UXperts Weigh In: Designs We Love, March Edition
March is a big month for travel across the globe, and our UXperts are sharing some of their favorite picks for apps and websites that help you travel better while staying informed and entertained on your journey (and learning about great UX design along the way). Here are some of the designs they’re loving, right now.
Kenzie Ryder, Designer at Filament Creative
Quartz’s unconventional approach to delivering news is unlike any other app. Rather than headlines, it sends high-level messages about current topics in a very conversational and often humorous tone—almost as if you’re chatting with a friend. Once a topic is presented, you decide whether to tap and dive deeper, or if you’ve read enough, tap to skip that story and move on to the next one. It’s all about quick snippets of curated content, delivered in an easily consumable way that only takes a few minutes out of your day. With push notifications, you don’t even need to open the app in order to stay up-to-date about the most important stories.
The app has a very clean aesthetic, with a number of delightful elements: the “tell me more” option is usually presented as a series of relevant emojis, stories are paired with entertaining GIFs and photos, short news quizzes may be served up once you’ve reached the end of the list of curated content, and one of the newer features even lets you experience news in AR.
The familiarity and interactivity of this user experience make it fun to engage with the bot, and it keeps me coming back. It’s perfect for busy people looking for a new, exciting, more ‘human’ way to stay informed.
Grant Gliner, User Experience Designer at Adobe
In its mobile experience, Florence uses great design to tell an impactful story of love, loss, and growth. You’re placed in the shoes of a young woman working a monotonous job, whose true aspirations lie elsewhere. You meet Krish, an up-and-coming musician, and immediately hit it off. Florence wordlessly communicates the actions you need to take, then leverages the pace and difficulty of those actions to implicitly build the narrative. It plays with friction as a storytelling tool, making it a fascinating UX case study.
You know you’re getting along on the first date as each sentence becomes progressively easier to construct out of fewer and fewer puzzle pieces. Conversely, you can feel communication breaking down as you struggle to put sentences together with pieces that don’t quite fit.
When Krish moves in, rearranging the kitchen is impossible without stowing away some of your things. This makes your next task–placing just his toothbrush in a cup on your hopelessly cluttered sink–hilarious.
Florence is full of moments like this. Simple interactions, like shaking a Polaroid photo, scribbling on a notepad, and moving a toothbrush back and forth, are non-verbally prompted and emotionally resonant, and together advance a beautiful interactive story.
Sarah Parmenter, Founder and Designer at Sazzy
Pick: Virgin America
The Virgin America site should be upheld as a fabulous example of UX design. When you compare it to most travel sites that are out there, specifically plane travel, they are overwhelmingly crowded and confusing; I feel like I have to take a deep breath, carve out 30 minutes of my day and clear my diary when I know I have to book a plane ticket.
The Virgin America site really is a breath of fresh air when it comes to UX/UI. I love the way it guides the user through each step of the booking process, only bringing into focus what is truly necessary to complete each stage and then moving onto the next. By taking this approach, they’re able to make the user feel like they, as a company, are holding their hand and guiding them through what is a complex process elsewhere.
For something like this to feel so simple, you know there has been a lot of work that’s gone into the back-end, and plenty of meetings where UI/UX designers had to fight their corner for whitespace and paired-back information. But the difference is crystal clear: it’s simply a joy to use.
Richard Robinson, Joint Managing Director and Web Developer at Sun-Hat Villas
Skyscanner’s app nails the simplification of UX. Rather than a straightforward ‘including everything we’ve ever produced’ approach, it condenses all the key information to three options: flights, hotels, and car hire. We regularly recommend the app to customers booking flights, and our target demographic includes a number of older customers, so ease-of-use is key!
The location functionality offers the closest airports to where you are, saving time, and the traffic light system (indicating route price and length) provides an excellent ‘at-a-glance’ understanding of what you might be about to book. It is particularly useful if you want the quickest flight, which is particularly important when travelling with little ones who get bored easily.
The slider functionality on the ‘Sort and Filter’ options makes it simple to pick flight duration and departure and arrival times for both legs of your journey, with the opportunity to filter out your least-favorite airline (another nice touch). You can even filter out non-direct flights; who really wants to change on short-haul!? The ability to save flights and set up an alert is also handy, especially as prices are always changing in this competitive market.
One of the best features is the ability to share a snapshot of your chosen flight via social media or other mediums (e.g. WhatsApp), but with the option to customize and add imagery, as you can see in the screenshot. That reminds me, I need to book my next holiday flights!
What websites or apps are you loving right now? Let us know in the comments, and for UX insights sent straight to your inbox, sign up for Adobe’s experience design newsletter.