Tag Archives: user research

information architecture for designers tubik

Information Architecture. Basics for Designers.

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

 

What’s information architecture?

 

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

 

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

 

UX design process tubik

 

The role of information architecture in design

 

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

 

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

 

IA and UX design

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

tubik studio design process ux

 

IA system components

 

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

 

Organization systems

 

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

 

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

 

web ui design city guide

Big City Guide

 

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

 

Bakery website design case study tubik

Vinny’s Bakery Website

 

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

 

mobile app design tubik studio

MoneyWise App

 

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

 

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

 

Chronological schemes. This type organizes content by date.

 

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

 

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

 

book swap app tubik studio

Book Swap App

 

Labeling systems

 

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

 

gym landing page concept by Tubik

 

Gym Landing Page

 

Navigation systems

 

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

 

Searching systems

 

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

 

tubikstudio-ui-ux-design

 

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

 

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

 

Recommended reading

 

IA for the Web and Beyond

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

Information Architecture Basics

The Difference Between Information Architecture and UX Design


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color psychology in design

Color in Design: Influence on Users’ Actions.

Every single day we’re surrounded by various colors from everywhere. If you take a closer look at the things around, they may surprise you with a number of colors and shades. People may not notice how colorful everyday things are but the colors have the significant impact on our behavior and emotions. Today our article is devoted to the science studying this issue called color psychology. Let’s define the meaning of the colors and review some tips on choosing suitable colors for the design.

 

tubik studio design

 

What is color psychology?

 

It’s a branch of psychology studying the influence of colors on human mood and behavior. The thing is that our mind reacts on colors while we usually do not notice it. The moment our eyes perceive a color, they connect with the brain which gives signals to the endocrine system releasing hormones responsible for the shifts in mood and emotions. These days a lot of research is conducted in order to study the peculiarities of these reactions and there are already many theories useful to learn. Color psychology is helpful in many industries including business, marketing, and design.

 

The success of the product depends largely upon the colors chosen for the design. The properly selected colors help put users in the frame of mind that compels them to take action. The research provided by Colorcom showed that it takes only 90 seconds for people to make a subconscious judgment about a product and between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone. So, the basic knowledge of color psychology can be useful on the way of improved conversion for your product. Moreover, accurately chosen colors can advance usability of the product.

 

Meaning of colors

 

To convey the right tone, message and call users to make the expected action, designers need to understand what colors mean and what reaction they evoke. In one of our previous articles, we’ve demonstrated you the list of colors with brief descriptions of their meanings. Today we have prepared a bit more expanded list of color meanings in common use and in design.

 

Red

The color usually associates with passionate, strong, or aggressive feelings. It symbolizes both good and bad states of mind and soul including love, confidence, passion and anger. In design, the use of red color is an effective way to draw users’ attention. Also, it’s recommended to use red sparingly to avoid the negative reactions.

 

toonie alarm mascot design tubik studio

Toonie Alarm app tutorial

 

Orange

It is an energetic and warm color bringing the feelings of excitement. Orange combines red’s power and yellow’s friendliness, so it may bring feelings of motivation, enthusiasm, and love to life. Designers use the color if they need to give the spirit of creativity and adventure.

 

logo design tubik studio

fOxygenic Logo

 

Yellow

This is the color of happiness which symbolizes the sunlight, joy, and warmth. Yellow is thought to be the easiest color to visibly see. What’s more, it has one of the most powerful psychological meanings. Users seeing yellow colors in the design can feel the inspiration and confidence. Although, you need to remember that too much yellow may bring negative reactions such as the feeling of anxiety or fear.

 

stardust_bikers_webpage_ui_tubik_studio

StarDust website

 

Green

It’s often called the color of nature, balance, and harmony. Green brings calming and renewing feelings. Also, it is a sign of growth and inexperience. It has more positive energy than most other colors but sometimes it associates with materialism. Design in green colors perfectly suits to the products connected with nature.

 

Big_city_guide_Stockholm_tubik

Big City Guide: Stockholm

 

Blue

It often represents some corporate images since the blue is the color of trust. It usually shows reliability, may give users calming feelings. However, as a cool color, it also associates with distance and sadness, so designers need to keep it in balance.

 

design_for_business_tubik_studio_book

Design for Business E-book

 

Purple

Long associated with royalty and wealth since many kings wore purple clothes, it’s useful for presenting some luxurious products. It’s also a color of mystery and magic. It mixes the energy of red and blue, so it has a balance of power and stability. A big concentration of the color may distract users’ mind.

 

night_in_berlin_event_list_ui_tubik

Night in Berlin App

 

Pink

It is the color of hope, sensitivity, and romance. Pink is much softer than red, so it creates the sense of unconditional love. Pink is associated very strongly with youthful femininity, so it may be an effective color if the target audience is mostly girls and young women.

