Phone interface design just got a whole lot more interesting

As marketing and design folk we want to stay one step ahead to deliver experiences that add value and engagement to phone interface design. With the growing interest with Android Wear and the ongoing rumours surrounding the Apple iWatch, it might be time to start thinking small when it comes to user interface design.

The technology itself is one part of creating a fluid experience. However, early adoption of such devices has shown that content creators still need to fine tune what they’re offering their users. So, keen to stay ahead of the curve, we’ve been looking into the new wave of wearable tech and how this will affect design. We’ve put together 8 things that will help deliver innovative marketing on such devices.

1. Focus on the user
As designers we sometimes take the user expectation for granted – something we need to think twice about with these new smaller interfaces. User interactions will get a whole lot shorter especially on watch devices where light and finger size will determine content interaction. Making it simple and intuitive is where the focus needs to be. Think whether your grandparents would be able to use it… then simplify it even more.

2. Take advantage of the whole screen
We are seeing more and more app designs where the user interface is being moved to allow for content to be viewed on the whole screen. This maximises the real estate you have to play with, especially important on small displays. Using animation to guide the user to the interface helps them to find it easily. In the context of Google, ‘motion provides meaning’ – and that means motion design that’s beautiful yet functional.

3. Think in layers
There has been a lot of talk about thinking in layers when considering phone interface design. Think of it as a deck of cards, moving from one to the other, revealing the user journey, and allowing them to swipe forwards and backwards intuitively.

4. Use plenty of negative space
Far too many times clients like to ensure you use up all the space on a screen, but in fact using negative space helps readability and creates a more fluid user experience. The more elements you have, the more the user will get confused. Reduce these to create a calmer experience.

5. Colour helps to simplify
Colour coding in the right way helps to guide the user’s eye, instantly showing them the difference between navigation and content. Highlight navigation buttons to separate them from the content – and vise versa.

6. Be consistent
A consistent design palette will build a much smoother experience. Think about guiding your user down an unfamiliar street – they need to know what the signposts mean so they can find where they want to go.

7. Beta release and gather feedback
Releasing to a small user group will help determine the level of detail needed to make your experience that little bit more refined and easy to use. Gather as much feedback as you can so you can know where to improve your design, especially important as you get to know this type of user interface.

8. Refine, refine and refine
We always find the refining stage adds the final dimension to the UI. An ongoing cycle of refinement will allow for a slicker, more polished experience that people will be pleased to use.

Miniaturisation of user interface design has really progressed over the last few years, and many of our clients have had to take this in their stride. We’ve created everything from responsive design, delivering mobile first experiences, to location based campaigns which connect with audiences at the point of brand activation.

The survivors will be the ones who ensure they can think differently.

As an industry, the pace of change is definitely full speed ahead. The survivors will be the ones who ensure they can think differently and stay one step ahead of their competition. Innovation is at the heart of the next wave, and those who can share ideas in the form of miniaturisation are leading the way.