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Many firms’ design and development decisions are increasingly oriented toward human-centered innovation. Instead of rushing goods to market, these firms are using a user-centered design approach.

Design and development teams build high-performing digital products or websites that uniquely meet customers’ demands by concentrating on the user experience. After all, a good web design is helpful in boosting the business reputation or user experience.

This post will define user-centered design, discuss its fundamental principles, and describe the user-centered design process.

What Is User-Centered Design?

To create an enjoyable solution to a problem, user-centered design is a collection of iterative design processes concentrating on the user’s needs at each step. In UCD, the expectations, objectives, and preferences of the user significantly impact design decisions.

Additionally, users are actively involved in the entire process from start to finish. User-centered design principles encourage designers to create products with users rather than just for them. This strategy typically includes user research, interviews, usability testing, and a massive amount of feedback gathering.

UCD Requires Four Fundamental Components:

  • Visibility: Can people see what your website is about and how to utilize it the moment they land on your page?
  • Availability: Is your website user-friendly? Can they swiftly locate information? They should be able to find call-to-action buttons, menus, filters, and search choices with ease.
  • Legibility: Is the text simple to read for users?
  • Language: Is the language simple to grasp for users? Do you avoid using industry jargon in your UX authoring, which might lead to confusion and hesitation?

What Is The Significance Of UCD?

User experience is important in product design, especially in digital products such as app design, web and interface design, and marketing. Customers want their lives to be simplified. A website, app, or product exists to fulfill a consumer. Hence its success is determined by their interaction with it.

The following are some of the advantages of a user-centered design strategy for a business:

  • Customers keep coming back for more
  • There would be an increase in sales
  • Creating polished, efficient, and widely available goods
  • Understanding challenges thoroughly to provide suitable solutions
  • Customers and teams working together
  • Avoiding typical blunders
  • Enhancing Competitiveness
  • Assisting them in comprehending their market

It offers consumers the following advantages:

  • Making their life easier
  • Fulfilling their desires
  • Companies making them feel heard and understood
  • Making them feel important in the creation of things they use
  • Providing answers to challenges they were unaware they had or could not imagine solutions to

Let’s dig in to learn more about the advantages of UCD.

Businesses can benefit from using the user-centered design approach in various ways. As you incorporate this into your web development, you can enjoy the following four main advantages.

1. Prevent Project Failure

Your company might find it simpler to incorporate improvements and ensure your product is in line with actual user needs if you have a continuous feedback process assessing how customers react to your product, like a website.

Customers feel like their needs are better represented in the finished product, which can increase engagement and strengthen the bond with the company.

2. Improve ROI

This method produces products that more accurately reflect user expectations. The procedure also lessens mistakes made by website users, for instance. When combined, these factors motivate users to convert from leads to paying clients, boosting return on investment.

3. Increase Development Efficiency

In user-centered design, the objectives of the various team members are aligned. This can help clarify the best course of action for all parties involved. A more targeted, goal-oriented development process may be encouraged by the regular evaluation process.

Additionally, businesses can engage stakeholders and explain how their efforts and methodologies will improve customer interactions by using an iterative life cycle during product development.

4. Up The Level Of Competition

Customers will more fully appreciate what you offer, improve their engagement with your product or website, and be more likely to purchase from you if your product is created with their needs and expectations in mind.

As a result, this may increase your ability to compete in your sector.

5. KPIs Are Included

Given your user needs and business objectives, how do you move from the first to the second? You can measure key performance indicators with this in mind once you know what user needs are essential for the overall goals.

For instance, productivity may be the focus of office software, shopper activity may be the focus of sales tools, and retention rates may be the focus of other apps. All of these are necessary steps toward achieving business values like profit and revenue.

Human-Centered Design Versus User-Centered Design

There is a significant difference between humans and users. Simply put, all users are humans; however, not all humans will use your product. Therefore, you must thoroughly understand your target market to produce a successful user-centered design.

