Tag Archives: ui

strategies for ecommerce ui design

11 Profitable Strategies for E-Commerce UI Design

Ratings of e-commerce are booming and rocketing. People are getting more and more confident in buying things online. The report by BigCommerce on customers buying habits in 2016-2017 shows really interesting stats about online shopping:

 

  • 51% of Americans prefer to shop online
  • 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone
  • E-commerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website
  • Online orders increase 8.9% in Q3 2016, but average order value (AOV) increased only 0.2% — indicating that transactional growth is outpacing total revenue.

 

The numbers above still haven’t stopped their increasing. That wouldn’t be reasonable for any business to ignore such global trends having a great impact on profits and reaching customers. For the last couple of years here in Tubik we see the obvious and logical growth of interest from big and small businesses in establishing their presence online via websites and/or mobile applications. Based on our experience and the research of the sphere, today we offer you the article telling a bit more about strategies and best practices in UI design for e-commerce.

 

So, let’s start with the 11 points which are important to consider when you are designing e-commerce user interfaces.

 

ux design for ecommerce tubik blog

 

1. Make the branding instantly visible

 

From the business perspective, branding is a crucial thing: it enables to provide a product, company or service with a recognizable face and personality.  In general terms, branding 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.

 

Branding tends to be essential in an e-commerce user interface design, especially if stakeholders want to use the digital product as the additional flow of customer attraction. Moreover, identity integrated thoughtfully into the interface is the effective way to increase brand awareness. The time taken for proper market and user research, target audience definition, competition analysis and development of brand identity on the basis of all that data by a professional designer is a worthy investment. If that’s done before launching the process of UI design, the product gets higher chances of becoming recognizable faster and easier.

 

In this case, UI designer working on the interface, its color palette, shapes, types and fonts, illustrations and icons, will consider design solutions appropriate and corresponding to the general branding concept of the product that will make them mutually supporting each other. It provides more natural and harmonic feeling of the brand in general and the particular interface as an integral part of this brand.

 

There are numerous ways to add branding to the interface, still some layout zones and elements which have the highest potential in this issue:

 

Headers. In the article about website header design, we showed in detail that headers present the area of high visibility. So putting strategically important elements of branding in it is a good way to strengthen its memorability.

 

Splash screens. In mobile applications, splash screen or welcome screen is the first screen seen by a user while the application is loading and starting. It’s a good idea to use a logo, mascot or any other thing setting the instant visual connection with a brand. Moreover, adding a bit of wow-effect with slight stylish animation, it’s easy to make the sign even more attractive and memorable.

 

Preloaders and pull-to-refresh indicators. These are the elements which show the flow of the current loading process on the app or website. Branding applied elegantly in them can add much into the consistency of both UI and identity design.

 

MascotsMascots are images, usually personified, which often represent the brand, product or service identity and can be its symbolic convention in all the application or website. Mascots push the limits of personification and give the chance to create the unexpected combinations of elements or make fantastic and non-existing characters alive. A mascot becomes the element of identity and inter-connector between the user and the product. In many cases, it is the basic element of communication and interaction delivering the necessary message to the user.

 

jewellery ecommerce app UI

 

2. Set clear and easy navigation as the core task

 

In the article on UX design for ecommerce, we stated: whatever an amazing website or app is, whatever the stylish and trendy design and breathtaking images it features, its success will be measured not by the number of «wows». The efficiency is analyzed simply — by the number of complete purchases. If users don’t buy, design means nothing while stakeholders lose their money. Clear intuitive navigation plays the premier violin here. At every step of interaction, users need to understand clearly plenty of simple things, like:

  • what company or brand they are dealing with
  • what page they are at
  • where the menu is
  • how they can get back to home page or catalog
  • where the search and filters are
  • how long the page-loading process is going to take
  • how they can see the detailed information about the item
  • how they can choose between the option for the same item (color, size etc.)
  • how they can pay for the item
  • how they can save the items they would like to get back to later
  • how they can contact the seller
  • how they can see the rating and reviews of previous buyers etc.

