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What is Emotional Design and Why Should You Care?

24 novembre, 2017 - 06:30

In a way, emotional design is the upper class of modern design. And although the term is nothing new, there are not many competitors you can learn from.

Even though the term User Experience seems to not only establish itself as what it is, but also as a focus in design realization, this doesn’t mean we’ve reached the top end of the flag pole. But, let’s start at the beginning. Then, you’ll understand where I’m trying to go with this.

101: Functionality, Reliability, Usability

Looking at the minimum requirements of a design, we’ll all agree that the keyword is “functionality”. Now, when you deliver a design, at least, it will need to contain the requested functions. What the design looks like is insignificant at that point. All that matters is that it does what it’s supposed to do.

One step further, it is important for the functionality to be reliable and that not only under certain circumstances (such as a specific browser, for example). If the developers of native iOs and Android apps did put well more emphasis on this, I would have a reduced heart attack risk while using many smartphone apps. Unreliability is a dealbreaker.

If your design is functional and reliable, on the next level, it also has to be usable. Usability is a priority, and is represented by the keyword UX (User Experience), when speaking of high-quality design. A design that is not usable will still fail, even if it is functional and reliable, as shown by our following cartoon:

Not everything that’s possible makes sense… (Cartoon: Noupe)

Although there are many designers who don’t only go for sheer usability, when it comes to UX, but also consider elements that improve the usability emotionally, emotional design is still rather under-represented.

Emotional Design: When the Fun Factor Comes Into Play…

Emotional design is a term coined in the eighties by Don Norman, co-founder of the famous Nielsen Norman Group. His books “The Design of Everyday Things” and “Emotional Design” are, not least because of regular maintenance, still up to date.

“Designing for Emotion” by design veteran Aarron Walter is a bit more recent, but states the same theses. Walter, however, had the original idea to apply Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to design. This turns the previously mentioned elements functionality, reliability, and usability into layers of a pyramid.

According to Walter, this is what it looks like:

from Aarron Walter, Designing for Emotion, A Book Apart

According to this, most of today’s designs are missing the top of the pyramid. Just like Maslow’s pyramid, we need all bottom layers to be fulfilledin order to get to the top. In contrast to Maslow, however, striving for the top is not a natural inevitability, as emotional design requires the designer’s will to go the extra mile.

So, if your design is functional, reliable, and usable, that doesn’t mean it’s emotional. Of course, emotional is always used in a positive way here. A design is only an emotional design in the positive sense if it is fun to use. Of course, this does not only include the proverbial beauty of the design, but mainly the design of perfect interactions, breathing life into the design.

The catch is, that your design will always invoke emotions, whether you want it or not. It’s like the old wisdom that it is impossible not to communicate. Thus, it is better to be very aware of the instrument of emotionalization, rather than accidentally triggering the wrong feelings.

The special charm of the emotional design becomes obvious when looking at it in relation to my article on the topic of “Brain-Friendly Design”. There, you learn why experiences are important, and what the fastest way of creating them is. The fastest way of triggering experiences that remain in the long-term memory is creating emotions. Step by step, this results in the “gut feeling” that is responsible for most of our decisions.

Methods of Emotional Design

Now, if you’re wondering how to create emotional design, all you need to do is to think outside the box. Obviously, this is assuming you already have the aesthetic aspect covered. Regarding that, people are relatively quick to agree on something, the current craze being Flat Design. If you follow the increasingly slowly changing trends, you’re always on the safe side when it comes to the aspect of beauty, at least in the eyes of the masses.

Thus, let’s focus on other aspects of emotional design:


Obviously, an article like this can not miss a reference to Dieter Rams. Every designer knows Rams. His Design Basics are still considered up to date, even today, although his design masterpieces originate from the second half of the last century, when he was working for the German business Braun. Memories of Rams can be found even today, in some of Apple’s products, for example. Today, Rams is 85 years old.

Good design is as little design as possible, is one of Rams’ tenets. In conjunction with the tenet that good design is supposed to make a product easier to understand, I think it becomes obvious where I’m going with this. If you can make your design explain itself and, as Steve Krug would want to, not force people to think, you’ll create positive emotions in the users of the design. Everyone hates complex products, that make you do your Ph.D. in order to use them.

Minimalism itself is a tool of emotional design, but it is often not interpreted and used in this direction. There’s room for improvement.


