Tag Archives: design psychology

psychology of shapes in design tubik article

Knock Design Into Shape. Psychology of Shapes.

The success of any visual composition highly relates to how people perceive it. There are many factors influencing human perception and the significant part goes to psychology. In one of our articles, we’ve already discussed the role of psychological principles in design and described how useful they can be on the way to understanding users.

 

The aspect which we want to cover in today’s article is called the psychology of shapes. Let’s see what this direction studies and how it can help designers in the creative process.

 

Psychology of shapes

 

All the visual objects can be analyzed in terms of shape. For example, an average house may be perceived as a rectangle with a triangle on the top and the sun is often presented like a circle with lines around it. People may not always notice what figures and shapes surround them still they have a great impact on our consciousness and behavior. The science studying the influence of shapes on people is known as the psychology of shapes.

 

The study claims that each shape has its own meaning and influences our mind and reactions differently. There are many psychological tests which are used to define the personality or mental condition via shapes. For example, a favorite figure can tell about person’s character traits, a quickly chosen shape can show what’s on the mind.

 

Many years of research and tests have helped professionals to define what meaning each shape typically brings and how it can influence human perception. Let’s take a closer look.

 

animated tutorial

Social network tutorial animation

 

Geometric shapes meaning

 

Hearing the word shape most people think about geometric figures first. There are plenty of geometric shapes which people see daily including squares, circles, rectangles and others. But what do they mean? Let’s see.

 

Squares and Rectangles

 

These two shapes are thought to be the most commonly used. We see them many and many times per a day. The walls and furniture, books or monitors, cell phones and cameras as well as many other everyday things have square or rectangular shape. Straight lines and right angles of these two shapes give a sense of reliability and security. People strongly associate squares and rectangles with buildings the reason why they bring the feeling of trust and authority.

 

Common meanings:

  • discipline
  • strength
  • courage
  • security
  • reliability

 

tubik_photo_app

Photo App

 

Triangles

Triangle is an energetic and dynamic shape which is always associated with motion and direction. The lines are placed that way so our eyes automatically move to the top of a triangle or in the direction it is placed. Triangles can have different meanings. An upright triangle brings the feelings of stability and balance but the reversed one looks risky and ready to fall giving people a sense of tense.

 

Common meanings:

  • excitement
  • risk
  • danger
  • balance
  • stability

 

Circles, ovals, and ellipses

 

The first and foremost meaning of this shape is the eternity since they have no beginning or end. The circle has a long association with the sun and Earth as well as other cosmic objects while ellipse is similar to the whole universe. That’s why round shapes may give the feeling of magic and mystery. In addition, unlike the previous shapes circles don’t have angles so it makes them softer and milder.

 

Common meanings:

  • eternity
  • female
  • universe
  • magic
  • mystery

 

tubik_art_courses_app

Art Courses App

 

Spirals

 

These shapes can be often seen in nature, for example, shells and some flowers, the reason why it’s often associated with the circle of life and growth. Also, in some cultures, spirals may represent the knowledge or information. In modern society, they are seen as a sign of creativity and a fresh mind.

 

Common meanings:

  • growth
  • creativity
  • calmness
  • intelligence

 

Big City Guide Madrid tubik

Big City Guide

 

Natural shapes meaning

 

All the things created by mother nature have their unique shape. Leaves, flowers, trees, animals, and many other representatives of flora and fauna become the source of inspiration for artists and designers. Natural shapes have clear meanings of the plants and animals which they symbolize. They often bring the feeling of refreshment and unity with the natural environment. In addition, animals and plants can also have their own characteristics and symbols. For example, a rose is a flower of love and passion, while a lion is a symbol of pride and bravery but this is another topic to discuss.

 

Common meanings:

  • originality
  • organic
  • balance
  • refreshment

 

andre landscape tubik studio logo design

Andre landscape logo option

 

Abstract shapes meaning

 

They are usually visual symbols of abstract ideas or simplified versions of natural shapes. Some abstract shapes can be too difficult to recognize because they are stylized and only small details give a hint to what it is. One abstract shape often has both direct and figurative meanings.It is often used in graphic design, especially for logos and icons. Abstract shapes are an effective way to transfer a message quickly without text.

 

Common meanings:

  • the duality of meaning
  • uniqueness
  • elaborate.

 

wedding_theme_website_ui_design_tubik

Wedding theme

 

How designers use psychology of shapes

 

Shapes are essential elements in all design directions. They can serve as components of a visual composition as well as a content organizing tool which divides or connects design elements into groups. To make the sophisticated design, experts need to consider the meaning of shapes and the impact which they have on users’ mind.

 

Graphic designers often deal with small but meaningful elements such as logo and icons. A powerful logo needs to convey the right message which would serve as the brand voice. If the shapes are chosen appropriately for a logo, they will assist to convey the right mood without additional words. For example, in case of a logo for a financial company, one of the approaches can be applying to apply the shapes which convey the feeling of trust and balance such as square or triangle.

 

Various shapes are often found in user interfaces of digital products. They can be used as buttons or icons as well as applied to organize the content on the layout. For instance, text blocks are often gathered in a rectangular or square shape which allows users to quickly scan copy. Using different shapes designers can create effective information architecture for a product. The elements of the layout may be structured in certain shapes so that make users’ eyes easily find core information. For example, if we place the content in a triangular shape placing the vital component on its top, people’ eyes will automatically go to the peak.

web design UI concept tubik studio

The Big Landscape

 

Psychology of shapes plays a big role in typography. There is a great number of typefaces and all of them have their individual impact on visual perception. Some kinds apply round shapes as a dominant and they seem more feminine and mild unlike those with straight lines and sharp angles which are more formal and sometimes aggressive. That’s why it’s important to pay attention what shapes are dominant in a chosen font to avoid a conflict between the context and visual presentation.

 

The human mind is full of secrets and it’s often hard to predict possible reactions. However, the science of psychology helps designers be prepared and comprehend how our brain works, at least at some basic level. Knowing psychology of shapes designers are able to create proficient logos along with problem-solving user interfaces for web and mobile products.

 

Recommended reading

 

Color in Design: Influence on Users’ Actions.

Psychology in Design. Principles Helping to Understand Users.


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

Gestalt_Principles_in_UI_Proximity

Gestalt Theory for UX Design: Principle of Proximity.

Human brain is an amazing data processor whose broad capacity still hasn’t been explored at full. For designers dealing with user experience of any kind, knowledge of cognitive abilities and mechanisms is highly helpful in creating a user-friendly product. Today we offer you to continue our talk around this theme.

 

One of the previous articles here has started the series of posts devoted to Gestalt theory and ways to effectively apply it in UX design. For a brief reminder, Gestalt theory is based on the following idea: 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. We have already presented the definition of Gestalt theory, the principles of grouping in particular, as well as looked into the principle of similarity for user interfaces. This time let’s discuss the principle of proximity for UX design.

 

Principle of Proximity

 

This principle is based on the cognitive tendency to perceive the objects close to each other as related, especially in comparison with those which are placed farther. Having the urge to organize the variety of data and objects around, people often group them this way automatically, much quicker than they start real thinking about it. So for designers, this is another good prompt how to organize the interface along natural ways the brain absorbs and classifies data. The simple scheme by Andy Rutledge, given below, visualizes the principle of proximity.
proximity-group-gestalt

Source

 

The important thing to bear in mind is that via research and experiments proximity proved itself more powerful than other distinctive features such as color or shape, for example. People tend to see elements as related if they are close to each other in comparison to other objects even if other features differ, like another simple scheme below shows.

