Tag Archives: design

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

ux_design_practices_article

Get Professional. Useful Habits for UX Designers.

To become a UX expert, designers need to work hard on the daily basis. Constant self-improvement and love to what you do are two key factors helping to become a master of your craft. Of course, all UX experts have their personal secrets of the success still they have something in common. There are certain characteristics which differ amateurs from the real professionals. The new article describes habits which expert UX designers possess.

 

They listen to users

 

The success of a product is defined by several points including the level of satisfaction which it brings to the users. To make a website or an application meet users needs, you have to know what exactly users require. So, before creating UX for a digital product, the professionals always go user researching.

 

The process of user research applies collecting and analyzing the information received from the potential users. The obtained outcome helps designers go deeper into details of the target audience as well as comprehend their preferences and psychological peculiarities. Applying user research UX experts actually can step into the users’ shoes and find the effective solutions for a user-friendly product. UX design built on empathy has the great chances to meet users needs and draw attention to a product.

 

usability testing

 

They conduct usability testing

 

Usability is one of the key factors influencing the quality of a digital product. So, to see if a website or an app is usable and to distinguish possible problems in UX, designers need to apply the technique of usability testing.

 

The level of usability is defined by five aspects: learnability, satisfaction, efficiency, memorability, and errors. Learnability stands for how easy users can attain tasks during the first usage and satisfaction is if the usage process feels pleasant. Efficiency is determined by users’ ability to accomplish a task quickly while memorability depends on time which people need to re-establish their proficiency after a period of not using a product. And finally, designers track the number of errors users make and how easily they can learn from these mistakes.

 

Usability testing is usually conducted at the UX building stage before a project goes to the development team. It allows changing inefficient solutions easier than in a complete product. Moreover, usability testing allows watching the users’ reactions while a product is used and estimate how much they like it or don’t. This technique is helpful for gathering the essential information for the effective user-centered design.

 

interface testing UI design tubik

 

They pay attention to the information architecture

 

In one of our previous articles, we defined the information architecture as a science which strives at organizing and structuring content so that users would easily adjust to the functionality of the product and could find everything they need without big effort.

 

Many UX experts learn the IA principles since they believe the information architecture is a foundation of the effective design. If the content is badly organized, users may have difficulties with navigation, so they can get lost and feel annoyed. That’s why even compelling content elements and powerful UI design can fail without appropriate IA.

 

Some may think that it’s impractical to devote much time to IA building but the effective information architecture is crucial for powerful user experience design. It helps users quickly navigate through content and find everything they need without striking a blow.

 

information architecture for designers

 

They strive for clarity

 

A quality digital product has to give a quick access to the features which users come for. The main objective for designers is to help people easily reach the desired functionality and make the process of usage pleasant and clear.

 

While planning problem-solving UX, professionals should work out which of design elements will be helpful and which of them will distract users. Unneeded functionality makes a product complicated and has the bad influence on the user experience. What’s more, it’s important to keep mental models which include common UI patterns for specific types of products. The thing is that design is often built on the elements which are already familiar to users. Such an approach makes navigation much more intuitive and simple.

 

tubik_photo_app

 

They consider real-life context

 

Being an idealist is not always a good thing, especially for UX masters. It may happen that some designers just forget to consider all the life factors which have the significant impact on UX.

 

A product is often built and tested in comfortable conditions, but people do not always have a chance to use apps in such pleasant environment. The modern world is too rush and people often have lots of tasks to do per minute. However, despite all the circumstances websites and mobile applications need to be enjoyable. Designers have to consider possible disturbances and create UX that way so people could manage everything even without being 100% engaged with a product, especially a mobile application.

 

home budget app case study

 

They are open to new tools

 

Being a profound user of Photoshop or Sketch is a great advantage for a professional still it’s always a good idea to try new tools. It may seem as time waste for some designers so they don’t see a point in it. However, you may be surprised how advanced the new technology can be and what functionality it provides. Learning new tools you’re are not obliged to apply them as the major instruments but you can use them as additional helpers which will be useful in certain situations.

 

They never stop learning

 

UX design is a field which never stays still. Each day brings new ideas and opportunities which designers willingly share around the world. Today there are so many techniques and methods which UX experts apply for creating quality products and it may be hard to keep up with all of them. Nevertheless, for a UX professional, it’s vital to learn as much as they can because this kind of knowledge only improves the professional skills.

 

In addition, designers shouldn’t concentrate only on the design aspects. Learning the wide spectrum of sciences which somehow relate to the design can be extremely helpful in the creative workflow. For example, it is recommended to learn psychology which helps to understand users and their needs as well as learn some basics of programming so that you could have the better vision of product development.

 

tubik-studio-free-ebook-on-design

 

They stay up to date

 

Digital technologies evolve pretty fast and UX experts have to follow the updates. It would be difficult to create the proper design without knowing the peculiarities of the devices it’s meant for. Moreover, the trends in design field are also changing quickly so UX designers need to know what’s on the top now and which solutions step aside.

 

They don’t forget to get inspired

 

Some people may think that UX design is a complex science with the strict rules which doesn’t have a room for creativity. However, it’s a false thought since UX masters never forget to let the imagination out of control. Many original and unique solutions are born due to designers’ open-mindedness and inspiration. That’s why designers always have to charge their creative power with the help of their favorite activities.

 

Book tubik design inspiration

 

To sum up, let’s remember Sean Covey’s words: “We become what we repeatedly do.” Work hard, improve yourself and you will be able to become a master in your field. Stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

FAQ: Do UX Designers Need to Know Programming and Computer Science?

How Human Memory Works: Tips for UX Designers.

FAQ: Diversity of Design Job

6 Tips How to Apply Information Architecture in UX Design

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

Gamification in UX. Increasing User Engagement.

User Research. Empathy Is the Best UX Policy.


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home page design article

Feel Homey. Handy Tips for Home Page Design.

There’s no place like home, they say. And in the growing world of websites for all the needs and aims, it actually works the same. Home page has multiple functions: it’s a card of invitation, a starting point of the journey around the website, a storage of the vital links and data, and a strategic asset for marketing goals. In the majority of cases, it is often the first visual and emotional touch to the website. No doubt, design is one of the core ways to make this touch gentle, smart and helpful. Today we are discussing some effective tips for creating user-friendly home pages.