Game design is primarily interaction design. This is all about getting the player as deep into the game as possible. To do so, a full-scale attack on the human neurons is needed.

The reward system is always the goal of the game design. Once a human is expecting a reward, he releases dopamine, also known as happiness hormones, in advance. Dopamine increases the drive and motivation, and makes the gamer stick around.

Emotional Design is Fun.

We as designers also want our visitors or users to stick around. So why shouldn’t we make use of some game design approaches? Slack, the team communication revolution, for example, goes for a completely playful interaction with its features. This does not only apply to the design, but for the functionality in general.

All networks, that work with likes also make use of the dopamine mechanism. The small kick that is caused by a human receiving a like on his Tweet, post, or image makes him tweet, post, or upload even more. The like is the reward.

Just like small rewards, small surprises can trigger positive emotions as well. Windows, for example, gets you a neat background to explore everytime you go to the login screen. More than once, I actually wanted to find out where the respective image was taken. The login screen of my Windows installation is an element that I am actually excited to revisit, as I want to see which landscape I’ll see this time. Similar effects can be achieved using quotes, or short tips.

Immersive Design

Immersive design tries to address all of the user’s senses. Due to the rapid progress of the smartphone technology, and the invention of gesture controls as a new way to design digital experiences, even today, we are able to make design palpable, although it will take a while until we really get to address all senses.

Subtle animations convey the impression that your design was alive. You should put special focus on microinteractions. Microinteractions define the actual human-machine interface. When you turn off your alarm, or lock and unlock your car via remote controls, flush the toilet, or turn on/off the light – all of that are microinteractions.

Fluid Switch | Leo Zakour

From these examples, you can tell that all of them are short actions that take little time to do, however, they are significant for the respective user experience. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that microinteractions are the most important elements in product design.

Microinteractions are what allows you to set your product apart from the competition. Basically, the only way the user interacts with your product is via microinteractions. The more convincing they are, the smoother it feels to use them, and the happier the user will be to use your product.

The interaction itself is what triggers the emotion. Due to this interaction option, the pure design becomes something we can bond with. The design reacts, moves, becomes a bit more human, and develops a personality.

The Extra Mile

Emotional design goes further than the pure design. If you’re running an online shop, you could continue the principle after a concluded purchase. You can send a friendly email explaining why you are so happy about your new customer, what your philosophy is, and so forth. Instead of the standard packaging, you could go for something people would like to unbox. Customers might even upload unboxing videos because they are impressed by the extra effort. You could add a gift. There are so many things you could do to separate yourself from the competition. The customer will remember it because he didn’t expect it.

Conclusion: Emotional Design Sets You Apart From the Competition

Looking around us, it is not hard to see that emotional design is not the norm. Thus, starting to use it now is advantageous, as the edge over the competition can be enormous.

In fact, today and tomorrow, emotional design can not fully unleash its theoretically possible potential. To do that, our interface would have to be able to recognize emotions. Are you stressed, hurried, or happy and relaxed? Once modern interfaces allow designs to accept emotions as input, things will get interesting. Let’s call that emotional design 2.0.

In the meantime, we can listen to Aaron Walter, who says:

If we stop thinking of interfaces as dumb control panels, and think of them as people our target audience wants to interact with, we can craft emotionally engaging experiences that make a lasting impression.

In that sense: Where do you see room for improvement in your design?

Do you want to read more on the topic of “Emotional Design”?
Catégories: News dév web

Brain-Friendly Web Design 101

23 novembre, 2017 - 06:30

The human brain works in a way that you can’t ignore if you want your design to be successful. Brain-friendly web design is what determines success and failure, so don’t take it lightly.

As an experienced designer, you know that your designs cannot be judged purely by aesthetic taste. Luckily, especially when it comes to creating big designs, like e-commerce websites, user test procedures have become the standard. Even though we know the basics of creating designs, individual target groups can prefer some surprising specialties.

If you stick to Steve Krug’s old recommendation “Don’t make me think,” at the very least, you have a rough idea of mistakes to avoid making. However, it can’t hurt to have some more knowledge on the basic functionalities of the human brain. The following won’t be about more psychological aspects. On that, you’ll find articles on our website too, however.