 

proximity principle in design

 

In user interfaces, which are full of different content, the principle of proximity helps a designer to organize the layout to make it scannable and easily-perceived for users. It’s not a secret that users aren’t ready to spend much time learning how the complex interface works so intuitive screen which can be quickly scanned has much more chances to retain the users and give them the best features of the website or app.

 

In general, we could define two directions of applying proximity principle in user interfaces: for typography elements and copy content and for blocks of different content and controls. As well as in the previous article devoted to grouping principles, we will support them with examples by Tubik designers.

 

Typography and copy

 

One of the domains in which proximity plays the crucial role is the organization of copy content in user interfaces. Scannability of the copy blocks in the layout is vital because readers don’t usually stay on the pages which look like a long homogenous thread of text. First, most users scan the page and check the hooks like headings, subheadings, highlights, and keywords, and only then read more if they got interested. That is the reason why copy should be arranged according to the laws of both quick perception and aesthetic looks. 

 

White space, also known as negative space, plays the great role in this process. It allows a designer to activate the power of nothing:  the space without any content not only adds the air to general layout but can be also used to organize its elements as groups and unities where it’s needed. 

 

typography in ui design

 

For copy content, it can be used in different ways. For example, with white space, a designer can harmonically separate the paragraphs in a big bulk of text to make it more digestible and visually pleasant for readers: this approach is often applied in blog articles and big copy blocks on websites. In this case, the principle of proximity signals that the copy lines which are closer to each other present the unified idea or piece of information and in this way makes all the text structured. 

 

tubik_studio_structure

 

Here’s the interface concept of architecture blog. The principle of proximity works in this UI on several levels. First, it unites the lines of one copy block to be decoded as one piece of information. Secondly, every copy block is placed close to the image it describes so even quick scanning lets the viewer understand that they belong to each other and present the single piece of content in general layout. The call-to-action element — link «See more» — also works according to the principle of proximity being placed a bit farther than the body copy content but close enough to show that it is included in this particular content block. So, we can see that in this case, the designer activated proximity both inside and outside every particular block of content making them harmonically arranged while the general layout structured. Pieces of copy are beautifully composed around the theme illustration and are scannable in split seconds.

 

This approach also works well for extended lists like menus and catalogs. Proximity applied thoughtfully becomes the effective tool to organize all the positions and group them effectively.

tubik studio web UI design

 

For example, let’s look at Slopes website. The links to the core interaction zones of the websites in the header are quickly perceived as one unified group as they are placed close enough to each other and far from other content. The same works for the extended menu hidden behind the hamburger button: the links are organized in groups which are visually defined due to their close placement. Negative space used according to the principle of proximity strengthens the general visual hierarchy of the page.

 

Blocks of content and controls

 

One more domain where proximity can have a positive impact on user experience is organization of diverse content blocks in the layout: except copy, these can be images, links, icons, controls, CTA elements, products cards and loads of other stuff. The principle of proximity allows designers to arrange these blocks in a way which most naturally corresponds to natural human abilities of visual perception.

 

ui animation design tubik

 

For example, here’s the e-commerce app for a jewelry store. The right screen shows the product card: we can see that the general data about the item — color, width, weight, and material —  is given in several lines which are close to each other and therefore are naturally perceived as a unified piece of content. At the same time, the detailed description of the item presenting quite a considerable piece of writing is placed further and in that way separated a bit from the data file. So, these content blocks don’t merge and users can easily differ key data from the detailed description.

 

website design tubik studio

 

Here’s another example, grounded heavily on the principle of proximity — a layout of an online magazine. All the content and control blocks are arranged on the basis of the broken grid and without any frames separating them from each other. Proximity of the elements allows users quickly define core content zones: the set of links in the header, the list of the latest publications on the left, the field of the preview for the fresh article and the block of social network links in the footer. Moreover, inside this global block the principle of proximity continues to separate or unify the elements: according to it, the designer arranges the positions in the list of latest publications around different topics as well as separates the links to the web pages in the header from the controls of instant action such as search or subscription. This approach not only makes the layout elegant and scannable but also strengthens intuitive navigation for better usability.

 

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: symmetry, continuation, closure and others. 

 

Recommended Reading

 

Gestalt Theory for Efficient UX: Principle of Similarity.

Cognitive psychology for UX: 7 Gestalt principles of visual perception

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?


Welcome to see designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

Welcome to read online or download the free e-book «Problem-Solving Web Design»

gamification in UI UX tubik blog

Gamification in UX. Missions and Challenges.

A life is always full of challenges and that what makes us self-improve again and again. The same pattern works with digital products. When users have challenges to handle and missions to attain, they have reasons to come back to an app or website.

 

In our previous articles, we described the role of gamification (the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment) in UX. Also, we explored one of the game mechanics called user journey. Today’s article is devoted to a mission and a challenge as two effective gamification elements. Let’s see how they can be applied in a digital product and what solutions they can bring for the efficient UX.

 

Mission and challenge as game mechanics

 

Every game provides missions and challenges to the players so that their journey would be exciting and interesting. People go from one mission to another handling different challenges on their way. Accomplishing the levels players grow from beginners to professionals which helps them feel more confident in the world of this game. These game mechanics have the same effect on apps and websites.

 

Users need the motivation to return to a digital product every day. One of the most powerful motives which move people to do something is a desire to prove that we are able to handle any kind of challenges. So, why not to make a good use of it? Let’s see what mission and challenge are in terms of product UX.

 

upper app UI design case study

Upper App

 

Mission

 

A mission is basically a task which users need to complete. Missions serve as guidelines which help users adapt within a product. People learn how to use an app and improve their skills by accomplishing one mission after another. There are also repeatable missions which can return every day, week, month or any other interval. This kind of game mechanics keeps users motivated and engaged daily and makes them constantly go back to a product.

 

Challenge

 

Challenges can be compared to the stairways which lead users to the end of a mission. In other words, they are mini-tasks which people need to do to complete a major task. For example, users have a mission to gain a new level of user proficiency so that they could have an access to extra features of a product. To complete the task, users have to handle certain challenges such as visiting a website daily during a week.

 

A mission and a challenge are effective game elements motivating people to take an action which can be great tools on the way for UX improvement. To enhance their effect, it may be a good idea to use some kind of rewards, so that users could feel even more motivated.

 

Mission and challenge in digital products

 

To delve deeper into the topic, let’s see some practical examples of how and where missions and challenges can be applied as effective UX boosting tools.

 

home budget app case study

Home Budget app

 

First of all, we need to say that these game mechanics are widely used for educational applications. Learning itself is often a difficult process which requires persistence and motivation to get things done right. That’s why one of the main tasks of educational apps is to keep the learners interested and motivated all the time.

 

Various missions and challenges can work as powerful motivators for people. Game elements are able to make educational process more dynamic and exciting especially for young learners. What kind of a mission and challenges to choose depends on the type of educational material. For example, language learning apps can challenge the users in learning of a certain number of words per a day.