 

One of our previous articles has already given the insights into the definition, types of content such a page usually includes and basic design strategies increasing home page usability. Continuing the topic, today we are adding more recommendations organized around three essential aspects: information, interaction, and appearance.

usability_interfaces_ux_design_tubik

 

Information

 

To use or not to use? That is the question. In the vast majority of cases, home page is the point of user’s decision. In the early 2000s guru of usability Jacob Nielsen mentioned in his article: «Your homepage is often your first — and possibly your last — chance to attract and retain each customer, rather like the front page of a newspaper.» With all the progress the World Wide Web has witnessed, this position doesn’t change: home page often defines if a user goes further around the website. And it is done not only by beauty and style but first of all by information which is looked for by visitors to the resource. Making it accessible, noticeable and clear, designers grow the chances of positive user experience.

 

In general, home page can include the following data:

  • the nature of the website: the page has to instantly inform users if it’s a company website, blog, e-commerce website, social network, educational platform or anything else;
  • brand or company identity elements: home page requires a recognizable visual presentation distinguishing the website from its competitors. If there is a product, company or brand behind it, webpage design should consistently reflect its identity. In other cases, the website itself should be seen as a brand and apply strategies of identity design for better brand awareness.
  • benefits of the website: it should quickly inform users why the website can be helpful or interesting for them.
  • internal search: many users come to the websites with clear goals, so functionality to search right from the homepage will make interaction highly productive
  • links to the core interaction zones
  • contact data and links to social networks
  • signs of trust: testimonials, reviews, big numbers of presence in social networks etc.

The solution which of the mentioned points are going to be included and how they are going to be spread on the layout should depend on the goals of the website and the research of target audience. Let’s check some tips effective in this aspect.

 

Fill the header with core data

 

As we mentioned in the article about web header design, it is the top part of the webpage, which people see before scrolling the page in the first seconds of introduction to the website. Headers can include a variety of meaningful layout elements, for example:

  • basic elements of brand identity: logo, slogan etc.
  • tagline setting the theme of the website
  • links to the core categories of website content
  • links to the most important social networks
  • basic contact information (telephone number, e-mail etc.)
  • a language switch in case of multilingual interface
  • search field
  • subscription field
  • links to interaction with the product such as trial version, downloading from the AppStore etc.

 

Obviously, it’s impossible to put all the list into one header. Moreover, it’s not a good idea to put everything because the header overloaded with diverse information will distract users’ attention. As Aarron Walter said in his book, «If everything yells for your viewer’s attention, nothing is heard». That is why the choice which information goes to the header and what it looks like arises on the solid ground of communication between a designer, a stakeholder and a marketing specialist. Header is the top zone of early interaction: eye-tracking studies show that the web page is mostly scanned starting from it. So decide, which elements are primary to achieve website goals and use the limited space of header for them. For example, on a news website or a big e-commerce platform search field is crucial for positive UX while on a small company website it may be not needed at all.

 

tubik_studio_structure

 

Apply informative tagline

 

Don’t think the users are going to wander around the website trying to set why it’s useful for them. Being surrounded by the thousands of websites, they may get away at the first seconds if they don’t see a clear reason to stay. So, give it to them — it’s the time for a tagline. In marketing terms, it is the name of a short and catchy phrase that summarizes the benefits or gives the description of the website. Including the keywords setting the proper theme and taking the place on the first level of visual hierarchy for the page, the tagline will quickly inform users why the website is worth their attention.

 

booking_service_ui_tubik

 

Enable users to contact with duty holders

 

Home page is usually the place where people expect to find the contact info any time they need it. The most popular placement for it is footer, the bottom part of the page. However, if any kind of contact data is core for conversion, it’s logical to put in the pre-scroll area or even a header. For example, if the website presents the delivery service or online shop, users may want to call more frequently and this ability will have a direct impact on conversion rate. Meanwhile, for an entertainment or news resource, it may be not that crucial so it’s placed in zones of less active interaction. However, in any case, the contact data should be available from home. Among other reasons, it is one of the factors influencing the level of trust to the website.

 

Contacts can be presented in various formats. They can reveal the data such as phone number and location, emails, links to messengers, contact forms and instant chat window. Making the phone numbers clickable is supportive as many users now browse from their smartphones and may want to call right from there. The address can be also clickable opening the screenshot or map showing how to find the location. The solutions have to be based on thoughful user research setting target audience’s expectations, level of tech literacy and the most convenient ways of contact for them. For instance, if your target audience is teenagers, just giving the phone number may be not effective as they really stick to messengers and social networks. At the same time, if your users are elderly people, social networks may not work in comparison to a phone number.

 

Make call-to-action element instantly visible

 

Unlike the landing pages, focused on narrow and concise goals, home page contents are quite diverse. That’s why it’s important for a UX designer to care how users will see what they really need to see in all that mass of data. No doubt, it cannot happen that all, let’s say, fifty available links on the home page are equally important. So, to make the page usable, all the interactive elements in the layout should be prioritized. Visually, it can be done via the rules of visual hierarchy so that users could see the key things first. And among them, call-to-action elements should be noticed instantly. Otherwise, there will be loss in conversion not because users didn’t want to do the action but because they didn’t find how to do it.

web design UI concept tubik studio

 

Interaction

 

The next aspect to consider is interaction — the way how users perceive, process and interact with the information they find on the home page as well as the website in general. The next set of tips is all about that.

 

Check scannability and mind eye-tracking models

 

It’s not a secret that users first scan pages and only then make a decision if they want to get dip into details. Interface designers are highly recommended to study eye-tracking models which are now described in numerous publications, with the most prominent contribution by Nielsen Norman Blog sharing the results of actual experiments in that sphere for a couple of decades. In brief, researchers mention three typical models of scanning: Gutenberg Diagram, Z-Pattern, And F-Pattern. In case you want to get more, we have given detailed descriptions in an earlier article, so now let’s just check them on schemes.

reading pattern

Guttenberg Pattern is quite typical for the web pages with the uniform presentation of information and weak visual hierarchy.

reading pattern zig-zag

Z-pattern and the presented zig-zag version is typical for pages with visually divided content blocks. 