 

tubik studio app design

Dating App

 

Brown

The color of security and protection like the mother Earth. Designers commonly use brown as a background color in a variety of shades, from very light to deep. It brings the feeling of warmth and comfort to the designs. Also, it may be used to show the experience and reassurance.

 

jewellery_e-commerce_app_concept_by_tubik

Jewelry E-Commerce App

 

Black

The color has a great number of meanings. It associates with tragic situations and death. It signifies a mystery. It can be traditional, modern, serious. Everything depends on how you employ it and which colors go with it. Black matches well with any other color, so it’s ideal for the background. Designers often use it to set contrasts.

 

Bakery website animation

Vinny’s Bakery

 

White

The color means purity and innocence, as well as wholeness and clarity. White often associates with a blank sheet of paper motivating people to generate new ideas. However, too much white can cause the feelings of isolation and emptiness. In design, white is commonly used as the background color especially for the resources for which readability is a vital part.

 

tubikstudio ui animation website design

Bjorn website

 

Color meanings in branding

 

Colors are a vital factor for not only the visual appearance of products but also brand recognition. Nevertheless, in branding, colors tend to have more direct meanings than in common understanding. They can be briefly described within a few words, so here is the list for you:

 

  • Red. Confidence, youth, and power.
  • Orange. Friendly, warm, and energetic.
  • Yellow. Happiness, optimism, and warmth.
  • Green. Peace, growth, and health.
  • Blue. Trust, security, and stability.
  • Purple. Luxurious, creative, and wise.
  • Black. Reliable, sophisticated, and experienced.
  • White. Simple, calm, and clean.

 

realli_logo_animation_tubik

Realli logo animation

 

Color Preferences

 

Visual perception is quite individual for everyone. Designers need to remember that the color effects may be different because of the factors such as age, culture, and gender. First of all, people’s preferences can shift during the life whatever the object is, let’s say, food, clothes, music, colors and plenty of other aspects. It is caused by both mental and physical changes that happen to us across the lifetime. For example, children like yellow color pretty much, but as we become adults it usually seems less attractive. Faber Birren explains it in his work Color Psychology and Color Therapy: “With maturity comes a greater liking for hues of shorter wavelength (blue, green, purple) than for hues of longer wavelength (red, orange, and yellow)”. One more difference between children’s perception and adult is that kids can change their favorite colors fast, while adult color preference is usually non-malleable.

 

Also, designers need to consider that there are many cultural differences and color perception is not an exception. Sometimes cultures define colors diversely, for example, in Western countries, white color means happiness and purity, while in some Asian countries it symbolizes death. You can find many examples of how different may the meanings be in countries but it would take a whole article to tell about it, so if you’re interested in the topic, follow our updates on the blog since the post on this issue is coming soon.

 

Another point on the color preferences is gender. Many color studies have been done over the years and a lot of them say that the color preferences of women and men significantly differ. The Color Assignment group has conducted a deep research on this topic and many designers already use the results in the creative process. We’ve defined the most notable things from the research to share with you.

 

Blue is the top color. Both men and women of all ages think of blue as the favored color.The shades of blue such as cerulean, azure, beryl, cornflower blue, and sapphire are popular among women.

 

Brown and orange are in dislike. The first one considered less favorable among men, the second — among women.

 

Cool colors are preferred. Men and women favor blue, green and their tints in general.

 

Women like tints. When men prefer pure or shaded colors, ladies are good with tints.

 

Men prefer achromatic colors. White, black and gray are neutral colors and men are keen to choose them.

 

Favorite colors

 

favorite color on gender

 

Least favorite colors

 

least-fav-colors-gender

 

Source of charts

 

It’s vital to consider color preferences of the target audience while creating UI and UX design since it helps to avoid negative reactions and associations.

 

Points to consider

 

Color psychology is rather complex to understand and learn. However, it may become an efficient tool in designers’ hands helping to understand users and their demands. Summarizing the article, here is the list of useful things to consider:

 

  • Choose the colors wisely. They have a deep influence on the users.
  • Make sure your design and its colors convey the right message and tune.
  • Learn your target audience. The color preferences and meanings depend on many factors including age, gender, and culture.
  • Some colors may look different on the screens of different devices. Additional testing never hurts.
  • It may be a good idea to test the UI colors with representatives of the target audience.
  • Try to make the color combinations wisely, in the best way for the users’ perception.

 

Recommended reading

 

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

Responding To Color

 

Birren, Faber., Color Psychology and Color Therapy.

 

Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color

 

Color Associations

 

Why Color Matters

 

The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding

 


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UI research web and app design tubik

User Research. Empathy Is the Best UX Policy.

