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Sivakamesh Ramdas

Published on

November 24, 2022


technology, UI/UX, UX Design

UI/UX Design is a dynamic field that requires creativity. Despite these constant changes, there are some fundamental principles that every designer should put into practice.

These fundamentals are commonly referred to as design principles, and a majority of known design works in marketing demonstrates some level of mastery of these principles.

One of these notable principles is to meet the user’s need (or needs), allowing them to achieve their desired goal or objective. Then, there’s flexibility and efficiency – elements that both novice and experts should be familiar with.

Design is as much about creativity as it is about functionality. So, if certain trends resonate with your audience, there is no harm in bending the rules to fit your audience.

Let’s take a look at how some of the world’s leading brands have broken design principles and made them work and what you can do to elevate your UI/UX approaches.

Simplicity is felicity

Microsoft Windows is an example of a company that has defied UI/UX norms. While direct competitors such as MacOS are making huge strides when it comes to modifying and improving their UI and UX, it appears that Windows has taken a different path.

Windows users are primarily traditional users who have grown accustomed to the classic design. As a result, Microsoft cannot drastically alter the design without upsetting loyal customers. Windows, on the other hand, is used by a younger and more adaptable target group, and Microsoft recognised that this group of users required a more modern design aesthetic.

Some elements have been designed to suit the modern aesthetics while others still follow the old designs. For example: ‘Settings’ and ‘Control Panel’ both perform the same task, but one is designed with the modern aesthetic and usability in mind, and the other has been kept traditional so as to not alienate its older audience.

Microsoft has proved that sometimes all users want is simplicity. Windows users are primarily traditional users who have grown accustomed to the classic design.

Snap out of it

Knowing who you’re designing for is part of helping you make informed and evidence-based decisions during the design process. Psychographic profiles reveal the “what” and “why” of a specific persona. What motivates them? What are their values and beliefs? What products do they use? What is their way of life?

The perfect example of an app that has broken the principles of UI/UX to reach their specific target audience is Snapchat.

Snapchat’s user interface is surprisingly complex for an app with more than 350 million daily users. They have opted to do away with the use of universal icons. Snapchat’s iconography is rather perplexing – its labels are absent, the app’s functionalities are hidden or obscured, and navigation without Snapchat’s assistance can be extremely difficult. Even the screen where users discover new content can be daunting to some.

For an app that breaks all the rules, Snapchat’s user experience maintains a smart and well thought out design. Their unconventional user experience is what resonates with their primary target audience: teenagers and millennials.

While Snapchat’s user interface isn’t necessarily user-friendly in the traditional sense, it serves a few important functions; most notably, it keeps the adults out.

No experiment, no gain

Now, let’s look at Netflix’s library. When a user hovers over a thumbnail, Netflix decides to play the previews automatically. This feature put off many users, and countless articles, tweets, and blog posts were written about how annoying the autoplay feature was. The user control and freedom to pause, close or cancel is not available for the users. So they would have to keep scrolling or endure the trailer of the movie or series.

In 2016, Netflix director of product innovation Stephen Garcia explained that video previews were introduced so users could have more information about content and quickly decide what to watch rather than endlessly browsing. Their goal was to encourage users to scroll less and see more. They allowed users to delve deeper into the platform by introducing this feature.

Subsequently, Netflix’s autoplay feature was not only adapted, but also received positive feedback from users after a period of time due to the immersive experience users can enjoy, which resulted in increased time spent on the platform.

What we can learn from Netflix is to be intuitive. A new adaptation almost always irks users, but if your new design approach improves functionality, gradual user education can lead to success.

So, should you choose to go against the basics of design? To determine whether a rule should be broken at all, one must combine intuition with intelligence. While the choice of non-conformance should be made with caution, it can lead to exceptional results.

Keen on learning how to elevate your UI/UX? Get in touch with our experts here.

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