CS for Apps - Tip 8: The Question of UI

Hello, Tip-of-the-day here. How are you today? Tip no. 8: UI or no UI, that is the question.

Standing out from the crowd

One thing every brand strives to achieve is to stand out from the crowd. Differentiation is important in all aspect of life and business, especially in the cut-throat world of e-commerce and online retail.

It’s commonplace for organizations to highly brand the mobile experience by effectively replicating their corporate identity in their app. In addition, many brands have made extensive use of so-called skeuomorphic design* – that is essentially the use of icons and UI controls that reflect the physical world to describe their primary function, i.e. a floppy disk to save your work or a trash can to delete a file.

Excessive branding and the overuse of skeuomorphic design often results in the app taking on a ‘heavy’ or ‘loaded’ look and feel. It can affect app performance (remember that one?) and increase the data/processing demands of the app. This goes against today’s expectation of modern and clean user interfaces designed to put content first over everything else.


The invisible interface

The modern approach is known as Content Focused Experiences or Zero UI and is centered on stripping away all decorative UI elements, allowing the user to focus on the content itself.

Here’s a good example from Instagram, the entire UI design is focused on finding and presenting content in a clean and intuitive interface. The interface looks almost invisible – it falls back and puts content to the fore. If you take out the content from these interfaces what’s left will be simply blank screens.

Content-first layouts allow users to consume the content without any distractions. It can help increase engagement and by association, conversions.


How CS for Apps can help

In the previous tip we had a classic use case for JOURNEY ANALYSIS, for this tip we have a classic SCREEN ZONING case.

Use Tap Recurrence to identify how users are engaging with specific content elements and decorative elements in the interface. A high tap recurrence on non-content elements indicates that the user’s attention is not where it should be. Use this analysis to help determine what UI elements are essential to the content experience and what’s not, then optimize accordingly.

Swipe metrics are also super useful here. If there is a high Swipe Rate combined with Fast Swipe Speed and low Tap Rate on content elements this indicates that the user is not engaging with the content.

Tap Recurrence and Swipe Recurrence with Speed metrics can be valuable as they can help the brand identify the essential UI elements and deliver experiences that encourage the user to focus on the content resulting in improved engagement, increased session times, increased screen views and conversions


* Skeuomorphism is a term most often used in graphical user interface design to describe interface objects that mimic their real-world counterparts in how they appear and/or how the user can interact with them. A well-known example is the recycle bin icon used for discarding files. Skeuomorphism makes interface objects familiar to users by using concepts they recognize

CS for Apps can help brands optimize an app to ensure content is king (or queen).

Complete the form to download your guide to CS for Apps.