Starting any project, which is not their personal presentation but a product for users, designers should be deeply aware: they work primarily not for self-expression, not for showing their creativity to the world, not for creating something revolutionary new that will make the world go round in opposite direction. They work to solve users’ problems, satisfy their wishes and achieve business goals.

 

That is why it’s vital to establish who the potential users of the future product are and which their wishes and needs could be met. This is the time when the designer turns into the researcher to get as much information as possible and analyze it for the sake of user-friendly solutions in design and interactions. In our earlier articles, we have already mentioned the significant role of user research in creating problem-solving user-friendly designs, and today we suggest getting deeper into its definition, methods, techniques and benefits in the process of creating a digital product.

 

web design tubik studio

 

What is user research?

 

Generally, the word «research», being quite universal for the diverse spheres of professional activities, roots into the Old French word recercher meaning «seek out, search closely»; first, it was the verb and later transformed into the noun of the same semantics. The modern definition of the noun according to Cambridge Dictionary state the meaning as «a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding». This sort of activity is widely applied in a variety of sciences and practical fields, including informational architecture and user experience design.

 

Basically, user research is the comprehensive and multilayered activity whose aim is to collect information about the potential target audience of the product. Via a number of techniques, user researchers collect and then analyze the information obtained from real users, and this outcome usually allows the design team to work on the optimal solutions which will make the product user-friendly and attractive.

 

Therefore, user research means getting deeper into details of core target audience to understand their preferences and psychological peculiarities, the influence of different factors like colors, stylistic decisions, and logic of interaction on emotions and experience of the defined group, the sources of information and creative performance ways which could engage users and make them active. On this basis, visual design presumes to create the original and recognizable style that will make the product stand out of the crowd and draw potential customer’s attention.

 

User research is actually the way by which designer is able to step into the shoes of the user and go along his or her path feeling all the stones on the way. This is the way to create designs based on empathy — the ability to place yourself onto the place of the other person, to feel what they are feeling and see what they are seeing. This precious ability enables designers to create things which not only work well and look good but also do what the particular users need them to do.

 

web development

 

Why is user research needed?

 

Famous guru of advertising David Ogilvy emphasized the great importance of research for creating effective result: «Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.» Time has changed the means, goals and technologies, still, the vital role of research established even stronger. Neglecting the research stage and relying only on their creative intuition, experience and talent, designers risk failing this task as they will not know the conditions of the app functioning and will not be able to make it efficient, user-friendly and original.

 

As we mentioned before, designers who start creating a product just at once when they get the task are quite risky guys. There are plenty of things to do before the designing process itself. Ignoring those things can give the interesting but not viable result. It’s important to analyze the competition, to understand the target market, to find out the sources of traffic and potential expectations of the users before setting off. Otherwise, you can waste much more time on loads of inefficient variants.

 

Toonie Alarm UI design

 

When is user research applied?

 

Describing the typical stages of product creation process here in Tubik, we have mentioned the set of the following stages: setting the task and initial scope of works; estimation; user/market research; UX wireframing; prototyping; UI design; animation; software architecture planning; development; testing; release; updates. Still, it doesn’t mean that all these stages go one-by-one in this order — some of them are interconnected and some of them are spread around the whole creative process. User research is applied at several different levels of creation, somehow changing the perspective and the goals on the data which should be obtained and analyzed.

 

We would mark out three typical stages when user research is a must-do essential for creating the efficient design.

 

Pre-design research: this is actually the initial stage of the creative process when designer working over the project is exploring the requirements of the stakeholders and collects the maximum information about the target audience.  As well as in a scientific project, the scientist collects and analyzes the heritage of the previous specialists involved in the sphere to make the product actual, the UX designer needs to do the same to offer the solutions correspondent to what users need and want.  This is the time to talk, read and analyze a lot. This is when the designer needs to dive into psychology and behavior, together with the stakeholder set the goals of the product and investigate the factors which influence choices in this domain. Certainly, with every next project and each next dose of experience, the designer can get accustomed to user research techniques and needs less time for them. However, there never comes the day when the designer doesn’t need any time for research as long as every project has its unique requirements and its own USP which should be enlightened by design.

 

In-process research: it is applied at different stages of the actual design process when, having the chances to interact with users, discuss their wishes, watch their behavior and analyze the problems they have, designers explore the offered solutions in action and on that basis can alter some positions of their research and add more efficiency to the user interfaces.

 

Real product research: this is the another level of research applied to actually existing digital product users operate with. Applying various techniques of user testing, designers collect actual experience, analyze it and make improvements in terms of real cases of the product usage in different environments and conditions.

 

UI design Upper App

 

What are the dimensions of user research?