Detailed research should be done on the problems and goals of your users. Then, talk to them and give them several chances to offer feedback. By doing this, you’ll create a user persona that is complete and that you can use to determine the priorities for your design.

It’s critical to understand that different user groups may have additional requirements, levels of technical expertise, and expectations for using products like the one you’ve made.

What crucial guidelines or principles should designers consider when adopting a user-centric design?

The Process Of User-Centered Design

Certain fundamental principles underpin user-centered design. While the development process is always iterative, no explicit methods for implementation are specified. The approach can be implemented in either a waterfall or an agile environment.

1. Contextualization

The first step is to analyze the environment in which users will use the product. What are the intended applications of the product for future users? Teams working on projects can get answers by watching and talking to potential users.

2. Outlining The Prerequisites

Specifying the requirements for the new product is the second step. In this step, user requirements are described while considering corporate needs.

3. Design

Once the requirements are established, the actual design process can begin. Designers typically start by producing a straightforward prototype, like one made of paper, then move on to digital wireframes and a finished prototype.

4. Analysis

The project team solicits feedback from potential users after creating a prototype. This is typically done for digital applications through in-depth user testing and qualitative research.

Do surveys and tests evaluate user satisfaction, effectiveness, and efficiency? With the new information, the project team goes back to step 2 or step 3 of the design process to improve the product. Once the user feedback is satisfied, these iterations continue while taking into account corporate frameworks (time and costs).

Top 10 User-Centered Design Principles

Principles of user-centered design attempt to guarantee that usability is the primary priority throughout the development process. These principles, if successfully followed, will ensure that user experience is fulfilled not just during the initial introduction of a product but also during its use.

Furthermore, each of the following principles may be tailored to match the specific requirements and interaction demands of any product.

1. Use Simple Language

Professional Web Designer strives to provide the most readable discourse for the user while creating a product. This involves clarifying vocabulary, eliminating jargon, and simply providing information pertinent to the work.

Presenting users with irrelevant information throughout their use of the product taints its usefulness. Furthermore, basic language helps the user finish the work without being overwhelmed or confused.

2. Feedback

Users expect a reaction to all of their actions. This might involve modifying the look of the screen after completing an activity. If the job is finished after some time, it should display a loading page to notify the user that the task is in process.

Keeping the user informed throughout the process reassures them and keeps them on track with their job.

3. Maintaining Consistency

Keeping the product consistent is essential in ensuring an ideal user experience. Consistency affects how customers approach a product, and the time it takes to learn how to use it.

From the start of the project until its completion, the consistent philosophy underpinning the UCD process should be maintained. If the interface design needs to be updated, it is critical to maintaining consistency across new features to stay beneficial to the user.

4. Give The Complete User Control

Consumers are already aware of their requirements. They should be able to use a product with minimal effort and depend on the product’s help to accomplish the rest.

By removing the effort from the job, the user can do it quickly while keeping control of their activities.

5. Describe The Situation

Before developing a product, the designer must first investigate the ideal user and their wants. The designers can gain a comprehensive sense of some of the issues these people experience by studying their lifestyles.

Many of these observations are conducted through interviews. These interviews provide the designer with information on the exact goals that users want to attain and how they want to achieve them.

6. Examine the Design

Designers undertake usability testing with actual users of their product at this stage in the UCD process. This stage provides designers with insight into how consumers will interact with the product and how to modify it to suit them better.

It is advised that this stage be completed as quickly as feasible. The sooner customers provide input, the faster designers can comprehend their product from the user’s perspective.

7. Create Designs That Are Specific To The Needs Of The User

The design team must examine the distinctive features of their intended demographic as well as frequent real-world activities while beginning the design process. Furthermore, the product should be appropriate for the environment in which it will be utilized the most.

Making a product that needs a lot of work from the user reduces its usability and usefulness, ultimately defeating the objective of UCD.

8. The Design Process Is Iterative

Because user-centered design is based on putting the user first, the product team should constantly be working to improve the user experience. By introducing changes gradually, you will gain a better understanding of your target audience.

