracks to play. Music flow is a random list of tracks based on the users’ preferences which never repeats itself.

 

Radio channel. They say all new is well overlooked old. Even having a quick access to the favorite music, there are still many radio lovers. In-app radio channels are a nice alternative to the flow as well as an element of entertainment.

 

Music storage. Not all the tracks can be free to listen, which is why music players often give the possibility to buy paid tracks and add them to their playlists.

 

Equalizer. People perceive music differently so the need of sound settings is obvious. Equalizer helps to make music sound in the best way for a user by regulating music tones.

 

music streaming app design

BeatSync App

 

Screens for music service products

 

Based on the users’ needs designers have formed a standard set of screens (pages) which are typical for this kind of product. Let’s see what they are and which UI elements they usually include.

 

Home screen

 

Any digital product has a page or a screen where users start their journey within a product each time they launch it. A home screen is also known as the main page of a digital product. It received its name as it provides a starting point with many further directions for a user.

 

A home page of music streaming products often contains direct links to the most important areas of interaction with an application such as a personal profile, playlists, search field, and music store. Also, a home page provides an insight on music updates as well as the recommended music for a user.

 

Traditionally, UI of a home screen for a music app is made in minimalistic style. Recommendations and music novelties are presented via pictures of album covers or artists’ photos followed by captions saying the name. This way the search process becomes more intuitive and pleasant.

 

Profile screen

 

Profiles are a tool making interaction within a product more personalized. They allow operating with the information effectively and make user experience individual for everyone. As for music products, personal profiles assist developers to gather information about users’ tastes and preferences in music genres and artists. Based on the data, an app will provide listeners with recommended music as well as interesting fresh tracks.

 

In addition, a personal account is a good way to add features of a social app to a music streaming product. This way users can unite in a virtual community of a certain product and share the personal info with the others.

 

The principle of a profile page design remains similar for all types of products. First of all, a profile page should be clear in use. The amount of the information has to be limited otherwise a profile screen may look too complex. What’s more, it’s vital to make sure the navigation system is intuitive so that it wouldn’t have to take much effort to puzzle out the app.

 

UI Navigation menu and Profile screens v2 for Echo case study

Echo app

 

Search screen

 

Hunting for new songs is a daily routine for true music lovers. Designers need to make sure it goes easily and leaves only pleasant impressions. UX for search screen should be well-thought and intuitive so that users could quickly find what they need. An essential part of a search screen are filters helping to sort the received results. There are some typical filters for a music app which include genre, artists, songs albums and a year of release.

 

Playlist screen

 

Music lovers like creating their own playlist for every occasion. Obviously, every music app is obligated to provide their users with such a feature. Playlist screen looks similar on different apps: it’s a list of tracks showing the name of the song, singer or band, and the length of the soundtrack. Also, designers can add a small image of the album this track belongs to. In case a song has no image there still should be an icon, for example, with a music note.

 

Player screen

 

The page which people visit most of the time using a music app is a player. People can control what they listen and how they listen to it via the player. The feature allows switching, stopping and starting a track with standard buttons which are easily recognized. This set is usually placed centrally on the bottom of the screen. The major part of the screen is typically taken by the image attached. Also, sometimes instead of a picture, many designers apply music visualizer as a central part of the screen. Visualizer is a good opportunity to reveal the imagination and creativity which is always inspiring for designers.

 

tubik studio music_app

Music App

 

Music feed screen

 

If a music streaming service provides a possibility to add friends and follow other users, a music feed should also be considered. Feed is usually known as a constantly changing list of news and other data users choose to follow. Music feed includes the updates on the friends’ pages as well as news from the pages of particular artists they follow.

 

Designers make a simple clear UI for music feed which isn’t overloaded with visual details. It allows people to scan quickly through the feed not getting overwhelmed with tons of information.

 

ui design for music app feed screen

Echo app

 

Settings (equalizer screen)

 

Each app needs to have settings screen but a music app requires one specialized option. Besides other standard settings, they provide a possibility to tune the sound of the music. Depending on the music genre experienced listeners adjust the loudness of specific frequencies via an equalizer. Equalizers often look similar to vertical graphics responsible for certain frequencies which users can regulate with sliders. The designers often do experiments with equalizer UI to be certain it’s not boring to use.

