Every user browsing a website interacts with its features, and should be satisfied with them. If the website features are bland and unimpressive, the users are less likely to visit it again. This is why UI UX development is more important than we think when it comes to web design. And when it comes to features, even the smallest interaction and the tiniest detail matter. These small interactions or microinteractions influence the overall user experience.

Microinteractions include almost all basic tasks users get to do while they browse the site, be it transitions, syncing devices to the website, like a page, share it, enabling/disabling functions etc. They should feel these interactions are immersive and intuitive at the same time.

Now that you understand the importance, here are five microinteractions that essentially augment the user experience of a website.
 

Adjusting basic preferences on a website

 
Giving users some amount of control over the ‘preferences’ (volume, brightness etc.) on a website conveys the value a website owner gives to how a user views the website. Many sites make use of a level adjustment bar that the user can move back and forth to adjust preferences like volume and brightness.
 

Status bars

 
Status bar can be any indicators that let the users know that they have performed an action, and the status of that action. For example, suppose if there is a download button on a website, which is quite common. Once the user clicks it, animating that button to show that the file is being downloaded is a good microinteraction. The button can animate to show ‘downloading’, and ‘success’ once the download is finished. It’s better than leaving the users unsure as to whether they have performed the action.
 

Engaging notifications

 
Creative notifications on a website not only engage the users but also tells them that there are useful things that are worth checking out. This is a microinteraction too, and should be designed to catch a user’s attention without annoying them.
 

Responsive Call-to-Action (CTA)

 
Call-to-Action or CTA is crucial for a website. An animated CTA can entice users to click the button. However, if the CTA isn’t very impressive or is just obtrusive, users are more likely to ignore it.
 

Pull down menu

 
This microinteraction can do a lot of good as it’s a great feature of mobile-responsive design. Pull down menus are useful when the user browses a website on a mobile device, in allowing them to transition between pages without losing their place. This feature makes navigation a lot easier and intuitive for users.
 

Conclusion

 
Properly leveraging microinteractions can provide a great UX. The impact of microinteractions also applies to software development, ensuring that users have a good time checking out the website or application.

Written by: Sharath Daniel

Mobile-first development is a big deal now, and is one of the reasons why mobile application development is at the center of attention these days. IT services companies have started implementing the best mobile design practices to get apps in stores as well as to increase user engagement.

Even if an app gets in stores, it’d still be ineffective if it lacks a good design that can keep users engaged. A UX-friendly experience is vital in an application. So here are 8 tips for designing applications that can provide the best experience to users.
 

Responsive Design

 
Users typically use more than one handheld device these days – tablets, smartphones, smart wearables etc.  So the developers need to make sure that the app is compatible with a wide range of devices and platforms. No matter how popular a platform is, we can’t definitively say that a certain percentage of the market uses it. Even with Android’s present market share, businesses still consider the millions of iOS users while developing an app.

Unless the app is meant to target users of a single platform, the best way is to make the app responsive, and compatible with multiple platforms.
 

Iterative Design and Development

 
Iterative design requires thorough evaluation, quite similar to testing. Multiple iterations can help the designer come up with a unique UX design, while picking up many things to use in future design projects. The designer can also get insights from users themselves through means of review sites or through built-in user behavior analytics solutions in apps. Understanding how a user uses an app can obviously help the designer improve the UI.
 

Visual Appeal

 
The design should catch the attention of users at a glance. This won’t be possible if the design isn’t visually appealing. An app heavy with textual content will be a deterrent in most cases. Generally, when users run an app in handheld devices, they expect a quality, interactive experience. Visual elements in the design provide that experience, while encouraging them to use the app more often.
 

Consider Market Needs

 
The behavior of a targeted audience applies to app design and development as well. As such, a designer should be able to understand customers. The best way to do that is to come up with use cases to understand what users would want from the app.

It’d impress the users if they find that the developers had paid attention to their needs and personalized the app to make it engaging and interactive for them. A combination of usability testing and heuristic evaluation can give designers and developers an idea on how appealing the UI should be. Interactive apps can deliver a memorable user experience.
 

