The Invisible Design – Good Design is Invisible

The Invisible Design – Good Design is Invisible

If you see a website or an app and the first thing that comes to your mind is – Wow this is a beautiful/cool Mobile app – I  would say the product is poorly designed.

Good design is invisible. Unless, of course, the product sells simply because of its design and that is its only USP. This does not mean that good design in a product is not important, in fact, it means otherwise. At Cliffex, we believe that design should always have a purpose.

A lot of times, entrepreneurs turn out to be amazed or bewildered by cool and funk designs for their products. A lot of times as well, transitions and swooshes could cause very precious performance leaving users distracted and not really offering anything in return. These are the reasons why I suggest and advice that entrepreneurs always stick to what is necessary and also stick to features that only genuinely improve every users’ experience.

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I really feel that one of the easiest ways to judge if a design decision is worth it or not is to start with a why (Yes, Simon Sinek). Focus on the little things first. Things that are small, not really cool but add a lot to the user experience.

The real difference between a good successful app and a bad unsuccessful one can usually be observed in the user experience quality. Many app users today are expecting quite a lot from applications such as quick loading, easy to use and fun experience all through the time of interaction. If you want to own a successful app, then you must consider your design in line with the user experience – though they may be a very minor aspect in terms of design – but they are really important when it comes to product strategy.

Cognitive Load. Yes, App developers would know that cognitive load here signifies the amount of brain activity that is required or that should be possessed by a user to make use of an app. Funny enough, the human brain is established to have a limited amount of such involved activity so when an app renders too much information all at the same time, that is when you have user too overwhelmed that they end up leaving the task at hand. So, the first step is to reduce the cognitive load.

Cluttering. This is basically one of the many enemies of good design which is why cutting it out is a pretty good advice towards attaining a good user experience. A cluttered interface – added buttons, added images, added icons, etc. – ends up leaving the users with so much data to breakdown due to the now complicated screen display. It is also a form of an increased cognitive load.

Cluttering on a mobile app is far worse than what you would see on a desktop; so I advise getting rid of anything on your design that is not completely necessary so as to improve understanding. You can also put in place the functional minimalism technique to deal with a cluttered UI.

In summary, keep contents at a minimum, let interface elements appear in their simplest and adopt the progressive disclosure technique.

Tasks. Many sections of your app design might require users to perform multiple tasks or using a lot of effort like entering multiple data, making decisions repeatedly. So it is very important to look for a way around it like saving inputted data and making it readily available upon next entry to save users’ time and energy. Or better still, if a certain task requires multiple steps from the user then it would be a wise thing to have such task into multiple subtasks. Doing this, you reduce whatever complexity data entails unlike putting the task out all at once; an example of this can be found on e-commerce apps, where the checkout complexity is broken down into various stages/ different tasks.

Familiar UI. App users are familiar with some UI which we can tag as conventional like “Getting Started”, “Search Results” and so on; something different from these might affect user experience. They really do not require any sort of explanation due to the kind of familiarity that users have with them.

A good design involves the right dose of beauty and functionality, and that is what every founder should struggle to attain in their apps. I see designing an app as evolution through data testing and feedback. Regular feedback from users is one way to judge and improve user experience. It really takes time, which is the main reason why I stated that good design is invisible.