 

Another sphere of human life where people challenge themselves day by day is a sport. Fitness apps are useful helpers for both amateurs and professional sportsmen. They track our activities as well as show how a body reacts to physical exertion. So, why not to add the element of fun? Providing new missions and challenges, fitness apps help people self-improve their sports skills and reach greater heights.

 

fitness app UI design tubik

Fitness App

 

One more example of applying mission and challenges in digital products is alarm apps. To be more specific, let’s see a practical case of the app called Toonie. It’s is a simple alarm app for iOS which wakes people up whenever they need it. The thing that makes it stand out of the crowd is custom stickers which users receive as a reward for handling challenges such as waking up at the certain time. This way users turn into collectors and take one challenge after another to gather all the stickers available.

 

toonie alarm stickers ios tubik

Toonie Alarm app

 

These are only a few examples of how missions and challenges are applied in products. Designers can experiment with game mechanics and apply them to the most ordinary digital products. This way they may add the element of uniqueness.

 

When and why to apply mission and challenge

 

To define if missions and challenges suit your project, let’s see what solutions they may bring to UX.

  • Missions help to onboard users which only start their journey. They guide people assisting to adapt within a new interaction and navigation system.
  • When users accomplish tasks from applications, they achieve different life goals. For example, taking challenges such as doing squats every day, they move forward to their big life goal — getting fit.
  • Challenges are strong motivators which induce users to take the expected actions. They are the effective tools assisting to increase user engagement.
  • Game elements such as a mission and challenge add interactivity to digital products.
  • They can bring the element of fun to an ordinary product making it stand out of the crowd.
  • Missions and challenges make people return to an app or website more often because some tasks require constant actions within a product.

 

Animated stickers mood messenger design tubik

Animated stickers for Mood Messenger

 

Gamification may not work well for some products. Everything depends on the business goals which stand behind a product as well as the solutions which it brings to users. Before you start gamification process, you need to consider the peculiarities of a target audience and learn if the game elements respond to the users’ needs.

 

— Make sure if the potential users will have time and desire to take the challenges. In some cases, people just need to use a product quickly and leave it till the next.

— Missions and challenges should be optional to attain. Even if the target audience is inclined to challenges, there is still a part which would prefer to skip the tasks.

— Keep the level of gamification in balance. Depending on the type of a product choose the number of missions and challenges as well as their level of difficulty.

 

gamification in UI UX tubik blog

Night in Berlin App

 

Motivation is a powerful engine that makes people move forward. Challenges and missions are the game mechanics serving as motivators for users. The curiosity and excitement drive people to continue performing various the missions and handling and spend more time on an app or a website. Stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.

Gamification Mechanics in UX: Smart User Journey.

Gamification

Challenge Accepted! The role of challenge for gameful design


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

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 a 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


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

Welcome to read us on Quora

tubik_quotes_design_for_emotion

Design for Emotion: Expert Tips by Aarron Walter.

The highest priority, which the designers set creating a website or mobile application, is functionality and usability of the interface — and for sure, that’s a right direction. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that one of the crucial conditions of positive user experience is desirability. People aren’t only made of logic and action, they are also full of feelings, intuition, emotions, and memories. That’s what designers have to keep in mind aiming at user-friendly products.

 

Earlier we have already shared numerous expert quotes, tips, video talks and books worth reading to support our readers with useful resources. In particular, you could check the insights into Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro — the book belongs to the series A Book Apart supporting designers with the diversity of expert tips, case studies, and resources. Today continuing this way, we would like to share a new set of quotes from the book highly recommended for UI/UX designers: Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter, former Director of User Experience in MailChimp and now the VP of Design Education at InVision. The book offers the reasons why users’ emotional respond means much for setting positive user experience strengthening this idea with references to scientific research works and practical case studies of design for recognized websites. So, here we will save a bunch of 35 useful expert tips from the book for Tubik Quotes Collection — join in and let’s look into the design for emotion together. 

tubik_quotes_design_for_emotion
 

For a user’s needs to be met, an interface must be functional. If the user can’t complete a task, they certainly won’t spend much time with an application.

 

Many websites and applications are creating an even better experience. They’re redrawing the hierarchy of needs to include a new top tier with pleasure, fun, joy, and delight. What if an interface could help you complete a critical task and put a smile on your face? Well, that would be powerful indeed!That would be an experience you’d recommend to a friend; that would be an idea worth spreading.

 

We’ve been designing usable interfaces, which is like a chef cooking edible food. Certainly we all want to eat edible foods with nutritional value, but we also crave flavor. Why do we settle for usable when we can make interfaces both usable and pleasurable?

 

design_quotes_tubik 02

 

Emotional experiences make a profound imprint on our longterm memory. We generate emotion and record memories in the limbic system, a collection of glands and structures in the brain’s foldy gray matter.

 

When you start your next design project, keep this principle in mind: people will forgive shortcomings, follow your lead, and sing your praises if you reward them with positive emotion.

 

Certainly, emotional design has risks. If emotional engagement compromises the functionality, reliability, or usability of an interface, the positive experience you wanted will mutate into a rant-inducing disaster for your users. A friendly wager with an upset customer isn’t always going to turn the tide.

design_quotes_tubik 03

 

Our definition of beauty originates in our own image. The human mind is exceptionally skilled at scanning objects and information to discover meaning in abstract forms. We can find traces of ourselves in most anything we see, and we like that. Our ability to find signal and discern patterns in so much noise is a very important trait we use to navigate life, and as you might expect, this ability to recognize patterns greatly affects the way we design.

 

As you increase the number of high contrast elements on a page, you proportionally increase the time needed to perform a task, learn a system, and remember pathways. Adding stuff pushes the human brain to its limits. Have you ever been to a party where everyone is yelling to speak to the person next to them? As the volume increases, everyone must speak louder to be heard, but that makes it even harder to have a conversation. Design works in the same way. If everything yells for your viewer’s attention, nothing is heard.

design_quotes_tubik 04

 

 

Design is too often wrongly taken for the indulgent frosting on a functional interface. Have you ever overheard a colleague declare, “It would be nice if we could have a sexy interface, but people care more about what the site does than how it looks”? Would this person show up to a job interview in their pajamas because people only care about what they can do and not how they look? If they did, I’d bet they’d discover that thinking is flawed.

 

Through our personalities, we express the entire gamut of human emotion. Personality is the mysterious force that attracts us to certain people and repels us from others. Because personality greatly influences our decision-making process, it can be a powerful tool in design.

 

With personality as the foundation of your designs, you can layer more emotional engagement on top.

design_quotes_tubik 07

 

 

Emotional design’s primary goal is to facilitate human-to-human communication. If we’re doing our job well, the computer recedes into the background, and personalities rise to the surface. To achieve this goal, we must consider how we interact with one another in real life.

 

In modern web design, we research, plan, and create with our audience’s attitudes and motivations in mind. User experience designers interview their audience, then create personas—a dossier on an archetypal user who represents a larger group. Think of personas as the artifacts of user research. They help a web design team remain aware of their target audience and stay focused on their needs.

 

Following a structure similar to a user persona, you can flesh out your design’s personality by creating a design persona. Personality can manifest itself in an interface through visual design, copy, and interactions. A design persona describes how to channel personality in each of these areas and helps the web team to construct a unified and consistent result.