 

Music store

 

As we said above, not all the music can be free so a music store comes in handy. UI design for music store usually borrows some principles of e-commerce design. First of all, paid music is presented in a catalog with relevant filters for the search. Clear visual elements support the product not overshadowing it.

 

app UI design Tubik Studio

Singify App

 

Music has always been a source of inspiration for people around the world. Trends may constantly change but music will never step aside as well as products providing us with our favorite tracks. So, possibly, sooner or later each designer will create their own new music product.

 

Recommended reading

 

Mobile UI Design: 15 Basic Types of Screens

 

Case Study: Echo. Designing User Experience and User Interface


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usability testing for web and mobile

Tests Go First. Usability Testing in Design.

A tech guru, Steve Jobs, once said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Unfortunately, some people still think that designers’ job ends with aesthetic aspects of a product. Nevertheless, UX design depends on several key factors including usability, utility, desirability, attractiveness. Each facet plays its role for a sufficient product, so a creative team needs to make sure all them are done right by conducting tests. Today’s article is devoted to the peculiarities of usability testing and various methods helping to discern usability problems.

 

Why does usability matter?

 

Before we go to the essence of usability testing, let’s find out what usability means and why it is called a core part of effective UX. Nielsen Norman Group defines usability as a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The level of usability depends on five aspects: learnability, satisfaction, efficiency, memorability, and errors. Learnability stands for how easy users can attain tasks during the first usage and satisfaction is how pleasant the usage process is. Efficiency is determined by users’ ability to accomplish a task quickly while memorability depends on time which people need to re-establish their proficiency after a period of not using a product. And finally, designers track the number of errors users make and how easily they can learn from these mistakes.

 

When all these factors are considered, digital products provide a high level of usability which means people can easily and effectively use them. But why expert designers are so concerned about a single aspect of UX? Isn’t it more important what services and solutions apps and websites provide? Obviously, the features make a product valuable for people. However, if users can’t figure out how to use an application, it brings zero profit to them. Even the most beautiful interface can’t guarantee a success without a clean functionality system. That’s why one of the core stages of UX building is usability testing.

 

information architecture for designers tubik

 

What’s usability testing?

 

Usability testing is a technique helping to evaluate a product by testing it on potential users. This way designers are able to see if a website or an app is usable enough as well as distinguish possible problems in UX. Usability testing is usually conducted at the UX building stage before a project goes to the development team. It allows changing inefficient solutions easier rather than in a complete product.

 

Moreover, usability testing is a good way to dive deeper into users needs and preferences by watching their reactions while they use a product. Designers can collect the essential information needed for the creation of the effective user-centered design. Also, the gathered information can be used not only for UX design but at the other stages of product development.

 

Types of usability testing methods

 

To reach the high effectiveness of usability testing and gain the expected profit, designers apply various methods which can be categorized into three main groups: explorative, assessment, and comparative.

 

Explorative methods are used at the earliest stages of UX. Designers present wireframes of a product to users and watch their reactions. Explorative methods aim at discovering how people comprehend a concept of a product and how their mental processes work while they use a certain product.

 

Assessment methods are used at the later stages when a user can test a usability of goods via prototypes. Such methods help to evaluate the effectiveness of an app or a website as well as determine the level of users’ satisfaction with a product. Real-time experiments assist to track users’ reactions and errors they make. The collected information is used for eliminating usability problems which have been determined during tests.

 

Finally, comparative usability testing methods are involved when designers need to choose between several solutions. Users compare two or more variants of UX elements then share the opinion with a creative team. Experts consider all the pros and cons of each variant and select the most user-friendly one.

 

There is a great number of usability testing methods. All of them vary and can be used under different circumstances. The choice often depends on goals which a team sets and the budget of a project. We’ve distinguished some common methods helping to test usability. Let’s see what they are.

 

home budget app case study

Home Budget App

 

Hallway Testing

 

This method foresees testing a website or an app on random people, meaning designers can ask someone passing in a hallway or elsewhere. Hallway testing may seem a bit difficult because it requires finding people who would love to take part in such an experiment and then would be able to give a constitutive feedback. The method is often used when the biggest part of work is done so that users could feel it like a complete product. Hallway Testing is one of the most common methods since it’s cheaper and faster than many others.