9. Adequate Navigational Tools

An essential component of the user experience is the capability to navigate between pages of your website and return to the previous one. Make sure users know where they are on your website and how to leave any pages they don’t want to see.

Customers can better understand how to navigate your page by giving them features like a navigation map, for instance. Make it simple for customers to change their order without leaving the current page if they buy clothing and discover they need a different size once they reach the checkout page.

10. Unflawed System

Customers should find it easy to navigate between your website’s pages and accomplish their goals. If they make a mistake, be there to help them fix it so they can achieve their goal.

The form may ask for specific, essential fields, such as the square footage, and may also include a gentle reminder or an alert that appears if the user accidentally leaves a required field blank.

Customers may feel more comfortable responding to your prompts and participating in a conversation if you ask questions one at a time and offer automated responses for each response.

Wrapping Up

User-centered design is more than just making a good product. It goes further than that. You demonstrate your motivations and intentions by putting your users in the spotlight. You’re demonstrating that it’s not all about meeting deadlines or turning a profit. Instead, you’re telling your users that you understand what they want and prioritize their needs.

It should come as no surprise that the most effective teams are user-centric. Knowing your customer is essential for success in any industry, including design. Create products that put the user first, and you will create products that people will love.

You can build a more robust, user-friendly website that is better equipped to respond to user needs and expectations by incorporating the User Centered Design process into your product design. However, it’s crucial to collaborate with a specialist who can apply these techniques and produce the result you’ve envisioned.

 

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As a front-end developer, you always get asked whether you specialize in React or Angular. These two mainstream technologies have their strengths and weaknesses, and each is more appropriate depending on the project, but in this article, we will not be discussing that. I am currently working at Apiumhub, and recently I started working in Angular. This is a quick cheat sheet for getting started in Angular as a React developer. 

Creating a Component in Angular

Let’s imagine we want to create a CustomButton component. When we create this component in React, it can look similar to this:

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In this article, we will continue to explain how different components in Milvus interact with each other to complete real-time data queries.

Some useful resources before getting started are listed below. We recommend reading them first to better understand the topic in this post.

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User Experience is a crucial consideration for any web developer or designer; the only way to ensure that you’re delivering a successful website is to ensure that the end-user or customer will feel comfortable using it. 

A strong user experience increases your client’s chances of successful audience engagement and conversions.

What you might not realize, however, is that the strategies you use to enhance UX as a web developer or designer can also influence how the search engines respond to a website. 

Though many designers assume that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the work of a copywriter or content producer, there are design elements to consider too. 

After all, the definition of optimization is “the action of making the best version of a resource.”

So, how are UX and SEO connected?

Adding UX to a Successful SEO Strategy

SEO used to be easy. To stand out on the search results, you just needed to stuff a page full of as many keywords and phrases as possible. Now, it’s a little more complicated. 

Leaders in search engine development, like Google and Bing, know that they need to offer their customers excellent experiences to keep them. In this new experience-focused landscape, SEO and UX share common goals. 

Search engines don’t just want to provide customers with any answers to their questions. Instead, Google and its competitors are using everything from artificial intelligence to machine learning algorithms to ensure that search results are accurate, relevant, and engaging. 

In the same way, user experience is about providing users with easy access to the information and resources they want. 

Now that SEO is a multi-disciplined approach, UX is just one of the essential tools that makes it possible for developers to optimize their websites properly. 

Where UX Developers Influence SEO 

There are plenty of connections between UX and site indexability

We all know that since 2018, site speed has become a crucial ranking factor for companies in search of better search results. As a developer, it’s up to you to ensure that there aren’t too many elements weighing a website down that would prevent it from delivering fast results. 

Bounce rate is another critical factor in search engine ranking algorithms. When customers click on a website, Google wants to see that they get the answers they want. If your navigation is difficult to understand, or the correct information isn’t easy to see on a page, end-users will just hit the back button. 

Let’s take a closer look at how developers can influence SEO with their UX strategies. 

