The Brightest and Most Successful Traits of Today's Mobile UI and UX Design
It’s easy to get used to good things. A considerable amount of good apps we use on a daily basis improve our (the consumer’s) general perception of UX. Because of the convenience imposed by good UX design, we’ve started to unconsciously plan how long it would take to complete a specific task. Any wrong decision can turn the user away, because it takes a few extra seconds to find desirable functions.
So what trends in today’s mobile application design makes applications more and more easy to use? Due to a continuously widening audience, a natural process has developed that monitors usage and decides what is most important. Quality and speed are growing together. A major focus has become user interaction with content. iOS 7 UI design basics have identified three main principles: deference, clarity and depth.
Deference, Clarity and Depth – Fun, Easy and Eye-catching Features
All these principles are interlaced. If you reviewing each feature of the following applications, you can find, more or less, that all these key points are represented in one way or another. Here are some tips for utilizing these features and making the UI and UX easy, clear, interesting and intuitive for the user.
- Focus on content becomes a sort of “golden rule” in today’s UI design. Discover what the pivotal accent is and focus on it.
- Precise and implied UI with suggestive placeholders is important. The user wants to know what actions they can take just by glancing at the screen. Also, default values and autocomplete saves the users time and provides accurately suggested options.
- Overlays and blurred backgrounds help create a sense of depth between your different actions. When a user goes to a new view, he or she can still see the old one from a background perspective, thus creating a sort of breadcrumb to his previous action and making complex navigation fluid and intuitive.
- Avoid borders or solid color background in action lists. The active icon should be filled in and all others contoured to set the active icon apart. The narrow navigation area should be as neat as possible with no large amounts of graphics and details. Also, the entirety of the navigation bar should be perceived as a coherent whole unit.
- Buttons and media. In the previous decade, User Interfaces shimmered full of buttons, links, colors and icons, illustrating where and what the user can interact with. Now, we see an opposite trend - the main focus is on content, and interactions become less prominent or they are hidden under gesture. Most importantly they are intuitive.
- Huge buttons provide certainty upon interaction. These kinds of buttons should be emphasized to make sure that the user is presented with actions that they most likely want. This allows the user to interact with the device without being super focused on its screen.
- Keeping UI clear and pure. On desktop interfaces, we get access to additional information or action by hovering on links, and on mobile interfaces there’s no such gesture. There’s no cursor, there are gestures, like the swipe gesture (eg. swiping to the left gives us additional actions to organize our inbox in the Mail app, or info on when a message was sent in the Messages app). This UI design pattern is so intuitive and clean that more and more apps find it at the core of their navigation, allowing the UI to be neat and focused on content. However, we can’t say that all users have learned to use gestures intuitively. Most of apps introduce their first time users to a tutorial explaining how to use the features that are only accessible by gesture.
- Animation is absolutely integral to great UX design. The interactions of elements in an app or OS aim to match the dynamic feel of the physical world, allowing the user to predict, expect and feel where they are and the “weight” of the elements they control. Mostly, it gives a feeling that elements are light and movable.
- The users want to view their content on the entire screen while also retaining the ability to navigate through the application. They want to reach the rest of the app easily. Here’s a couple of examples on how to achieve this without sending the user back to main screen:
- The iOS App switcher, which allows the user to swipe through open apps without the need to exit out of the foreground application.
- The scroll view. Since scrolling is an integral part of UX in mobile devices the most important actions could hide under the opposite direction of scrolling.
- Letting the user Undo important actions. Providing a safe “playground”, or a sandbox with padding. User wants to try and discover while at the same time feeling safe. The user wants to be in command while also feeling joy.
- For my last remark, I want to mention functionality, which is almost always presented on the start of usage. I’m talking about allowing the user to use your application for as long as possible without requiring a login or input of some kind of personal details. Let them do something with your application first. Let them play and explore, and when it’s absolutely necessary, present the easiest way to login, which is through existing social network accounts.
OS Human Interface Guidelines and the Input of Mobile Developers - How We Grow Up Together
If you follow the OS UI guidelines, you’re bound to win. Users using standard apps intuitively expect the same or similar experience to be present in all other apps. Creating consistent user interfaces in apps while following the proper OS UI guidelines ensures a better, faster and more fluent user experience.
The intuitive and easy experience is the successful experience. And here all we need is screen real estate. Unfortunately, we have no more space than what fits in the palm. So all tricks on how to win each inch are welcome. The best ideas and practices are hunted by other creators and fueled by user feedback.
Observing users and understanding their needs are still key focus points for providing a faster, easier and more intuitive interface.
Written by Lingaile Ziukaite