 

Remote Usability Testing

 

The name of the method speaks for itself. Such approach allows involving people from different countries so that a creative team could see how their product is perceived in various cultures. There are two types of remote usability testing: synchronous or asynchronous.

 

Synchronous remote testing is handled via video conferencing as well as various sharing tools such as WebEx or GoToMeeting. The synchronic approach allows designers to watch how different people use a product in a real-time. Also, users can receive some support from a creator if needed. Still, synchronous remote testing has its drawbacks. Users should be asked to gather in a certain time and if they live in different time zone it may be problematic. That’s why a day and time should be arranged upfront and it may take some time to find the best option for everyone.

 

Asynchronous remote testing is a bit easier to handle. Designers usually set particular tasks which users need to accomplish and then all the information including clicks streams and users’ errors that occur while interacting with a product are gathered automatically. Also, designers may ask users to give a small feedback about their experience. This way a creative team can track how people from different cultures react to the product using it in their own environment (e.g. at home).

 

usability testing

 

Expert Reviews

 

This common method involves evaluation from the experts with experience in usability testing. The approach gives the opportunity to receive wide and constituent feedback and spend less time for it. Experts usually apply testing tools but also they can test it like users. Also, there is another approach called automated expert reviews. It is conducted programs which define usability problems by the use of common patterns. Automated expert reviews are one of the fastest methods still it cannot test all the peculiarities connected with human factors.

 

Paper Prototype Testing

 

One of the essential stages of product creation is wireframing. It is a simplified and schematic visual representation of a layout for website pages or screens of an application interface.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.

 

The wireframes can be presented to users where they can perform certain tasks like in a real product by interacting with paper models. The method may seem unsophisticated still it’s a cheap and fast way to find out usability problems at the early stages.

 

Thinking Aloud

 

Thinking aloud is a usability testing method which aims at collecting feedback from users right in the usage process. Designers ask users to verbalize their thoughts and feelings which they have while using an app or website. A creative team can comprehend the attitude patterns of the potential users and apply the gathered info for future UX improvements.

 

design for users copy in UI

Design4Users Website

 

Is usability testing profitable?

 

We’ve described only several methods of usability testing but there are much more of them. Methods can be changed or combined depending on the goals. If you still doubt whether you need to conduct usability testing, let’s look at the list of tasks which it helps to accomplish and benefits it brings.

  • Collecting the info helping to improve UX;
  • Identifying problems and bugs which a creative team can’t notice;
  • Ensuring user satisfaction with a product;
  • Increased efficiency of products;
  • Reduced cost of development process;
  • Fast problem elimination;
  • A product with a high level of usability will definitely stand out of crowd.

They say better twice measured than once wrong. Just remember that it’s easier to fix problems at the early stages rather than rebuild a complete product.

human memory tips on ux design

 

Recommended reading

 

Usability Testing

 

Precious Errors: Testing iOS Mobile Applications.

 

Usability 101: Introduction to Usability 

 

The Brief Guide to Testing Mobile Interfaces


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gamification in UX design

Gamification Mechanics in UX: Smart User Journey.

From the very childhood people start playing games and they never really stop. Game spirit follows us in every sphere of our life revealing its facets such as challenges, achievements, or rewards from time to time. Trying to transfer game features into everyday life is a habit helping people to deal with complicated situations. Such a tendency could possibly cause the appearance of the gamification concept.

 

The word “gamification” stands for the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment. Designers often use gamification to create effective digital products and secure high level of user engagement. In one of our previous articles, we’ve mentioned common game mechanics such as challenges, points, badges, leaderboards, and journey. Each gamification element serves for certain goals and has a different influence on users. Today’s article is devoted to one of the most commonly used game mechanics called user journey. We’ll define its essence and find out how it works for UX improvements.

 

badges illustration tubik studio

PukaPal Badges

 

What’s user journey?

 

To make pleasing UX design, it’s vital to think out all the stages of user interactions. The thing is that one person may use a product for accomplishing different goals each day, even more, they apprehend the product differently every time. Designers and researchers noticed that experience and user interactions gradually evolve as people gain more skills in using the product. Such characteristics make it similar to a journey which players go through in games.

 

Considering this fact, designers come up with the idea of applying a game mechanic called user (player) journey in digital products. User journey can be defined as user’s progression stages over the time of product usage. Designers create UX that way so that people could go step-by-step through the various features and interactions which gradually change depending on users needs.

