Using your Facebook or Snapchat, have you wondered who designed them? Or have you ever pondered on how easy a Google search is?
Today we will delve into the digital design world and what goes into designing the virtual world.
We live in exciting times when new art forms are introduced every day. App design is both art and engineering. The designers and engineers come together to create unique digital art in this digital age.
The design has evolved exponentially with the advent of technology. There are new languages of design being released daily. Today, we will discuss a few types of designs such as motion graphics, illustrations, etc.
This article will discuss different types of designs, which include motion graphics, UX design, UI design, etc.
- Motion graphics
As the name suggests, motion graphics are animated graphic designs. These designs rotate, move, and are in motion. Thus, attracting attention and conveying the message. The motion graphics, however, are not full animations.
Motion graphics are used for different purposes such as logos, product marketing, icons, UI animations, gifs, broadcasting graphics, infographics, short films, etc.
There are multiple types of motion designs, some of which we will discuss below.
You would have probably come across animated gifs explaining a product. These are short videos describing how the product works. The users find these videos to be entertaining and easy to understand.
These videos are the same as explainer videos, but they tell the users how to use the product. It helps them to understand the correct way to utilize a product. Medical devices, like EpiPens, use these types of motion graphics.
These motion graphics show the User Interface of an app. This makes the user know how to use an app before getting it. These motion videos also excite users to try the app themselves. All this has increased the number of downloads of UI animations.
Logos have to be catchy and memorable. If the motion is added, it becomes even more interesting to remember. The Netflix logo has a red ribbon forming an N. Whenever a trailer or video ends, motion graphics move around, and a ribbon includes the red N. This is an example of a logo in motion graphics.
The users appreciate icons in actions more rather than stagnant ones. In a motion graphic, these icons attract more attention.
In a video with no voiceover, a title in motion graphics can do wonders. It keeps the audience hooked and they are more likely to remember the title.
We have all seen the airplane safety pamphlet. If these infographics are in motion, people will be more focused on learning all the rules.
Presentations become instantly better with motion graphics. Popping charts and dancing information can take the presentation to the next level.
In ICC tournaments, we see little trucks carrying 100 and 50 signs across our screen. Motion graphics like these add action to the screen where usually the screens do not change much.
We all use GIFs with our friends and families. Gifs have become an extremely integral part of all of our digital communication. The motion graphics in gifs are what give them the action.
Now let’s take a look at UX design.
What is a UX design?
You might have come across this term. It may sound confusing to many but let us explain these terms in layman’s words.
UX design is a scientific term enveloping all company and customer interactions. In general use, this term is used digitally. However, it is applicable for physical products as well.
This is because as the term was invented, the tech industry started and was on a boom. They used this term so often that now, if UX design is discussed, it generally refers to digital UX design.
The primary purpose of UX design is to make the user experience more accessible, friendly, relevant, and efficient. Let it be online shopping or calling an Uber, the UX design ensures that users understand the app easily.
Interestingly, visuals are not what UX design offers. Instead, it has to move with the overall experience of the app. It enhances the interaction and communication between the company and the user. UX design creates structural solutions to any issues the users face while using the application. It eventually leads to a product that is effective for the user.
UX Design steps
A typical UX design has five steps. The initial processes are abstract and become increasingly solid as we move ahead. These 5 Steps are strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface.
This is the first process with which the designers start. The strategy includes data collection and objectives. This step is research-based, and the designer studies the user groups in depth. The user’s requirements, needs, struggles, and likes and dislikes are collected as data in this step.
The second step is where the goals are set. In this step, the type of content is to be decided. Two types of requirements are pronounced in this step.
a. Functional Requirements
As the name suggests, these requirements must include all the features and functions the designer plans to add.
b. Content Requirement
An outline for the theme, animations, and visuals is collected so that it helps in the completion of the requirements.
In this third step, the layout of the design is planned. This layout shows how the interaction between the users and the system will function. The structure has two subcategories.
a. Interaction Design
It is based on the functional requirements. The product’s function and its interaction with the user are defined here.
b. Information Architecture
It is based on content requirements. Information Architecture outlines the setting and the arrangements of the content.