The Brain as an Example for Natural Algorithmics

Please keep in mind that the following is not a medically accurate explanation. The simplifications allow you to understand just as much as you need for work. If you’re already studying medicine, this article is not for you.

The Brain is Always Busy. (Photo: Stockvault)

The human brain works in repeating loops from simple to difficult. This process is what today’s artificial neuronal webs try to imitate algorithmically. The term “Deep Learning” is associated with that. This rough display of the work method already allows conclusions regarding how you should set up a website. Easy to control from the get-go, with the option to dig deeper as needed.

The Different Function Areas of the Human Memory

One of our brain’s main performance features is the memory. One could be tempted to compare it to a hard drive. Like data on a hard drive, information is stored in our memory. However, this is way too short-sighted. Our memory is not just a mass storage but divided into different “departments.” There are different methods to classify the memory. The method that is relevant to us is the one going off the duration of “storage.”

The ultra-short-term memory is a purely sensorial function area. Here, with a maximum of a few seconds, sensory input is saved just long enough to create a context from the combination of multiple inputs.

In the working memory, we keep content that we need in a defined context for a little while. For example, we store an address, to enter it into the navigation device, and will have forgotten it shortly after successfully entering it.

The short-term memory works with a timeframe of a few hours and is usually considered a pre-stage of the long-term memory. Information stored in the short-term memory can be moved to the long-term memory via repetition. A lot of well-known learning systems use this principle.

The long-term memory is used for the permanent storage of information and is used whenever information is needed for more than a few days. Here, storage can even be lifelong. If we wanted to compare the memory to a hard drive, the long-term memory would be the closest comparison we can get. However, when looking at the working method of the long-term memory, it is evident that we can’t compare it to some kind of hard drive.

Saving information that just entered the long-term memory is not just done using free storage space, or by overwriting data that is free to delete. Instead, the brain integrates the new information into existing structures. It creates new memory content,  connecting it to existing content, so to speak. Here, existing experiences are just as important as basic questions of attitude in general. The new information alters the old information to fit in. In other words: the information in the long-term memory is never completely objective. We would never buy that kind of hard drive.

When Brain-Friendly Design Tries to Overcome the Memory

Now that we know how the human memory works, we ask ourselves which areas we want to address. The answer is connected to the question what we want to achieve.

On the lowest level, we definitely need to get past the ultra-short-term memory. Here, information is only kept for a maximum of 20 seconds before it vanishes. During scientific studies in 1956, it was proven, that the number of memorable information snippets in the ultra-short-term memory is about seven plus/minus two. Later on, it was clarified that the capacity indication was related to seven numbers. With letters, the capacity limit was six, and for words, it was five.

With fewer alternatives, decisions are easier to make. Your memory is to blame. (Photo: Pexels)

What does that mean for our design? We should expect people that visit our website to lose orientation after a few seconds if we don’t help them with a solid guide. According to Nielsen Norman, there are multiple aspects to keep in mind here:

The loading time of our websites should not be so long that we run the risk of transactions being canceled because the page’s loading performance is too slow. Especially during the checkout process, you should pay attention to that, before the potential client forgets that he’s still in a purchasing process.

Especially visited links should be highlighted in different colors, telling the user where he has been before. This way, there is no useless information taking up his limited storage slots. Overall, you can’t have too much help and support, because you don’t want the visit to depend on cognitive processes that exceed the ultra-short-term memory.

If you want to sell something, and you provide a good selection, make it easy for the visitor to compare the different offers to each other. Otherwise, the potential client won’t be able to remember the individual features compared to the competing product, and consider canceling the purchase. Additionally, this also eases a qualified selection, which is made harder by the nature of the human memory otherwise.

If a human has to choose from too many options, the brain jams, as each option has to be evaluated. To do so, past experiences are considered. If too many of them are activated at the same time, evaluation takes more time than the user might be willing to spend. The principle of limitation of selection is the one Apple has been successfully using since the noughties.

Past Experiences Are a Significant Factor for Decision-Making Today. (Photo: Pexels)

It is recommendable to initiate connections to possibly existing information in other parts of the brain’s memory. This invokes interest and raises the chances of your visitor staying.

This triggering of connections is especially important when it comes to the navigation design. Depending on your page’s complexity, it won’t make sense to shorten the navigation to five or seven selections, to not be too demanding for your visitor’s ultra-short-term memory. This could even backfire, as this kind of contraction would force you to design a very generic navigation. Then, this is likely to make it hard for visitors to get an idea of what’s behind the terms, lowering the interaction rate.