 

mobile app design tubik studio

Moneywise App

 

Let’s look at the example. A standard video game always has different levels from the easiest to the most complicated one. This way a player can adapt and easily comprehend how the game works on the easy levels and then constantly learn and make a progress. By the end of the game, a player is usually a skilled competitor who can deal with more complex tasks. If people receive difficult tasks at the beginning, they aren’t able to handle them. Or in case a game only consists of easy challenges, players will soon be bored.

 

The same works with digital goods. A product which has a simple system of interactions often attracts users with its convenience. However, if people use it for a long time and there are no changes at all, they may get bored. In case a product has an enormous amount of features at the start, they may just get lost within it. To avoid such problems, designers need to think of UX as a user journey, guiding them step-by-step to the point of achievement.

 

Stages of a user journey

 

User journey is a game mechanic which aims at making the process of interaction with a product easier and more understandable. A user feels as a real player starting the personal journey of the product usage. Designers plan different stages which a player (user) will gradually go through. Let’s look at the common steps which a user journey includes.

 

Onboarding stage

 

People who only start their journey within a product need to be actually onboarded. It means that users should be offered an introduction to the features so that they wouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake. Also, it is good to present a navigation system if it has some peculiarities.

 

Designers use onboarding tutorials in various digital products. Tutorials appear to users who launch an app or a web product for the first time helping them get oriented within unfamiliar features and controls. One more task designers need to accomplish at the stage of onboarding is user motivation. The product should be presented that way so that people had a motivation to use it more than once. That’s why onboarding tutorials need to contain short but clear info describing the possibilities of a product helping users to understand if a product can be useful for them.

 

tubik_toonie_help_screens_interaction

Toonie Alarm

 

Scaffolding stage

 

When users continue their journey, they go to the next stage of interactions called scaffolding. The step includes disclosing features progressively as the users become more experienced in using the product. Unlike the onboarding stage, users don’t get long instruction. Scaffolding is more like practical part. Users are trained to use a product proficiently, and the more they learn, the more tools (features) they receive. This stage allows users gradually learn more about a product and receive more features as far as they need to use them. Users don’t get a great number of features at once, so the interactions system won’t seem too overloaded or complicated.

 

toonie alarm UI design

Toonie Alarm

 

Progress stage

 

No matter what tasks people do, they always want to know about their progress. Providing the feedback on the results of a user journey, we can inspire them to continue. It’s a core step since people lose the enthusiasm of a beginner pretty soon and they need to be motivated to stay.

 

Some may ask what progress can be in non-game digital products? For example, a social app can notify users when they gained a certain number of new followers or friends. Meanwhile, educational applications can inform users on how much they’ve learned from time to time. All small details matter. Just tell people they achieved something and they get a dose of enthusiasm to continue.

 

blog app design tubik studio

Blog App

 

Endgame stage

 

Designers usually stop at the stage of scaffolding and progress uniting them in the endless loop, where users constantly learn and receive feedback. However, sooner or later people get bored of such patterns and may quit the product. Here is why the endpoint of a journey is also important to be thought out.

 

Endgame stage doesn’t mean that users will receive the message “Thank you for being with us! Bye-bye.” At this stage, proficient users are recognized as experts or veterans and they are usually given some privileges for loyalty. People like to be valued and they often give it right back. It’s not a secret that loyal customers are the best marketing managers for a product. New users willingly follow satisfied users’ testimonials.

 

Why a user journey?

 

User journey is a complex game mechanic which requires deep attention to details. Each stage should be carefully planned and connected to the others. Moreover, it requires long-term plans for future updates, so the process of user journey development may take a long time. Of course, some may ask if it is worth the effort to bring it into a product. Let’s see what user journey can give you back.

 

Clear interaction system. Users receive features gradually at the stage of scaffolding and users learn to utilize a product step-by-step. An approach helps to avoid problems with incomprehensible interactions and functions.

 

Increased user engagement. One of gamification principles is to make users always motivated and involved in “game”. User journey is usually full of different tasks and achievements which people can gain, so users can’t resist game spirit.

 

Customer loyalty. If a product is constantly improved for its users, people really appreciate it. Moreover, if a product has some privileges for loyal customers, people trust it more.