 

Certainly, there are numerous approaches to the process of research. Among them, we would like to draw your attention to the dimensions outlined by Nielsen Norman Group, highly experienced in the domain of research and analysis and regularly sharing their findings in this sphere. They offer to view the methods of user research along a 3-dimensional framework with the following axes:

  • Attitudinal vs. Behavioral
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative
  • Context of Use

ux-landscape-questions

 

As we can see from the scheme, attitude is what people say while behavior is what people do. In real life, they are often different things and aspects, due to numerous reasons like individual traits of character, temper, education level, age, gender, beliefs and so on. Another opposition presents qualitative analysis, which is usually measured by definite numbers (like «how many clicks the user makes before accomplishing the payment») and qualitative analysis («why user can leave the page without registration and how this problem could be fixed»). And the context of use analyzes all the additional factors which can influence the outcome of interaction with the product, for example, is the user goes along the preliminary given script or interaction is full improvisation.

 

Analyzing the data in terms of different dimensions, designers are able to take the comprehensive outcome enabling to make solid decisions about the interactions and visual performance.

 

What are the methods of user research?

 

Today, user experience design has already grown into a sphere with the considerable background of project and research cases, which have resulted in the extensive set of different research methods. Some methods are used on a regular basis, some are more rare and specific, yet it’s good for designers to be aware of a variety of them. Let’s briefly review the popular ones.

 

Interviews. Perhaps the most widely spread method when, having set the target audience of the product, people involved into the creative process interact directly with potential users and ask them questions to collect information. The quality of questions is the issue of high importance here. It’s effective to apply both close (yes/no) and open (giving the detailed answer) questions to let users provide diverse information.

 

Personas. The technique which has been applied in marketing and sales for a long time with client/buyer personas and now has transformed into a new perspective of user personas. With this technique, designer collects the data about the potential target audience, its psychological and behavioral preferences and habits and creates a bunch of imaginary users with these characteristics. On the ground of this data, the designer models users’ interactions with the product and possible issues that can arise in the process.

 

Sorting cards. This technique is effectively applied in cases when designers deal with the products presenting complex interfaces and variety of diverse content. The users are asked to categorize the content and set the hierarchies. In this way, the designers obtain the data showing how users see this sort of content and what way of its organization would be efficient for quick and easy navigation around the app or website.

 

Surveys. Another traditional method of scientific and social explorations when users are offered the set of questions. Answering them, users give the actual information enabling designers to understand their preferences and wishes deeper.

 

Focus group. Popular method presenting the moderated discussion of the product, its features, benefits and drawbacks within the group of people potentially close to the target audience. Altering some characteristics of the group, for example, age, gender, education level, tech literacy, researchers can receive the variety of data and see how these features can influence user behavior.

 

Task analysis. The method exploring the tasks and goals which users have interacting with the product. Understanding what users want to do enables designer to consider the fast and effective ways to achieve these goals.

 

Eyetracking. Special devices enable the designer to review which zones of the website or app users interact with more actively and use these zones in the most efficient and informative way.

 

Participatory design. Users are offered the set of elements for the layout and can suggest their own vision of the construction.

 

Clickstream testing. The analysis of the most clickable parts of the layout with the aim of designing clear interactions and reveal the problems.

 

A/B Testing. The users deal with one variant of design (version A) for some time and then another variant (version B) while the researcher collects the information along the necessary metrics and makes the conclusion about the efficiency of the versions.

 

Daily Reports. The user is asked to interact with a product for a particular period providing the reports on a daily basis. This helps to check the usability of the product in the perspective of long-term use.

 

Desirability testing. The users are usually offered visually and stylistically different versions and provide the feedback which version they would prefer and why.

 

design navigation UI UX tubik studio

 

What are the important points to consider in user research?

 

Collecting the data about user behavior and preferences via diverse methods and techniques, the designer has to take into account the following factors:

 

— the environment of use (the factors of using the product indoors or outdoors, the level of light, noise, available time and tons of other things can have an impact on design solutions)

— factors of intrinsic motivation (the internal personal stimuli moving the person to act)

— factors of extrinsic motivation (the outer factors of getting a reward or avoiding punishment that encourage people’s behavior)

— longevity of the product (based on the period for which the product is planned for use: if it grows together with the user or is applicable only in a particular age).

 

It’s should be remembered that removing the mistakes in design, even if its already high-fidelity level, is faster, cheaper and less painful for users than fixing negative issues with already launched and operating product.

 

The bottom line is simple. Don’t be lazy to research vital points of the project before you start designing. Don’t fancy doing the research? No problem, go to duck and dive in loads of baseless concepts instead of going along the solid path of understanding the user’s needs and wishes. Just don’t forget: it’s not you who decides that the product is successful, it’s not even other designers or stakeholders. It’s users. So, empathy is the best policy.