 

We know that people using websites and applications navigate and process content quickly and that their attention is limited. Introducing surprise into an interface can break a behavior pattern and force the brain to reassess the situation.

design_quotes_tubik 08

 

Aside from being the right thing to do, surprising people with kindness and individual attention can help a business achieve success.

 

Anticipation is what game designers call an open system. Games designed with an open structure, like The Sims, allow users to wander and shape game play on their own terms. Open systems encourage people to use their imagination to create a personalized experience.

 

Giving users the power to choose changes the tone of their response. When forced to change, people often react negatively. Allow people to change on their own schedule, and you empower them, diffusing animosity. We’d all rather hear “You may …” instead of “You must ….”

 

Surprise, delight, anticipation, elevating perceived status, and limiting access to elicit a feeling of exclusivity can all be effective in getting your audience to fall in love with your brand. But your tactics must be appropriate for your audience and brand experience.

design_quotes_tubik 09

 

As designers, we’re in a unique position to help users follow their gut instincts. Using common design tools like layout, color, line, typography, and contrast, we can help people more easily consume information and make a decision driven by instinct more than reason. Just as you chose the shirt you’re wearing because it felt right, we can help our audience sign up for a service or complete a task because their gut tells them it’s the right thing to do.

 

The way type, color, and layout fit together says a lot about a brand and shapes new users’ perceptions.

design_quotes_tubik 10

 

Appearance can greatly influence perceptions, and we carry that mental model with us when sizing up a website.

 

Skepticism is not the only obstacle we confront when trying to entice our audience to act. Laziness is just as big a hurdle. In truth, people really aren’t as lazy as we like to think they are. They’re just looking for the path of least resistance to their destination. When people are reluctant to act, sometimes a little incentive gets them moving.

 

Great design that uses cognitive and visual contrast not only makes you stand out, it can also influence the way people use your interface.

design_quotes_tubik 05

 

Users react apathetically to websites when the content is irrelevant to their interests, or when content is poorly presented. Content strategy will help you create the right content for your audience.

 

Great content delivered in an emotionally engaging manner is like kryptonite for apathy.

design_quotes_tubik 11

 

Emotional design is not just about creating positive experiences and overcoming obstacles. It can also help us deal with difficult situations like server downtime, lost data, or bugs that affect a user’s workflow. Mistakes happen. Things go wrong. But a well-crafted response, and the cache of trust you accrue with your audience through prolonged emotional engagement, can save you in times of trouble.

 

In fact, when you create a compelling experience, your audience will often forget about the inconveniences they’ve encountered over time and just remember the good things about your brand. So long as the good outweighs the bad, you win.

 

When people are deeply stressed by an outage or a mistake you’ve made, you must explain what happened swiftly, honestly, and clearly. Give people the facts of the event, communicate that you’re doing your best to resolve things, then update users regularly, even if not much has changed.

design_quotes_tubik 06

 

Updates let people know you’re still focusing all of your attention on resolving the problem. They give you another opportunity to apologize for the inconvenience and reassure your users that you’ll fix the problem as quickly as possible.

 

In high-stress situations, your top priority must be to tame negative emotions as best you can and, if possible, shift them back to the positive.

 

Emotional design is your insurance to maintain audience trust when things aren’t going your way. If you’ve ever been emotionally committed to someone who has hurt you, you know that the human response to such situations is driven by gut feeling more than by logic. You don’t add up the good and bad experiences in your mind and do a detailed comparison before deciding whether or not to maintain ties with the person. You simply respond based on the strength of your emotional commitment. We react similarly to products and services.

design_quotes_tubik 12

 

Emotional engagement can help us look past even the most serious infractions, leaving the good more prominent in our mind than the bad. Psychologists call this phenomenon of positive recollection the rosy effect. As time passes, memories of inconveniences and transgressions fade, leaving only positive memories to shape our perceptions. This is good news for designers, as it means that the inevitable imperfections in our work don’t necessarily lead to mass user exodus.

 

Emotional design does more than entice and keep your audience, it helps ensure you’re talking to the right people. Not every customer is right for your business. Some will be so high maintenance that they will cost you more than they contribute. That can be a real morale and financial drag.

 

We’re not just designing pages. We’re designing human experiences. Like the visionaries of the Arts and Crafts movement, we know that preserving the human touch and showing ourselves in our work isn’t optional: it’s essential.

design_quotes_tubik 01

As a bonus, we also add the video talk by Aarron Walter continuing the ideas from the book — it was included in the set of must-see expert speeches for UI/UX designers.

 


 

Welcome to check the quotes by Mike Monteiro from «Design Is a Job» for A Book Apart

Welcome to check issues of Tubik Quotes Collection on brandingusabilityuser-centered design and content strategy

Welcome to read or download Tubik Magazine free books on logo design, design for business and problem-solving web design

information architecture for designers tubik

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

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

 

What’s information architecture?

 

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

 

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

 

UX design process tubik

 

The role of information architecture in design

 

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

 

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

 

IA and UX design

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

tubik studio design process ux

 

IA system components

 

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

 

Organization systems

 

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

 

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

 

web ui design city guide

Big City Guide

 

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

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

Vinny’s Bakery Website

 

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

 

mobile app design tubik studio

MoneyWise App

 

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

 

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

 

Chronological schemes. This type organizes content by date.

 

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

 

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

 

book swap app tubik studio

Book Swap App

 

Labeling systems

 

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

 

gym landing page concept by Tubik

 

Gym Landing Page

 

Navigation systems

 

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

 

Searching systems

 

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

 

tubikstudio-ui-ux-design

 

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

 

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

 

Recommended reading

 

IA for the Web and Beyond

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

Information Architecture Basics

The Difference Between Information Architecture and UX Design


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

UX design process tubik

7 Key Motives to Invest Time and Effort in UX for Digital Product

Even if you are far from the design field, you must have heard of user experience (UX), since it has been a buzzword for the past few years. In a nutshell, it is the general attitude and emotional feedback that user has after interacting with the product. UX is based on several key factors such as usability, utility, desirability, attractiveness, the speed of work etc. Nowadays, user experience is thought to be as important as the visual identity. However, some companies still doubt if the UX design is a must-have or it’s just a trend which is a waste of time and money. Today we offer you to find out if UX design really matters and how it can help your business succeed.

 

Why does UX design matter?

 

Nowadays many companies say about the importance of effective UX spending money and time on its development. But what makes them think so? It is already proved that the success of the business heavily depends on how much users enjoy the product. UX design aims at enhancing user satisfaction by making products more useful and easy to use.

 

Some people may think that UX is based on the visual elements of the design but it’s much more than that. UX design is a complex process which consists of many stages including user research, wireframing, prototyping, visual and graphic design, animation and testing. It requires time and knowledge to create effective UX, the reason why it may involve additional innvestments not always expected by companies. However, UX design is beneficial for both startups and already existing products since it assists in many aspects which form the successful product including user engagement, usability, utility, and conversion rates.

 

If you have a complex website such as retail, it is crucial to have the effective UX design. It helps to organize content on the pages in the best way for the users’ perception and make navigation clear. Without appropriate UX design, there is a risk of losing users because they may find your product too complicated and useless.