 

gourmet_website_interactions_tubik

 

3. Check the scannability of the page or screen

 

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. Knowing the eye-tracking models, Gestalt principles and laws of visual hierarchy, designers and information architects can put the core data and interaction elements to the zones of high and natural visibility.

 

Calls to action (CTA), in particular, should be instantly seen in the first seconds on the page or screen. In the interfaces for e-commerce, CTA elements are the core factor of effective interaction with the product playing the crucial role in usability and navigability and therefore in getting profits. 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 increases the risk of poor conversion rate and general user experience.

 

4. Minimize user’s efforts whenever its possible

 

The respect to the customer lies not in pouring out your thanks. The real respect is in saving users’ time and effort day in and day out. Here are some design practices which can make the interface effort-saving:

 

Show related products. Seen on the item page as recommendations close to the features of this particular product can make the process of search and browsing much faster for users. However, it’s vital to check together with developers that this section really works according to the algorithm which shows suitable items, not random ones.

 

Strive for a minimal number of clicks. If going from page to page or jumping from screen to screen is not a part of the journey into the sales funnel, save every users’ click possible. Too many operations are tiring and annoying which is a kind of negative emotion. And emotions have a huge influence on user experience and make retaining users much harder.  Minimize the number of clicks on the way of choosing and buying whenever it’s possible — this way you respect user’s time better than politest words of thanks.

 

Simplify the sign-in process. Imagine the situation when you got to the amazing website selling the goods of your dream, and they are presented in such a stylish way that you want to buy them at once. But when you click the button «Buy», you are taken to the huge long from which you have to fill in to register on that website. That will cool down your hot wish to buy everything right here, right now, isn’t it? You change from the state «Take my money, give me that» to «Really? 20 points to fill in before I can buy?» in split seconds. Not all the users will survive that transformation and the website or app will lose a part of buyers. So, it’s necessary to make the sign-in/log-in process as simple as possible.

 

User shape and color marking to group the items or types of content. Color and shape codes enable designers to apply Gestalt principle of similarity not only on one screen or page but on the whole app or website. Color or shape markers simplify navigation and keep the consistency of design enabling users to remember the prompts and find the content they want easily. For e-commerce platforms which are usually full of numerous items, it can make the interface much more user-friendly.

 

Check that perception of the layout is natural and harmonic for the human eye. There are numerous things that have an impact on decision-making, and harmony is one of them. Eye-tensing color combinations, unreadable or not combining fonts, aggressive background, intrusive pop-ups or animations, annoying sounds or pages loading for ages — any point of that stuff can spoil the experience quickly and move users away.

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

5. Don’t go too far experimenting

 

There are many articles and videos calling creative people to hear their heart, trust their guts and think out-of-the-box. However, design is not just pure creativity striving to show all the power of original solutions. First of all, it the way to solve the problem and make users happier. So, it’s vital to look at the interface from user’s perspective and find the way to make interactions that will provide the smooth and easy way to conversion. In the article on home page design strategies we mentioned: the website is made not for creative contests or gallery of fame but for real users. The positive impact of habit in terms of user experience can be stronger than the wish of revolution. Surely, the dose of uniqueness is needed, but not so much to knock down the user. In e-commerce UI design, often aimed at quite a diverse target audience, too much of revolution might confuse and scare: do I really need to buy this thing, a user may think, if it’s so hard to get it? Study the interaction patterns and typical products for that particular target audience to make their habits their power. And don’t forget to check that all the icons on the screen don’t have a double meaning. Strive for the balance between innovation and traditions.

 

6. Use landing pages for specific purposes

 

For business aims and profits rate, this tip may bring crucial changes. E-commerce UI design principles are usually based on dealing complex websites or apps which are filled in with a variety of information. So, the approach of directing all the traffic from outer sources to the home page can be a step killing profitability and reducing conversion rates. Users might get overwhelmed, distracted or even annoyed with the amount of data they have to process finding what they need, especially if they are focused on a particular narrow goal presented in the source they come from. Using landing pages when you need to concentrate user’s attention on something specific can solve this problem efficiently. 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.