1. Site Navigation and Ease of Use

It’s no secret that today’s digital consumers crave easy-to-use sites.

A complex website with pages ranking for different terms might seem like an excellent idea for SEO. However, from a UX perspective, the easier it is to navigate your website, the more your end-users will benefit. 

According to a study from Ahrefs, well-optimized pages that rank for several keywords can be more beneficial than dozens of pages ranking for similar terms. At the same time, if the search engines have difficulty crawling all your pages due to a poor site navigation strategy, then some pages won’t get indexed. 

So, how do you improve navigation and SEO at once? Follow the proper structure for your site first, categories and subcategories on the retail page help customers find exactly what they need. A solid internal linking structure allows the crawlers to examine your website and index each essential page individually.

Keep navigation simple when designing a website for both UX and SEO potential. 

2. User-Friendly Page Layouts

There are countless cases where poor layout design and formatting disrupts SEO potential. For example, cluttering a page with too much information makes it tougher to read and index. At the same time, if your pages aren’t attractive and easy to navigate, customers are more likely to hit the back button. 

If customers come to a website and immediately leave it again, this tells the search engines that they’re not finding what they need on those pages. That means Google will bump you to a lower position on the SERPs. 

So, how do you make your layouts more UX and SEO-friendly?

  • Get your category pages right: Say you’re creating a blog page for your client. They want to list all of their blogs on one main page while linking to separate locations for each article. A design that puts a large chunk of content from each blog on the main page can be problematic for UX and SEO. It means your customers have to scroll further to find what they need. At the same time, the search engines never know which words to rank that main page for. On the other hand, listing blogs on smaller cards, as Fabrik does in this example, makes sorting through content easier. 
  • Leverage headers and tags: Your customers and the search engines habitually “scan” your pages. When trying to improve UX and SEO simultaneously, you must ensure that it’s easy to find crucial information quickly. Header 1 or H1 tags can help by showing your audience your website’s critical sections. Title tags also give search engines more information on the term you want to rank for. Organizing your content into a structure that draws the eye down the page also means your customers are more likely to stay on your website for longer. That shows the search engines that you have quality, relevant content. 
  • Make the most of images and videos: Visual media isn’t just an excellent way to engage your audience. With videos and pictures, you can convey more vital information in a quick and convenient format. This leads to greater satisfaction from your audience from a UX perspective. However, visual content is also great for SEO. You can optimize every image with alt text and meta descriptions. That means you have a higher chance of ranking both in the main search results and the image searches on Google. 

3. Using Search Data to Inform Site Architecture

Today, SEO is less about building hundreds of landing pages for individual queries. Now, it’s more important to take a simple, de-cluttered approach with your website. SEO can determine what kind of architecture you need to create for a successful website. 

For instance, say you wanted to rank for eCommerce SEO. There are tons of related words that connect to that primary search term. Rather than making dozens of different pages that try to rank for distinct phrases, you can cover a lot of other ideas at once with a larger, more detailed piece of content. 

If a topic is too big to cover everything on a single page, then you might decide to create something called “pillar” content out of your main terms. This involves using one main page where you discuss all of the topics you will cover. Then, you design several smaller sub-pages that link back to that central pillar. 

Once again, this helps the search engines to navigate your website and index your pages while assisting the customers in finding the correct information. At the same time, you combine more pages on a website and remove anything that might be detracting from your site’s authority or not offering enough value. 

4. Improving Website SERP Listings

It’s easy to forget as a developer that a customer’s first experience with a website won’t always happen on that site’s homepage. Usually, when your customers are looking for solutions to a problem, they’ll find your website on the search engine results instead. 

This means that you need to ensure that you make the right impression here:

There are a few ways that developers can ensure the search engine listings they create for their clients are up to scratch. For instance, a reasonable title tag for each page that includes appropriate keywords is excellent for SEO and UX. A title tag lets your customers know they’re in the right place and helps them find the information they need. 