 

The statistics collected in recent years show that 95% of mobile apps are quit within a month. That’s why to keep new users utilizing your app or website, the product should have pleasant experience which will make them stick around. Despite the given stats, according to User Experience Survey Report, only half of the companies invest time and effort in UX for the digital products.

 

Conducting the research for this article, we’ve distinguished seven key aspects of the successful product which can be managed via effective UX design.

 

UI design product management

 

Effective usability

 

Today the word “simple” isn’t associated with something boring. It is now the crucial aspect of the successful product. Don Norman in his book “The Design of Everyday Things” says that two of the most important characteristics of good design are discoverability and understanding. Users expect products to be simple and clear in use so that they could feel confident of what are they doing and don’t take much effort. This aspect heavily depends on UX design of the product.

 

UX designer’s objective is to create consistent experience for the digital products to keep users mind at ease. An effective UX design guides visitors through the websites and apps showing them what you can offer. UX designers can conduct deep user research and analysis and do some testing on few representatives in order to eliminate unnecessary, difficult and inexplicit options and make the digital product useful. What’s more, UX experts can create effective onboarding of the product which introduces people to the features of the app making users feel welcomed and not afraid.

 

 Tubik-Studio ux design

 

Driven user engagement

 

User engagement is a measurement of meaningful actions taken by the users and it’s one of the core aspects of the profitable products. Every company aims at creating the product with the high level of user engagement but not many of them know that good UX is a solution to this issue. Well-thought UX always includes various techniques that make users take the expected actions.

 

One of the trending methods in UX is gamification which is the technique of exerting game elements into the non-game environment, such as websites and mobile applications. Gamification brings the element of fun to the websites and applications. Moreover, game mechanics are the powerful motivators for the users. As the example, you can set the tasks for the users and give the awards to those who accomplish them. Curiosity and excitement drive people to continue performing various tasks and spend more time on the app or the website. UX experts are able to influence users’ behavior and motivate them as “players” to do the expected actions via game elements such as a challenge and rewards.

 

Unique product

 

It’s hard to say how many apps exist and how many of them have failed at the very beginning of their journey. There are loads of similar and even identical products on the market so businesses are looking for the answers of how to make users choose their products. UX experts can predict users’ reaction to your product by analyzing target audience needs and requirements. If you bring people the product with pleasant experience which is enjoyable and satisfying users’ needs, you may be sure they will distinguish your app from the others and give the preferences to it.

 

Tubik Studio UI UX designer

 

Saving money

 

UX design isn’t a free or cheap service still, it’s much cheaper than fixing usability problems when the product is on the market. Based on user research, UX designers accurately choose the set of features and plan the user interaction processes to exclude possible usability problems. In addition, UX experts carry out testing on some representatives of the target audience to analyze their reaction and improve the issues. UX design on the stage of product creation costs significantly less than making changes in your product after it’s been built.

 

Customer loyalty

 

Nowadays customers are extremely demanding and the unpleasant experience can make them annoyed in a second and they won’t return to the product again. Unhappy users will never be loyal to your product, so you have to make sure the people enjoy your product. UX design is a right way to your clients’ hearts. If your product is associated with the enjoyable experience, users will doubtfully change it to something else. What’s more, happy customers are more likely to recommend your brand to the others.

 

UI research web and app design tubik

 

High conversion rates

 

According to Nielsen Norman Group, the conversion rate is the percentage of users who take the desired action. The archetypical example of conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who buy something on the site. UX designers master many techniques of the target audience analysis that allows them to influence on improving conversion rates. Deep user research and analysis help them defining the problems of usability and reasons making customers leave the product. Knowing the pain points of the product, you can solve them to increase conversion rates.

 

Positive brand experience

 

Brand recognition depends on not only the visual image but also the provided experience. Many users remember your product and form their opinion about it during the first time they’ve used the product. The first experience is vital and if it’s bad, your brand risks losing the customers. Good UX design can guarantee your brand positive experience. Providing product which users enjoy to use, you improve your brand recognition, because users don’t forget the things they have enjoyed.

 

UI design product management

 

Powerful UX design is obviously beneficial for businesses. It can be hard to see all its value but the fact remains: UX is an essential part of the successful product. It’s a tool which helps solve the problems of such aspects as usability, utility and user engagement. And finally, compelling UX design can save money and efforts which otherwise you would have invested in fixing and improvement of the low-quality product. What’s more, on this way you risk losing users who will not give your product the second chance after facing first bad interaction. Considering all the points said above, we may state that the companies get much more from UX design than they spend on it.

 

Recommended reading

 

Here are some articles providing further interesting explorations of the topic:

 

UI/UX Glossary. Steps to Usability.

 

The Business of User Experience

 

User Experience is Brand Experience

 

Good UX Is Good Business: How To Reap Its Benefits

 

The business value of User Experience (UX) Design

 

Conversion Rates


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

tubikstudio homepage design

Best Practices for Website Header Design

Everyone knows: there is not the second chance to make the first impression. In the sphere of digital products, this eternal truth works in terms of high competition and incredible diversity. No doubt, some zones of the webpage or mobile screen are particularly important and effective in this aspect. Today we are going to discuss one of them in deeper focus: the header of the website.

 

In the issue of UI/UX glossary devoted to the web design terms, we have already provided the brief overview of what is a header. Today let’s look a bit closer at the topic and discuss what are the functions of a header and recommendations for its design. In addition, we will show a bunch of web design concepts applying different approaches to header design.

 

What is a header?

 

In web page layout, header is the upper (top) part of the webpage. It is definitely a strategic part of the page as the area which people see before scrolling the page in the first seconds of introduction to the website. Being somehow a sign of invitation, header should provide the core information about the digital product so that users could scan it in split seconds. In design perspective, header is also the area making the broad field for creative design solutions which should be catchy, concise and useful. Headers are often referred to as «Site Menus» and positioned as a key element of navigation in the website layout.

 

tubikstudio ui webdesign

 

The presented concept shows the home page for the online bookshop selling comics. The top horizontal area aka header presents the logo lettering showing the name of the website and the core navigation around: links to the catalog of items, fresh and special offers, blog, action figures, an icon of the shopping cart typical e-commerce websites and the icon of search.

 

What can a header include?

 

Headers can include a variety of meaningful layout elements, for example:

  • basic elements of brand identity: logo, brand name lettering, slogan or company statement, corporate mascot, photo presenting the company or its leader, corporate colors etc.
  • copy block setting the theme of the product or service presented
  • links to basic categories of website content
  • links to the most important social networks
  • basic contact information (telephone number, e-mail etc.)
  • switcher of the languages in case of multi-lingual interface
  • search field
  • subscription field
  • links to interaction with the product such as trial version, downloading from the AppStore etc.

It doesn’t mean that all the mentioned elements should be included in one web page header: in this case, the risk is high that the header section would be overloaded with information. The more objects attract user’s attention, the harder it is to concentrate on the vital ones. On the basis of design tasks, designers, sometimes together with marketing specialists, decide on the strategically important options and pick them up from the list or add the others.

 

Let’s have a look at a couple of examples to see which of the mentioned elements designers placed in the header for particular websites.

