Tag Archives: human-computer interaction

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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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.


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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.


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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.


 
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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.

dance_academy_website_interactions_tubik

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.


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

design cinema app UI tubik

Spectacular Design. Elements of Cinema App UI.

Going to the cinema is always a nice way of entertainment. The young and old like watching their favorite films on the large screens while eating tasty popcorn and drinking soda. However, cinema lovers are very often forced to wait in long queues because this kind of leisure is so popular.

 

Digital technologies have come for a rescue. Nowadays, cinema industry provides their customers with the handy assistants — cinema apps. They are convenient helpers enabling people to find the information about movies along with schedules and the seats available. Moreover, cinema apps are a tool which makes the process of booking and purchasing tickets much more comfortable than ever before. Today’s article describes UI screens and features which are common for cinema applications.

 

Profile screen

 

Nowadays every app aims at making user experience more personalized and individual the reason why a profile is an essential part of any kind of applications. As for cinema apps, profiles are tools which help users book and buy tickets within a few taps. What’s more, if a cinema contributes a loyalty program it’s easier to follow customers’ activities because everything is marked in the profile.

 

A profile should contain only necessary info otherwise the screen may look too complex. When a user creates their profile, a cinema app usually asks for user’s name, email, location, and preferences in cinematography. Since ticket purchase is one of the major features, it may be good to add an option of credit card data. This way users will be able to make a convenient and fast purchase. In addition, by gathering and analyzing data about users’ tastes and location, an app can inform people about interesting movie premieres near them.

 

Home screen

 

Home screen is a base for any type of digital products that’s why it’s also known as the main page. It is a start point where users begin journey within a product. The content of home screens varies depending on the type of an app.

 

The main screen of cinema applications usually includes movie posters followed by captions with the name to show users what is on today. Films can be presented as a list or a feed so that users could quickly scan them and make their choice. The posters should be clickable and lead to the next screen with the schedule and movie info.

 

Also, UI of a home page needs to provide the search field. People who have already chosen a film will be able to type a name and quickly find what they want. It may be a good idea to add some filters such as film genres to make the search process more pleasant.

 

cinema app design

 

Movie details screen

 

A poster and name can’t give a proper explanation of a movie plot. That’s why a cinema app needs to provide the movie details so that users would know what they choose.

 

UI design for a movie details screen is simple. It consists of a high-resolution poster, the name of a film and a short text description. Mobile typography should be chosen properly so that the text would be legible and pleasant to users’ eyes.

 

In addition, some cinema apps show the rating of a movie. It can be IMDb ratings or assessments given by the users who already watched a film. This way people can see how popular a movie is and decide if they want to watch it.

 

One more additional feature is bookmarking. Users can fill their personal wish list or a list of favorites and go back to the selected movies later.

 

Player screen

 

It is known that video content is perceived better than copy that’s why it’s always a good idea to include movie trailers to the movie info.

 

The video player allows users to watch various trailers right in the app. A player can be a part of a movie details screen as well as an app can have a separate screen with the list of movie trailers. This feature is not a key for cinema apps still there are many of them which have already included it.

 

Schedule screen

 

A schedule is a vital part of the information which users receive from cinema apps. Designers should pay deep attention to its presentation as it needs to be compact and easy to find.

 

The schedule usually relates to one certain movie and shows the time when different film showings start. The time is often presented as a button so that users could tap or click it to continue their journey on booking or buying tickets.

 

cinema_app_ui_design_tubik

 

Choosing seats

 

When the movie and the time are chosen, people need to see where they can sit. There are two types of UI for the seats choice screen — the list and visual representation of a cinema hall.

 

A list includes two main options to choose — a row and a number of a seat. The list is a light variant which doesn’t take much time to be created and the UI looks nice on various devices even with the small screens.

 

Today UI with the visual representation of a cinema hall gains more and more popularity. This type allows users to see exactly where the seats are located and make a proper choice. However, designers have to concentrate on the details while creating the visual representation of a cinema hall for UI. Seats should be big enough so that users could easily tap the right one from the first try. Moreover, it’s vital to make sure a visual cinema hall looks good on different screens.

 

Purchase screen

 

The opportunity to buy tickets earlier and choose the best seats is one of the biggest profits which users receive from cinema apps. Designers’ big task is to make the process of purchase comfortable and secure.

 

The checkout screen usually includes a form where a buyer fills in a specific personal data such as a name and a number of the credit card. As we said above, if users of a cinema app have their personal profiles, a personal information can be taken from there automatically.

 

In addition, it’s vital to make sure people feel that their personal data is secure. Marks of security can be presented via visual including callouts in a copy as well as some icons of the famous brands that gave their approval or maybe even some certificate signs if there are such.

 

cinema app interaction ui animation

 

Tickets

 

Tickets are the documents which confirm the payment and allow entering a cinema hall. Some apps send the digital tickets to the email so that users could download them on a smartphone or print them to show at the entrance. However, some cinema applications reduce the number of actions. When a user buys a ticket, it is automatically saved in their personal account and all they need to do is to activate an app right before going into the cinema hall.

 

Tickets can be presented via custom illustrations which adds originality to an app. Also, if a client wants something more minimalistic, tickets can be represented with simple QR codes.

 

Map screen

 

Only small towns have a single movie theatre in the area. There are several cinemas from one company around cities so the map feature seems important here. If users set their location while creating a personal profile, an app can automatically choose the nearest cinema.

 

design cinema app UI tubik

 

Watching films at home can’t be compared with feelings of watching it on the big screen. It means that cinema industry is unlikely to lose its popularity anytime soon. Digital technology should help to improve cinema services so that more people would become loyal visitors. Cinema apps are effective tools for both cinema industry and their clients. Designers need to learn how to make these tools user-friendly and maybe even improve them with their creative solutions. Stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

Mobile UI Design: 15 Basic Types of Screens.

UI for Movies. Collection of Cinema App Designs.


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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?


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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


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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


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