 

f_reading_pattern_eyetracking

F-pattern natural for pages with massive presence of copy content

 

Scannability of web pages is enhanced with visual hierarchy that enables designers to show the content in terms of its priority and navigates user from the core zones to the secondary ones. Scannability is one of the parameters to be carefully tested all the time as it has a great impact on usability of the page and its problem-solving potential.

 

Remember that patterns are user’s friends

 

Every creative person feels the urge to apply the original and unique solutions and think out-of-the-box all the time. However, make not to go too far on that way. Remember that the website is made not for creative contests or gallery of fame but for real users. As we mentioned in the post about social networks design, the power of habit in terms of user experience can be stronger than the wish of revolution. Surely, the dose of wow-effect is needed, but not so much to knock down the user. On home page, too much of design revolution might confuse and scare: if the first page is so hard to understand, user thinks, what’s going to be next? Study the habits of interaction and typical products for that particular target audience to make their habits their power. Strive for the balance between innovation and traditions.

 

bookshop website animation

 

Make the search field easily accessible

 

As we said above, search means much, especially for the users coming to the resource with a clear understanding what they want. A/B testing can support the analysis of its most productive placement on the page layout. It can be a small search field, an icon in the header, a long horizontal field across the page as we have here in Tubik Blog. The main thing is to make it noticeable and clear so that users didn’t waste their time.

 

Use different menus and interaction zones

 

As home pages can provide a variety of links, tabs, fields and buttons, they should be grouped in different menus and zones instead of being given as the list of links. For example, double menu in the header can present two layers of navigation. We have shown the example of such a trick in the case study for a bakery website design. The website uses a sticky header which has 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 quick interaction right from home page.

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

 

Make the home page accessible from any point of the website

 

Home is usually the foundation of the website structure. So, users need to have a chance to get back home from any page they are on. Check it when all the pages are designed not to miss this obvious still vital interaction.

 

Don’t direct all the outer traffic to home page

 

For simple one-page websites this question is not actual: indeed, they represent only a home page which satisfies one or multiple functions and there is no other place where the traffic could be directed from the outer sources. The same happens if the website is not complex, home is not overloaded with diverse links and navigation elements, so conversion can be reached right from it while other pages play secondary roles. In this case directing all the traffic to the most informative part of the site, which also enables a user to accomplish necessary action and get what they need, is a good idea.

 

However, for complex websites and platforms, especially if they satisfy multiple needs of broad target audience, this approach can be the step killing profitability and reducing conversion rates. The user can get scared, distracted or even annoyed with the amount of information they have to get through to find what they need, especially if focused on a particular narrow goal. Using landing pages in the case when you need to concentrate user’s attention on something specific can be the efficient way of solving this problem. Landing page is focused on one item, to make it quickly found and reduce delays when target user seeks for specific operations, services or items. This is the issue of especially high importance in the case of e-commerce websites when unwise design solutions bring to poor user experience and financial losses.

 

design agency landing page

 

Appearance

 

The third set of tips is concentrated on the page looks. No doubt, the recommendations are applicable for any kind of webpage, still, on home page, they tend to be more influential.

 

Be stringent in color choice

 

Color is power which can either strengthen or ruin other design decisions. Choosing the color palette, remember that colors influence user perception. Studying color psychology is helpful to make choices that transfer the right message. Attention to traditional color theory will help to find the color combinations that will look elegant and harmonic. One more popular issue is choosing between light or dark background: the solution is mostly based on the type of content website presents. Text-based websites usually use light and airy interfaces while visual-based ones can apply dark background to make the images look deeper and more stylish.

 

Apply recognizable visual prompts and associations

 

Being full of data, home pages usually include the variety of icons and illustrations. Choosing them, always test their recognizability and check if they build right associations. If there is the risk of double meaning or culture differences of target audience, supporting the icons or illustrations with a short copy might be helpful.

 

web design florist store ecommerce

 

Mind the typography issues and readability

 

Choice of fonts and their combination determine not only style but also readability of the home page. Even more, fonts, as well as colors, are also powerful in forming the mood of the page, from entertaining to business-like. So take your time to test various combinations and find the one which corresponds to the nature of the website as well as other design elements.

 

Strengthen the page with a prominent visual

 

Most users are visually driven and perceive messages given in images faster than words. That is why applying custom theme illustrations, high-quality photos or hero banners is a profitable step for a home page. The image of that kind will work as a quick hook catching users attention and transferring the necessary idea. However, overloading home page with images will make none of them effective.

 

financial_service_website_tubik

 

Think about motion and video

 

Another way to support interesting experience on home page is applying videos and animations. On the one hand, motion breathes life into the page, makes it more dynamic and lively, always draws attention. On the other hand, it can increase loading time. Moreover, too much animation annoys users. So, motion should be added in unobtrusive way and thoroughly check in terms of its effect on page functionality.

 

Test the loading speed

 

Whatever brilliant, stylish and breathtaking the page is designed, whatever cool and intuitive is navigation and information architecture — all those things won’t work if users have to wait while it’s loading. For the home page filled with various data, too long time of loading means losing the part of target audience. So, check the speed, optimize the images, make sure video and animation loads up correctly. Caring about this aspect, you respect your users’ time and effort and lay the ground for positive user experience.

 

tubik studio ice ui website

 

Obviously, not all the list of mentioned tips is actual for every single project: approaches can differ as well as audience and goals of the created websites. Yet, it may become a helpful checklist for web designers striving for home page usability.

 

Useful articles

 

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

Best Practices for Website Header Design

Home Sweet Home. Strategies of Home Page Design.

9 Effective Tips on Visual Hierarchy

Color Matters. 6 Tips on Choosing UI Colors.

Take It Easy: Tips for Effort-Saving User Interfaces.

8 Typography Tips For Designers: How to Make Fonts Speak.


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tips on visual hierarchy in design

9 Effective Tips on Visual Hierarchy

Sufficient visual hierarchy is a foundation of a successful digital product. It helps to organize UI elements in an effective way so that content would be easy to comprehend and pleasant to see. The presentation of visual elements has a great impact on user experience. If the components are organized wisely, users navigate and interact with a product without efforts and enjoy the process.

 

So, what makes powerful visual hierarchy? Of course, different kinds of products require different methods of building it still there are some common solutions helpful for UI content organization. Today’s article provides useful tips on creating the compelling visual hierarchy for web and mobile products.