When working on the navigation, we don’t primarily work with the memory but focus on advanced cognitive processes instead. This is supposed to make it easy for the visitor to recognize what we offer, and move in the according direction. That job is done by meaningful symbols, clear texts, and established nomenclature.

Generally, we can note down that our design should do everything possible to relieve the memory of the potential client. The less his ultra-short-term memory is challenged, the higher the chances of keeping him on our site.

Furthermore, a general recommendation is to go for a minimalistic design approach. Not only does this relieve the visitor’s memory, but it also enables us to trigger connections to experiences and memories stored in deeper memory layers. Once again, the recommendation to keep the amount of information to process as low as possible plays a role.

Reserved, Clear Designs Unburden the Visitor. (Photo: Pexels)

Now, once we’ve succeeded at moving the visitor past the stage of the ultra-short-term memory, we should try to create a permanent connection, moving into the long-term memory via brain-friendly web design. The classic path there leads through the repeated application and focused effort. Both require will force on the side of the target user. We can hardly affect that.

Of course, it is possible to subliminally activate the effect of repetition with a very clear and clean design, letting us “cheat” our way into the user’s long-term memory. We don’t have any way to trigger the focused effort, though.

Luckily, there is another way to enter the long-term memory. This one leads through emotions. If you succeed at activating fundamental emotions with your design, chances of leaving a lasting memory are high. The problem with emotions is the wide grey zone in which humans have a completely different emotional response to the same visual stimulus. You would have to go for unambiguous accents which means you would be moving in extremes. I’m not too comfortable with that, so I’ll leave the appeal to emotions to you.

However, you should not ignore the emotional factor when it comes to the feelings invoked by your UX design. A bad user experience leads to your website being forgotten. However, the subtle feeling of the bad experience remains for a long time. Vice versa, a positive user experience can get you visitors that return happily and often, as they enjoy your site, or because it has such a pretty design. There are various reasons why.

Links on the Topic
Catégories: News dév web

My Personal Must-Have WordPress Plugins of 2017

22 novembre, 2017 - 06:30

Today, I present you the WordPress plugins that I just can’t live without anymore. They take care of a problem with only one click, or they are just very user-friendly, making them super easy to use.

I’m reasonably sure that you’ll be able to use some of these plugins as well.

1 – Post Type Switcher

Okay, it’s a bit of a niche plugin. But a beneficial one. I have used it a few times already, and I don’t want to go without it anymore. Sometimes, it makes a lot of sense to turn a post into a page. An example being the so-called cornerstone content.

Of course, the plugin also allows you to turn a page into a post. All of that in one click. The plugin stays in the publishing area of a page or a post. A short selection and a click is all it takes to transform it.

Select, Click OK, and Refresh. Done!

Post Type Switcher (Free, WordPress) →

2 – WP Staging

Staging is a great thing. Imagine you wanted to fiddle with your website’s design. For that, having an exact copy of your site is advantageous, allowing you to rework all areas and elements with your new design without the risk of losing it all.

This copy can also be helpful for testing new plugins or updates. In just a few clicks, the plugin gets you an exact clone of your website, with all settings, contents, and plugins.

The approach is straightforward. Under WP Staging => Start, you call up the interface.

1 – Then, click on »Create new staging site«.

2 – Now, assign a name to your developer website. Just one word, please.

3 – Check, if you want to exclude folders from the cloning process.

Here, I would exclude the folder downloads, cloud, and cdn from the cloning.

4 – Afterwards, click on »Start Cloning«.

The process of cloning can take a while depending on the size of the website, and the potency of the web hosting. My website (94 posts, 38 pages), is cloned and ready to use after three minutes.

Another advantage of this way of copying a website is that it can only be viewed when you’re logged in. This way, Google is not able to index the copied website, preventing it from punishing you for duplicate content.

WP Staging – DB & File Duplicator & Migration (Free, WordPress) →

3 – AH Code Highlighter

In your articles, you often work with code snippets, and you’re looking for a neat way to display them? If so, this plugin should be just right for you. Code highlighting is a great thing. However, most of these plugins are not light.