 

Recommended reading

 

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

 

Complete Beginner’s Guide to UX Research

 

When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods

 

User Research Basics

 

Pareto Principle-Based User Research

 

How To Conduct User Experience Research Like A Professional

 

Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions in User Research

 


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

psychology of design article tubik blog

Psychology in Design. Principles Helping to Understand Users.

Some people are used to thinking of design as a purely artistic job but there is much more standing behind it. The sense of beauty and inspiration are not enough to create the proficient design. That’s why designers should possess certain knowledge and skills of distinct sciences to do their job right. And it’s not only the art of design, it’s also about various fields of knowledge and practice which help them work efficiently and productively. One of the basic studies helping designers to understand users is psychology. Today, we will figure out what a big part psychology plays in design and what psychological principles are essential to remember during the design process.

 

tubikstudio ted-talks collection

 

The role of psychology in design

 

Today the tendency of user-centered design makes designers reconsider approach to their work and go deeper into the understanding of the target audience. Donald A. Norman in his book “The Design of Everyday Things” defines design as an act of communication, which means having the deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating. In order to get better insight into people’s needs, designers are recommended to bear in mind the psychological principles of human behavior, aspirations and motivations.

 

The outcome of the work can be even more positive if a designer applies psychology in the creative process since the science gives the close understanding of the target audience. Psychology knowledge helps to create the design which will make users perform the actions they are expected to such as making a purchase or contacting the team.

 

Designers may see psychology as a complicated approach to improving the design and for that reason neglect this part of research and analysis. However, you don’t need to be a Ph.D. in psychology to use it at your work effectively. All you need to consider are the basic principles constantly presented in design. Based on our experience and the conducted research, we’ve defined six effective psychological principles often applied in the design process.

 

tubik studio quote collection

 

Gestalt Principles

 

This psychological theory is almost 100-year-old but it hasn’t lost its actuality. The word “gestalt” means «unified whole» so the theory explores users’ visual perception of elements in relation to each other. In other words, it shows how people tend to unify the visual elements into groups. The principles, on which users form the groups, include:

 

Similarity. If a user sees objects that look somehow similar, they may automatically perceive them as the individual elements of one group. The similarity between elements is usually defined with shape, color, size, texture or value. The similarity gives users the sense of coherence between the design elements.

 

Continuation. It is the principle according to which the human eye moves naturally from one object to the other. This often happens through the creation of curved lines allowing the eye to flow with the line.

 

Closure. It is a technique based on the human eye’s tendency to see closed shapes. Closure works where an object is incomplete but the user perceives it as a full shape by filling in the missing parts.

 

Proximity. When objects are placed in close proximity, the eye perceives them as a group rather than seen individually even if they aren’t similar.

 

Figure/Ground. This principle demonstrates the eye’s tendency to separate objects from their background. There are lots of examples of pictures that shows two faces depending on where your eye is focused the object or background.

 

website design for photographers

Photography Workshops  website

 

The Gestalt principles confirm in practice that our brain tends to make tricks with us, so designers should consider that fact during the creation process to exclude the possibility of misunderstandings.

 

Visceral Reactions

 

Have you ever had that feeling when you fall in love with the website after the first second when you’ve opened it? Or maybe an application has made you sick only with the quick glance at it? If yes, then you’ve already known what’s a visceral reaction. This kind of reactions comes from the part of our head called “old brain” responsible for the instincts and it reacts much faster than our consciousness does. Visceral reactions are rooted in our DNA, so they can be easily predicted.

 

How do designers use this knowledge? They aim at creating a positive aesthetic impression with the design. It’s not that difficult to guess what looks nice to people and what doesn’t if you know your target audience and their needs. So, the tendency of using the high-resolution beautiful photos or the colorful pictures at landing pages, websites or any other web and mobile products is not accidental.

 

jewellery_e-commerce_app_concept_by_tubik

Jewelry E-commerce Application

 

Psychology of Colors

 

A science studying the influence of colors on the human’s mind, behavior, and reactions is called the psychology of colors. Today we won’t go deep into the aspects of this study since it is complex so deserves to have a specialized post devoted to it (on which, besides, we’re already working). In a few words, the main idea of the study is that the colors have a great impact on the users’ perception. That’s why designers should choose the colors knowingly to make sure their work presents the right message and tune.

 

Here is the list of the basic colors and the meanings which they are typically associated with:

Red. The color usually associates with passionate, strong, or aggressive feelings. 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. It symbolizes the sunlight, joy and warmth.

Green. The color of nature. It brings calming and renewing feelings. Also, may signify inexperience.