 

Keep business goals in mind

 

There are often business goals standing behind a digital product. To achieve them, creative team needs to work out which UI elements are more important and prioritize them according to their roles. For example, all the elements on e-commerce websites perform the tasks of various levels. The item images are usually the main eye-catchers since they have to encourage customers to consider it. A heading goes after the image explaining what it is and the next important stage is a CTA button calling people to buy an item. By considering business and marketing goals set for the website or app, the creative team can effectively prioritize visual content and make a product stand out the crowd.

 

design agency landing page

Design Agency Landing Page

 

Consider scanning patterns

 

In our previous articles, we mentioned that before reading a web page people scan it to get a sense of whether they are interested. Different studies, including the ones by Nielsen Norman Group , have revealed several popular scanning patterns among which “F” and “Z”-shaped.

 

F-pattern appears mainly on digital pages or screens with the big amount of content such as blogs, news platforms etc. Users’ eyes move in F-shape: first, they scan a horizontal line on the top of the screen, then move down the page a bit and read across the shorter horizontal line, finishing with the vertical line down on the left side of the copy where people look for keywords in the paragraphs’ initial sentences.

 

Z-shaped pattern takes place on the pages which are not so heavily concentrated on copy or those which don’t require scrolling down. The pattern is the following: people first scan across the head of the page starting from the top left corner, searching for core information, and then go down to the opposite corner at a diagonal, finishing with the horizontal line at the bottom of the page from its left to right.

 

Knowing these patterns designers organize content putting all the core UI elements on the most scanned spots to draw users’ attention.

 

Functionality first

 

The visual hierarchy may seem to be oriented only to the aesthetic aspects but it’s not like that. First of all, by structuring and organizing visual elements designers need to make sure a product is clear to use and the navigation works right. The visual hierarchy which is built exceptionally on aesthetics can’t work effectively. User interface with the badly structured content leads to the bad UX. So, while building visual hierarchy designers need to consider what functions of UI elements and a role they play in the navigation process.

 

landing page UI design tubik studio

Seafood Recipes Landing Page

 

White space is a visual element

 

White space, or negative space, is not just an area between design elements, it is actually a core component of each visual composition. It is a tool able to make all the user interface elements noticeable to users’ eyes. Designers can group or separate UI components so that they could create the effective layout. Moreover, negative space helps to emphasize particular elements which require deep attention from users. White space is an effective instrument for creating visual hierarchy so designers need to work on its balanced usage.

 

landing page web design

Colony Landing Page

 

Apply the golden ratio

 

We devoted one of our latest articles to the golden ratio applied in design. It is a mathematical proportion of the elements of different sizes which is thought to be the most aesthetically pleasing for human eyes. The proportion equals 1:1.618 and it is often illustrated with seashell-shaped spirals which many of you could have probably seen.

 

Designers often apply golden ratio at the stage of wireframing. It helps to plan a structure for the layout placing and sizing user interface elements in the right proportion which will be pleasant for users.

 

golden ratio in ui design

Tracking Widget

 

Use a grid

 

A grid is one of the key tools applied at the different stages of the creative process and visual hierarchy is not an exception. A grid helps to structure all the components and put them into the appropriate sizes and proportion. What’s more, designers can effectively work with the negative space since a grid shows if the elements are placed proportionally and even.

 

Add some colors

 

Color choice and combinations are essential for visual hierarchy as they help users to distinguish the core elements. The thing is that colors have their own hierarchy which is defined by the power of influence on users’ mind. There are bold colors such as red and orange as well as the weak ones like white and cream. Bold colors are easy to notice so designers often use them as the means of highlighting or setting contrast.

 

Moreover, applying one color to the several elements you can show that they are somehow connected. For example, you can choose a red color for purchase buttons so that people could intuitively find them when they need.

 

financial_service_website_tubik

Financial Service Website

 

Pay attention to the fonts

 

Visual hierarchy includes a core subsection called typographic hierarchy which aims at modifying and combining fonts to build the contrast between the most meaningful and prominent copy elements which should be noticed first and ordinary text information. The fonts can be transformed by regulating sizes, colors, and families as well as their alignment. Different fonts can divide copy content into different levels so that users could perceive the information gradually. However, designers are recommended to keep the number of fonts within three since too many fonts look messy and make the design inconsistent.

 

Three levels for web, two for mobile

 

As we mentioned above, different fonts form typographic levels which consist of such elements as headlines, subheaders, body copy, call-to-action elements, and captions. There are three typographic levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The first one includes the biggest type and aims at drawing people’s attention to the core information on the screen. The next level provides copy elements which are easily scanned and help users navigate through the content. The tertiary level usually applies body text and some additional data which is presented via relatively small type.

 

In many cases, web products include all three levels since they are more likely to provide the big amount of content. On the other hand, designers are recommended to keep the number of layers within two while creating typography for mobile. The small screens don’t provide enough space for three levels so the elements of a secondary level such as subheaders have to step aside to make mobile UI look clean.

 

UI animation wine app

WineYard App

 

Effective visual hierarchy is not only about aesthetics. It aims at providing problem-solving navigation and interaction systems as well as friendly user experience. To create a sufficient visual hierarchy, designers need to organize all UI elements considering the functionality and business goals.

 

Useful articles

 

The topic of visual hierarchy is wide and complex, so we gathered some helpful articles revealing various aspects.

 

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

Golden Ratio. Bring Balance in UI Design.

Take It Easy: Tips for Effort-Saving User Interfaces.

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

Typography in UI: Guide for Beginners.

 


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

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.


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ux writing tubik article

UX Writing. Let User Interface Speak.

During the last two years digital design community has been discussing a brand new trend called UX writing. The term appeared suddenly confusing many people, even some design professionals. Some think it’s a new name for UX design, others see it as copywriting related to the UX topic. In this article, we’ll figure out the meaning of UX writing and why tech world talks so much about it. Also, we’ll provide some practical tips on effective UX writing.

 

What’s UX writing?

 

The term may be new but the process has existed for a long time. UX writing is the practice of crafting copy which is directly used in user interfaces to guide users within a product and help them interact with it. The major aim of UX writing is to settle communication between users and a digital product.