 

Product recognizability. As we said above, satisfied customers are effective marketers for a product. Users willingly share their pleasant experience and it won’t stay unnoticed.

 

The element of fun. As any other game element, user journey is a good way to bring an emotional aspect to a product. People always need some kind of recreational activity so that they could escape from everyday routine for a bit. By adding the fun element into a casual product, you help people reduce some stress and relax for a moment.

 

Animated stickers mood messenger design tubik

Animated stickers for Mood Messenger

 

All in all, we can say that user journey is an effective method for UX improvement. However, a designer and a client should consider the fact that gamification works well not for every product. It depends on a type of an interface, its target audience, and business goals. For more detailed information, check our previous article where we’ve defined the tasks which gamification helps to accomplish and don’t miss the updates on gamification in UI coming soon.

Recommended reading

 

Gamification by Interaction Design Foundation

42 Rules for Engaging Members Through Gamification: Unlock the Secrets of Motivation, Community, and Fun

Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.

Gamification: Designing for Motivation


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gourmet_herbs_website_design_tubik

Sell Like Hotcakes: UI Designs for E-Commerce.

In many cases when we are buying something, it’s not just about getting new things. It’s often about feeling and memories, dreams and achievements, changing ourselves inside and outside, sharing and giving, improving and learning… The advent of new technologies opened new perspectives for both shoppers and sellers, and the process of upgrading this type of relations is in active progress. A decade or two ago, buying something on the Internet was not included in a typical daily routine while now getting things and services in a couple of clicks cannot surprise anyone.

 

This state of things sets new challenges for the sellers, with efficient and appealing digital products for e-commerce ahead. “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful,” said Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, the biggest global online retailer. Today’s generation of shoppers is different in its vast majority: they are ready to buy almost everything online, they want to see the simple way to do it, they demand secure payment and fast delivery — and good design to present that all. That’s why websites and applications for e-commerce are so various: they have to attract their customers without getting lost in the ocean of the online competition. Well-designed user experience, based on research of the market and target audience as well as nice and effective visual performance, grows the chances of getting profits: in e-commerce sphere, the connection between design and profits is tighter than anywhere else.

 

Today we would like to offer you the set of interface concepts created by Tubik designers with the issue of e-commerce in mind. Here you’ll find the websites, mobile applications and landing pages aimed at selling products and services.

 

Website for a florist shop

 

web design florist store ecommerce

 

Flowers present the popular way to express various feelings and celebrate special occasions. Here’s the design concept for the online florist store: the general stylistic concept is light, minimalist and airy while prominent theme photos set the mood and inform users about the nature of the e-commerce offer. The home page sets the theme, establishes branding with the logo and slogan and shares some information about the service. The header gives the instant access to the extended menu of items hidden behind the hamburger button as well as provides the links to search, wishlist and shopping cart presented with minimalistic stroke icons. The footer includes the links to important service pages and accounts in social networks.

 

florist shop website design

 

Another page shows the catalog of items organized in cards: each presents the high-quality photo which is vital for this kind of business, price, and ability to add it to the cart or save to the wishlist right from the catalog page. There’s also the cloud of tags marking popular categories for better navigation.

 

florist shop website design

 

If the user wants to learn more about the particular offer, it can go to its product page, like the one shown above, and check the details.

 

Application for the e-commerce jewelry store

 

jewellery ecommerce app UI

 

Here’s a set of interactions for the app design concept of the online jewelry shop. The presented screens show the starting point of interaction with the app from the splash screen to the catalog showing categories of goods and special offers. The app provides theme photos setting the instant visual associations with the offered items while icons are stroke and minimalistic not to distract buyers’ attention. The color palette features pastel shades which look sophisticated on general layout full of light and air, and that feeling is supported with smooth and unobtrusive animation of the interface elements.

 

jewellery ecommerce app

 

The presented screens show the animated interactions with items: you can see how users can choose a product from the catalog, check its details and rating. They can also share the product cards to their social network accounts and open check out. Visually, the center of the visual composition is focused on the images presenting the items, while icons are stroke and minimalistic not to distract buyers’ attention.