 

web design UI tubik studio

 

7. Make the homepage informative

 

Home page can satisfy 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 the first visual and emotional touch to the website. Certainly, design is one of the core ways to make this touch gentle, smart and helpful. 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, not only by beauty and style but first of all by information which is looked for. 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
  • brand or company identity elements
  • internal search
  • 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)
  • for e-commerce websites, it can be visual presentation of bestselling and/or exclusive items, for example, specific books, toys, clothing, equipment 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 set for the website and the research of target audience.

 

bookshop website animation

 

8. Apply high-quality images giving the message

 

Images take a big part in usability: as the vast majority of users are visually driven, images become the hook points of getting basic data about the website or app. They present the part of the content which is both informative and emotionally appealing. The level of detail and functionality allow classifying the images in user interfaces into types, among which:

 

— photos: theme photos creating the appropriate mood and setting the message, demonstration photos, photos of the items, title photos for blog articles and pages of special offers etc.

— illustrations: custom illustrations in graphic interface design can look both informative and original allowing the design to stand out of the competition.

— hero banners: applied mostly in web design, they are big images which are usually the first visual element catching user’s attention in the initial seconds of interaction; they usually give the attractive visual presentation of the main content of the resource.

— icons: these are small but meaningful pictograms which are informative and support data exchange between the informer and addressee. Icons play the key role in providing clear and intuitive navigation, but they should be checked on proper clarity and the absence of double meanings.

— mascots: images, usually personified, representing the brand, product or service identity.

— visual identity elements: various visual signs of branding like logos, custom lettering for brand name and/or slogan etc.

florist shop website design

 

 

9. Think about promotional videos of different kinds

 

There are several common types of promotional videos:

 

  • introduction video (the first insights on the company, product, or brand showing its benefits for users)
  • product presentation videos (details about product’s features and advantages, special steps of interactions and the problem-solving potential of the product)
  • landing page videos (strengthening the message driving users to a particular call-to-action offered on the page)
  • video testimonials (the reasons and signs of trust and loyalty to the company, brand or product)
  • entertaining and educational videos (rising emotional appeal and often presenting the material for viral marketing).

 

All the mentioned types can serve efficiently for marketing goals and increase brand awareness. A creative and catchy video is a good way of attracting customers’ attention and the proven method of informing them quickly and brightly. A video activates several channels of perception — audio, visual, sound — simultaneously and usually do it in a way of telling a story. People are daily overloaded with tons of information of all kinds, so most of them aren’t ready to devote much time learning about products or services, especially the new ones. In these conditions, video can become the way of communication which is dynamic, informative and attractive. However, the technical side should be double-checked so that the video was integrated correctly and didn’t overload the page.

 

10. Let the user contact the duty holders from any point of interaction

 

The most popular placement for contact information 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, on an e-commerce website, presents the online shop, users may want to call more frequently and this ability will have a direct impact on conversion rate. Anyway, the contact data should be available at any point users may need it. Among others, 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 a 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 thoughtful user research setting target audience’s expectations, level of tech literacy and ways of contact which are the most convenient 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.

 

11. Add gamification

 

Gamification integrated into digital products is a great way to stimulate users’ extrinsic motivation, which is mostly a seek of reward, which can be tangible (money, prizes, diplomas, certificates, trophies, medals etc.) and intangible (praise, support, recognition etc.). So, challenges, leaderboards, rewards for loyalty and big orders, discounts, badges, coupons, stickers and all the other stuff of that kind can become great stimuli for users to not only start interaction with a website or app but also stay there and buy regularly.

 

badges illustration tubik studio

 

The offered e-commerce UI design examples and strategies, for sure, do not cover the whole scope of issues to consider in this fields. However, they can serve as a useful checklist or a source of UI design inspiration for those who aim at creating user-friendly platforms supporting business goals. No doubt, best UI design for e-commerce website is the one which leaves a buyer happy and brings profits to the stakeholders. 