 

Copy created by UX writers is also known as microcopy. The name tells for itself and stands for the small components of text which serve as hints for users. To be more specific, microcopy includes buttons and menu copy, error messages, security notes, terms and conditions, as well as any kind of instructions on product usage.

 

tubik studio page 404

Page 404

 

Why is UX writing needed?

 

Microcopy has always been a part of digital products, so why have people started to call the process of its creation UX writing? Let’s get it straight.

 

One of the first reasons leading to UX writing appearance is growing attention to the role of copy in UI. Marketing and design specialists have agreed that copy content is a significant element influencing both UI and UX. Bad-written copy can ruin even a really good-looking user interface. As for the microcopy, various user tests have shown that it affects user experience as well as the information architecture and navigation system do.

 

If we look at a product from users’ perspective, we’ll see how useful small copy hints are for them. When people start their journey in new software, short text tips make the process of adaptation fast and easy. Moreover, if menu copy is written professionally, the navigation system is much more clear to use.

 

Considering the positive impact of microcopy on user experience, the new direction appeared in copywriting. At this point, we can expand the essence of UX writing and say that it’s a process of building microcopy elements which aim at improving user experience of a website or app.

 

tutorial_design_tubik_studio

Shauts App Tutorial

 

Who has to do UX writing?

 

We defined the essence of UX writing still one question remains open. Whose duty is it?

 

The direction couldn’t be formed by itself, so, obviously, there are specialists standing behind it. A job of UX writer grows its potential and today we can see more and more offers from companies. They are writers specializing in creating microcopy which aims at boosting pleasant user experience and improving navigation system.

 

UX writing is still a green direction, the reason why the task of microcopy creation often lays upon marketers and copywriters. These professionals have been writing microcopy long before a term of UX writing appeared and they continue doing it as one of the parts of their work.

 

However, it’s not only writers who can create copy for UX. Designers also often try themselves in UX writing. They may not be the specialists in copy creation still they know everything about the information architecture and navigation system of a product. Moreover, UI/UX designers research the target audience peculiarities, so they know how to present visual information for user perception.

 

Copywriters and designers can do UX writing separately but to improve outcome it’s always a good idea to collaborate and share the experience. Together IA professionals, designers and copywriters can successfully create UX copy content and this is how it is often done by many companies today. However, if a company handles many projects which involve much of UX writing, it is reasonable to consider hiring a UX writer to gain maximum productivity for all the team.

 

gourmet_website_interactions_tubik

The Gourmet Website

 

What makes efficient UX writing

 

Some may think that UX writing takes a few minutes to be done since it includes only small pieces of text. However, creation of a powerful phrase for a CTA button sometimes can take much more time and effort than writing of a whole body copy.

 

Microcopy usually can vary from one word to short sentences which should perform numerous functions. So, if we say that in UX writing every word counts, it won’t be an hyperbola. A single word should both help users to get oriented as well as encourage them to stick around. Moreover, there is often a business goal standing behind CTA buttons, so this factor should also be considered during UX writing.

 

The sufficient UX copy needs to be clear and consistent. Users don’t have to figure out what you mean. Copy should be simple so that people could interact with product intuitively. If users don’t notice they’ve been guided, UX writing has been done well. In addition, UX writing, as any other copy content, should be based on the context and the target audience.

 

In addition, we need to say that copy is a design element the reason why its effectiveness highly depends on the visual presentation. UX writers need to make sure it looks good and fits the design composition. Such a condition creates constraints for a writer about the amount of copy and its appearance.

 

web_ui_design_tubik

Digital Agency Landing Page

 

Practical tips on UX writing

 

The experts are still working on developing the direction to set the best techniques and methods of the effective UX writing. However, there are some sufficient tips helping to make sure UX copy will work well.

 

Step into users’ shoes. If you want to create useful copy, you need to understand where users need help. User research assists to learn the target audience and knowing their specialties you can assume what hints people need.

 

Don’t use complicated vocabulary. As we said above, one of the major characteristics of effective UX writing is clarity and simplicity. Copy should be easy to perceive that’s why difficult words may not work well.

 

Write short and then cut it into half. Microcopy received its name not by coincidence. It has to be short but meaningful so that it wouldn’t draw too much attention, only slightly guiding people from one point to another.

 

Test the copy on various users. You can be a guru of writing and UX design still user testing never hurts. If you don’t have anyone who would match the target audience, at least test copy on your co-workers or friends and ask them what they feel about it.

 

Be creative. Microcopy typically includes only short informative messages but it doesn’t mean you have to make it boring. Try to be creative and bring some positive emotions. For example, writing an error message you can use some polite jokes. It breaks tension which may appear if users do something wrong and encourage them to stick around. Just remember to make sure your creativity doesn’t go too far and the target audience will react appropriately.

 

Add images. In case of error messages or onboarding instructions, it can be a good idea to supplement them with funny and pretty images. You can use photos as well as custom illustrations which will strengthen the right message of a copy.

 

Reflect brand voice. Don’t forget that instructions which a product gives to users are always perceived as a voice of a brand. So, before you write copy you need to learn about brand nature so that microcopy would sound accordingly to the brand image.

 

web design tubik studio

Page 404

 

UX writing is a new direction which is full of potential. UX professionals need to consider it as an another essential tool on the way to the improved user interaction and boosted satisfaction from a product.

 

Recommended reading

 

10 UX copywriting tips for designers

5 Ideas for Better UX Writing

UX Writing: How to do it like Google with this powerful checklist

Copywriting in UI. Words that Make Design Go Round.


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

choice of color in UI design

Color Matters. 6 Tips on Choosing UI Colors.

User experience design involves many processes which need to be done thoughtfully so that an interface would meet the needs of the target audience. Each step requires deep attention to details, even if it doesn’t seem too complicated.

 

One of the time-consuming still vital stages in UI creation is color choice. Designers sometimes can spend hours to pick up the right color palette. In this article, we’ll describe six useful tips helping designers choose powerful colors for UI and make this process easier and more productive.

 

Tip 1. Learn 60–30–10 rule

 

This rule, or technique, came from the interior design, so it is often applied for house decorating. The idea is simple. To bring the balance into the composition, the colors should be combined in the proportion of 60%–30%–10%. The biggest part should go to the dominant hue, the third of the composition takes secondary color and 10% percent goes to the color which helps to make the accents.