Remember, around eight out of ten users on search engines say that they’ll click a title if it’s compelling. 

Another component you have control over as a developer or designer is the “rich snippet.” Rich snippets are the informative chunks of content that Google adds to a search listing to help it stand out. You can use rich snippet plugins on a website to tell Google what kind of extra information you want to include on a page. 

For instance, you might want a company’s ratings to show up on your search results, so customers can see how trustworthy they are:

5. Local Business Rankings

When you’re creating a website for a company, it’s easy to forget about local rankings. We see the digital world as a way of reaching countless people worldwide. Local orders are easier to overlook when you have a global scope to work with. 

However, as a developer, you can boost a company’s chances of attracting the right local audience and boosting its credibility. For instance, you can start by ensuring that the correct directory information appears on your client’s website and social media profiles.

Another option is to create dedicated location pages for each area the company serves. This will make it easier for clients to find the contact details they need for their specific location. 

At the same time, pages that have been carefully optimized to rank for specific locations will earn more attention, specifically from search engines. The more of the search engine landscape your client can cover, the more chances they have to attract new customers and leads. 

Combing SEO and UX

In a world where experience is crucial for every business, it’s no wonder that UX and SEO are blending more closely together. There are a lot of areas where SEO and UX work in harmony together if you know where to find them. Improving your client’s SEO ranking with UX doesn’t just mean ensuring that their pages load quickly anymore. 

Simple strategies, like making sure a call-to-action button is clickable on a mobile page, can simultaneously boost a website’s UX potential and SEO performance. At the same time, adding images and alt text to a website provides search engines with more information while adding context to your content. 

The key to success is understanding how SEO and UX work together. If you look at SEO and UX as part of the same comprehensive strategy to give end-users a better online experience, achieving the right design goals is much easier. 

Of course, just like any strategy, it’s also worth making sure that you take the time to track the results of your UX and SEO campaigns. Examine which systems help you, and examine customers from an SEO perspective with design and development strategies.

 

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It’s 2022, and React has a huge ecosystem to help developers bring complex UIs to life faster. Furthermore, with the extensive support of ReactJS libraries, there is hardly any case when a developer has to build a component from scratch.

However, not every ReactJS UI developer is aware of the best practices to build UIs faster in ReactJS. Therefore, I’ll be discussing the top five approaches (which I personally use) for building UIs quicker in a ReactJS project. So without further ado, let’s get started:

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Machine Learning For Time-series Forecasting

Machine learning is taking the world by storm, performing many tasks with human-like accuracy. In the medical field, there are now smart assistants that can check your health over time. In finance, there are tools that can predict the return on your investment with a reasonable degree of accuracy. In online marketing, there are product recommenders that suggest specific products and brands based on your purchase history.

In each of these fields, a different type of data can be used to train machine learning models. Among them, time-series data is used for training machine learning algorithms where time is the crucial component.

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Misconfigurations are the leading cause behind security incidents in Kubernetes-orchestrated or otherwise containerized environments. Without proper configuration in place, applications would run into problems ranging from noncompliance and inconsistencies to performance bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities, and functionality failure. Therefore, configuration management is a critical component in a software development lifecycle for maintaining systems in a desired, consistent state.

According to Red Hat’s State of Kubernetes Security report, misconfigurations were the leading cause behind security incidents in Kubernetes-orchestrated or otherwise containerized environments. Without proper configuration in place, applications would run into problems ranging from noncompliance and inconsistencies to performance bottlenecks, security vulnerabilities, and functionality failure. This would make cloud-native systems unstable and cause them to become a liability to businesses. For this reason, configuration management is a critical component in a software development lifecycle for maintaining systems in a desired, consistent state. However, the way configuration management is done has been evolving over the years. This post traces the history of configuration management, focusing on how GitOps handles this critical aspect of running cloud-native applications today.

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Acquiring a new customer is difficult, but retaining an existing one is even more challenging. Yet, statistics show that efforts focused on retention bring way more value. 