 

Recommended reading

 

UX Design for E-Commerce: Principles and Strategies.

The Role of Branding in UI Design

Business-Oriented Design. Know Your Target.

Short but Vital. Key Abbreviations in Design for Business.

Business Terms in Design for E-Commerce. Sales Basics.

Two Types of User Motivation: Design to Satisfy.

Sell Like Hotcakes: UI Designs for E-Commerce.

Feel Homey. Handy Tips for Home Page Design.

Landing Page. Direct Flight to High Conversion.


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

fitness_app_ui_design_article

Keep Fit. UI Design for Fitness Apps.

A professional athlete Billie Jean King once said: “Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose — it teaches you about life.” Sports has become a part of our routine a long time ago. Even more, today a healthy lifestyle is a top trend which constantly grows its popularity across the world.

 

Fitness apps are the key helpers for people who strive to get fit. Their functionality gives a lot of opportunities and makes keeping fit easier. Understanding the significant impact of these applications on users’ everyday life, designers do their best to activate the problem-solving potential of fitness apps. Today’s article describes common screens and essential UI elements for fitness apps.

 

sport app motion ui tubik studio

Sports App Interactions

 

Sign-in and profile screen

 

Fitness app is something like a pocket instructor telling you what to do and gives a feedback on your achievements. To make it more comfortable and personalized, designers need to create an effective profile UI.

 

Before users obtain their profiles they usually go through the sign-in process. Fitness apps, as well as the other ones, can allow logging in via social networks still there are some aspects which users have to fill in to create a personalized profile. The applications usually require the personal data including age, gender, weight, and height which helps to define users’ physical condition. Profile creation is often similar to filling in an application form. This way users can easily provide the needed information to make a profile more personalized.

 

The major objective of a fitness app is to help users in their self-improvement, the reason why profiles should contain not only the personal data but also the user’s achievements such as the number of burnt calories or personal records in sports. It’s important to not to overload the profile screen with the unnecessary information otherwise user interface may look chaotic.

 

Home screen

 

It’s a core element for any type of apps. Home screens serve as the main point where users start the journey within a product. Creating UI for home screen designers need to think of it as a center of navigation and make sure users will be able to operate it easily. 

 

First of all, home screen should provide access to the other parts of the app. Designers can choose various ways of the presentation from a sidebar with minimalistic icons to the clickable subheaders leading to the different sections of app content. The choice often depends on the number of features provided by the product as well as the platform which it is meant for.

 

Activity screen

 

People who aim at getting fit always have to do various physical activities. Fitness apps provide users with the feature which helps to track how active they are during a day. To make a sufficient UI for activity screen, designers include different kinds of activities and sports. Traditionally, fitness apps provide tracking time spent on sports as well as measuring the distance which users cover during a day. The distance can be calculated in two ways: walking is measured by the number of steps and running is usually measured in miles (kilometers).

 

The information about users’ activity is often presented via diagrams of various forms. Such presentation contributes the effective visual perception of the data which includes many numerals. Also, designers often apply custom icons representing each kind of activity. This way the screen looks clean and neat even if users have a really active life.

 

fitness_app_ui_landscape_tubik

Fitness App

 

Heart rate screen

 

The heart is an engine which lets our body live and function, so it’s important to follow its condition daily. Many fitness apps can be connected to the various devices such as fitness wearables which allow measuring pulse. The applications usually transfer the data gathered with devices on a heart rate screen.

 

User interface representing the feature should be simple with the minimum of elements so that it could be easily operated. Since the process of pulse measuring takes some time it may be a good idea to supply the UI with sufficient animation which will show the loading process. For example, motion designers can animate an illustration of the heart showing it beats. Custom illustrations along with motion design can make UI look more proficient and make the process of the pulse measuring more interactive.