 

Such a proportion is thought to be pleasant for human eyes since it allows perceiving all the visual elements gradually. Knowing the appropriate proportion designers can successfully combine the colors without risks of turning UI into a colorful mess.

 

web_ui_design_tubik

Digital Agency Landing Page

 

Tip 2. Contrast is a friend

 

Color contrast is a key part of any visual composition. It brings the individuality for each UI element and makes all of them noticeable. User interfaces containing only shades from the same color family have fewer chances to draw users’ attention. Moreover, copy content in this UI will look illegible which make the interactions with a product almost impossible.

 

Designers control the level of contrast depending on the goals it is supposed to accomplish. For example, if you need users to pay special attention to the specific UI elements, it’s a good idea to apply two highly contrasting colors such as blue and red. High contrast is often used for CTA buttons design.

 

However, speaking of UI as a whole composition, high level of color contrast may not always work well. If copy content and the background colors contrast each other too much, it will be difficult to read or scan the text. That’s why designers are recommended to create a mild level of contrast and apply high contrasting colors only for highlighting elements. User-testing on various devices can help designers to make sure of the effectiveness of their solutions.

 

choice of color in UI design

Urban Sketcher App

 

Tip 3. Consider psychology of colors

 

As we’ve mentioned in our previous articles, psychology is one of the basic studies helping in design workflow. There is a branch of psychology showing the influence of colors on human mood and behavior called color psychology. It states that our mind reacts on colors while we usually do not notice it. When human eyes perceive a color, our brain gives signals to the endocrine system releasing hormones responsible for the mood and emotions.

 

Each color has its own influence on our mind and the knowledge of the possible reactions can help designers to transfer the right message and call users to make the expected action. Here is a short list of color meanings.

 

Red. It symbolizes both good and bad feelings including love, confidence, passion, and anger.
Orange. An energetic and warm color bringing the feelings of excitement.
Yellow. This is the color of happiness, the sunlight, joy, and warmth.
Green. The color of nature which brings calming and renewing feelings.
Blue. It often represents some corporate images. May be associated with distance and sadness.
Purple. Long associated with royalty and wealth. It’s also a color of a mystery and magic.
Black. It associates with a tragedy and death and signifies a mystery. At the same time, it can be traditional and modern.
White. The color means purity and innocence, as well as wholeness and clarity.

 

In addition, designers need to remember that visual perception is quite individual for everyone. Such factors as age and gender have a great impact on color preferences, so it’s vital to know the target audience peculiarities. You can find the detailed description of color meanings and preferences in our previous article.

dance academy landing page

Dance Academy Website

 

Tip 4. Don’t forget cultural differences

 

Each culture has its own traditions and beliefs, so before you choose the colors, you need to make sure that they will be interpreted the way you mean. The thing is that sometimes one color may have absolutely opposite meanings in different countries. For example, in European countries white color signifies purity and it is often used at the weddings while in many Asian countries this color means death and sorrow. Incorrect usage may lead to misunderstandings which could be fatal for a product. By acknowledging the specialties of culture’s color perception designers decrease risks of being misconceived.

 

Tip 5. Strive to color harmony

 
Harmony is what UI design strives to. To make users feel pleased and comfortable, designers try to bring the balance into user interface design. The color harmony is about the arrangement of the colors in design in the most attractive and effective way for users’ perception. Harmonic colors contribute to a nice first impression from the website or application.

 

After years of searching, designers distinguished the basic color schemes that work effectively. Let’s see what they are.

Monochromatic. Color harmony is based on one color with various tones and shades of it.

Analogous. The scheme applies colors located right next to each other on the color wheel.

Complementary. It is the mix of colors placed in front of each other on the color wheel and it aims to produce high contrast.

Split-Complementary. This scheme works similar to the previous one but it employs more colors. For instance, if you choose the blue color you need to take two others which are adjacent to its opposite color meaning yellow and red.

Triadic. It is based on three separate colors which are equidistant on the color wheel. Professionals recommend to use one color as a dominant, the others as accents.

Tetradic/Double-Complementary. The tetradic color scheme employs four colors from the wheel which are complementary pairs. If you connect the points on the chosen colors they form the rectangle.

 

color theory design tubik

Source

 

Detailed information and examples of color harmony can be found in our article Color Theory: Brief Guide for Designers.

 

Tip 6. Steal ideas from nature

 

Mother nature is the best artist and designer in the world. Color combinations which we can see in the natural environment are always close to perfect. People enjoy watching sunsets and dawns, autumn forests and winter mountains since they are full of natural color combinations.

 

So, why don’t you try to borrow a few ideas? Go for a walk or search for beautiful nature photos and you will definitely find the inspiration.

 

web ui design city guide

Big City Guide

 

The success of a digital product depends largely upon the colors chosen for its UI. The right colors help users feel comfortable with a product. Designers can put people in the frame of mind that compels them to take action just by applying the appropriate color palette. Make your choices wisely.

 

Recommended reading

 

Color Theory: Brief Guide For Designers.

Color in Design: Influence on Users’ Actions.

Color in UI Design. Look on the Bright Side.

Dark Side of UI. Benefits of Dark Background.

3C of Interface Design: Color, Contrast, Content.


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

usability_interfaces_ux_design_tubik

Take It Easy: Tips for Effort-Saving User Interfaces.

«Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,» said genius Leonardo da Vinci, and this eternal truth is as fair now as it was several centuries ago. Such an approach in design for web and mobile interfaces results in human-centred products which are pleasant and easy in use. Make no mistake, simple doesn’t mean empty, primitive or monofunctional. Instead, it means clear, intuitive and helpful. Really simple products not only solve user’s problems but also do it in an optimal way in the aspects of times and effort.