Blue. It often represents some corporate images. It usually shows calm feelings but as a cool color it also associates with distance and sadness.

Purple. Long associated with royalty and wealth since many kings wore purple clothes. It’s also a color of a mystery and magic.

Black. The color has a great number of the meanings. It associates with a tragedy and death. It signifies a mystery. It can be traditional and modern. Everything depends on how you employ it and which colors go with it.

White. The color means purity and innocence, as well as wholeness and clarity.

 

tubik studio web UI design

Slopes Website

 

Recognition Patterns

 

You may have noticed that website or applications united with one theme usually have common patterns in their design. The reason is the users’ psychology. The thing is that people visiting a website or using an application are expecting to see certain things associated with the definite kind of product.

 

For example, visiting a website of a barbershop, the users are not expecting to see bright colors or pictures with cats or anything like this because if they do see it, this will definitely make them think of a website as an untrustworthy resource.

 

However, not only the colors and pictures matter. Some obvious and common things such as a list of blog posts on the front page of a blog or the filters in the e-commerce website are also important for successful navigation. Users become accustomed to things quickly and their absence makes them feel uncomfortable.

 

todo list UI app tubik studio

To-do list concept

 

Scanning Patterns

 

In our article Tips on Applying Copy Content in User Interfaces, we’ve already mentioned 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, 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 the 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 along 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 initial sentences of the paragraphs. It usually occurs on text-heavy pages like blogs, news platforms, thematic editorials etc.

 

Z-pattern is applied to pages which are not so heavily concentrated on the 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.

 

Knowing these patterns, designers can place the elements in an effective way for users’ perception and help them perform expected actions.

 

Hick’s Law

 

The law states that the more options users are exposed to, the longer it takes them to make a decision. This means that the more options you give to users, be it products to choose or pictures to look at, the more time and energy it takes to make a decision about the next step of interaction. The possible result here is that the users make the choices but get unpleasant feelings after using the product, or in the worst case, they may not want to take such a significant effort and just leave.

 

That’s why designers are recommended to keep any options including buttons, pictures, pages to a minimum. Removing unnecessary choices, you make the usability of the product more effective.

 

ui animation cafe app tubikstudio

Cafe Coupon App

 

Psychology is an effective tool in design which makes the creative process more productive while the result is going to be more user-centered. We’ve told you about six useful principles but they are only the tip of the iceberg because there is much more to learn on the topic. Don’t miss our next blog posts continuing this useful theme!

 

Recommended reading:

 

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

 

Gestalt principles

 

The role of psychology as a design tool

 

5 psychology rules every UX designer must know

 

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things by Don Norman

 

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


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

mobile application testing

The Brief Guide to Testing Mobile Interfaces

Mobile technology and smart devices have already brought massive and significant changes in human behavior, communication, a way of thinking and lifestyle. In fact, the boom of apps popularity can be seen in plenty of industries, among which we can easily sort out some noticeable ones such as Media (magazines and newspapers), Travel (maps), Medicine (patient records), Finance (apps for real-time trading), Education (translators and dictionaries) and Social (games and social media platforms). With the steady and obvious progress of the sphere, mobile and web apps are definitely going to become more critical for personal, professional and business success and efficiency. So, creating and launching a new application, all sides of its production should test the solutions and environment as well as the practical quality of design and development outcome. Extensive practice we have got here in Tubik proves that this is the well-lit way to providing users with positive experience and helpful products.

 

Testing is vital for product quality

 

In our previous article, devoted to the full cycle of creating a mobile application, we have already mentioned the great part of testing in providing high quality products, able to solve problems and improve lives. As it was outlined in general terms, testing is one of the crucial phases of the entire app design and development process: it helps to reveal bugs before the app is brought out to actual users. Practice shows that in the majority of cases, users abandon the app if it has functionality problems, no matter how promising and engaging it seems. Vice versa, even the simplest apps can be successful for commerce, business, advertising and other aims if they work correctly and efficiently, according to target audience’s expectations and solving their problems.

 

Testing doesn’t mean that designers or developers do not provide the upper quality. To set the analogy, the fact that every book, magazine or newspaper issue goes through editor’s eye doesn’t say that journalists or writers are not talented and qualified. Different specialists have different goals and skills in the process to increase general productivity and efficiency, and it works the same way for design and development of mobile apps. Supposing that developers have done a great job and made no mistakes, the task of testing is not only finding errors. Quite the opposite, it helps to understand the quality of the app and find the way to improve via real interactions.

 

Peter Drucker once said “Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.”  In the majority of cases, if users see that anything in the app is broken or it constantly takes large loading time preventing them from the quick accomplishment of the task at hand, the risk is really high that they will bounce it and never come back. That’s why testing phase is the hidden hero of mobile app development.

