Tag Archives: mobile typography

bright_vibe_calendar_app_ui_tubik

Mobile Typography: 8 Steps Toward Powerful UI.

Mobile design heavily depends on every detail it consists of. Screens are quite small so designers need to choose elements thoughtfully trying not to overload user interface. Such a peculiarity makes typography creation for a mobile rather tough task. Mobile typography requires deep attention to the details from an appropriate kind of fonts to compelling tracking and alignment.

 

No matter how challenging it sounds, designers strive to build effective mobile design because smartphones are a huge part of our life. The article describes essential principles for compelling mobile typography.

 

tubikstudio ui app design

 

High level of legibility

 

Legibility is called a level of how distinguishable and recognizable the words and characters are in a text. The major objective of powerful typography is clear text which users perceive without efforts. Small screens and ambient light of mobile devices may become a problem on the way to creating legible typography. To avoid problems with legibility, designers need to consider all the factors influencing clarity of text.

 

Font size

 

In terms of mobile typography, the size does really matter. Some may think that on small screens tiny fonts will work best. It’s a misbelief. Small fonts on a bright mobile screen can make user’s eyes hurt from tension and bring a headache. Of course, modern devices allow screen zooming still it’s not always convenient for users to spare an unnecessary effort. Fonts in mobile UI should be big enough for users to read easily but not too big to save typographic hierarchy. The appropriate font size is a key to pleasing UX.

 

Leading

 

As we’ve mentioned in our previous article, leading is the spacing between the baselines of copy. In a mobile interface, leading is usually smaller compared to a desktop version. Wide leading may ruin the visual unity of text while too short space makes it badly legible. If a leading is done right, readers go fast from one text line to another and big pieces of copy become legible.

 

todo list UI app tubik studio

To-Do List App

 

Line length

 

To make body copy comfortable for reading in mobile interface, designers consider all the parameters including length of text lines. Optimal line length for a desktop screen won’t work same for mobile. Too long lines would go beyond screen borders, that is why designers are recommended to keep the number of character per line within 30-40.

 

White space

 

When design elements are tightly gathered in a bunch, the user interface looks messy and navigation is rather difficult. Designers need to give elements space to breathe bringing a relief to users’ eyes and mind. The size of mobile screens doesn’t allow using much of white space that’s why a balance between the elements has to be found.

 

UI animation wine app

Wine Year App

 

Fewer levels of hierarchy

 

Visual hierarchy is applied to organize content in interfaces clearly so that users could distinguish layout objects on the basis of their physical differences, such as size, color, contrast, alignment etc. Hierarchy divides content into levels assisting users to learn copy content gradually step by step without effort and get oriented in the digital product.

 

Web design usually contains three levels of copy content which include such elements as headings, subheaders, body copy, CTA buttons, and captions. However, small mobile screens don’t provide enough space for three levels, so designers apply only two. Elements of a secondary level such as subheaders step aside to make UI look clean.

 

mobile app design tubik studio

Moneywise App

 

Simplicity of fonts

 

A key feature of effective mobile UI is simplicity. Design should be clear and the navigation easy to use, so font choices have to be based on the requirements. First of all, it is recommended to keep a number of fonts within two or three to make text look solid. Designers often stop their choice on two types of fonts for mobile interfaces because it requires fewer levels of hierarchy than web design.

 

Moreover, kinds of fonts should also fit a simple and clean style. Novelty and decorative fonts may look illegible on small screens. Designers regularly combine a serif and a sans-serif fonts to create enough contrast of copy elements in the layout. In addition, it’s good to reduce effects like a shadow for mobile fonts. On desktop screens, they may work nice but will make small mobile screens look overloaded.

 

book swap app interaction design

Book Swap Interactions

 

Delicate contrast

 

Contrast is an efficient tool for designers. It helps highlight vital UI elements as well as contribute a desirable level of text legibility. However, speaking of mobile interfaces, contrast may play a bad joke. Small screens, ambient light, and short fonts make a contrast image look unpleasant for users’ eyes. Reducing contrast between the background and copy elements, designers help users feel comfortable while reading text on a mobile screen.

 

Contrast can be created not only via colors but with sizes of fonts to set visual hierarchy. Nevertheless, mobile interfaces are short of space for giant headings, that’s why size contrast should be also reduced.

 

jewellery ecommerce app

Jewellery E-Commerce App

 

Responsive typography

 

People surf the Internet via all devices available today. That’s why responsive design is a key condition for a successful digital product. Typography is a vital part of design responsiveness. Wrong size, width, and placement of fonts have a big impact on a whole composition. Even the most insignificant changes may break the balance between all design elements.

 

Creating typography for a digital product, designers need to consider how it will look on different devices. Planning such things forehead helps to avoid unnecessary problems in the future.

