Elements in the app are like the customer relations people in your company. They speak the language of your app in a simple way. They act as tour guides to the various app windows, propose action items and give users company while some items are loading. They diligently take inputs from the customers aka app users. Following are the top 10 App UI elements selected by us:
Your app icon is the face of your app (and acts as a brand logo if your app becomes iconic!). It needs to be simple, noticeable, and clearly representing your app. The same goes for the rest of your app icons. They are extremely helpful if designed creatively yet intuitively for representing different functions in your app.
A button typically appears raised from the background and may have icons or text as its components. Buttons are of various kinds- simple button, drop-down button, toggle button, checkboxes, radio buttons and the like. All of these, especially call-to-action buttons, need to be designed and placed mindfully.
Search fields are typically at the top of the screen and play a vital role in user navigation. They need to be visible and it is recommended to place an attractive default question to encourage the user to take action. A good example is the destination search/input box in Uber, which has a default question- Where to? It posits the app as friendly and interactive while making it clear that a destination needs to be entered in the search field/box.
Like the name suggests, breadcrumbs represent where you have strayed away from the home page. They state the current location of and all the preceding pages opened by the user. This is visible as a series of page titles intercepted by arrows describing the user flow.
There are two kinds of notifications- In-app notifications and Push notifications. While the former increase usability by helping the user to better utilize app functions, the latter makes the user come back for more. Examples of in-app notifications are the introduction to app usage and new functions. Push notifications are similar to in-app notifications with the exception that they reach the mobile phone user, even if the app is not open.
A tool tip is an incredibly useful element. It appears when the user scrolls over to an item, quickly giving the further description or usage tips. It denotes attentiveness to the user’s needs and adds to the app experience.
You might dislike them but if used sparingly and with the aim to benefit the user, they can be a real plus. They grab and hold the entire attention of the user so as to bring focus to an important offer or message. The pop-up window doesn’t close till some action has been taken within it.
Loading elements and placeholders
These, along with other elements like icons, form a part of micro interactions- a simple, visual way of representing a process and its completion to the user. The idea is to give real-time feedback to the user regarding any function the app is performing. An example of a loading element is the typical circle of dots flashing one after the other, often found when a YouTube video is buffering. A placeholder is something that holds an empty space or screen while the full content is loading. It usually presents blurred outlines of content that is about to load or partial content.
Tags are terms linked to certain items that make them easy to search. This element is a must especially if your app manages a large database.
Now, don’t we all enjoy those images with dazzling one line descriptions sliding away to reveal another before we get enough of one? That is exactly what an image carousel is. It’s certainly a must for e-commerce apps.
What do you think of the above list? Do let us know if you would like to add or replace the above elements with something else.