5 Apps to Learn UI/UX From
5 Apps to Learn UI/UX From
Successful brands understand how good UI/UX design can make or break a product or service from day one. But, what is UI/UX and what makes for truly extraordinary interface design and user experience?
What Is UI/UX?
First of all, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design often get lumped into one category, and although they go hand-in-hand, they are unique from one another, explains Design Shack.
The term user experience design was coined by Don Norman, who was the VP of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple at the time. He essentially was prompted to create new terminology because he believed terms like “user interface” and “usability” were too narrow.
In Don’s own words, UX is “[the] use of certain methods and techniques . . . to produce cohesive, predictable, and desirable effects in a specific person, or persona . . . so that the affects produced meet the user’s own goals and measures of success and enjoyment, as well as the objectives of the providing organization.”
So, for example, if UI is the steering wheel, t-tops, gear shift and gas pedal of a car, then UX is the feeling you get when powering through a hairpin curve with the top off and the wind in your hair.
When talking about UI design, the placement of visual components such as buttons, menus and photos come into play. However, interface design is more than just good-looking, well-placed functions. A good UI designer also is fluent in decoding and simplifying complex problems and transmuting them into clean, intuitive interfaces, so the end user doesn’t even notice them.
Even though these may seem similar, good UI design does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with good UX design. Interfaces simply exist to enable interaction, while the principles of UX are much broader. UX encompasses your business’ core guiding principles and touches everything from your website flow, messaging, mobile app(s), automated emails, billing, terms of service, policies and customer service—basically everything.
UI design is important, but in order for a product or service to be successful in the long run, you need to look at things in a more holistic way. Although it is arguably true that some people may forgive poor interface design if your brand is appealing, the moment a competitor comes along offering the same solution with a superior overall experience, prepare to watch your attrition rate spike and sales start to dry up.
To go back to the driving analogy, people will talk more often about how your product feels to drive rather than where you decided to put the volume knob or the cup holder.
Creating an exceptional user experience is something that people dedicate their careers to, but you can learn some of the basics by looking at some great examples in the marketplace. Here are five mobile apps for iPhone that exemplify great UI/UX design.
makes the peer-to-peer marketplace for room-sharing look better than a fortune 500 hotel app like SPG: Starwood Hotels & Resorts and much better than the average hotel booking aggregator such as Orbitz. It does an exceptional job fostering a trustworthy community through user-validation and reviews, which is very important when you’re allowing a stranger into your home. Take serious notes here. AirBnb has both UI and UX dialed in.
2. Just Fab
Trendy eCommerce sites are a dime a dozen, but Fab stepped up their game. They make sure that the experience of finding, buying and receiving one of their products in the mail is one you won’t soon forget. Everything about the app is impressive from the look and feel, to the automated emails, all the way down to the eye-catching packaging and hand-written note inside. Remember, the overall experience is what people will really talk about. No one is going to advocate for your brand based on your amazing color scheme and typography alone.
3. Square Cash
This app gets 5 stars for not making me think at all. After a quick download of Square Cash, you enter your debit card number, it verifies your identity and boom, you can start sending and receiving cash from anyone in your phone book who also has the app. And, as a bonus, you get a buck every time someone you’ve shared the app with downloads it.
Despite the recent (really) bad press, Uber is still a brand that understands the power of a great user experience from start to finish. This is what arguably got them to market dominance. The flow of their app is intuitive, the interface is beautiful and once it’s configured, you can literally get transportation to and from your destination at the push of a button. It’s an experience worth talking, nay, bragging about.
Despite its somewhat dated interface design, Zappos offers arguably one of the best customer and user experiences of anyone out there. If you’re looking for a good book about user experience, read “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.” This is a brand that truly understands the value of creating an exceptional user experience at all costs.