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Obscure Cell Design Strategies That Increase UX — Smashing Journal

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Gert Svaiko is an expert copywriter and primarily works with digital advertising firms within the US and EU.
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To encourage cellular designers, let’s have a look at how some intelligent design options sort out cellular navigation, affirmation dialogs, animations, and gamifying the ready expertise.

It’s no secret that smartphone utilization has doubled during the last 5 years, accounting for an estimated 3.8 billion customers this 12 months. This tells us clearly the place folks’s consideration is and the way essential cellular internet designers are to bettering the person expertise.

We’ve seen loads of internet design experiments in recent times adopted by firms of all sizes. These modifications embrace developments such because the notorious parallax scrolling, non-traditional layouts, and improved accessibility with darkish mode. Nonetheless, many paths are nonetheless left to discover, if we’re keen to interrupt out of developments.

To get these artistic juices flowing, let’s have a look at some hidden design gems associated to navigation and affirmation dialogs, the ready expertise, and swiping animations. Whereas these options are principally unconventional, the purpose isn’t to focus on them for their very own sake. Design options should be constructed with the pillars of accessibility and usefulness, however they are often refined in accordance with your final targets for person interplay and expertise.

So, let’s convey these elegant off-the-beaten-path design options into the highlight.

Rethinking Navigation

The change of pinning the navigation menu to the underside has been a game-changer for handheld gadgets as a result of it permits for extra pure thumb-controlled navigation. However as smartphone screens get extra expansive, the thumb’s attain will get extra restricted. Subsequently, we’re lengthy overdue for brand new cellular design options that permit easy accessibility utilizing solely the thumb.

Some artistic approaches to this downside mix elegant design and performance. Let’s have a look at a few examples.

Nature Encyclopedia

Nature Encyclopedia is a superb studying useful resource for youth and adults alike. It options interactive infographics and on-point illustrations, however that’s not the half that captures our curiosity.

Nature Encyclopedia’s scrollable navigation
Nature Encyclopedia’s scrollable navigation (Supply: tubik studio) (Massive preview)

Along with the entire swiping performance that we’ve grow to be accustomed to in different cellular apps, there’s a nifty function that permits you to change the knowledge displayed by scrolling a wheel. It’s also possible to entry beforehand proven data just by scrolling the opposite method.

Whereas the motion wheel was applied to ease entry to data, it is also used to navigate between screens. This might doubtlessly tackle the restriction of the thumb’s attain on the left and proper edges of the display, as you’ll now have the ability to effortlessly swipe left or proper to navigate.

V For Wiki

You possibly can already entry Wikipedia in your cellphone’s browser. Nonetheless, V for Wiki has made it much more accessible by that includes a sublime model of presenting the content material. It contains a nifty world map that immediately pops up data associated to the realm you’re shopping from.

V for Wiki scrollable navigation
V for Wiki scrollable navigation (Supply: V for Wiki) (Massive preview)

Whereas the interactive map makes shopping much more entertaining, it’s not the function that first caught our eye.

Should you have a look at the navigation, on prime of the information you’ll see interactive strains to numerous landmarks, and you’ll scroll between the places horizontally. This can be a fantastically designed alternate method to navigate the menu as a result of you need to use your thumb effortlessly.

This method may function inspiration for a scrolling navigation menu, during which a buyer can convey the far-left or far-right menu gadgets nearer by scrolling the wheel.


Ada is an utility for the startup Ada Well being, which goals to revolutionize how we method going to the physician with fashionable options, resembling AI, video calls, and interactive design. We’ve all gone by the rabbit gap of wanting on Google for recommendation on signs, so getting simple entry to dependable data is a godsend.

Ada’s thumb-friendly navigation
Ada’s thumb-friendly navigation (Supply: Daniel Diggle) (Massive preview)

Other than the app’s clear look, it’s clear from the beginning that it’s designed for use effortlessly with the thumb, as a result of the navigation button is on the underside proper and opens the menu in a sidebar on the correct. Moreover, the entire actionable components are inside attain of the thumb, so the person would usually solely have to click on on the underside or the correct sidebar to get to the place they need to go.