 

We aren’t often thinking in terms of love and respect when it comes to digital products. We can describe them in tons of other words featuring appearance (like beautiful, elegant, interesting etc.) or functionality (like intuitive, easy-to-use, confusing etc.) or content (like informative, consistent etc.) but you rarely can hear that someone names a website or app respectful. However, respect of user’s time and energy is one of the vital goals which designers should strive to achieve in the product they work on. This approach is the great factor of usability and desirability. Today we would like to share some advice and techniques which could become supportive in this aim. These tips aren’t reinventing the wheel but present a helpful checklist for design outcome. So, let’s check what designers can do to save time and effort for users.

visual hierarchy in UI design

 

1. Put the core data into header

 

Talking about websites, it is an extremely helpful idea for quick and easy navigation. The only problem is to decide on what core data is, especially for websites with a huge amount of various data, like big e-commerce websites, news platforms or multi-theme blogs. Header is a strategic part of a page as people see it before scrolling the page in the first seconds of introduction to the website. Being a sign of invitation, header should provide the key information about the digital product so that users could scan it in split seconds.

 

In our article telling about web headers design in detail, we provided the typical types of content which can be included into headers:

 

  • 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. Here designers, preferably together with marketing specialists and stakeholders, need to decide on the strategically important options and pick them up from the list or add the others.

Why is header so essential? Eye-tracking investigations show that whichever scanning model 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.

gourmet_website_interactions_tubik

 

2. Make branding highly visual

 

In terms of the discussed topic, brand means a sort of image created via a set of distinguishing features and promoting awareness and recognizability of the product or service on the market. This image can be created in tons of diverse ways — visual, verbal, touchable etc. In web and mobile design, branding supposedly means a set of visual elements defining the brand style, which can be applied in the interfaces such as logo, typography, brand colors and the like. All of them together are a powerful tool for creating visual recognizability of the product as well as its style. Being based on the analysis of target audience and marketing/ customer research, branding in this sense plays the vital role in product promotion as visual perception is very fast and easy for most people, much easier than reading the text and much more memorable than listening to speech. Moreover, if the brand is already well-established, it’s signs observed in the first seconds of seeing a website or app increase the level of trust.

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

3. Use numbers, not words

 

One of the investigations of user behavior provided by Nielsen Norman Blog shared an interesting finding: based on eye-tracking studies while users scan web pages, numerals often stop the wandering eye and attract fixations, even when they’re embedded within a mass of words that users otherwise ignore. People subconsciously associate numbers with facts, stats, sizes and distance — something potentially useful for them. So they are hooked with the numbers included into copy while words representing numerals can be misses in the bulk of text. Even more, whatever numbers represent, they are more compact than their textual variant, which enables to make the content more concise and time-saving for skimming the data.

 

4. Make the call-to-action (CTA) instantly noticeable

 

A call to action (CTA) is actually a word of phrase stimulating users to interact with a product in a way and for the aim it is designed for. CTA elements are the interactive controls which enable users to do the action they are called to. Typical types of such interactive elements in the layout are buttons, tabs, or links. In the interfaces of all kinds, CTA elements are the core factor of effective interaction with the product, which plays the crucial role in usability and navigability. When all the path of interaction and transitions is built clearly for users but CTA element is not thought-out, placed or designed well, users can get confused and will need to take additional effort trying to achieve their goals. That sets the high risk for poor conversion rate and general user experience. That’s why this navigation element should draw particularly deep designers attention. In any interface, it should be one of the most prominent and quickly noticeable parts to inform users how the product can be helpful or useful for them.

bookshop website animation

 

5. Care about general page scannability

 

As it was already mentioned, users don’t usually read and observe all the content on the page or screen from the starting point: instead, they start from quick scanning to understand if it contains something they need or want. 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. 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.

reading pattern

Gutenberg Diagram

 

reading pattern zig-zag

Z-Pattern

 

f_reading_pattern_eyetracking

F-Pattern

 

Knowing these models, designers and information architects can build navigation and important data in the points where they have the highest chances to be seen and get the user interested. The well-thought-out visual hierarchy will make the page easily skimmed saving users’ time and energy.

design for users copy in UI

 

6. Check the icons perception

 

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. It’s hard to overestimate their role in UI navigation: they make it much quicker as most users perceive images faster than words. Usage of recognizable and clear icons has a great potential in boosting usability. However, even the slightest misperception can become the reason of poor UX so the solutions on the type of icons should be carefully tested and if needed supported with the appropriate copy content.

 

7. Strengthen the message with theme images and hero banners

 

No secret, in many cases an image is worth a thousand words. In web and mobile UI it often works that way: images become highly supportive and effective in setting the mood or transferring the message. In addition, images present the part of the content which is both informative and emotionally appealing. Original illustration, prominent hero banners, engaging photos can satisfy multiple goals: they catch users’ attention, transfer the message visually, support the general stylistic concept,

  • catch users’ attention
  • transfer the message visually
  • support the general stylistic concept
  • set the needed theme, mood or atmosphere
  • demonstrate the core benefits or items effectively.

dance academy landing page animation

 

8. Talk to users in their language

 

Copy content plays the crucial role for communication with the user. Not only its effective visual presentation is significant for high page performance: the style, structure, and vocabulary should also correspond to user’s expectation from a page. Usage of too formal or business-like style in an entertainment app for teenagers, or vice versa too informal style on the luxury website selling elite real estate — there can be hundreds of cases when copy doesn’t follow business goals as well as habits and needs of a target audience. That kind of content inconsistency can be confusing and move the users away from the website or app. User research will be effective for this issue to see what way users want to communicate while a professional copywriter will help to strengthen design with the power of words.

web_ui_design_tubik

 

9. Use the power of Gestalt principles

 

Gestalt is the term meaning «shape, form». It is used primarily in cognitive psychology for the field exploring the laws of meaningful perception of the data which people constantly get from the world that seems primarily chaotic. It works on different levels of perception, but the visual part seems to be the most interesting for designers creating interfaces. It helps understand the psychology of the app or website users better. When designers know the factors influencing visual perception, it makes the process of UX design much more proficient giving higher rates of successful interactions and lowering the level of misunderstandings users could get on this way.

gestalt-theory-grouping_principles
 

For example, applying the principles of similarity and proximity, designers can group the layout elements according to  human cognitive abilities, so that users could perceive them in the most natural and convenient way.

bright_vibe_calendar_app_ui_tubik

 

10. Optimize visual content

 

Whatever interesting, attractive and informative is the interface, there is the invisible factor which can erase all the benefits — the loading speed. If the visual content — images, animations, video — applied to an interface is too heavy or doesn’t perform well on different devices, the risks are high to lose users before they will understand the strong points of the product. In terms of high competition, with loads of websites and application, be sure: users aren’t going to wait, they will head for the more convenient and quick alternative even if it loses in a number of points. Optimization and persistent testing of visual content is the real sign of respect to the user boosting less time-consuming flow of interaction.

website design UI

 

Hopefully, this list will be helpful for those who are aimed at creating positive user experience. Don’t miss the updates — new practical tips and inspiration are coming very soon.