On top of that, there are user-friendly controls in your daily usage. The AH Code Highlighter scores in both of these areas. The plugin is lightweight and does not slow down your website.

On top of that, it is super easy to use. You can also choose from seven themes to display the code. By the way, Noupe is also using this plugin.

It’s that simple:

1 – Click on the code button

The Code Button Calls up the Generator

2 – Select the language of your code

3 – Implement code, display line numbers, and click on »OK«. Done!


<?php if ( ! function_exists( 'evolution_page_loop' ) ) : /** * Display page content * Hooked into the `evolution_page` action in the page.php * * The action hooks called are: * * 'evolution_before_page_loop' * 'evolution_after_page_loop' * * @since 1.0.0 * @return void */ function evolution_page_loop() { do_action( 'evolution_before_page_loop' ); while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); evolution_content_page(); do_action( 'evolution_before_page_comments' ); // If comments are open or we have at least one comment, load up the comment template. if ( comments_open() || get_comments_number() ) : comments_template(); endif; endwhile; // End of the loop. do_action( 'evolution_after_page_loop' ); } endif;

AH Code Highlighter (Free, WordPress) →

4 – Contact Form by WPForms

Until recently, I was a convinced user of Contact Form 7. But then, I wanted a more extensive contact form for my website, including many different elements, and I quickly pushed the plugin to its limits. Admittedly, it would have been doable. But user-friendliness is different.

The search for a suitable alternative made me test the »Contact Form by WPForms« plugin. A fast test convinced me quickly. The plugin is easy to use, and you can even create complicated forms very quickly. On top of that, it comes with a sufficiently nice design for the finished form.

Under the menu item WP Forms => New, you can customize a contact form with a comfortable drag and drop generator.

1 – Enter a name and select a template. I have chosen an empty form.

2 – Select the fields you need. Drag them to the right.

3 – Edit the fields and make use of the many options.

4 – Pick up the shortcode, and implement it on the page of your choice. Done!

If you want to, you can see the result on my website.

Contact Form by WPForms – Drag & Drop Form Builder for WordPress (Free, WordPress) →

5 – AH Display Widgets

Recently, the Display Widgets Plugin was on everyone’s lips, because it had a backdoor, through which the (new) developer was able to distribute spam and malware over the websites that had this plugin installed.

One of my clients had the particular plugin version too but wanted to keep the excellent functionality. Thus, I searched for the last version without a backdoor (v2.05 or v2.7) and ran some in-depth checks on the code. I rewrote a few lines and made the plugin available to the community again.

By the way, the code can be viewed on GitHub (or maybe improved).

What Does the Plugin do:

With the help of the plugin, you can completely customize your sidebar and only display contents where you want them. For example, if you have a blog and a WooCommerce shop on your website, you can have just one single sidebar displaying the store widgets on the shop pages, and the blog widgets on the blog only.

Each of your widgets has additional options that let you steer exactly where which widget is displayed. View Screenshot:

AH Display Widgets (Free, WordPress) →


Each of these plugins is dear to me, and I don’t want to forgo any of them. I already used the “Post Type Switcher” to turn one or another post into a page. I use “WP Staging” to test updates and design new layouts for my website. The “AH Code Highlighter” makes my snippets neat.

Contact Form by WPForms” provides my contact form, and I use “AH Display Widgets” for any website with a WooCommerce shop. This saves a lot of time, as I don’t need to alter the WooCommerce templates.


Catégories: News dév web

Flattr 2.0: Monetize Your Web Content Effortlessly

21 novembre, 2017 - 14:00

You might know Flattr already. You probably don’t know the new Flattr 2.0. It’s completely different.

Then: Active Monetization of Web Content via Flattr

Flattr. That was a nice idea, back then. Content providers were able to integrate so-called Flattr buttons in their pages, allowing users to donate small amounts of money to the respective provider by clicking the button.

This was meant to be a simple solution for the problem of monetizing complex content, solely relying on the sheer number of participating users. Ads could’ve become redundant, had that approach established itself.

In fact, especially in Germany, there was a short period of time that one could call hype for the project. In the long run, the interest of the providers, as well as the potential donators died back down quickly.

Flattr 2.0: Landing Page

Providers earned next to nothing, users didn’t find enough targets to Flattr, meaning donating to content providers. Overall, the system suffered from a lack of participants on both sides, resulting in too little money in circulation.