 

Today we are going to concentrate more on the perspective of testing mobile apps, as websites testing has its own specific features worth another article. So, let’s review the basic steps and aspects important for effective digital product testing.

 

mobile app testing

 

Start with the type of the app

 

Mobile app testing has plenty of challenges based on multiple factors: there are some compromise decisions testers or developers need to consider and choices they need to make on combinations of different techniques and methods to be used. One of the aspects to think about is the nature of the app itself directly influencing the process and limits of testing. In this perspective, the following basic categories of the apps should be mentioned.

 

Native apps. The apps of this sort are created specifically for one platform, aka operating system. They can take full advantage of all the device features such as the camera, the list of contacts, the flashlight, the accelerometer, the compass or others, and are installed via an app store (Google Play, Apple’s App Store, Microsoft store, etc.).

 

Mobile web apps. They are mobile-optimized websites that look and feel like native apps, still they are run by a web browser.

 

Hybrid apps. This type representatives provide the mix of native apps and web apps. Like native apps, they are installed in app stores and can take advantage of the numerous features available on the device. As well as web apps, they rely on HTML being rendered in a web browser.

 

Toonie Alarm UI design

 

The type of the app under construction directly influences all creative stages from UX wireframing to final check of all the code. Different operational systems set their own guidelines and recommendations on design solutions and performance, development tools and restrictions. Neglecting those limitations and rules, creators could fail to submit the app to open use and turn all the creative process into wasted time and effort.

 

Plan the testing levels

 

Starting actual work over the app, creative and production team needs to consider a testing plan combining different testing levels. Testing is not the process taken as one single stage or action: it is spread via different stages. Schematically, this process can develop in vertical and horizontal directions. The vertical dimension is presented with testing levels and usually deals with going deeper to the code and functionality from separate units to the whole app, its connection with the server if needed, and its technical correspondence to the requirements. Horizontal dimension deals with different aspects of app performance and user experience.

 

Taking the testing levels to account, their basis is a variety of tests grouped according to the stages when they are used in the development process, or by the level of specificity of the test. The main task of testing levels is to identify missing areas and prevent overlap and repetition between the development phases. Let’s briefly describe the various levels of testing.

 

Unit testing. This testing is commonly done by the developers to make sure that their code is working correctly: they test the sections of code like classes, functions, interfaces, etc.

 

Integration testing. Integration testing is done when particular units are integrated with each other, with the aim to test the behavior and functionality of each unit after integration. This testing level is usually carried out by a software testing engineer. There are a few types of integration testing such as big bang integration testing, top down and bottom up.

 

System testing. Here the name says everything: at this level, all the components of the app are tested as a system in order to ensure that the product at the pre-launch stage meets the specified requirements. As the app is almost ready, it can be tested in the environments really close to the actual in which users will get their experience once it is deployed.

 

Acceptance testing. The main objective of this testing level is to evaluate whether the app system complies with the user requirements and whether everything is ready for release.

 

ios-developers-tubik-studio

 

Define the types of testing

 

All aspects of the app usage should be tested. Designers, developers and testers will need to check it across different devices as the points like screen resolution, processors, battery life and memory are different and can significantly affect on the efficiency and performance of the app, functionality, handling and loading time, as well as UX and UI solutions.

 

Among the variety of types, applied to test the mobile app at different stages of its creation, we should definitely mention the following list.

 

Usability testing. It is carried out from the early stages of app creation to verify if the app fulfills the established objectives and tasks getting a good response from users. The primary focus of this testing is easy and quick use of an app, simple onboarding and user’s satisfaction with the entire experience. For higher efficiency and productivity of general creative flow, this type of testing should start much earlier than any single line of code will be written, from the first schemes and transitions put into UX wireframes.

 

Installation testing. At the initial stage of installation, the app should add required software to the device automatically. And uninstalling, it should remove all the available content and databases from the device which are used by the app. So, this type of testing checks that the install/uninstall flow goes properly.

 

Functional testing. It is the most basic test for any app to ensure that it is working according to the defined requirements and there are no functions missed in the process of interaction. Functional testing mainly includes finding possible specific bugs of the device or navigation issues of the app. This type of testing should be done at the primary stages of development. It enables developers or testers to check and measure database or network queries with response times, crashes and memory issues.

 

Performance testing. Rather a stressful part of any app testing is performance test revealing the omissions which left unnoticed during functional and user interface testing. This testing is required to be done on the actual device only so it means the whole app is coded t this stage. This type covers client-side, server and network performance. For example, it checks the performance specifications and behavior of the app under certain conditions such as low battery, bad network coverage, low available memory and etc.