Getting Input from Users

 
Though there are many testing methods designers can rely on, nothing comes close to feedback from users. It’s pretty much an industry standard now, which gives many design advantages especially during the early stages of development. Users might be able to spot glitches that the development and testing team failed to notice. Rectifying the glitches in the early stages contributes to saving costs involved with the development as well.
 

Consistent Updates

 
It’s important to keep track of feedback from users so the developers can know of any issues in the app that need to be fixed. They should be aware of the security and compliance needs as well, as both considerably hamper streamlined development.

Regularly communicating with the back-end team can bring accessibility issues to light, and may even help prevent data breaches. Security issues on the other hand can only be identified through constant, consistent monitoring. An occasional update that stabilizes the app and fixes issues also reminds users that the company hasn’t forgotten them, and still wants to provide them with a good experience through the app.
 

Follow Guidelines

 
There are guidelines for UI UX design that designers should follow if they want to get the apps into stores. UI designers should focus more on the key features of the app rather than minor ones, and should consider the latest industry standards before determining the navigation and user interaction features of the app. Following the guidelines properly will make sure that the app scores when the stores review it.
 

Keep an Eye Out for New Trends

 
Application development is a continuously evolving sector. As new technologies are introduced, new ways to change the looks, feel, and behavior of an app will emerge. Every UI developer would be aware of this, but neglects the traction a new, innovative idea can give the app. Keeping up with the latest trends can help them implement innovative ideas that can give the app an edge even in competitive markets.

Written by: Sharath Daniel

Artificial Intelligence from what we’ve seen in movies is not exactly what we have recently started to see around us. Fortunately, we don’t live in a dystopian world where robots look like humans, and humanity is getting wiped out. We still wash dishes ourselves, and drive to work. The AI that sees humans as anomalies that need to be exterminated, and a Terminator-ish apocalypse is quite far away.

The AI, we know, is a technology that positively impacts consumers every day, and helps businesses provide a great user experience.
 

Times are changing

 
User experience is based on one single idea that a human is behind a brand/service. Thanks to the advancements in technology, times are changing now. There is no longer a need for a human to deliver that kind of experience. You won’t be getting lost now because there are navigational apps now. You won’t have to drag yourself to a restaurant to eat. The app will have your meal delivered at your doorstep.

While simple, these interactions or most of them are powered by a unique growing technology that is AI.

This doesn’t mean robots will soon take over the digital realm.
 

AI in UX Design

 
According to AI experts, designers can collaborate with AI technology to work wonders in UX design. “The Grid” is a great example. TheGrid.io features an online AI-based web designer that can help users design the content they provide. It’s particularly useful to non-professionals who want to create attractive and optimized websites.

The web app basically chooses multiple templates and tests them all to deliver the layouts that would make websites visually appealing. However, like almost every other AI-based technology out there, this web app was also met with a lot of criticism.

It’s not what the app does that matters. It’s the concept that we need to think about. If that concept and designers collaborate, the results would be very impressive. AI can be used to craft design tools that will help designers try out several design options or ones that can apply constraints to the designer’s storyboard and suggest template options for it. This will save a lot of time for designers, giving them more time to figure out something extra creative.

AI might even help designers come up with a UX that provides the richest experience in finest detail.
 

Designers can have AI do the heavy lifting

 
What a designer does requires a good amount of mental fortitude. Generally, they will have to design numerous variants of graphic content, just for a single project. That is a mind-numbing part of the job, and takes a lot of time. If AI can handle such tasks, the designer can focus more on the user journey to deliver a great experience. Netflix is a great example. They have algorithms that design movie posters with images of movie characters, and localized text.
 

Personalization with AI

 
Designers can assume that each user has specific needs. But it’s not very easy for them to design an interface that caters to users with different needs. AI, on the other hand, is capable of that – to help develop an interface that caters to a user’s needs.

Imagine an app that can increase font size and button size so it’d be easier for people with visual impairments to see, or a workout app that can recommend the right workout schedule depending on the user’s diet. This is possible if the UX designers collaborate with big data analysts and AI developers. Apps with similar features have already started coming out.
 