Ada, then, is one other instance of stable navigation constructed into the app’s idea from the beginning. The expertise of navigating the app feels pure and accessible.

Overhauling Affirmation Dialogs

Affirmation dialogs face the identical challenges as navigation menus because of folks holding their smartphones with one hand. The choices are normally binary, one on the left aspect and the opposite on the correct. As handheld gadgets get wider, entry to one of many two dialog selections turns into difficult as a result of restricted vary of thumb motion.

Let’s have a look at some unconventional options to hard-to-reach affirmation dialogs.

Vice Versa

Vice versa is a diagonal UI sample for binary choices. It takes into consideration the thumb’s pure motion and acknowledges the restrictions of irregular motion. On a small display, you could possibly attain to the alternative aspect together with your thumb, however that creates rigidity and feels uncomfortable.

Vice versa diagonal confirmation dialog
Vice versa diagonal affirmation dialog (Supply: Michael Oh) (Massive preview)

The vice versa sample addresses this downside by diagonally dividing the display in two, permitting binary choices to be made utilizing solely the thumb. Not solely does it make it simpler for the thumb to achieve each choices, however the accuracy subject is solved by giving customers a bigger space to the touch.

Whereas the idea is meant to make voting mechanisms simply accessible, you could possibly adapt this interactive design to every kind of binary choices.

One of many apparent downsides of the sample is that it’s closely optimized for right-handed utilization. The answer to this downside is {that a} buyer can shake the cellphone, and the orientation will change. Good resolution? We don’t know, however positively an fascinating different for affirmation dialogs.

Omni Swipe

One other resolution for hard-to-reach affirmation buttons (or navigation, for that matter) is present in Omni Swipe. Whereas this idea is supposed for personalizing a smartphone’s UI, it is also tailored to standalone functions.

Omni Swipe confirmation and navigation concept
Omni Swipe affirmation and navigation idea (Massive preview)
Omni Swipe confirmation and navigation concept
Omni Swipe affirmation and navigation idea (Supply: PR Newswire) (Massive preview)

Whereas most navigation buttons open the menu horizontally or vertically, Omni Swipe permits customers to entry the controls within the thumb’s vary of motion. This solves the complicated problem of making a affirmation resolution for all display widths, as a result of, no matter dimension, the actionable components would seem below the person’s thumb.

In contrast to the final idea explored, which permits solely binary choices, this resolution has nearly no limitation to the alternatives you possibly can add to the menu.

Gamifying the Ready Expertise

In a examine by Statista in 2020, 65% of respondents within the US mentioned they used a smartphone for on-line buying previously 12 months. This means that e-commerce UX and cellular design go hand in hand. Moreover, if we have a look at fashionable e-commerce platforms, we will see that just about all of them spotlight mobile-optimized themes. Collectively, each of those components paint a transparent image of the place the web retail trade is headed.

Nonetheless, even the slightest disturbance may cause a cart to be deserted or create a damaging buying expertise. Analysis into the psychology of pace notion exhibits that an individual’s temper impacts how they understand time. In a relaxed and completely satisfied surroundings, you’ll sense time flying by. Nonetheless, should you’re grumpy, in a foul temper, or anxious, time appears nearly to face nonetheless.

Loading screens, transport flows, preparation phases, and so forth all maintain customers ready. Let’s have a look at examples of how cellular designers have tackled the notion of pace within the on-line food-ordering and food-delivery trade.


We used to get anxious ready in line at a canteen. Properly, we nonetheless do, however these days, we will comfortably order meals on-line and have it delivered to us. Nonetheless, we nonetheless want to attend till the courier arrives.