The 4th step of UX Design is a skeleton. In this step, the design is to be put in a form. The smooth navigation of the app and dynamic movements within it are part of this step. Here the designer ensures that the user understands the product’s presentation.
The surface is the last step. The surface is a combination of previous steps. The visuals, the presentation, the interaction, and the navigation are ensured to be smooth and interactive in this step.
Examples of UX Design:
As UX is about the experience, it does not necessarily have to be in the product. We will share examples of applications, websites, and browsers with great UX Design.
The first example is Grammarly. No one wants to make errors, especially in the academic or professional world. We all know how life-saving Grammarly has been; otherwise, the embarrassing typos or errors can nag us for years.
Grammarly not only corrects your mistakes but also has multiple features to make your sentences better. It also tells you how the sentence sounds. This builds trust between the user and the extension. Moreover, Grammarly also sends emails to encourage users. This is good for promoting Grammarly and keeps users updated about their linguistic department’s progress.
Another excellent example of a good UX Design would be Spotify. Music streaming is like none other. The high level of personalization makes it very catchy for the users to use the app repeatedly.
The personalized playlists are looped, so that good music never stops for each individual. The Year Wrapped feature informs the users what they have been listening to. This feature is adored by the users as, in a way, they get to know their tastes better and share them with others.
Personalization has to be one of the most significant features introduced in the digital world. Almost every streaming platform uses it. However, shops like Starbucks have also raised this feature.
This allows the customers to see what they ordered last and what they have starred as favorites. This feature saves the customers time to go through the entire menu every time they call. Ordering your favorite coffee is just a click away without searching for it.
UX Design here provides efficiency in the app, increasing orders for Starbucks and saving time for the customers.
Perhaps, the simplest of examples will be the Google Search Engine. Did you ever need a tutorial to use this search engine?
No. It is because of the simple and minimalistic UX Design.
There is a Google logo and a search bar on the screen. Other information and links are small and light. This offers an easy interaction for users as they automatically know where to type their search. Google Search Engine has always been simple, but it has become even easier with time.
3. UI Design
Now comes the UI design.
What is a UI design?
UI design or User interface Design is different from UX design. It complements the UX design by dealing with the visuals and aesthetics of the product. Unlike UX Design which can have digital and physical products, UI design only has digital products.
UI’s primary focus is the visual elements such as imagery, color palettes, buttons, animations, and topography. The result UI produces pleases the users aesthetically.
Categories of UI
UI design is classified into three categories: Command Line Interface, Menu-driven Interface, Graphical User Interface, and Touch Screen Graphical User Interface.
Command Line Interface
CLI can be difficult to understand as it is not as common as a primary user interface. It requires a text input of specific commands. Once an order is entered, the computer searches for it in the directory, and then the command becomes available.
It is rather challenging to learn the command language, and it is complex for users. However, CLI has a simple structure and uses very little memory space. For a CLI expert, it is much faster to use than any other UI type.
Unlike CLI, where you have to type a command, a list of commands appears in the Menu-Driven Interface. You can select your command, and the task will be performed.
For inexperienced people, this type is easier to use and understand. It is more user-friendly. However, for the experts, it is slower, and options of commands are limited. An excellent example of a Menu-Driven Interface is an ATM.
You have specific options popped on the screen. You are taken to another window with more options as you select one. A critique on Menu-Driven Interface is also that a long time is taken for a simple task.
Graphical User Interface
When you open your computer and click on the chrome icon, you are using a GUI. We often use a Graphical User Interface or GUI for short. Clicking icons via a touchpad or a mouse is how we use GUI. The advantages of GUI are that it is easy to use, no list of commands is to be memorized, and it is self-explanatory. Though it uses ample memory space, it is not a big concern with today’s computers.
Touchscreen Graphical User Interface
You pick up your smartphone and click on the YouTube app. You see that the new SpiderMan trailer is out now, so click on it. All these clicks are part of the touchscreen GUI.
A touchscreen GUI is the same as the normal GUI, except that it does not need a peripheral device for clicking. Touch screens like smartphones and tablets allow this type of intimate user interface. Touchscreen GUI is even simpler than GUI and is more user-friendly.
