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Impact of Minimalist UI Design
Tuesday May 7, 2019
Less is more – this philosophy has a big role in design, whether it is physical spaces, web pages or app design. When minimalist ui design is used in web page or mobile app designs, only essential features are retained.
Think about it – when you visit a web page or install a new app on your phone, what is – it that appeals to you about it? Its design, usage of colors and ease of use.
Web page and app designers agree that the following features are essential in a successful UI design:
- Visual appeal
- Attention to composition
- Good use of space
- Lots of white space
- Good proportion
- High functionality of each design element
- Using the right font
- Leave out non-essential elements
When these elements – are used in the right combination, it is easy to have a sophisticated app or web page which users love and will in all probability recommend to others as well.
Using minimalist ui design and keeping things simple does not mean that it is primitive or vague. It is all about keeping only the important elements and leaving out the fluff, which can be a distraction.
Trends to look forward to in 2019
Statistics and market trends are testimony to the fact that minimalism in UI will dominate in 2019.
One of the major reasons for this shift is the fact that users are more impatient and will only use a platform which is appealing, with pleasing colours, animation elements which are intuitive and touch friendly.
Some trends to expect especially in 2019 are:
- Mobile first: In the last decade, the sheer number of mobile users have gone up and overtaken those who use their laptops/desktops. This gap will widen with time as smartphones are becoming faster and can offer the same access to information. Businesses are investing in app development just as aggressively to stay relevant and retain their customer base.
- Designing with thumb usage in mind: Users these days prefer panels which are 18:9 instead of 16:9. Since a phone’s control is at the bottom of a screen, apps are designed to be within easy reach of the user’s thumb. App designers will work towards making this functional change so that their audience can navigate any site quite easily.
- Overlap of effects: Designers are harnessing the power of a smartphone’s processor and combining multiple layers of graphics to create beautiful interfaces. Thanks to the use of good displays, colour gradients and minimalism, users can look forward to a lot of great apps
- Designs without frames: Trends keep up with changes in the physical design of phones. Phone manufacturers are making new devices in which the screens and edges are really close together, with rounded edges. This helps in creating an immersive display and interface integration that is much smoother. Expect 2019 to be the year in which Frameless Designs are introduced
Why Minimalism Is So Critical?
Minimalism is in high demand these days, especially – when deployed in the enhancement of UI design and experience with websites and mobile apps.
The minimalist approach in ui has all the elements to enhance the cognitive experience of a user – keyboard design, screen displays, use of colours, fonts etc.
The perfect definition of minimalism is “marriage of function and form”. This philosophy makes even the most complex subject easy to understand by clear, concise and consistent copy along with visual aids.
Though all of this may sound complicated, it boils down to offering an app which can be navigated easily to find needed information, fast.
To do this well, the following elements play a key role.
- Colour scheme: Since apps are a visual medium, using soft colours and just a few can have a big impact. Choose one colour and different shades of it from a colour palate. Modification can be done by increasing the brightness and saturation of the same colour – you have a range to play with and it is visually pleasing. Using an analog palate is another idea in which 3 colours next to each other on the colour wheel are picked. Different colours can be used to prioritize important tasks and use lighter colours to denote less important tasks.
- Blurring effects: This is an important feature as it allows developers to layer the interface. Done right, it lets designers explore overlays and different menus to present information in one place. Details are brought to the forefront and less relevant information fades into the background – together it offers an intuitive interaction, making navigation and understanding information easy.
- Even fonts across an app: Picking the right font is very important. Using too many fonts can be hard on the eye and distracting. Try different fonts and see which one appeals to your sensibility and then change the weight, size and style of a font – don’t use different fonts in one area. Check to see which font the platform uses – Apple and Google use specific ones to keep the look even across the board. It is not something that users think about a lot, but it does have an impact on the overall user experience. It may be in the background, but users are subconsciously aware of it. Also, make sure that your colour choice has enough contrast to the font in order to help people with visual problems to read information properly. Since font size is important and there is limited space on a phone screen, accent colours and slightly larger headlines can capture reader attention faster. Make sure that the spacing between the letters is also good.
- Focusing the spotlight on specific data: Here, developers can use their basic colour palate and a larger font to draw attention to a call to action. Using a neutral colour, for e.g. grey for the overall scheme and a contrasting bright blue or green to focus user attention on calls to action works very well. It draws the eye to the task that a user should perform. Larger fonts and a bright colour together draw the eye to a specific area on the screen without the need for more hints.
- Division by space and elements: Again, using minimalism and eliminating clutter in the form of lines and boxes can keep an interface clean and tidy. Colour can be used to draw the eye to important information. Grabbing a person’s attention can be done with the use of shadows etc. and define sections in a subdued fashion.
- Icons: Icons are a great resource as they are pictorial and universally understood. These are great additions to the minimalist trend and can be used in many areas of an app to let a user know what they are doing. Highlighted icons indicate the active sections and tabs. Thus – recognizing them is straightforward.
How Using the Above Elements Leads to A Great and Minimalist UI?
- Focus on the most important elements: The beauty of using minimalist ui design is that it helps designers keep only what is necessary. Every single element has a purpose and fulfills a specific need. It leads to a clean and lucid layout. The question – “Is this component really necessary?” will help in retaining only that which is needed.
- Fewer colours: Using just a few colours helps in focusing a user’s attention while making the interface clean. It also promotes positive interaction – sometimes too much colour can be distracting.
- Harmony: Minimalistic ui design leads to harmony in a site. Place all elements in a simple but invisible grid to create a great visual hierarchy.
- Expressive use of fonts: As a core visual element, it informs a user of the content but also sets the style of a page. Combining colour and the right font, designers work very hard to find the right combination for harmony and elegance. Each element is put in place to make the right emotional impact. Readability is in no way compromised.
- Limited choices: An important driver in the minimalism philosophy, the focus is on functionality. By using easy fonts and pleasing colours, a reader’s attention is maintained so that problems are easy to solve and information easy to find.
- Navigation: Attention is also focused on navigation because the entire purpose is to find the much needed help or information. A simple and unobtrusive navigation menu which works well in the background is a key element in a minimalist website.
All in all, minimalism is a great – technique to design a terrific user interface. The goal in using minimalist ui design is to ensure a clean interface which is functional and easily understood by any user around the work.
The whole idea is to create very simple flows for users, employ clear visuals and create an interaction which is seamless. It is a fact that the success or failure of an app will depend on whether it can make a user come back for more.
Any app which can present information in one snapshot is deemed to be successful.
To reiterate, simplicity is highly effective. Let your app draw in users by combining a well-crafted and easy to look at layout by using minimalist ui design elements to the max.
Finding the right balance need not be tricky – put yourself in the customer’s shoes. This will help in including important elements, leaving out the inessential and provide a captivating experience to the end user.
All of this requires planning and careful decisions. Going through this process can lead to gratifying results.