Monday March 8, 2021 By David Quintanilla
Obscure Mobile Design Techniques That Boost UX — Smashing Magazine

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To encourage cell designers, let’s take a look at how some intelligent design options deal with cell 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 users this yr. This tells us clearly the place folks’s consideration is and the way vital cell net designers are to enhancing the consumer expertise.

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

To get these artistic juices flowing, let’s take 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 must be constructed with the pillars of accessibility and value, however they are often refined based on your final objectives for consumer 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 bottom has been a game-changer for handheld units 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 spanking new cell design options that permit easy accessibility utilizing solely the thumb.

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

Nature Encyclopedia

Nature Encyclopedia is a good 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) (Large preview)

Along with the entire swiping performance that we’ve develop into accustomed to in different cell apps, there’s a nifty function that permits you to change the data displayed by scrolling a wheel. You can too entry beforehand proven info just by scrolling the opposite means.

Whereas the motion wheel was carried out to ease entry to info, it is also used to navigate between screens. This might probably tackle the restriction of the thumb’s attain on the left and proper edges of the display screen, as you’d now be capable to effortlessly swipe left or proper to navigate.

V For Wiki

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

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

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

In case you take a look at the navigation, on prime of the information you’ll see interactive strains to varied landmarks, and you’ll scroll between the areas horizontally. This can be a superbly designed alternate option to navigate the menu as a result of you should use your thumb effortlessly.

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


Ada is an software for the startup Ada Well being, which goals to revolutionize how we strategy going to the physician with trendy options, resembling AI, video calls, and interactive design. We’ve all gone via the rabbit gap of wanting on Google for recommendation on signs, so getting easy entry to dependable info is a godsend.

Ada’s thumb-friendly navigation
Ada’s thumb-friendly navigation (Supply: Daniel Diggle) (Large 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 proper. Moreover, the entire actionable parts are inside attain of the thumb, so the consumer would usually solely must click on on the underside or the proper 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 on account of folks holding their smartphones with one hand. The choices are normally binary, one on the left facet and the opposite on the proper. As handheld units get wider, entry to one of many two dialog decisions turns into sophisticated as a result of limited range of thumb movement.

Let’s take 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 screen, you could possibly attain to the other facet together with your thumb, however that creates rigidity and feels uncomfortable.

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

The vice versa sample addresses this downside by diagonally dividing the display screen in two, permitting binary choices to be made utilizing solely the thumb. Not solely does it make it simpler for the thumb to succeed in 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 answer? We don’t know, however positively an fascinating different for affirmation dialogs.

Omni Swipe

One other answer 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 (Large preview)
Omni Swipe confirmation and navigation concept
Omni Swipe affirmation and navigation idea (Supply: PR Newswire) (Large 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 answer for all display screen widths, as a result of, no matter dimension, the actionable parts would seem underneath the consumer’s thumb.

In contrast to the final idea explored, which permits solely binary choices, this answer has nearly no limitation to the alternatives you’ll be able to add to the menu.

Gamifying the Ready Expertise

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

Nevertheless, even the slightest disturbance could cause a cart to be deserted or create a adverse buying expertise. Analysis into the psychology of speed perception reveals that an individual’s temper impacts how they understand time. In a relaxed and pleased surroundings, you’ll sense time flying by. Nevertheless, should you’re grumpy, in a nasty temper, or anxious, time appears nearly to face nonetheless.

Loading screens, delivery flows, preparation levels, and so forth all hold customers ready. Let’s take a look at examples of how cell 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. Nevertheless, 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. In case 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 focus on this notion of pace. It reveals you the progress in levels, 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 shortly and elevate your temper (should you’re OK with being a little bit aggressive). On this minigame, you faucet the display screen as many instances as you’ll be able to in 5 seconds, making an attempt to beat Wolt’s staff.

Whereas a easy function, it performs straight into human psychology. Though the gaming ingredient doesn’t take away your feeling of starvation, it lets you move the time extra shortly.

Bolt Meals

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

Bolt Meals animated ready expertise (Supply: Dribbble)

Their strategy to exhibiting progress is to animate the supply steps. Whereas not an easy sport, it nonetheless combines a way of motion with the consumer’s notion of time. Briefly, the precept is that if one thing is shifting, then it’s making progress. If the consumer had been to stare at a dull display screen, 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 confirmation email afterward, have interaction with the shopper by exhibiting progress in any respect levels.

Utilizing Animation for Swiping

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

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


Bookotel is a web based reservation app for eating places and cafes. What strikes dwelling with this app’s design is the modern means 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 subsequent card, the entire software appears to maneuver and remodel to the next picture, message, and immediate.

We don’t see this interplay utilized to different components of the appliance, so we’re left with some guesswork about how it could look on a bigger scale. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to’t deny that it could draw the consumer in and get them to mess around with the app.

It’s value noting that these actions may have to be readjusted if the shopper opts-in for decreased 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. Nevertheless, 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 cell 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 reveals, in addition they serve one other goal: gamification. You possibly can swipe via 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 a beautiful instance of how a cell web site can have interaction with the consumer from the very first web page.

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

Unconventional Options Pave the Method for Future Cellular Design

There you might have some intelligent options to seemingly easy issues; options that hopefully enhance the consumer expertise in flip. Whereas following trends isn’t essentially unhealthy, veering to the sting of innovation can yield a extra rewarding consequence.

With consumer expertise turning into an ever extra important 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 is likely to be value it.

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