 

cinema app interaction ui animation

Cinema App

 

Prioritized content

 

To make mobile interfaces simple and useful, designers need to take care of the wise content organization. Users want to have a fast access to information they are looking for and mobile screens can make the process complicated.

 

Mobile UI has no room for unnecessary copy elements. There should be only essential content thoughtfully prioritized. Based on users’ needs and preferences, designers set a structure assisting people to navigate within the product and find what they are searching for. Text elements are prioritized by size changes as well as different width or kind of font.

 

tubik_studio_book_swap

Book App

 

Clear text rags

 

Depending on the type of a product, designers apply appropriate alignment for text blocks. It can be placed on the left, on the right, centrally or it can be justified. However, speaking of mobile design many experts often stop their choice on left side alignment. This kind forms text where the beginning of each line is placed equally and the rags look similar to stairways. Such a structure helps users easily go from one text line to another and scan text fast and easily. If body copy alignment is justified (text lines placed equally), it has no rags either side. The text with such structure is difficult to scan on a mobile screen.

 

tubik studio healthy food animation

Healthy Food App

 

Functional typography

 

While computer users do the clicks and scrolling to interact with products, mobile screens should provide much more functionality. There are many text elements in mobile interfaces that allow users to accomplish certain actions like buying a product, making a call, going to a website and others.

 

Designers need to make sure users understand how the text elements work and enable them to complete the actions. Functional typography should be highlighted among the other and clickable elements should be big enough to tap on them.

 

menu_interactions_ui_animation_tubik

Menu Interactions

 

Things to jot down

 

Minimalism. Mobile screens are short of space, so try not to overload it. Simple fonts, clean style, and a minimum of elements will do their job.

Test the smallest first. Mobile devices have various sizes but the biggest problem is the smallest. Create your design based on how it will look on the tiny screens first. When it’s ready, you can easily adapt it for the bigger sizes.

Avoid decorative and cursive fonts. They don’t render properly on the small screens. Moreover, decorative fonts overload interface with unnecessary details.

Legibility first. Of course, it’s good to make beautiful catchy UI but sometimes all the colors, contrast, original fonts may hurt the legibility of copy content. A good looking text is not enough. Make sure it is legible otherwise users won’t be able to read information and use your product properly.

 
jewellery ecommerce app UI

Jewellery App

 

Every mobile UI design project is an interesting challenge. Meet it with the knowledge and the results will please you.

 

Recommended reading

 

Meaningful Mobile Typography by UXPin group

 

Mobile UI Design: 15 Basic Types of Screens.

 

7 Simple Rules for Mobile Typography

 

Typography in UI: Guide for Beginners


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

web design tubik studio

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces

Words are a powerful weapon. They can bring both success and failure depending on how you put them together. They can motivate or confuse, strengthen or weaken, call or push away. That’s why designing a digital product, it’s vital to remember that high-quality copy is as essential as the details of visual performance.

 

In one of our previous articles, we’ve already considered the big role of textual content in UI design, covering the definition of copy and its functions in graphic user interfaces. The important point to remember from it here is the words cannot be fully replaced with the graphics whatever amazing, high-quality and professional they are going to be. Efficient and engaging copy content in user interfaces is defined by two equally significant basic criteria: the quality of writing and the appropriate look. Words and visual elements should mutually support each other, exist in harmony and provide organic consistency. So, every single piece of copy should be thoughtfully analyzed and created in a way corresponding to the general design concept and enhancing positive user experience via successful interaction. 

 

Could you imagine an interface containing badly-written copy with the same type sizes, fonts, and colors? The chances are big that it would cost users great effort to solve their problems or get needed information with the product, so they would simply choose other product that is more user-friendly and less time-consuming. Let’s check what types of copy content designers and copywriters deal with creating websites or mobile applications, and think over the points needing special attention.

 

copywriting tips

 

Visual hierarchy

 

To organize content in interfaces clearly for users, designers apply a well-known technique called visual hierarchy. It is initially based on Gestalt psychological theory and its main goal is to present the content on the carrier, be it a book page or poster, web page or mobile screen, in such a way that users can understand the level of importance for each element. It activates the ability of the brain to distinguish objects on the basis of their physical differences, such as size, color, contrast, alignment etc. In the aspect of creating copy content for web pages and mobile app screens, there are two aspects important to consider: page scanning patterns and typographic hierarchy. 

 

Understanding the importance of visual performance and readability of copy in digital products and its impact on user experience, numerous usability experts explore this issue comprehensively and collect statistics providing valuable data for designers. Lots of studies have shown that before reading a web page people scan it to get a sense of whether they are interested. According to different studies, including the publications by Nielsen Norman Group as one of the pioneers of this field, UXPin team and others, there are several popular scanning patterns for web pages, among which “F” and “Z” patterns.