Interacting with users

 
Chatbot is the most popular trend when it comes to digital communication. The increasing numbers of messaging apps ended up establishing conversational digital marketing. Businesses have already started implementing it in their digital interfaces, just to reach users where and when they are active.

However, intelligent chatbots are still under development. They are going to be a powerful tool for businesses that deliver technical support services.
 

The To-Dos and Downsides

 
Now that we know what AI can do for UX design, designers should realize that they have their work cut out for them because harnessing the potential of AI in UX design is no simple feat. They will have to start from the basics of machine learning to understand how AI can analyze users’ behavioral patterns to constantly and consistently improve app interface. For this, they will need to rely on data analysts more.

As for the downsides, AI is a technology that relies heavily on data and patterns to figure out solutions. So there will of course be limitations. With machines starting to take over IT sector, experts have already started expressing concerns over the privacy of data. A business is going to have to invest a lot in AI even though the technology is still in its infancy, and that’s going to be a tough decision. Stakes are high but the results are tempting.

Nevertheless, AI will soon evolve to play a much more significant role in the near future in many departments, and not just UI/UX development. For a UX designer, the future looks a lot less stressful.

Written by: Sharath Daniel

Just like every other industry in the IT sector, web design is also subject to evolution, which also explains how it sustains its relevance every year. Last year, we witnessed a number of inspiring web design trends that opened doors to countless possibilities of making the web more immersive than ever. Quite a few of them will be turning heads this year.

Here are a couple of those web design trends you should watch for in 2017.
 

Virtual Reality/360º Videos

 
Virtual Reality (VR) is the single most important thing that took over the gadget realm by storm. However, the trend didn’t exactly place its mark on web design. At least not yet. But this year, it could. Peugeot 208’s promo campaign for a new product utilized both virtual reality and 360º videos, and received great applause in the digital realm.

Google’s already invested in VR, evident from Google Daydream headset which keeps expanding the possibilities of adopting the technology for everyday use. One of those possibilities certainly include web designs too that would integrate VR and 360º technology.
 

Conversational Interfaces

 
Before getting into detail about how conversational interfaces can change the face of business interaction, we should look into something that could change the way web designers think – AI-powered bots. Chances are they won’t be influencing web design much but can give designers innovative ideas on communication through websites, like automating it for instance.

There are already tools that enable online businesses to connect with their customers via popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc. Many other tools provide personalized customer support and commerce. Conversational interfaces make interactions more engaging for the customers, showing a different side of the business to consumers, and building trust.
 

Authentic Photography

 
Stock photography in websites has apparently become too hackneyed as a potential replacement came into practice last year – authentic photography. While studies have shown that people generally ignore stock photography, and it also reduces trust to a certain extent. This started giving second thoughts for businesses about having stock photography in their websites.

Numerous websites with authentic photography popped up online last year, indicating that finding good high-quality images nowadays is easier than we can imagine, not to mention how they can captivate visitors. Studies say images with real people in them can catch the attention of viewers quickly. This also influences the chances of converting visitors as well. This is more of a visual web design trend that’s rising in popularity owing to the demand for candid, authentic images.
 

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVGs)

 
The name itself suggests the advantages of SVGs over more conventional image formats like JPG, GIF, and PNG. SVGs are composed of vectors, unlike pixel-based images, and are hence independent of resolutions. Because of this, SVGs are bound to look good in any screen size on any device, and they can also be animated.

That is still not the best thing about SVGs. SVGs don’t require HTTP requests that actually slows down a website to a degree. SVGs won’t have that problem as there won’t be HTTP requests.
 

Typography

 
Typography has always been a welcome trend. But last year we saw an increased focus on making websites visually enticing yet different. Typography can serve that purpose just like animations and SVGs. Brands have started to go for eye-catching titles in their websites. Only a perfect combination of great colors, animations, and striking fonts can give a “wow” effect that brands are looking for.
 

Microinteractions

 
They are basically those small instances where the user interacts with something in a website. It could be a ‘like’, a ‘share’ or even filling a form field. The purpose is to provide users with feedback and guidance which in turn improves the UX. They have gained a lot of popularity last year, resulting in businesses trying to figure out creative microinteractions. This year, we will be seeing a lot of unique microinteractions in websites.
 