 

tubikstudio ui animation website design

 

This is the website of an interior design studio. The upper part of the page presents the sticky header which stays in the zone of visual perception all the time in the process of scrolling. It is divided into two blocks: the left part features brand logo while the right part presents the interactive area with links to several information blocks like «Product», «Studio» and «Press» and call-to-action button «Shop» marked out with a shape. The central part of the header uses negative space for visual separation of these two blocks.

 

tubikstudio homepage design

 

Here is another sample of the webpage with a bit different approach to the header design. This time the composition is built around the center featuring the logo and brand name. Left and right side are balanced around it with two links each allowing users to scan quickly and move to the information blocks they are interested in.

 

Why is header important?

 

There are several issues why the header is a vital element of many websites.

 

The first thing to consider is eye-scanning models which show how users interact with a webpage in the first seconds. This significant domain of user research is massively supported by Nielsen Norman Group and provides designers and usability specialists with the better understanding of user behavior and interactions.

 

In brief, when people visit the website, especially the first time, they do not explore everything on the page carefully and in detail: they scan it to find a hook which would catch their attention and convince them to spend some time on the website. Different experiments collecting data on user eye-tracking have shown that there are several typical models along which visitors usually scan the website. In the article about 3 design layouts, the author Steven Bradley mentions the following common models: Gutenberg Diagram, Z-Pattern, And F-Pattern. Let’s check what are the schemes provided for them in the research.

reading pattern

Guttenberg Pattern is quite typical for the web pages with the uniform presentation of information and weak visual hierarchy. As it can be seen from the scheme we found in Steven Bradley’s research, it marks out four active zones — and two of them go across the typical header area.

 

reading pattern zig-zag

Another scheme features Z-pattern and the presented zig-zag version is typical for pages with visually divided content blocks. Again, the reader’s eyes go left to right starting from the upper left corner and moving across all the page to the upper right corner scanning the information in this initial zone of interaction.

 

f_reading_pattern_eyetracking

 

One more model is F-pattern presented in the explorations by Nielsen Norman Group and showing that users often demonstrate the following flow of interaction:
 

  • Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F’s top bar.
  • Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the F’s lower bar.
  • Finally, users scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eye-tracking heatmap. Other times users move faster, creating a spottier heatmap. This last element forms the F’s stem.

 

All the mentioned models show that whichever of them a particular user follows, the scanning process will start in the top horizontal area of the webpage. Using it for showing the core information and branding is a strategy supporting both sides: readers scan the key data quickly while website gets the chance to retain them if it’s presented properly. That is the basic reason why header design is an essential issue for UI/UX designers as well as content and promotion specialists.

 

In one of the articles devoted to practices of header design, its author Bogdan Sandu mentions an important point that should be kept in mind: «People judge the quality of a website in just a few seconds and a second impression is something absent on the Internet. In conclusion, a website must be eye-catching else, it would be nothing more than a big failure».

 

Another thing to consider is that the header can become a great help in presenting the essential data to the user quickly and providing positive user experience via clear navigation. However, that doesn’t mean that every website needs a header. There are many creative solutions providing designs applying typical header functionality in other zones of the layout. Every case of website design needs analysis and research of target audience for the product or service.

 

Design practices

 

Readability and visual hierarchy

 

The choice of typefaces for headers and the background color should get under highly rigorous research and testing as the aspect of readability in header plays a vital role. The user has to be able to scan and perceive this basic information as fast as possible without any sort of additional effort. Otherwise, you risk providing the non-user-friendly interface.

 

online magazine design tubik studio

 

The design concept for a news website presented above features the header including the title of the website as a central element of the composition, two active links to basic categories of publications, link to live mode and search field marked with a magnifier icon.

 

web design UI concept tubik studio

 

Here is another website whose layout is built on the broken grid, so the header corresponds to this approach. The left part of the header is visually longer and consists of four elements: the logo and the links to three data blocks, while the right part is shorter and includes only two layout elements: search and call-to-action button market out with the shape and colored for the high level of contrast.

 

One more thing to remember is that there are different ways for a header to transform in the process of scrolling the page down. Some websites use fixed header, which always stays visible and active at any point of interaction with the website; others hide the header in the process of scrolling. There are also websites which do not fully hide the header but shrink it in size in the process of scrolling, which means that they hide secondary information and leave only the core elements of the layout active and available during all the process of interaction.

 

Hamburger menu

 

Another design solution which is quite popular in perspective of header functionality is hiding basic links of data categories behind the hamburger button. It is called so as its form consisting of horizontal lines looks like typical bread-meat-bread hamburger.

 

hamburger button tubik studio

 

This button is usually placed in the header and nowadays it is a typical element of interaction. Most users who visit and use websites on the regular basis know that this button hides the core categories of data so this trick does not need additional explanations and prompts. Hamburger menus free the space making the interface more minimalistic and full of air as well as save the place for other important layout elements. This design technique also provides additional benefits for responsive and adaptive design hiding navigation elements and making the interface look harmonic on different devices.

 

tubik studio ice ui website

The presented web design concept shows the version of hamburger menu. As the menu of the website contains many positions, the designer uses this technique placing the hamburger button in the area of initial interaction — top left corner. It allows creating the header supporting general minimalistic style of the website. The horizontal area of the header is divided into two zones: the left zone presents branding and a short introduction of the website colored in red and keeping visual consistency with visual performance of the headline and call-to-action element of the page; the right zone features icons of social networks and search icon. The central part of the header is left empty which adds some air and balance to its design and works as a negative space separating two different functional blocks.

 

tubik studio web UI design

 

This design concept presents the website with an original structure of the page, leaving the wide light margin in the left part of the page, with the brand name and logo in the top left part which is the first point of scanning. The other part presents interactive zone and has its own header composition: hamburger button to the left and four core links of transition to the right. As this example of interaction shows, hamburger menu allows the designer to organize numerous theme blocks of information and provide effective visual hierarchy. 

 

Although hamburger menus still belong to highly debatable issues of modern web and app design, they are still widely used as header elements. The arguments against hamburger menu are based on the fact that this design element can be confusing for people who do not use websites regularly and can get misled with the sign which features a high level of abstraction. So the decision about applying hamburger button should be made after user research and definition of target audience’s abilities and needs.

 

Fixed (Sticky) header

 

Sticky headers present another trend able to boost usability is applied effectively. Actually, it enables to provide users with navigation area available at any point of interactions, which can be helpful in terms of content-heavy pages with long scrolling.

 

Tubik studio UI design

 

The presented design concept of a website has a fixed header which doesn’t hide while the page is scrolled. However, it follows minimalism principles featuring brand name lettering as a center of the composition, magnifier icon marking search functionality and hamburger button hiding links to navigation areas.

 

website design for photographers

 

Here is one more design concept featuring creative approach to the header design. The initial view of the home page includes the extremely minimalistic header: it shows only social icons and the search. However, scrolling down users get the sticky header with quite a traditional set of navigation items: the first element to see on the top left part is hamburger button hiding the extended menu, then branding sign followed by the links to thematic information blocks. The composition is finished with the search placed in the top-right part of the page in all the process of interaction with the page and supporting the feeling of consistency.

 

Double menu

 

Double menu in the header can present two layers of navigation. We have shown the example of such trick in one of the recent case studies for a bakery website.