Examples of UI Design
To better understand UI Design, we will share some examples. These cases will help you know what UI design does.
Colors play is an essential element used in UI design. The bright colors attract the right users. Nowadays, gradients are used more as they are more attractive yet simple to look at. Spotify’s color palette is one of the most appreciated ones.
WordPress has a dynamic and seamless flow to its website. You can understand how it works by scrolling and immediately want to launch your website with them.
Coursera uses a white background and a minimal color palette. It allows the users to focus more on the text and courses offered. It just shows that they understood their users and designed accordingly.
UI Design Principles
If you are planning to go for UI design, you should consider a few principles. Some of them are listed below:
Ensure that you keep in mind the user in your decisions and research. Understand the user entirely and conduct thorough research. A good design knows its users the best.
Imagine having too many font styles on a web page. It will take away the attention from the product, and the design will look haphazard. A design system should be established. The design components and the design elements must be harmonious throughout.
You open an application, but the language is so advanced that you do not understand the product. You don’t want this to happen to users. The design should be easy to grasp. The language must also be simple and basic thus making the app or website more accessible.
Now think about a user who has to navigate the website to understand what the components do. This is terrible for the user and will likely get your website bad reviews. The elements should be evident for the user to move around the website. Use the standards already used in the industry.
Understanding Design elements
Points, lines, and planes are the design elements that are an integral part of UI design. Their use must be well understood and used wisely.
For any issue to be resolved, the designer must find the root cause of it. Feedback from users helps in creating better designs. Assumptions must be avoided, and the prototype should be tested before launch.
The design must have empathy for the user. This means considerations regarding users’ challenges and hurdles should be made. The context in which the user will be using the software or application should also be studied. This allows the UI design to be user-centric.
Imagine entering a wrong passcode, but your app does not notify you. Instead, it does not let you enter your required portal. A good UI design gives timely feedback to its users. The error message on the screen immediately saves the user time.
If the app generates revenue, then the UI design should consider ways to maximize that revenue. It should support the business too. The design has to go both ways to support the user and benefit the company.
The app must be tested for the interface. It should be a regular act using real users as participants. This must especially be done when a new feature is added. This allows the design to develop well with time. The competitive market of today requires the app to be up to date. Timely testing is a key to understanding the user’s reviews.
You open a webpage, and everything is the same font of the same size. It would be a disaster. We need a hierarchy to understand what is more important and less important.
Visual aesthetics are more than just a pretty facade. The design is beautiful; the hierarchy, repetition, balance, and other design elements. Understanding and applying these rightly will give a boost to the plan.
The world is now becoming more and more inclusive of people with disabilities. Advanced technological devices cater to these people as well. The UI design should be compatible with multiple devices to be inclusive.
Users like to have control of the app they are using. The app should give them specific authority, especially if they want to go back on a page or unsubscribe. This creates trust between the user and the app.
The UI designers are not the ones who develop the app. They design it, and later the engineers build the application. The UI designer must give clear instructions and guides to the app builders. The better the work is documented, the better guidelines are provided.
The UI design does not end once the application is completed. It is instead a process where constant feedback, changes, and upgrades are to be made. Our favorite apps keep evolving with time. Even after launching the design, other designs should be tested to see if they work better.
What’s the Future?
Now you must be wondering what the scope of these design fields in the future is and if you should pursue them as a career.
UX and UI designs are getting more advanced day by day. In the future, the UX designs will get more specialized and focused. The field is getting competitive with time, and the expertise of the designers is increasing.
As for the UI design, it has a long way to go. The designs in the future will become more dynamic and seamless.
Other technologies such as AR and VR will affect UX and UI designs. Currently, User interface designs have advanced to touchscreen level, but VR means real-time experience, and no input devices such as a mouse or touch screen are involved. This means the plans will now have to be developed for a 360-degree view and compatible with futuristic technologies.
Does it all make sense now?
From now on, whenever you use an app like Instagram or a website like WordPress, you will understand the motion graphics elements. You will also notice the alignments and how easy or difficult it is for you to interact with the product.
These terms are now being used in this digital era more than ever. We hope that in this article, we have helped you understand the differences between UX and UI designs. And learn more about other types of motion graphics.