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Finding Balance in UI/UX Design

August 27, 2018

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Creating a unique mobile application that stands out from the competition is certainly necessary for engaging users and generating profit. The temptation to create out-of-the-box user experiences in order to differentiate from other apps is great; however, adhering to standard design principles seen throughout the app store actually helps familiarize new users and keeps them coming back to the product. Pooling from our talented team of in-house designers, we’ve generated guidelines to keep in mind when thinking about the visual aesthetics and user experience of your next project.

Common Design Practices

1. Tapability

Any tappable elements should be optimized for use by human fingers. Research has shown that 49% of users navigate through applications using only one hand, leading to a restricted tappable zone on the screen.

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Source: UX Matters

Trying to navigate an app with small buttons that exist outside the navigable “green zone” warrants multiple taps and user frustration. Mathematical models of how users interact with devices have been developed to prove that larger targets yield faster action, and therefore improved usability.

 

2. Intuitive navigation

Every user’s journey through your mobile application should be as streamlined and simple as possible. Using icons that clearly signify their purpose, keeping tab bars consistent throughout the app, and communicating the user’s current location in menus are all important elements of an intuitive flow. In the Swenson He design process, we strive to make every action achievable in four taps or less. This model ensures that the product is easy-to-use and helps to boost user retention rates.

 

3. Communicate with color

Since the human attention span has become increasingly short, text-heavy interfaces typically appear clunky and turn users away. Therefore, using color as a visual cue to inform the user of important information can help capture that focus. Additionally, color can be used more broadly to tap into a user’s psychology. While warm colors, like red or yellow, communicate enthusiasm and passion, cooler blues and greens evoke a sense of professionalism and calm; keep these color attributes in mind when selecting a color scheme that matches the goals of your product.

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4. Streamline Forms

Whenever you need to collect information from a user, require them to input as little text as possible. Forms that allow users to check boxes or select from a dropdown menu generate higher conversion rates, as having to type out information into several different fields feels tedious and leads to improperly entered text.

 

5. Reuse

Design is a collaborative art; borrowing ideas and taking inspiration from other artists is encouraged. Don’t shy away from following current UI/UX trends or implementing features seen across the app store. For example, following the minimalist interface trend that dominates much of the mobile app market will attract an audience that has been conditioned to using “less-is-more” apps. Functionality elements that new audiences already feel comfortable navigating makes the familiarization process as natural as possible and drives user acquisition.

 

Areas to Innovate

While adhering to industry-standard UI/UX principles creates an easy-to-use experience, mobile apps still need to delight users with visually interesting design elements. You can differentiate your product from others on the market and attract new users with:

 

Clear, recognizable branding

A clever name, eye-catching icon, color scheme, font pairing, and overall design vision are all vital ingredients in the recipe for creating a well thought-out, purposeful brand for your mobile app. Brand recognition serves as an important marketing tool, so generating a visually enticing identity that differentiates your business from competition can help drive user traffic.

 

Animations

While it is important to stick to a consistent, streamlined navigation flow, applying some creativity to the “in-between” steps can attract users and contribute to building a brand image. Animating your logo on the splash screen while the app loads or spicing up traditional gestures with captivating screen transitions can give your mobile app a modern flair and entice users to keep returning to the product. As always, keeping the user at the forefront of all design decisions is key; make sure that animations do not hinder the user’s journey throughout the app.

 

Conclusion

UI/UX design is about so much more than the appearance of an application; it is a critical component in acquiring users and keeping them engaged within the app. Therefore, following basic user experience guidelines and current trends reduces onboarding friction for new users and motivates existing ones to continue reopening the product. However, mobile app success is also dependent upon creating a distinct identity that elicits recognition and differentiation from competition.

Regarding this balance, Ying Chen, Senior UI/UX Designer at Swenson He, believes in a “push-pull relationship between what the client needs and the skills we bring to the table. I aim to accomplish everything a project demands, but at the same time, provide insight on industry standards and opportunities for improvement and innovation.”

Each one of Swenson He’s projects is defined by its high-end design and distinct brand development. We offer an array of design-related services, from branding strategy, to user interface exploration, to full-scale app design and development. Reach out today for more information on how our expertise can bring your vision to life.

 

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