 

Sleep tracking screen

 

Nice sleep is a guarantee of the human health. Sportspeople know it better than anyone else and always try to control the time and quality of their sleep. Fitness apps show the gathered information during a night which includes the time and stages of sleep. There are four stages of sleep: the first and the second are called light sleep, the third is deep sleep and the fourth is rem sleep. The applications track these stages and in the morning users can see the statistics. The data on sleep is often shown as graphs.

 

Calories screen

 

They say that fitness people are obsessed with calories. Well, there is truth in the words because if you want to get fit it’s vital to control what and how much you eat. As we said above, fitness applications show the information on the number of burnt calories based on the activity results. The calories data can be displayed on the activity screen as well as on the personal profile. However, it may be an effective solution to create a separate screen to provide users with the expanded information on the lost calories.

 

Sport app UI design

Sports App

 

Progress screen

 

To stay motivated and continue self-improvement, it’s important to know that the hard work gives results. The progress screen shows the statistics about users achievements along with failures. Here the graphs will be the best choice. If people have the progress, they see that their results are getting better and the scales on the graphs go higher.

 

Schedule screen

 

There can be many sports activities in different time and different places so the schedule seems to be essential in this situation. The screen of schedule is standardized, but to make it unique and original, designers can add some interesting icons representing various sports directions.

 

Goals screen

 

Goals move us to achieve more and more, especially if we talk about fitness. People start doing sport because they have some goals like losing weight or shaping up. In fitness applications, users set maybe a bit less radical goals but easier to achieve on a regular basis. They often include walking a certain number of steps per day or week along with burning the fixed amount of calories.

 

The screen of goals can be presented as a sheet divided into categories: to do, doing, done. This way users will see how much they have managed to achieve and what they need to strive for. In addition, designers can settle the system of awards which will help users be even more motivated. We’ve already described awards as effective gamification tools which contribute increasing user engagement. You can find detailed info in our previous articles.

 

tubik_studio_bebright_app

BeBright App

 

The sport requires persistence and fortitude and so does the creation of sufficient UI design. Learn the basics, add some inspiration and you can surprise yourself. Stay tuned!

 

Recommended reading

 

If you want to learn more about common screens for various mobile apps, here is the list of helpful articles revealing tips on mobile UI design and its components.

Mobile UI Design: 15 Basic Types of Screens.

Feel the Beat. UI Design for Music Streaming Services.

Spectacular Design. Elements of Cinema App UI.

 

fitness_app_ui_design_article


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tips on visual hierarchy in design

9 Effective Tips on Visual Hierarchy

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

 

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

 

Keep business goals in mind

 

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

 

design agency landing page

Design Agency Landing Page

 

Consider scanning patterns

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Functionality first

 

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

 

landing page UI design tubik studio

Seafood Recipes Landing Page

 

White space is a visual element

 

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

 

landing page web design

Colony Landing Page

 

Apply the golden ratio

 

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

 

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

 

golden ratio in ui design

Tracking Widget

 

Use a grid

 

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

 

Add some colors

 

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

 

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

 

financial_service_website_tubik

Financial Service Website

 

Pay attention to the fonts

 

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

 

Three levels for web, two for mobile

 

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

 

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

 

UI animation wine app

WineYard App

 

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

 

Useful articles

 

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

 

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

Golden Ratio. Bring Balance in UI Design.

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

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

Typography in UI: Guide for Beginners.

 


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psychology of shapes in design tubik article

Knock Design Into Shape. Psychology of Shapes.

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

 

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

 

Psychology of shapes

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

animated tutorial

Social network tutorial animation

 

Geometric shapes meaning

 

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

 

Squares and Rectangles

 

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

 

Common meanings:

  • discipline
  • strength
  • courage
  • security
  • reliability

 

tubik_photo_app

Photo App

 

Triangles

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

 

Common meanings:

  • excitement
  • risk
  • danger
  • balance
  • stability

 

Circles, ovals, and ellipses

 

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

 

Common meanings:

  • eternity
  • female
  • universe
  • magic
  • mystery

 

tubik_art_courses_app

Art Courses App

 

Spirals

 

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

 

Common meanings:

  • growth
  • creativity
  • calmness
  • intelligence

 

Big City Guide Madrid tubik

Big City Guide

 

Natural shapes meaning

 

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

 

Common meanings:

  • originality
  • organic
  • balance
  • refreshment

 

andre landscape tubik studio logo design

Andre landscape logo option

 

Abstract shapes meaning

 

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

 

Common meanings:

  • the duality of meaning
  • uniqueness
  • elaborate.