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

As you can see, the website also uses a sticky header which consists of two levels of navigation. The upper menu shows the links to social networks, the logo, search, shopping cart and hamburger button hiding the extended menu. The second line of navigation gives instant connection to the core interaction areas:  products catalog, locations for the point-of-sales, news and special offers, information about the service and contact section. Visual and typographic hierarchy makes all the elements clear and easily scanned providing solid ground for positive user experience.

 

The bottom line is simple here: header of any website is the strategically vital zone of interaction for any website. Each particular case requires its own approach which will be informative and usable for the specific target audience. User research can provide the good basis for the design solutions which can follow quite traditional forms of header organization or require totally new perspective.

 

Recommended reading

 

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

 

3 Design Layouts: Gutenberg Diagram, Z-Pattern, And F-Pattern

 

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content

 

Sticky Header Usability: Making Menus Part of a Great User Experience

 

30 Interesting Examples Of Headers In Web Design

 

Headerlove: curated collection of headers design


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

Welcome to read the UI/UX Glossary: Web Design

badges_illustration_tubik_design

Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.

The user-centered approach, which strives for creating products highly responding to the user’s needs, has become the major philosophy behind many projects. Following this method designers constantly search for the new techniques improving user experience which depends on various aspects including emotions. The thing is that users expect a product to be simple and enjoyable in use, so the idea to add a “fun” element to the UX came as it is. But how to make the product fun and enjoyable in use? The technique called gamification was created to solve the problem. Let’s find out what’s the method of gamification in design and how it can improve UX.

 

What is gamification?

 

When we say word “gamification” in the context of design, it can be easily mistaken with the game design. Still, these terms hardly relate to each other, even more, they are opposite in many aspects. In the tech world, the word “gamification” stands for the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment, such as websites and mobile applications. For example, if you want to encourage the users to interact more with your application, you can add the game element such as a challenge. They can be challenged to check-in every day during a week and be rewarded if they do so.The thing is that people like having a clear goal and even more to be rewarded after it’s achieved, so such a challenge would doubtfully pass unnoticed among the users. This way, designers are able to influence users’ behavior and motivate them as “players” to do the expected actions via game elements such as a challenge and rewards.

 

toonie alarm stickers ios tubik

Toonie Alarm

 

Types of game mechanics for UX improvement

 

Gamification is a complicated design technique which requires using various game mechanics referring to the interactive UI elements. The main task for designers applying gamification is not to turn the product fully into a game. For this reason, there have been distinguished the effective game mechanics that are commonly used in design. Let’s see what they are.

 

Challenge

 

Human nature always makes us take the challenges and prove that we are able to handle them. So, a challenge is thought to be one of the most compelling game elements motivating people to take an action which can be a great tool on the way for UX improvement. In order to enhance the challenge effect, it may be a good idea to use some kind of rewards, so that users could feel even more motivated.

 

upper app UI design case study

Upper Streak Challenge in Upper App

 

Points

 

To measure the players’ success, many games use the points system. The gamified product can apply the same scheme that helps both users and stakeholders: the first sees their achievements and the others can estimate user engagement of the website or application. It is not necessary to make the count of points in the rating form. It may be just the number of check-ins or video views.

 

Badges and stickers

 

When users complete the challenge or gather a certain number of points, they can be awarded the badges or stickers. This kind of virtual rewards is often used in video games, so people are familiar with them. Stickers have gained people’s love long ago, therefore this kind of rewards will be appreciated. Besides, the badges and stickers give much room for the creative experimentations since they can be designed in various ways. Such rewards can become the additional drivers of motivation.

 

badges_illustration_tubik_design

PukaPal Badges

 

ui animation design tubik

Toonie Alarm Stickers

 

Leaderboards

 

The thing making the challenge even more interesting for people is the competition. Not many things can motivate users better than the desire to be the leader. The list of the “players” ranked in the order “Who’s got more badges” can increase users’ enthusiasm. However, in some cases, it may work contrarily demotivating people due to high ranks of the others. That’s why this game element is recommended to be applied carefully.

 

snake battle app UI design

Snake Battle

 

Journey

 

This game mechanic aims to make the process of interaction with the product as easy and understandable as possible. The user should feel as the real player starting the personal journey of the product usage. For example, on the onboarding page from which the user starts, they can be offered an introduction to the features, so that users won’t be afraid to make a mistake. When the journey continues, it is recommended to use the method of “scaffolding”. It means to disclose features progressively as the users become more experienced in using the product. Such an approach allows people to avoid errors and makes the product pleasing to use. Also, the journey element may be supplemented with the progress feature. Providing the information about the progress of the user’s journey, we can inspire them to continue.

 

graphic design tutorial tubik studio

Singify App Tutorial

 

Constraints

 

Many of us may think that it is not funny at all, still, there is a game element constraining players’ time. For example, the task in the games are often needed to be complete in the limited time, otherwise, players lose. The same approach can be applied to the gamified product. Users may be offered to do something which is available only today. The constraints make people react faster and somehow motivate them to take an action right here and now.

 

night in berlin tubik design case study

Night in Berlin App

 

These are some common examples of game elements in design but there is a room for the innovative game mechanics that can be applied in UX design. The major point to consider is that the product shouldn’t become too playful if it’s not expected according to general stylistic strategy and brand image.

 

The role of gamification in UX design

 

Today the method of gamification is widely used in design since it is thought to help to solve many problems in UX. The appropriate use of gamification and well-chosen game mechanics can become a valuable tool for UX designers on the way to increasing user engagement of the product as well as conversion rates. So how does it work? First of all, the gamification brings the element of fun to the websites and applications. People enjoy the interactive process full of fun, challenges, and competitive spirit similar to video games, so they are encouraged to go back. Furthermore, the game mechanics are the powerful motivators for the users. The game elements set the tasks and the awards are promised to those who accomplish them. The curiosity and excitement drive people to continue performing various the tasks and spend more time on the app or the website.

 

In addition, today gamification already goes as one of the major design approaches. Plenty of designers have caught the hype and actively apply this method in various projects. That’s why many users might already have an experience of interacting with the gamified products which mean they expect the same from yours.

 

Animated stickers mood messenger design tubik

Animated Stickers for Mood Messenger

 

Summing it up, gamification is quite a new technique which is now on the path of active proving its reliability as an effective design method. Nevertheless, its popularity is growing really fast so it has good chances to become the leading approach in a short time.

 

Recommended reading

 

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

 

Gamification And UX: Where Users Win Or Lose

Gamification: Designing for Motivation

5 examples of great gamification

Introducing Game Mechanics for Gamification


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

design for business

Business-Oriented Design. Know Your Target.

Successful business in never a simple game: it is the complex mechanism and to make it work, we have to know the factors of influence and methods of their effective combination. Design is definitely one of those secrets which can have a great impact on profits and promotion. Moreover, this is the coin of two sides, because real design is not only about the nice skin and stylish look but also about functionality and utility. So, today we continue the series of posts devoted to design for business goals. 

 

Earlier we have already published the glossary posts with key notions for the topics of business terms and abbreviations useful for designers as well as highlighted some aspects in more details in the free ebook «Design for Business». This time let’s add some deeper insights into the essence of setting and exploring the target of the product and the mutual influence of design and marketing have on each other.

