UXperts Weigh In: Designs We Love, December Edition
As we cap off 2017, it’s time to reflect on a year of great design. We reached out to some of our UXperts for one last time this year to get a few final mentions for sites and apps that nail the UX. Here are the designs they’re loving, right now.
Andy Vitale, user experience director at Polaris Industries.
Maybe it’s designer blindness, or the bias of having seen so many apps that aren’t focused on solving unmet needs, but most chatbots out there today have interactions that feel a lot more artificial than intelligent. Lemonade is an app that appears to be breaking the mold, offering affordable renters and homeowners insurance. There is even an aspect of social good as Lemonade gives back unclaimed money by way of donation to a non-profit organization of the policy holder’s choice.
As soon as you launch the app, Lemonade’s smooth animation and onboarding screens are seamless. The application offers an intuitively simple chat-based experience, powered by machine learning in the form of interaction with a chatbot named Maya. The conversation with Maya feels natural — the inputs for all of the questions needed for an accurate quote are neither tedious, nor do they feel like you are filling out an insurance form. The Google Maps integration, including a photo of the property, allows for a deeper personal connection.
It’s been a long time since I have discovered an app that I want to share with my friends just to observe their amazement as they interact with it. Lemonade truly achieves its goal of making insurance instantaneous and delightful.
Bushra Mahmood, senior experience designer at Adobe.
Pick: AiPoly Vision.
AiPoly Vision first came across my radar after winning the CES innovation award last year. I was intrigued by an app that could help the blind and visually impaired identify objects in the world.
AiPoly uses a neural network and the phone camera to identify objects and colors around the world. Once it has detected an object, it alerts the user using text or audio, usually in under a second. The app itself could not be more straightforward — it’s a constant camera feed with a text overlay and a set of filters to refine the search.
The value is pretty clear for those who need assistance but also for those looking to analyze the world around them. I think this is a sneak peek into how we will develop interactions in the future. With the recent momentum in augmented and mixed reality, it’s only a matter of time before more applications will have to recognize and respond to the world around us.
It’s also worth remembering that every design decision we make can potentially include or exclude a user. In choosing to design for those with disabilities, AiPoly ultimately meets a broader range of needs. What could help someone with color blindness recognize the difference between red and green, and can help someone else do a quick audit of how many objects are in a scene.
In the construction and engineering sector, change is afoot. We call it the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, and it involves the digitisation of design, project management, and planning of huge scale building projects. Staying on top of the latest developments in building information modelling (or BIM) is therefore incredibly important, but there are few online resources I would trust more to keep me informed than BIM Hub.
This one-stop-shop for all things BIM-related has to be both functional and engaging as a site, and its UX design achieves this incredibly well. Firstly, its navigation is simple to use and direct — there’s no scouring around to find something I’m specifically looking for. Likewise, if I just want to browse recent BIM projects with no real goal in mind, it allows for that too.
But arguably the cleverest element of the BIM Hub site is its ‘Upload Your Own’ function. Professionals who are actively using BIM in their live projects can provide tools, case studies, webinars, or advice to others in the sector. Rather than relying on out-of-date ‘best practice’ from those who have since moved away from the day-to-day involvement of challenging projects, these briefs are live, real-time, and relevant. In such a rapidly changing sector, the ability to learn from the most current projects possible gives subscribers a huge advantage, and demonstrates that the UX designers at BIM Hub have understood their audience perfectly.
Rightmove really nails the ‘drag with your fingers to choose your geographic search area’ feature, as no other property search sites or real estate agents seem to have got it right. If you’ve ever searched for a house, this drag search function is the best thing in the world, as you don’t have to type in a postcode that invariably pulls in properties from a broader/smaller area than intended. It’s a wonderful thing.
I also like the iPad app. It’s a restricted user-generated content site, which means you get to see what you’re interested in, without having to see snow angels et al. I’ve hunted for a suitably derelict Victorian abode for two years, and this app led the search (and helped find the house). I still use it, as you can get heritage interior design tips by viewing houses anywhere in the world. Basically, it’s Street View on speed.
What websites or apps are you loving right now? Let us know in the comments!