Now: New Conceptional Approach Relies on Automation by Algorithm

2017 is the year in which Flattr wants to change track. The service has reinvented itself completely and didn’t leave anything untouched.

The only thing that remains is the underlying concept. Web users should have an easy way of rewarding content providers. The realization has changed radically, though.

Instead of buttons, their integration, and the deliberate clicking on them, the new Flattr 2.0 is entirely based on algorithms. It’s not the content provider who integrates buttons on all of their contents, but rather the user who installs a Chrome extension, or a Firefox add-on in their desktop browser. Using Flattr on mobile is not possible (yet).

Whether You Become a Hero for Flattring is Debatable. (Graphic: Flattr)

Connected to a Flattr user account, which deducts an amount selected by the user every thirty days, via credit card, the browser extension saves every visited URL, as well as further parameters, including the amount of time spent, and the number of pages visited.

On the recipient’s side, a corresponding Flattr account is required. The content provider signs up his domains and social profiles (Twitter and YouTube) at Flattr, and that’s it. The recipient doesn’t need to do anything else.

Now, when the web user accesses websites signed up with Flattr during surfing, these pages are included in the distribution of the monthly budget. Regarding that, Flattr has set its algorithm to consider the time spent on a single page, as well as the roaming through a website over a connected set of multiple pages, with less time spent on each one when it comes to paying the providers.

Here, the web user has full control over the algorithm at all times; at least in hindsight. Each Flattr process is displayed in the account’s backend. If, while viewing a Flattr, the user realizes that content that he does not want to support is included, he can remove it with a click. Until the end of the payout period, this is possible at any time. Naturally, it is not possible after that. Thus, it is recommended to check your Flattr account from time to time, to manually adjust the distribution of the money.

The browser extension works locally for the most part. This means it doesn’t send all the data it collects to Flattr servers. The operators of the service also promise to protect the privacy regarding the received data, and to not use it for any purposes other than the Flattr deduction, especially not for the distribution to third parties.

If the user finds content from a provider that has not signed up with Flattr, that content is still considered for distribution. This might prove that a full online feedback between local tracking and server-sided deduction really doesn’t exist. At the end of the payout period, the server weeds out the content without a linked Flattr account. This makes sure that the full subscription amount is actually paid out to participating content providers.

Flattr takes a share of 7.5 percent of the revenue for providing the service. The used payment provider claims another nine percent. For example, an amount of 20 Euro leaves 16.70 Euro for distribution.

Internationalization By Switching to Dollar

Flattr always used the currency Euro, but this will change with version 2. Flattr switches to USD. This certainly is the right step towards a faster globalization of the offer. Aside from the respective native currency, the typical web user most likely knows the conversion rate to Dollar. This makes the financial input easy to assess for anyone.

As mentioned before, Flattr distributes the subscription amounts exclusively to content providers signed up with Flattr. Thus, it is a good thing that Flattr also gets information on URLs with operators that have not signed up. Every cold caller would be panting for this kind of data:

“Look, provider X, last month, you could’ve made this much money off Flattr users, had you signed up your content. Let me show you the statistics.”

Given a widespread success, there is no easier argument for the expansion of the provider network.

Additional Potential for Income Via Signup. Risk: None. (Graphic: Flattr)

Another thing that is interesting for content providers is the fact that Flattr always starts the deduction period thirty days after subscription, instead of the end of each month. Thus, a potentially consistent flow of income is possible, although you need to keep in mind that each payout comes with a fee of 3 USD. The bottom limit for a payout is set to 10 USD.

Flattr’s Future is in the Consumers’ Hands

The future of the new Flattr is mostly in the hands of the web users, the consumers. If there are enough people willing to have their surf sessions tracked by Flattr browser extensions, the number of participating providers will increase over time. The above-mentioned statistics will also be a factor regarding that.

Will There be Support? (Graphic: Flattr)

Since Flattr works with tracking methods, success depends on the ability to eliminate the existing data protection concerns. Overall, this shouldn’t be too big of a deal. After all, the majority of users already hands out way too much information to third-party servers, than one would usually agree with. Facebook’s entire business model is based on that. Certain target groups won’t be as easy to reach.

For the content provider, Flattr is just another way to make some money. As Flattr doesn’t require any exclusivity or specifies technological demands, there is little to no reason not to sign up your content.