 

Interruption testing. An app may face various interruptions being in active mode, such as incoming calls or network coverage outage and recovery. This kind of testing shows what the app will do in this variety of cases. The common types of interruptions are:

 

  • Incoming and Outgoing calls, SMS or MMS and different notifications
  • Low memory warning
  • Cable insertion or removal
  • Network outage or recovery
  • Media Player on/off
  • The device power cycle, such as low battery notification.

 

Memory testing. This type checks that each app maintains optimized memory usage throughout surfing. As mobile devices have definite limits of available memory, this testing is crucial for the appropriate product functioning.

 

Security testing. It checks the vulnerability of the app to hacking, authentication and authorization policies, data security, session management and other security standards. The fundamental objective of security testing is to ensure that the app data and networking security requirements are met according to standards.

 

Tubik Studio iOS development

 

Don’t forget to test design

 

One of the huge mistakes that could be done about testing it planning this part not earlier than the development stage starts. Obviously, the product getting live via code presents a wider perspective of testing its actual functionality and performance. Still, we should remember that any digital product is not just code — it is the set on user interactions which should be thought-over and designed thoroughly with target audience in mind. Therefore, testing should take its first steps at the stage of wireframing to check if all the elements take their places, communicate to users, provide them with feedback from the system and what is more, achieve the goals and solve users’ pains.

 

Numerous prototyping tools enable to simplify and speed up the process of testing user interface so that developers obtained the verified version of design not taking major design alterations in the process of development. This is the efficient way to optimize the general creative flow and provide maximum efficient outcome at every stage. Prototyping gets testing sides, be it client, designer or even potential users, closer to real interaction with the concept of the future interface. Prototypes should not be seen as the analog of the final product as they aren’t those. Their main aim is to check the correctness and appropriateness of the design solutions way before they will be transferred to developers.

 

The most effective point to involve prototyping for testing design is the step between UX wireframing and UI design. The prototypes on UI stage can also be created for the presentation of application general looks rather than for testing and improving its functional features. Still, it’s crucial that usability should be thoroughly checked first of all at the UX stage, otherwise it will be much harder to change inefficient solution after having accomplished a lot of work on UI and then development.

 

All the numerous aspects of design testing are definitely worth a separate article which will continue this topic on our blog very soon.

 

InVision for UI prototyping tubikstudio

 

Check the code thoroughly

 

When the design is transformed into code, the developers and testers need to make sure that all the quality and performance nuances are considered and included. Pointers in this area are testing on actual devices and simulators. Testing on devices is proceeded on the actual handset where the app is installed, run and tested. Testing in simulator applies the software that can accurately imitate a mobile phone.

 

Simulator testing is useful at the primary stages of development as it allows quick and efficient checking the app, but it doesn’t fully measure performance and usability which should have their healthy dose of actual human testing. Still, automated testing got really popular now because it is effective, cheap and quite reliable. iOS Simulator, as well as testing tools such as Appium, Frank, Calabash and others, are available to support moving the app through the testing process and point out the issues requiring attention.

 

Continuous testing at all stages lays the strong foundation for keeping small bugs from becoming major issues later on. The final testing is conducted on actual devices so that crashes and hangings could be identified. Testing on device is obligatory for every app as it provides developers with actual data on the app behavior in different environments.

 

Test and measure after launch

 

Another mistake that should be avoided is stopping testing after the product is launched. Contrarily, testing will get even more diverse and comprehensive as it will inform the sides maintaining the app viability and efficiency about behavior, problems and preferences of real users. This information is the direct route to product improvements providing users with the updates they really need and want.

 

testing digital product

 

Mobile technology is transforming the way of using devices. Smartphones and tablets of all kinds are rapidly becoming the valid method of interaction between consumers and businesses. People use mobile apps to connect socially, find information, order and track goods, book places and set appointments and do hundreds of other operations improving their lives regularly. It is important to build an app with all features and functionality that are required. If the app is created without an effective testing plan, users are likely to come across unexpected bugs and errors. In the modern world with tough and growing competition in this field, the risk is high that they will quickly lose interest to the app while thoughtful testing and analysis is the solid way to avoid this risk.

 

Recommended reading

 

Diverse issues of applying testing at different stages of creating digital products have been an object of professionals’ attention lately. Here is the collection of recommended sources for further reading for those who would like to read more on the theme.

 

Testing Strategies and Tactics for Mobile Applications

 

Mobile: Native Apps, Web Apps, and Hybrid Apps

 

Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Application Testing

 

Mobile Testing: Complete Guide to Test your Mobile Apps

 

17 Strategies for End to End Mobile Testing on both iOS and Android

 

Levels Of Testing

 

Software Testing Levels

 


Welcome to read The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Mobile Application