• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Unlocking success: How aesthetic design drives user engagement in UX/UI

UX/UI design

In today’s digital age, where users are bombarded with countless apps and websites vying for their attention, the importance of not just how a product works but also how it looks cannot be overstated. User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) designers have the crucial task of not only ensuring that a product is functional and intuitive but also visually appealing. After all, aesthetics play a significant role in shaping users’ initial impressions and ultimately determining whether they will continue to engage with a brand or product.

Consider the scenario of opening a mobile banking app. If, upon opening the app, users are greeted with a bland interface consisting solely of outlines and text, it’s highly likely that they will be tempted to close it immediately. Such a lacklustre presentation may lead users to question the credibility and professionalism of the brand, ultimately eroding trust and discouraging further interaction. In today’s competitive landscape, where first impressions are everything, neglecting the visual aspect of a product can be a costly mistake.

Drawing from experience in advertising, where the primary objective is to sell solutions to consumers in an attractive manner, the power of aesthetic design in capturing attention and fostering brand affinity becomes apparent. Endeavouring to make clients’ brands memorable through visually compelling campaigns, UX/UI designers have the opportunity to create memorable experiences by marrying functionality with aesthetics.

Apple stands as a prime example of a brand that has mastered the art of combining form and function in its products. From sleek hardware designs to intuitive user interfaces, Apple products are not only highly functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Imagine if Apple were to prioritise functionality over aesthetics and create a phone that was cumbersome to hold simply to accommodate users with larger hands—the result would likely be far from appealing.

Revolut, a fintech company, recently demonstrated the significance of aesthetic design in user retention with its update, offering a variety of beautiful backgrounds and themes for its app. Drawn to the app not only for its functionality but also for the visually appealing interface, the update not only enhanced the user experience but also solidified loyalty to the brand.

Another excellent illustration can be found on the GTCrea8 website. Thorough research was evidently dedicated to its development. From the captivating loading icon and animations to the smooth scrolling experience, the cursor feedback, and the choice of images, every detail seems meticulously crafted for the target audience. As a young designer, engagement persisted while navigating through the site, driven by the pleasure of the experience. The captivating blend of aesthetics and functionality would have enticed exploration further, even without initially intending to create a GTCrea8 account. Stumbling upon one of the account’s benefits would inevitably lead to creation, influenced by its beauty and functionality.

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However, it’s essential to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality. Heavy animations and excessive visual clutter can detract from the user experience, leading to frustration and abandonment. This is where art direction and visual design expertise come into play. By understanding the brand’s identity and target audience, designers can craft interfaces that not only look great but also resonate with users on a deeper level.

No, I’m not saying this because I had a background in advertising before switching to UX design; I’m saying it because I believe it’s 100 percent possible to focus on visual design and functionality at the same time.

Again, prioritising visual design does not equate to sacrificing functionality.

In conclusion, the integration of UX, UI, art direction, and motion design is essential for creating compelling digital experiences. By recognising the importance of aesthetics alongside functionality, designers can elevate their products from merely functional to truly exceptional. As a seasoned UX designer and motion designer, I firmly believe that beautiful design has the power to captivate users, foster brand loyalty, and ultimately drive success.

Toheeb Popoola, User Experience designer & Motion Designer, writes from Lagos.