Catégories: News dév web

Mobile Webdesign: The Right Place For Your Navigation

20 novembre, 2017 - 06:30

The design of mobile web layouts for smartphones poses a challenge for designers time and time again. The little space available on the devices has to be used in a meaningful way – mostly for the content. Thus, it would be best if the navigation took up no space at all, while still being easy and intuitive to find. The following examples show you suggestions where to place the navigation in your mobile web designs.

Classic: Slide-in Navigation With a Hamburger Icon

There was an extensive discussion regarding the use of the hamburger icon. Our editor-in-chief is no fan either. Usability experts like to criticize that the navigation is hidden entirely, and only displayed via the icon. This way, even essential navigation elements are placed outside of the viewport.

Nonetheless, the hamburger icon has established itself as the standard in mobile web design, especially in combination with a slide-in navigation. Here, most of the time, the icon is placed in the top left, with the navigation sliding to the right, into the viewport.

Even Google’s Material Design makes use of this version of navigation. By now, it is so widespread that using it is not very outstanding anymore. However, you can be sure that every visitor to your website will find the navigation. You can’t go wrong with this classic because although it might be subpar, everyone knows it by now.

The Flexible Navigation With the “More” Button

Those that don’t want to hide the entire navigation outside of the viewport will surely enjoy the following navigation. It’s a classic horizontal navigation with the menu items sorted by priority – as it should be anyway. The first menu item is the most important one. The other items follow in descending significance.

Website of the BBC With a Flexible “More” Navigation

Since, especially with extensive websites, it is unlikely that all menu items will fit into navigation, you simply hide everything that doesn’t fit in, and add a “more” button at the end of the navigation. Behind that, there’s a drop-down menu containing all the remaining links of your navigation.

The advantage is that not the entire navigation is hidden. Everything that fits is displayed. Usually, all the most important menu items are displayed. This flexible navigation is a mix of completely visible, and completely hidden.

The Navigation With Text-Icon-Combination

Adding meaningful icons to a navigation’s individual menu items is a popular design approach as it is. Thanks to the tons of free icon fonts and sets, you’ll find a fitting symbol for just about anything.

Currys With an Icon-Navigation

If your navigation is not all that extensive, it can make sense to leave the icons to themselves on the mobile view, forgoing menu text. However, you should make sure that each symbol has enough space, and make it very clear what it represents.

If your icon is even slightly ambiguous, or incomprehensible, you should not go for this approach.

The Full-Screen-Navigation

As the navigation is a critical component of a website, many people put a lot of effort into its design and animation. Even if your navigation is only accessible via hamburger icon, it does not have to be discreet.

The Website of Dove With a Fullscreen Navigation and Hamburger Icon

Thus, many web designers give their navigations the entire display, rather than a simple slide-in menu. With these fullscreen appearances, the menu items tend to be shown with complex animations, or unhidden in other ways.

The individual menu items are often displayed in large text. Depending on the screen size, additional links to social networks, or contact forms are shown as well.

So, if you’re sick of the classic slide-in navigations, you can try a fullscreen one with sweeping menu items. Here, the only limit to your creativity is the display size.

Forgoing a Navigation

Before overthinking where to put the navigation, some designers directly sacrifice a navigation completely.

Anonymous Hamburger Society Forgoes a Navigation

This is an attractive approach as well, although it doesn’t work for every website. Instead of a classic menu, you can make the individual pages accessible via swipe gestures, for instance. Or you can turn your entire landing page into your navigation. This allows you to equip the links with meaningful headings, images, and icons.

Of course, this doesn’t work for complex, extensive websites. Often, navigation is not just crucial for reaching individual pages. It is also a means of orientation, showing the user where he’s at right now.


Without a doubt, the hamburger icon and the slide-in navigation are a true classic amongst navigations. However, there are tons of other variants too. It’s important to always consider the number of menu items, as well as the complexity of your website.

By the way, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try to find an entirely different approach to the design and functionality of your navigation.

Catégories: News dév web



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Yves Bresson, ingénieur en informatique, consultant freelance, spécialisé dans le développement web (CMS, PHP, Laravel, Ajax, jQuery, Bootstrap, HTML5, CSS3) et d'applications mobiles (iPhone, Android). Voir le profil de Yves Bresson sur LinkedIn