Wolt is among the many apps that allow you to buy meals and have it delivered to the doorstep by a courier. Should you didn’t have something higher to do, you’d really feel like, as an alternative of ready in line, you’d be ready for the courier as an alternative.

Wolt’s gamified ready expertise (Supply: Wolt app)

Wolt has quite a few nifty options that concentrate on this notion of pace. It exhibits you the progress in phases, notifying you as soon as a step is full and exhibiting you the courier’s GPS location. There’s additionally a intelligent little sport hidden away that lets you move the time extra rapidly and elevate your temper (should you’re OK with being a little bit aggressive). On this minigame, you faucet the display as many occasions as you possibly can in 5 seconds, attempting to beat Wolt’s group.

Whereas a easy function, it performs straight into human psychology. Despite the fact that the gaming component doesn’t take away your feeling of starvation, it lets you move the time extra rapidly.

Bolt Meals

Within the earlier instance, we noticed how gamifying ready occasions helps customers to move the time extra rapidly. Bolt Meals is one other instance of a meals courier dealing with the identical problem of ready occasions.

Bolt Meals animated ready expertise (Supply: Dribbble)

Their method to exhibiting progress is to animate the supply steps. Whereas not an easy sport, it nonetheless combines a way of motion with the person’s notion of time. In brief, the precept is that if one thing is transferring, then it’s making progress. If the person had been to stare at a dull display, their sense of time would decelerate, and, with an empty abdomen, that will make them extra anxious.

So, in case your service depends on a number of steps, as an alternative of taking the order and sending a affirmation e-mail afterward, have interaction with the client by exhibiting progress in any respect phases.

Utilizing Animation for Swiping

Card screens have lengthy been a favourite of designers. Prospects can simply entry completely different elements of an app just by swiping and switching playing cards. Nonetheless, as an alternative of simply making use of the swiping perform’s UI points, you could possibly gamify the app to boost the person expertise.

It’s widespread for folks to react to motion and get drawn into animation. Let’s have a look at a few examples that use the gamify precept in motion.


Bookotel is an internet reservation app for eating places and cafes. What strikes residence with this app’s design is the modern method they’ve created the swiping animation within the intro playing cards.

Bookotel swiping animation idea (Supply: Behance)

As a substitute of simply switching to the following card, the complete utility appears to maneuver and rework to the next picture, message, and immediate.

We don’t see this interplay utilized to different elements of the applying, so we’re left with some guesswork about how it will look on a bigger scale. Nonetheless, you possibly can’t deny that it will draw the person in and get them to mess around with the app.

It’s price noting that these actions would possibly must be readjusted if the client opts-in for lowered movement to forestall accessibility points from creeping in.

Teatr Lalka

Teatr Lalka was one of many first puppet theatres in Poland and is now over 75 years previous. Nonetheless, its web site is something however historic. Its dominant motif is interactivity, which is what you’d hope to see on an entertainment-related web site.

Teatr Lalka cellular animation design (Supply: Teatr Lalka)

The primary animations you see when visiting Teatr Lalka’s web site are the puppets. Whereas representing the precise puppets used within the exhibits, in addition they serve one other goal: gamification. You possibly can swipe by animated puppets in a carousels and work together with them by clicking on them, prompting sound and vibrations out of your smartphone. The puppets additionally react to tilting. It’s an exquisite instance of how a cellular web site can have interaction with the person from the very first web page.

You possibly can apply the identical methods to different functions and web sites, enhancing the person expertise and playfully participating with guests.

Unconventional Options Pave the Method for Future Cell Design

There you will have some intelligent options to seemingly easy issues; options that hopefully enhance the person expertise in flip. Whereas following developments isn’t essentially dangerous, veering to the sting of innovation can yield a extra rewarding outcome.

With person expertise turning into an ever extra essential a part of our digital lives, it pays to see issues from a psychological perspective. Don’t be afraid to check cutting-edge options that play into folks’s habits, psychology, and sense of comfort. It could be price it.

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