 

wedding_theme_website_ui_design_tubik

Wedding theme

 

How designers use psychology of shapes

 

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

 

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

 

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

web design UI concept tubik studio

The Big Landscape

 

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

 

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

 

Recommended reading

 

Color in Design: Influence on Users’ Actions.

Psychology in Design. Principles Helping to Understand Users.


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ux writing tubik article

UX Writing. Let User Interface Speak.

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

 

What’s UX writing?

 

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

 

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

 

tubik studio page 404

Page 404

 

Why is UX writing needed?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

tutorial_design_tubik_studio

Shauts App Tutorial

 

Who has to do UX writing?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

gourmet_website_interactions_tubik

The Gourmet Website

 

What makes efficient UX writing

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

web_ui_design_tubik

Digital Agency Landing Page

 

Practical tips on UX writing

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

web design tubik studio

Page 404

 

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

 

Recommended reading

 

10 UX copywriting tips for designers

5 Ideas for Better UX Writing

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

Copywriting in UI. Words that Make Design Go Round.


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golden ration for UI UX design article

Golden Ratio. Bring Balance in UI Design.

One of the major characteristics of effective design is a clear user interface. All the elements need to be well-balanced and placed in the harmony so that users could easily perceive the information on the screen and interact with a product without efforts.

 

To create an efficient design composition, professionals apply various techniques and methods from the art science as well as the basic mathematical theories. One of the common tools helping to build pleasing design compositions is a mathematical proportion called the golden ratio. In the article, we’ll define the essence of this technique and see how it can be used in design.

 

What’s the golden ratio?

 

Everything in the world strives to the harmony and balance. Even mother nature brings things in the forms close to the perfect. People enjoy everything which has natural touch and they always aim at implementing these patterns and forms into their outcome. In pursuit of discovering the secrets of creation, mathematicians calculated a formula which appears in the majority of things on the Earth.

 

The golden ratio is a mathematical proportion between the elements of different sizes which is thought to be the most aesthetically pleasing for human eyes. The golden ratio equals 1:1.618 and it is often illustrated with seashell-shaped spirals which you could have probably seen on the Internet.

 

golden ratio for designers

Source

 

So, how exactly the perfect asymmetry is calculated? First, you need to decide the length of the small element. Then multiply it by a golden ratio which is 1.618 and the result will be the perfect length of the bigger element.

 

Golden ratio formula for designers

Source

 

Golden ratio theory is believed to exist for more than 4000 years. Scientists discovered that the majority of the ancient buildings, as well as famous artworks, obey to the golden ratio. Leonardo Da Vinci and Salvador Dali were known as the followers of the golden ratio theory and they used it as a key tool for their amazing artworks. Today the golden ratio is applied in various fields including architecture, art, photography, and design.

 

Golden ratio in design

 

An effective composition is a core part of design. All the elements need to work together to maximize the pleasant experience. Moreover, each separate element, even the small one like an icon, has to be created in a harmony within itself. The golden ratio has a positive influence on the visual perception the reason why many graphic and UI designers apply it at their workflow.

 

Graphic designers are more keen to apply golden ratio. The thing is that the art teachers often explain the theory of golden ratio to help students figure out how to work with proportions. That’s why many designers continue to apply this tool while creating various graphics, especially for the small but meaningful design elements such as a logo.

 

Logo and icon design requires deep attention to the details. The golden ratio allows creating illustrations where each element is placed in a harmony and appropriate proportion to the others. Moreover, logo design is a heart of the brand so designers strive at presenting it in the most compelling way. Golden proportion can add aesthetic appeal to a logo and increase the popularity of the brand.