 

Application for a cinema

 

cinema_app_ui_design_tubik

 

Despite the Internet, movie portals and super TV-sets we have in our homes, going to the cinema is still one of the most enjoyable and popular ways to spend free time either alone or together with friends and family. We follow the premiers, check the schedules, discuss acting and special effects afterward. And obviously, it is another perspective for e-commerce challenge. Here’s a sort of creative experiment — a mobile application for a cinema chain called Cinema App. The home screen shows the list of films presented with instantly recognizable posters. Tapping on the one among them, users see a screen of the particular film with all the necessary details: genre, trailer, description, rating, as well as the showings for the particular city for a particular date.

 

cinema app interaction ui animation

 

And this is the flow of choosing and booking the seat. Selecting a particular showing, users can see the available seats, choose the ones they like and book them, paying right from the app.

 

Landing page for dance academy

 

dance_academy_website_interactions_tubik

 

Here is the animated set of interactions for the landing page of the dance academy called HeartBeat. The elegant and minimalistic layout shows prominent theme images, gives short descriptions of the activities and links to core areas of information as well as provides the contact form to get in touch. The top section includes the horizontal slider which informs users about the upcoming workshops. Scrolling down, users can read brief descriptions about the academy and the types of classes it offers with buttons enabling to learn more, and they can use the simple contact form to get in touch. The designer was inspired by the photos of dancers by NYC Dance Project, Paul B. Goode, Andrew Eccles, Paul Kolnik, and rich animation of the dancers added a special experience to scrolling. This approach creates a sort of wow-effect to support aesthetic satisfaction which corresponds to the preferences of the target audience. This is the effective example of selling the original type of services with sophisticated design solutions and a good balance of beauty and simplicity.

 

Website for herbs and spices store

 

web design UI tubik studio

 

This is the design concept of The Gourmet, the online market for herbs, spices, seasonings and all that kind of stuff. Here you can see a product page presenting a particular item with the prominent theme image, description, price, and ability to add the item to the cart. The minimalist header provides the links to the core areas of the website while hamburger menu hides the extended catalog. Moreover, here designer tried a creative experiment: this concept applies design techniques traditional in e-commerce for fashion but the type of goods is very different – they are for eating and cooking.

 

Bookshop Website

 

online_bookshop_website_design_tubik

 

The famous author Stephen King once said: “Books are a uniquely portable magic” and numerous generations of readers prove it all the time. More and more people now use the Internet as the source to both learn about books and buy them. To support this direction of e-commerce, here’s the design concept for an online bookshop Book Pitch. The interface uses light and airy background and includes several theme blogs showing news, bestsellers, categories of items and reviews from readers. The visual presentation is strengthened with slight scroll animation.

 

bookshop website animation

 

Landing page for selling exhibition tickets

 

museum website

 

Although the sphere of art doesn’t look directly linked to e-commerce, the connection really exists: more and more users are buying and booking tickets online. Here’s the interface for this service — a landing page promoting an art exhibition. The idea behind it was to make this sort of informative promotion aesthetic and unobtrusive for the user as well as highly informative. It applies the horizontal scroll with the smooth animation of cards presenting key exhibits, shows the locations and dates and prominent call-to-action for buying a ticket.

 

Landing page for an online travel gear store

 

Travel Gear Landing page by TUBIK

 

Here is the layout of a landing page: the company presented by it sells gear for extreme sports and active traveling so images were selected to set immediate understanding of the main theme. The page includes the general description of the shop, presents the ability of transition to the catalog via the description of hot offers and also has testimonials part to provide users’ opinion about the service.

 

Website for a bakery

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

Another example the concept of a bakery website for which we presented the full design case study here before. Here is the animated version featuring interactions with the website: home page, catalog the f offers and the page presenting a particular position. The designer followed the philosophy of minimalism which is user-friendly, attractive and informative. Dark background supports the brand image with the idea of the elite and exclusive offer as well as set the ground for sophisticated presentation of the sold items.

 

Randomizer for the online furniture store

 

tubik studio design UI

 

Here’s the concept of a randomizer that allows users to choose between many options of designer chairs in this case. However, the idea can be applied to any e-commerce digital product. This is a helpful thing as usually we don’t know what we want until we see it. Minimal and bold color palette and prominent item images make the interface helpful and intuitive for users.

 

Landing page for online farm grocery

 

Landing Page Animation Tubik Studio

 

As a famous writer George Bernard Shaw once said, there is no sincerer love than the love of food. This one is a landing page whose aim is to promote the shop of organic food. It is composed of several blocks presenting the products, highlighting some important aspects of service, call to actions and testimonials.