 

Useful articles

 

This set of articles can be useful to dive deeper into the points mentioned above

 

Best Practices for Website Header Design

The Role of Branding in UI Design

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

Gestalt Theory for Efficient UX: Principle of Similarity.

Gestalt Theory for UX Design: Principle of Proximity.

Copywriting in UI. Words that Make Design Go Round.

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

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces.


 
Welcome to see designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

visual hierarchy in UI design

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

Henry Adams once said: “Chaos was the law of nature and order was the dream of man”. People always favor the order because it makes things more comprehensible. The same works with user interfaces of digital products. When UI elements are organized and structured, people can easily use an app or a website and feel satisfied with a product.

 

To organize content in UI clearly for users, designers apply a well-known technique called visual hierarchy. Today’s article gives a general insight into the essence of this approach and the tools helping to organize the content properly.

 

What’s visual hierarchy?

 

Visual hierarchy is one of the core techniques which are applied to the design process. It is initially based on Gestalt psychological theory which examines users’ visual perception of elements in relation to each other and shows how people tend to unify the visual elements into groups.

 

Visual hierarchy strives at presenting the content of a product that way so users could comprehend the level of importance for each element. It organizes UI components so that the brain could distinguish the objects on the basis of their physical differences, such as size, color, contrast, style etc.

 

The visual presentation of UI elements has great influence on user experience of a product. If content components look like a mess, people can’t navigate within a product or interact with it properly. Moreover, unstructured copy content has a low level of legibility, so users can’t scan it quickly and they need to make a significant effort to distinguish the data they’ve been looking for. Such bad UX can lead to poor user satisfaction which means a product wouldn’t be much sought-after.

 

tubik_studio_structure

 

Typographic hierarchy

 

Copy content is a significant part of any UI design. That’s why visual hierarchy often highly depends on typography. Specialists decided to emphasize the importance of copy presentation by creating a separate system of visual hierarchy called typographic hierarchy.

 

The system aims at organizing copy content in the best way for users’ perception. Designers modify and combine fonts to build the contrast between the most meaningful and prominent copy elements which should be noticed first and ordinary text information. The fonts are modified by regulating sizes, colors, and families as well as their alignment.

 

Typographic hierarchy includes different elements of copy content which are headlines, subheaders, body copy, call-to-action elements, captions, and some others. To build effective visual hierarchy, all the elements need to be segmented into different levels. Let’s see what they are.

 

The primary level. It includes the biggest type like in headlines. The primary level aims at providing users with the core information as well as drawing people’s attention to a product.

 

The secondary level. This is the type of copy elements which should be easily scanned. They usually involve subheaders and captions which help users quickly navigate through the content.

 

The tertiary level. Body text and some additional data build the tertiary level. Designers often apply relatively small type still it should remain readable enough.

 

As the copy content is usually a major source of information in UI, designers need to present the data gradually. By segmenting copy elements into different levels designers help users easily go from one piece of copy to the other and perceive the information in the right order.

 

One more thing to mention is that while creating typography for mobile products, designers are recommended to keep the number of layers within two. The thing is that small mobile screens don’t provide enough space for three levels. That is why the elements of a secondary level such as subheaders step aside to make mobile UI look clean.

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

Visual hierarchy tools

 

When designers have already chosen all the content components, it’s time to create an order. Let’s find out what helps designers to set the effective visual hierarchy of UI components.

 

Size

 

One of the most powerful tools for visual material transformation is size. It is rooted in human’s mind that big things are somehow more important than the small ones. That’s why users’ attention automatically goes first to the large words or big pictures.
Designers need to distinguish the level of significance for each content element and based on this data transform the components into big and small.

 

Color

 

In our previous articles, we’ve mentioned that color has a great impact on the users’ perception the reason why it serves as an effective tool for visual hierarchy creation.

 

Colors have their own hierarchy which is defined by the power of influence on users’ mind. There are bold colors such as red, orange, and black which can easily draw attention. On the other hand, there are weak, or soft, colors like white and cream which work better as the background.

 

Using the different colors designers can support a slight hierarchy of the UI elements. For example, CTA buttons in bold colors will definitely be the first thing that users see if the other UI elements are created in a softer palette.

 

Contrast

 

Hierarchy is based on contrast itself. One element contrasts with the other and that’s how users can see the differences between the content elements. Contrast can be created via visual differences including size, color, and style. Still, it’s recommended to keep the contrast in balance so that one object wouldn’t completely obscure the others.

 

Negative space

 

There can be many components in a user interface and to make them all noticeable for users’ eyes designers need to give them some private space. Negative space, or white space, is the area between elements in a design composition. Some designers usually don’t think of the white space as a component of design still the experts apply it as a useful tool helping to build an appropriate composition. A right amount of negative space between the elements will help users to notice and perceive each of them to each of them.

 

Proximity

 

As we said above, visual hierarchy is built upon Gestalt principles, so designers pay deep attention to the proximity of UI elements. As people tend to unify the visual elements into groups, UI components need to be placed that way so users could categorize them. If some elements are placed in certain proximity, users automatically perceive them as a group. Designers can use proximity as a tool which helps to divide the content into subcategories.

 

Repetition

 

If people notice that some elements look similar, they may automatically unify them into one group. That’s how repetition works. Designers repeat some patterns for different objects on purpose so that users could unify them. For example, a website with a great amount of body copy at a page can highlight the most important sentences with another color. Seeing the sentences in this color users can follow from one key point to another.

 

Visual hierarchy is a foundation of the effective information architecture. When UI elements are structured and organized, people enjoy using a product and it will be more effective in solving their problems. Moreover, powerful visual hierarchy improves the navigation system since people can better orient within a product. Stay tuned and be ready for the next article about visual hierarchy.

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Recommended reading

 

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

Information Architecture: Effective Techniques For Designers.

Gestalt Theory for Efficient UX: Principle of Similarity.

Gestalt Theory for UX Design: Principle of Proximity.


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