Pre-built Websites

 
The world of web development gives great value to ‘speed’ – how fast the website loads, how fast can the website go online, how fast can they complete designing and developing a website…

This could be the reason why pre-built themes and websites were very much appreciated last year. With pre-built websites, designers will be able to work faster to provide a robust base for building prototypes that function. In addition, there won’t be any coding hassles either. We will be seeing this trend more in 2017 considering how impressed the creative community is.
 

Conclusion

 
From everything we witnessed last year, it’s safe to assume that 2017 would be momentous for the web design industry with significant focus on personalization and user experience, hopefully giving rise to an immersive and intuitive online world.

Written by: Sharath Daniel

Both are feature-rich front end frameworks. Both are powerful. And both streamlines the UI design process. If you are a passionate UI designer looking for a responsive and reliable front-end framework, you may have heard of both. If you have heard about the two most popular frameworks around at present, then you will be confused as well about which one to choose.

Though each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, your choice will be ultimately based on your requirements as well as your familiarity with the code.

Before we begin, here is a quick intro:
 

Foundation

 

  • Originally an internal style guide
  • Conceived by ZURB design agency in 2008
  • Release in the fall of 2011

 

Bootstrap

 

  • Started out as an internal style guide in 2010
  • Brainchild of former Twitter employees Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton
  • Released in 2011

 

What they have in common

 

  • Both of them are open source frameworks
  • Both are responsive, meaning the developed web app or website can run in mobile or desktop devices regardless of the screen size
  • Grid system to make easier layouts of websites or web apps
  • JavaScript extensions
  • Pre-styled CSS components

 

And now for the differences…

 
 

Customizability

 
Foundation and Bootstrap comes with Sass (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets) support which means customization will be a walk in the park. However, when it comes to flexibility in customization, Foundation has no equal. While Bootstrap provides pre-build components for the UI design (your app or website goes up and running in no time), Foundation gives you the room and the features to design your own unique designs. With Bootstrap, you are going to have to make do with the pre-existing designs and themes that bear the closest resemblance to the design you have in mind.
 

Browser Support

 
Both Foundation and Bootstrap comes with gratifying browser support, in both mobile and desktop devices: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge – you name it, they support it. However, the older Internet Explorer 8 is not supported by Bootstrap version 4 and higher, and the stable releases of Foundation.
 

Performance

 
Putting it in a nutshell here – both frameworks are good at what they do. The performance benchmarks indicate that there is only a negligible difference in the performance of both Bootstrap and Foundation. But if you consider the features to measure performance, the differences will be more apparent.
 

The Grid system

 
In the beginning, Foundation had one big advantage over Bootstrap – the grid system. But recently, Bootstrap caught up to Foundation deciding to go ‘the grid system’ way, taking out the only critical difference between the frameworks. The grid system lets designers lay out the building blocks of UI, fool around with the components, and come up with some unique layout in the end. Though both the frameworks feature the grid, Foundation still has a couple of grid features to boast about that Bootstrap doesn’t have. The workaround with Bootstrap is using custom codes to get the same functionality of those grid features Foundation possesses.
 

Community

 
When it comes to community, Bootstrap has the bigger gun. With the largest online community for a front-end framework, the designers get access to a plethora of custom themes and templates. Besides, the larger the community, the easier it is to find solutions for technical issues. However, Foundation isn’t that far behind. Though comparatively smaller, the Foundation community keeps growing consistently. It’s large enough for developers to get adequate technical support.
 

Which one triumphs over the other?

 
Now that’s something which ultimately comes down to the personal preferences of the designer. Because neither framework is going to disappoint the designers despite their relative strengths and vulnerabilities. While you can bet on Foundation for its ‘Mobile-first’ responsiveness, Bootstrap is the way to go if you are going to be relying on community support often.

The scale tilts slightly in favor of Bootstrap because of its grid system, speed and stability. Foundation offers more flexibility, and will quite likely catch up to Bootstrap soon with a couple of updates.

Written by: Sharath Daniel