 

F-pattern is referred to as the most common eye-scanning pattern, especially for web pages with big amount of content. A user first scans a horizontal line on the top of the screen, then moves down the page a bit and reads across the horizontal line which usually covers a shorter area. And the last one is a vertical line down on the left side of the copy where they look for keywords in the paragraphs’ initial sentences. It usually occurs on text-heavy pages like blogs, news platforms, thematic editorials etc. How could designers employ this knowledge? First of all, placing the information of key importance or core interest on the most scanned spots and trying to use short catching headlines and bold headers to draw users’ attention.

 

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

 

website design tubik studio

The Big Landscape

 

Here we can see the design concept for a website which presents the online magazine «The Big Landscape». The interface is minimalist following the principles of clear visual hierarchy, good readability, intuitive navigation and aesthetic pleasure from visual perception. The designer followed Z-scanning-pattern placing vital elements such as the logo and CTA button in the corners of the top line while the bottom line informs users about the website creators and provides the ability to contact via social networks instantly.

 

Typographic hierarchy

 

Typographic hierarchy is a system that organizes copy content in the best way for users’ perception first of all via modifications and the combination of types and fonts. It is aimed at creating the contrast between the most meaningful and prominent copy elements which should be noticed first and ordinary text information. The contrast is created by regulating type fonts, sizes, and colors as well as their placement and alignment. Typographic hierarchy is presented with common types of copy content used in UI design.

 

Headlines

 

A headline is the first thing that users should see in any interface. It is a large, bold word or phrase which transfers and emphasizes the core informative message on the page. It’s essential for headlines to be catchy and short so that they could draw users’ attention, and meaningful in order to inform users about the theme and benefits of the content of the page or screen. According to the research published by one of the popular social media sharing platforms Buffer, the ideal length of the headline is 6 words; Jacob Nielsen provides the study at which shows that headlines of 5-6 work effectively, not less than extensive headlines presenting a full sentence. 

 

Another point to remember: it’s good when headline is visually supported by other elements on the page or screen, still it also should be understandable and meaningful without such context.

 

website design for photographers

Photography Workshops 

 

Here is the landing page for a company organizing photo tours and workshops for photographers. Functional and stylish minimalism is the basic approach behind the web interface. The bold headline is placed on the left which makes it noticeable but the major accent still remains on the head picture.

 

landing page UI design tubik studio

Website on cooking seafood

 

tubik_studio_website_ui_bakery

Vinny’s Bakery

 

These are two examples of the websites concentrated on providing content around the same theme — food. They both have minimalist design with centrally located headlines. However, the headlines differ with the message they send to the users as well as nature of the websites differs in its core: one of them stimulates uniting users around the action (cooking seafood) while the other is focused in presenting the goods (bread and bakery). The first example presents a website collecting recipes of meals with seafood from all over the world, so its headline contains a CTA with a key element — action verb in imperative form “Let’s cook!”, which dynamically tunes users into the activity. On the other hand, we can see another concept — a website for a small bakery selling homemade bread. The lyrical headline makes users feel warm, sets strong positive emotional connection and lets them instantly imagine the smell of bakery products which are sold via the website.

 

Subheaders

 

It’s impossible to put all the significant information in a headline, that’s why you need subheaders. These are brief, concise and catchy phrases that are similar to headlines, although they typically mark out the key points in separate sections while headlines summarize the theme or message of the whole page. Following the principles of visual hierarchy, fonts chosen for subheaders are usually smaller than for headlines but bigger than the rest of the copy. Traditionally, they are also bold and short. 

 

Landing Page Animation Tubik Studio

Organic — landing page

 

tubikstudio travel gear landing

Travel Gear Landing Page

 

Subheaders play a big role in landing page design. These two concepts for landing pages above are good examples of how subheaders inform users about the data provided in different sections. Bold subheaders point out the main idea of body copy helping users find the information they need easily and quickly.

 

Body copy

 

Body copy is usually a part of text presenting the description or some essential information placed in a compact block, usually under a subheader or a headline. Fonts are thinner and smaller than in headlines and subheaders, sometimes they are presented in italic for even more prominent visual contrast.

 

There is no unified opinion about the best length of body copy. Some content creators support the approach that long copy is more informative and serious-looking, while the others claim that only short copy is effective because Internet users never want to read too much. Here in Tubik we support the approach that the length of the effective and user-friendly copy depends directly on target audience: users, as well as products, are incredibly different, they have diverse preferences, goals and wishes when search for web resources or mobile apps. Both long and short copy have their own pros and cons, and each of them can be appropriate than depending on target audience of the product and its conversion goals.