 

User interface needs to have the clear visual presentation of the components so that people could use a product without problems. The golden ratio is often applied to place UI elements effectively. First of all, it can be used at the stage of wireframing. This way you can plan a structure for the layout placing and sizing user interface components according to golden proportion. In addition, golden ratio scheme can help professionals to crop images for web design so that it could make sure the composition of the photo remains balanced.

 

graphic design golden ratio illustration

Graphic design for Opera Software promo video

 

How does golden ratio improve UI design?

 

Mathematical calculations may seem boring and time-consuming, so a question may arise if it’s worth the effort. Let’s see what golden ratio can bring into design.

 

Well-balanced content

 

Designers often face the situation when a product needs to contain a great amount of various content and each part of it is vital and cannot be replaced. To unite all the components in a pleasant composition, the golden ratio can be applied. Divide the layout into different sections using a proportion of 1:1.618 and put the content in the sectors according to their importance. Such a content composition is sufficient for users’ perception and it helps to organize all the components.

 

Effective visual hierarchy

 

Speaking of the content organization, we can’t forget about visual hierarchy. As we mentioned in our previous articles, it’s a technique of efficient structuring content components. Combining principles of these two techniques designers maximize chances of building a powerful design composition.

 

golden ratio in ui design

Tracking Widget

 

Powerful typography levels

 

To create efficient typography, designers need to divide copy content into different levels. They usually include various kinds of copy including headers, subheadings, body copy, caption etc. Applying golden ratio professionals can quickly define an appropriate proportion between the typographic levels, for example, you can choose a certain size for the header and then divide it by 1.618. The result will show you the most appropriate size for subheaders.

 

Pleasing first impression

 

When users try a product for the first time, they scan user interface to understand if they like it or not. The psychology principle known as a visceral reaction states that people decide whether they like something or not within a few seconds of looking at something. This reaction goes faster than our consciousness so we don’t even realize it. That’s is why it’s vital to make sure the first impression of a product will be pleasing. Design created by using the golden ratio has a positive influence on users’ mind and their visual perception and it works from the first sight at a product.

 

Appropriate white space

 

White space is the area between elements in a design composition. Designers always need to care about the amount of the white space in the UI since the unity of composition highly relies on it. The golden ratio can make the process of spacing much easier and faster. Applying golden proportions you will be able to define the right white space which will work well for the design.

 

golden ratio in web design

Digital Agency Landing Page

 

Design presenting the natural balance of the components cannot be unnoticed. The well-structured layout is one of the core parts of powerful UI. The golden ratio brings the harmony into design and makes the product pleasant for users. Don’t be afraid of the mathematical formula. It’s not that difficult as it may seem. Even more, the golden ratio can help creating user-friendly digital products which will combine utility and aesthetics.

 

Recommended reading

 

The Golden Ratio — Principles of form and layout

Golden Ratio in UI design

 


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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 to 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-centered 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 for 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 a great factor of usability and desirability. Today we would like to share some advice and techniques which could become supportive of 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 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 kinds 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, its 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 in copy while words representing numerals can be missed 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. Common 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 for 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: 

  • 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 is its effective visual presentation 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

Source
 

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

bright_vibe_calendar_app_ui_tubik

 

10. Optimize visual content

 

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

website design UI

 

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

 

Useful articles

 

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

 

Best Practices for Website Header Design

The Role of Branding in UI Design

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

Gestalt Theory for Efficient UX: Principle of Similarity.

Gestalt Theory for UX Design: Principle of Proximity.

Copywriting in UI. Words that Make Design Go Round.

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

Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces.


Welcome to see designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

visual hierarchy in UI design

Visual Hierarchy: Effective UI Content Organization.

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

 

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

 

What’s visual hierarchy?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

tubik_studio_structure

 

Typographic hierarchy

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

 

Visual hierarchy tools

 

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

 

Size

 

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

 

Color

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Contrast

 

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

 

Negative space

 

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

 

Proximity

 

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

 

Repetition

 

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

 

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

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