You know when you start to get the hang of an app, only to have it automatically updated and everything you once liked about it is no more? This first world problem typically arises with good intentions as companies are paying closer attention to the needs of users. ‘User interface’ (UI) is the space where humans and computers communicate. UI can and will make or break the success and longevity of your ideas. In 2016 consumers demand products that require minimal effort to navigate .
Strong user interface should do most if not all, of the work for the user to achieve their goals. It should be interactive, adaptable and reflective of what they need. Every last detail of design matters- a consistent aesthetic is key in providing a memorable user experience. We asked a few of our systems engineers to name a few UI favorites.
New and timeless examples PVM employees noted:
Apple: A pioneer and innovator with tenure. Perhaps the innovator. Apple revolutionized the game of cell phone usability in 2009 with the iPhone and paved the way for everything since. There have been recent hangups with iOS maps and use of skeuomorphism. These are features that are no longer functionally necessary but are carried over for aesthetics, e.g., the Notes app having a ruled notebook theme with handwriting inspired fonts. Overall, Apple can be an intuitive source of design inspiration.
Snapchat: Snapchat is a fun, young example of UI that has evolved greatly with success. The interface takes a lot of harsh criticism from new users because of its ambiguity. Snapchat was designed for those who grew up with a general understanding of how to navigate phone apps. The interface is easy to get the hang of and regularly tweaked to provide more ways for users to easily interact. Users can swipe between pages and drag media open and closed. Snapchat has evolved from a discreet photo sharing app to a platform where users easily can live chat, watch international updates, read articles and even send friends funds.
Delectable: Is a clever use of your phone’s barcode scanning abilities for wine. Delectable provides members a simple profile where users can buy and save favorite varieties of wine. Customer reviews provide a full markup of pairings and tasting details at the snap of a photo.
Flappy Bird: The most frustrating and addictive app chart topper of 2013. RIP. The design was bare bones simple and very reminiscent of a particular O.G video game. The rules were simple: keep Flappy from hitting obstacles by using a single finger to jump. The bird is a great example of how simplicity has the potential to translate into more than 50 million documented downloads.
Maps: Turn-by-turn map apps are a great example of UI that is based on user preference. Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps all achieve the same goal on different interfaces. Waze is good for avoiding traffic because of the ability to send alerts to other ‘Wazers’ nearby. However, a 2015 UI refresh added large, colorful, cartoony features that take up much of the map on the screen. Google offers satellite views and easily accessed information about businesses you may be en route to. Apple Maps also provides great UI for pedestrian turn-by-turn directions.
When it comes to design, is less more? Are there better ways to keep users engaged and satisfied without waiting for negative feedback?
So many software updates, so little time.