 

Website for the fashionable clothes shop

 

fashion clothes ecommerce website

 

Another example of design for e-commerce presents the layout of a catalog page for the website of a company selling fashionable clothes for women. The header includes the links to the global categories of the clothes and the page features the fresh arrivals with photos on models, pricing, and brief item description.

 

Useful articles

 

If you want to go deeper into the theme of design for e-commerce and learn more about strategies, principles, terms and practical cases, this set of articles can be helpful

Hit the Spot: Design Strategies for Profitable Landing Pages.

UX Design for E-Commerce: Principles and Strategies.

Business-Oriented Design. Know Your Target.

Case Study: Vinny’s Bakery. UI Design for E-Commerce.

Short but Vital. Key Abbreviations in Design for Business.

Business Terms in Design for E-Commerce. Sales Basics

Landing Page. Direct Flight to High Conversion.

Case Study: Saily App. Designing C2C E-Commerce App.


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Welcome to read or download free e-books about Design for Business and Problem-Solving Web Design

UI design for blog app

Gestalt Theory for Efficient UX: Principle of Similarity.

Many designers can boast of having creative intuition and a sharp eye: they add as much passion and feeling into the layout of the future website or app as rational thinking and measurement. In lots of cases, that’s not bragging but the real skill to see all the details together, to feel the possible pitfalls of the user flow, to find the original solutions not ruining usability. Yet, there’s no magic on this way: this skill is based on not only talent but also practical experience and persistence in studying theory, standards, and guidelines which quickly change together with technology and devices. Even creative experiments are based on the knowledge of interaction mechanisms and factors influencing them: to break the rules, you have to know them well.

 

Visual hierarchy in web and mobile interfaces belongs to the domain knowing which designers strengthen their creative potential. Exploring the ways how people perceive information and using them for building good navigation, digestible copy, and effective color choice has a great impact on the usability of the product — and scannability as its important part. So, today we are going back to basics: let’s start revising how Gestalt grouping principles can affect user interfaces positively.

 

What is Gestalt theory?

 

Basically, Gestalt is the term that comes from the German word Gestalt [ɡəˈʃtalt] meaning «shape, form». It is used primarily in cognitive psychology for the field exploring the laws of meaningful perception of the data which people constantly get from the world that seems primarily chaotic. The basic idea behind this movement can be caught through the well-known phrase by Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka: «The whole is other than the sum of the parts». When people perceive the complex objects consisting of many elements, they apply conscious or subconscious methods of arranging the parts into a whole organized system instead of just the set of simple objects. It works on different levels of perception, but the visual part seems to be the most interesting for designers creating interfaces.

 

Why could designers get interested in this issue? Because it helps understand the psychology of the app or website users better. When you know the factors influencing visual perception, it makes the process of UX design much more proficient giving higher rates of successful interactions and lowering the level of misunderstandings users could get on this way. Among the various levels of this approach, principles (or laws) of grouping are probably the most essential for designers to consider. These principles are based on the idea that people arrange what they see along with some patterns organized into five global categories: Proximity, Similarity, Continuity, Closure, and Connectedness. Here’s one of the infographics offered by Vertical Measures blog and visualizing the core description for some principles.

 

gestalt-theory-grouping_principles

Source

 

In user interfaces, principles of grouping applied thoughtfully make the perception of layout elements quicker and easier as well as establish the priorities in different levels of interaction. Today we are going to consider the similarity principle of grouping widely used in design practice.

 

Similarity principle

 

The principle of similarity is grounded on the idea that things which share visual characteristics such as shape, size, color, texture, value or orientation will be seen as belonging together. It means that if a person perceives the set of elements, he or she tends to group the ones which have one or several features alike as the related items.  Therefore, giving different layout elements identic or similar visual features, designers stimulate users to set the appropriate connections and understand the whole scheme faster.

 

Similarity can be based on various visual parameters such as color, shape, size, and orientation. Let’s check some practical examples on interfaces designed by Tubik team.