 

design process

 

Marketing

 

«Marketing is a contest for people’s attention». Seth Godin

 

Definition. In general terms, marketing is the set of studies and methods devoted to the management of exchange relations. Basically, it is the multi-layered process whose aim is to connect the products with the customers. It can involve the variety of advertising and promotional activities, market and customer research, organization of sales, direct and indirect communication with the target audience. In terms of tough and diverse competition on most markets nowadays, marketing is the strategy and the trophy to achieve is users’ and customers’ attention.

 

Design aspect. Design and marketing have been supporting each other for many decades, so there are two basic directions of their connection.

 

The direction from marketing to design means involving techniques of marketing into the design process from the early stages of product creation or updates. The cases when marketing strategy is thought out from the stage of ideation on the future product makes design even more meaningful: not only do designers create the product solving users’ problems or satisfying needs, but also set the channels and ways how product can be noticed by the customer, how it can get interesting for target user and what are the ways to show its benefits effectively. Knowing all that stuff, the designers can find the appropriate UX — the logic of the product and UI — visual presentation of its features. Each tiny element or aspect like the color or shape of a button to the global approach to color palette, the choice of fonts and the space between elements on the page or screen, every transition and microinteraction designed properly and applied wisely can have a huge impact on the success of the product and its ability to fulfill the business goals.

 

web design tubik

Web design for e-commerce: Vinny’s Bakery

 

Moreover, it must be said: the high-quality user-friendly product is the best marketing strategy. That is why design plays the crucial role as it creates the features and the wrapping able to attract users’ and engage them, spark the wish to use it again and make it helpful so that users could have the solid reason to love it.

 

The reverse direction from design to marketing means that design itself becomes a powerful way to present the product or even the person on the market. Design solutions applied for creating commercial, corporate or personal identity through branding become the foundation for the marketing strategy, in most cases starting from the moment when the product gets its sign of distinction such as logo or icon. Designers create visual support of the promotional campaigns from posters, leaflets, and brochures to complex sets of branded items and corporate interior style of point-of-sales. As long as people are the creatures of not only physical but also social and aesthetic nature, design is going to take a big part of any business success.

 

business cards design

Corporate branding: design of business cards

 

Anyway, marketing is the point where people who create the product and those who build the bridge between the product and the customer should have the same goals: to provide users/customers with something that will be helpful and satisfying their needs. To do that, first of all, it’s important to set the group for which it is created and analyze what its preferences are.

 

Target audience

 

«In sales there are going to be times when you can’t make everyone happy. Don’t expect to and you won’t be disappointed. Just do your best for each client in each situation as it arises. Then, learn from each situation how to do it better the next time.» Tom Hopkins

 

Definition. The term «target audience» comes from the spheres of publishing, in which it means the readers intended for the particular book or edition, and marketing, in which it sets behind the group of customers potentially interested in the particular product or service. The quickly developing sphere of digital products such as websites or applications absorbed this term immediately meaning the audience which presents the potential users of the specific app or website. 

 

Certainly, for many creators, it can be hard initially to find out what their target audience is: they would like this product to be used and loved by everyone. Still, in real life, it’s a sort of utopia which can become a death knell for the product. Selecting the core target audience and then, if needed and possible, broaden the abilities of the product to make it attractive and useful for the broader circle of users in many cases proves itself as much more successful and effective strategy. Setting the priorities, it’s easier to concentrate on key functionality and make it faster than trying to satisfy everyone at once.

 

wedding planner app UI design

App design for wedding planner

 

Design aspect. As we mentioned in the ultimate guide to creating a mobile application, user research and market research are highly advisable to be done at the start of the creative process to provide the designer or the creative team with understanding what their target audience is:

— what their interests and wishes are

— what kind of communication and lifestyle is convenient and common for them

— what problems they have and which of them the designed product solves

— what are the typical environments when they use this kind of products

— where they could get the information about the product

— what could stimulate them to try the product

— what could engage them to get back to it again after the first experience

— what could involve them into using the product on the regular basis

— what could make this product different from the others on the market for the target users.

 

Joel Anderson said, “You can’t just open a website and expect people to flood in. If you really want to succeed you have to create traffic.” Design is one of the powerful methods to do it, especially in cases when it’s strengthened with appropriate copy and general content selection. Creating custom graphics, supporting microinteractions with motion, writing clear, concise and informative copy, choosing readable fonts and nice color combinations, setting landing pages for specific purposes instead of sending the user to the tons of information on the home page of the website, you can directly attract and create traffic that will give profits and support the thriving business.

 

toonie alarm UI design

Funny and bright design for Toonie Alarm

 

upper app UI design case study

Minimalistic and elegant design for Upper App

 

Targeting

 

«You can’t wait for customers to come to you. You have to figure out where they are, go there and drag them back to your store.» (Paul Graham)

 

Definition. Briefly, targeting is another term from marketing widely applied in the sphere of digital design. It is usually associated with the strategy and techniques of the particular target audience to find the best and the shortest ways to attract their attention to the particular product.  

 

Design aspect. The scheme is very simple: when you shoot without seeing your target, the chance that you will score exists but its miserably slim. If you shoot seeing the target, the chances grow. The closer you come to your target, the higher becomes the possibility of hitting the mark. 

 

This metaphor successfully works in both marketing and design. Having set who the potential user of the designed website or app is and researching the basic and extended data about this group of users, designers are able to create the solutions which will get close to the user along one or several factors. Let’s briefly review what aspects and factors can influence this process setting the directions of targeting.

 

Geographic targeting. Location of the person is important to set the cultural background as well as the natural environment of using the product. It means that even one product can be different in some visual features or operational performance to satisfy users from the particular country or region, up to having different names to sound more catchy or informative on the local market.

 

Gender targeting. If you know that your target audience is mostly man or mostly women, this kind of data can have a great impact on design solutions based on the psychological and perceptional difference. Even such a basic aspect as color choice can be highly influenced by the gender of core target audience. 

 

Psychographic targeting is grounded on knowledge of motives which move the user to try this type of product. It is based on deep knowledge of the typical lifestyle, interests etc.

 

Demographic targeting happens when creators and marketers are focused on catching attention and involving a particular demographic group, for example, based on age, ethnicity, income, qualification, marital status, having kids etc.

 

Behavioral targeting is based on defining the target audience along the particular models of behavior, for example, young adults regularly visiting night clubs or people buying coffee and drinking it on the go. 

 

ui animation design tubik

Night in Berlin App

 

Understanding the process and methods of targeting and getting this sort of knowledge enables designers to choose the shortcuts to users’ needs and wishes. That is why in cases of outsourcing design it’s highly advisable to take all the chances of getting maximum possible information about the potential users and business goals from the customer. One of the good methods is creating user personas, user stories and user cases, on which we will give more details in our next posts.

 

Recommended reading

 

Hopefully, these insights will somehow help designers to get closer to the market creating goal-centered products for various businesses. Before soon, we will definitely provide you with new posts and thoughts on this theme, meanwhile here is the list of recommended articles which could be helpful.

 

Personas Make Users Memorable for Product Team Members

5 ways design and marketing can work together better

One Persona to Rule Them All

Designing for your target audience

Matching site design to your target demographic

Short but Vital. Key Abbreviations in Design for Business.

The Importance of Design in All Marketing Campaigns


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

Welcome to read or download the free ebook «Design for Business»