 

Short copy is often effective for mobile interfaces and landing pages: their users are usually keen to see concise and highly informative copy content. Moreover, mobile interfaces have limited amount of space, so too much copy won’t look nice and will demand additional effort for reading, which can be the reason for poor user experience. Long copy is good for web resources that provide users with complex information on specific topics as well as presentation of the products which aren’t well-known for users and need additional informative support.

 

website design UI

Architecture Firm

 

Here is the example of a web page where long copy is useful. It’s a design concept featuring a website for architectural bureau following minimalistic and functional approach in creative practice and demonstrating it via website visual performance. The aim of such websites is to tell the company’s story, present professional level and achievements, so detailed copy works efficiently in this case.

 

tubik studio web ui design

Birds of Paradise Encyclopedia

 

This design concept also presents a website deeply based on the copy: it’s an educational project setting the online encyclopedia about the specific family of birds. Although it contains a great amount of information presented in text, this type of content is logically divided into many brief and concentrated copy blocks supported with prominent headlines as well as bright and catchy illustrations. This approach makes interaction with the website more dynamic which is especially effective for a teenage part of target readers that presumably often perceive encyclopedias as boring stuff.

 

tubik toonie help screens interaction

Toonie Alarm tutorial

 

As we mentioned above, short copy is useful for mobile interfaces since they are limited in space. The interface of brief tutorial for Toonie Alarm app demonstrates how copy is divided into short blocks in order to leave enough «air» on the screen and make copy readable.

 

Call-to-action elements with copy

 

The core elements that make UI interactive are those which contain a call-to-action (CTA). Some call-to-action elements may be represented with icons that don’t require copy using widely and instantly recognized icons such as a telephone receiver for a phone call or the envelope for mail. However, in cases when the image of an icon is not so obvious or can be misleading, it is more effective to use double scheme, when the icon, button, or link is supported with the copy.

 

The copy for call-to-action elements consists of one or two words or a linked phrase in a body copy. Verbs in the imperative form are one of the frequently applied mechanisms of engaging users.  Designers are recommended to use various techniques of creating contrast, first of all via color, in CTA elements, so that they could stand out in the layout and draw user’s attention quickly.

 

tubikstudio swiftybeaver landing

Landing page for SwiftyBeaver

 

travel agency website UI

Travel Agency Website

 

The CTA buttons on these two landing pages are both centrally located, although they employ different types of copy. The first one consists of the four-word-phrase, while the other applies only one word. However, both look good and work effectively since they both contain the verb in the imperative form and inform target audience about appropriate action solving their potential task on this website.

 

good_sign_app_tubikstudio

Good Sign App Concept 

 

This is a concept for an unusual Good Sign app that gives you a new sign to look for, and you make your wish every time you see it in real life. Such an extraordinary app has also unusual CTA buttons like “Make a wish”.

 

book swap app tubik studio

Book Swap App

 

There’s no need to create CTA buttons exceptionally in bright colors — their main task is to be easily noticeable in the general layout. If the interface is bright and colorful, why don’t you make the contrast with light background which will make bright copy even more prominent, like in a concept for the Book Swap app above?

 

Captions

 

Caption is the short text under a picture describing its content. In web interfaces fonts are usually small and often italic, and in mobile interfaces, the sizes of fonts depend on a size of a picture.

 

gym landing page fragment

Gym Landing Page

 

Here is a concept for the landing page of a gym. The captions here have bold fonts that make them easy to read. They are shown only when the picture is hovered which makes interaction more engaging for the users.

 

Points to consider

 

All in all, creating a quality copy content isn’t that hard if you keep in mind the typographic hierarchy principles. And here are some basic tips on presenting the copy:

 

  • Create catchy headlines. They draw users’ attention and often become the point of decision whether user continues interaction with the page or bounces it.
  • Make headlines short, but keep them highly informative. 
  • Subheaders relate to separate section, so they guide users through the content in the interface.
  • Use brief concise copy for mobile interfaces and landing pages.
  • Consider using long copy for web resources aimed at providing informative content.
  • Use verbs in the imperative form to encourage people to actions.
  • Use contrast colors for call-to-action elements, so that they could draw user’s attention more effectively. However, don’t forget to test readability of the text on the CTA elements: it has a crucial impact on usability and conversion rates.
  • A caption should preferably describe or add the data that isn’t obvious from the image.
  • Give strong preference to present tenses in captions.
  • Always ground your solutions on preliminary user research and don’t neglect testing different options.

 

Recommended reading

 

Here is the collection of recommended articles for further reading in case you would like to read more on the theme.

 

The 5 pillars of visual hierarchy in Web design

6 principles of visual hierarchy for designers

On Visual Hierarchy

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content

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

Effective Writing For Your UI: Things to Avoid

The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research

Copywriting in UI. Words that Make Design Go Round.

 

Our next publication will continue the comprehensive theme of visual hierarchy and its effective practices in web and mobile interfaces. Don’t miss!


 

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