 

Color

 

bright vibe calendar UI design tubik

Bright Vibe Calendar

 

Here’s the common example of applying color similarity in the simple calendar app. The letters marking the days of the week on the calendar screen are visually grouped with one color which is different from the colors used for the numbers in the calendar grid. Therefore, the quick glance is enough to separate these types of symbols — color simplifies the process of the first scanning. The next level of color similarity takes place in the field of numbers: the dates on the week which the user has chosen look brighter while the other dates of the month look more faded. The key interactive zones are colored brightly and present the visual accent which is instantly noticeable and cannot be missed. So, color enables the designer to make the easy path of navigation for a user with effective visual hierarchy via the principle of grouping.

 

todo list UI app tubik studio

To-Do App

 

One more example here shows how grouping by color can be applied effectively for the copy in graphical interfaces. You can see the screen of a to-do app where the position which is already marked as done is featured in different color compared to the tasks that are in progress. It enables the user to scan the list quickly and group the kinds of tasks in split seconds.

 

tubik studio blog app

Blog App

 

More complex application of grouping principle by color is marking categories and blocks of content. It works very well in the interfaces full of various content organized on several levels such as, let’s say, blogs, e-commerce or educational resources etc. Color markers simplify navigation and keep the consistency of design enabling users to remember the color prompts and find the content they want easily. The example above shows the blog app applying this principle: various posts are organized around global categories and marked with colors which you can see on icons, colored tabs on the posts and correspondent quick stats of posts in the user profile. The same principle is applied in the Moneywise App shown below.

 

mobile app design tubik studio

Moneywise App

 

This is the educational app devoted to economics: the content is organized into four global categories. The color used to mark the category is used as the background color for all the cards belonging to it. So, in the process of interaction, it helps users to quickly get oriented where they are.

 

Surely, this way of color grouping goes further as it organizes not just the elements on one screen but different screens or pages within all the digital product. However, it also corresponds to the Gestalt principles: such an approach allows designers to create interfaces which look and feel consistent and support the general integrity of visual perception from screen to screen, from one interaction to the other.

 

Size

 

The principle of similarity grouping the elements by size is another cornerstone in creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces as it establishes the basis for strong visual hierarchy supporting users. This approach helps to set the priorities and make the most important content visible. Grouping the similar content elements by this principle arranges the connection between them, often faster than a user can read the copy or see all the details.

 

The good way to present this principle in action is checking the organization of copy content.

 

website design UI

Architecture Firm Website

 

The example features the corporate website of an architecture company. The copy blocks presenting the benefits and approaches of the firm are supported with the keywords applying two grouping principles simultaneously: they use different size and different text orientation. In the process of interaction, they are obviously perceived as the related elements. Also, the extended menu page shows the typographic hierarchy grouping copy elements by size: keywords, categories, and subcategories.

 

tubik studio button ui

Tab bar interaction concept

 

Here’s another example of grouping by size and color. We can see the concept of a tab bar in which interactive elements of equal importance are given in the same size and faded shade while the core interactive element — plus button —  is made prominent via bright color and bigger size. Moreover, trying to add the content via this button the user is offered three options for different types of content. And again, grouping the appearing three buttons which use the same color as the parent button but smaller size, the interface enables the user to set the connections and hierarchy of navigation elements easily based on typical operations of cognitive perception.

 

Shape

 

One more way to group the elements on the web page or screen is marking them by shape. 

 

tubik studio motion design ui

Green Spy app interactions

 

The example shows the app which uses cards of the same shape to simulate the interaction with the physical objects — the base of data cards. This approach allows the user to perceive the set of content blocks as related.

 

Homey app smart home UI

Homey App

 

The interface for Homey app shown above also presents the example of grouping by shape consistently from one screen to another: the buttons marking the rooms use the rounded-square shape while the buttons of various indicators within a particular room screen use the round shape. It sets the clear connections between the related layout elements as well as global navigation in the app.

 

Although we have just started revising Gestalt theory usage in design, it’s already obvious that knowing these simple yet effective principles can save much effort for users and support user-friendly interfaces with mechanisms that work according to human cognitive abilities and psychological patterns. Follow the updates to check the explanations and examples for other grouping principles: proximity, symmetry, continuation and others. 

 

Recommended Reading

 

Design Principles: Visual Perception And The Principles Of Gestalt

Improve Your Designs With The Principles Of Similarity And Proximity

Gestalt Theory of Visual Perception

Gestalt Principles: How Are Your Designs Perceived?


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