For instance, according to SmallBizGenius, 82% of companies agree that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition. Apart from that, 65% of a company’s revenue comes from existing clients, and increasing the investment in retention by only 5% already gives you a boost in profits by 25% to 95%. Impressive, right?

So what should you do to reach such results? 

One component that impacts brand-client relationships is website design. This article will give you three design tricks that will encourage your customers to come back to your site more and more. 

1. Rethink Your Website Structure

It is hard to imagine a website visitor who would spend more than five minutes (usually it’s way less) trying to figure out the navigation system on your website. If you have a loaded, complex site structure, you will not retain a customer. 

Take Craigslist, for instance. Its navigation is not user-friendly, not to mention that it took over 30 seconds to load when the acceptable average load time should be no more than 1.7 seconds:

Here’s what proper website navigation presupposes:

  • Subordination should not go deeper than three levels.
  • A website should include eight horizontal categories max. 
  • The structure should be symmetrical. 
  • The menu should not be overstuffed with too many locations. 

Since we mentioned Craigslist, let’s take a look at its competitor AdPost, which has a better website structure:

Instead of listing all the product categories on the front page, like Craigslist, AdPost added them to the search menu, thus making the design more user-friendly and making the navigation cleaner. 

2. Make Your Site Multilingual

If you have visitors coming to your website from around the world, you should not assume they know English. A survey by Weglot found some interesting results regarding the attitude of buyers to shopping on international websites:

  • 52% of websites are in English, but English reaches only 25% of global users.
  • 56% of visitors say the website information in their language is more important than the price.
  • 73% of customers say they prefer to shop on sites in their own language. 

So, there is no doubt that having your website localized to several languages can increase customer retention, especially considering the last stat. 

To understand the proper practices of making a website multilingual, look at the examples of the best language learning apps. For instance, Preply has a drop-down menu where you can choose from multiple language options, including Polish, Ukrainian, German, and many more:

Translating your website to different languages will help the visitor understand the value of your product better. However, before you invest in localization, make sure you study the data on customer behaviors to understand which languages your audience speaks. 

3. Invest in Custom Illustrations

Some companies don’t bother much with designing their websites, especially when it comes to custom elements, such as visuals. However, research has shown that the focus on branding in website design increases customer commitment and e-loyalty, as a result. 

Moreover, in the world of billions of websites, you need something that would help your business stand out. And custom illustrations are among those features that contribute to your site’s uniqueness. 

Just take a quick look at the Emiozaki Web site. It includes personalized illustrations and animation created in the form of a tablet that substitutes the navigation menu:

This website reflects the brand’s tone and style, and animation adds emotion to UX. Apart from that, it’s also an excellent example of structuring a website. 

Or, if you would like an example of a less loaded design, take a look at this personal portfolio by Victoire Douy. It also includes animations that add interactivity to the design. For instance, you can play with the shadow of the girl’s hand:

So, if you want your website to attract more customers and encourage them to hang out for longer, take the creative approach. Hiring an illustrator is, of course, costly, but it will help your site stand out. 

Wrapping Up

As you can see, you’ll have to put in a lot of work to bring forward website design that increases online customer retention. You just have to employ our three best practices. Let’s quickly recap them:

  • Rethink your website structure; it should make the navigation easier. 
  • Consider making your site multilingual; you’ll retain more international visitors. 
  • Invest in custom illustrations to help consumers differentiate your brand from your competitors. 

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Todoist is a to-do list app that 25 million people rely on every day to keep their lives organized. As part of the Doist design team’s goals for 2021, we aimed to redesign the Todoist Android app to take advantage of the latest Google Material Design guidelines.

In this post, we cover the design decisions and processes behind redesigning the Todoist Android app for Material Design. We explore the Design and Android team’s collaboration practices that brought the app update to life, which resulted in winning the Material Design Award 2021 in the large screen category. Let’s get started!

Opportunity

When we started the project, our design implementation on Android was ready for a major overhaul. The last milestone redesign on Android was initiated after the release of the first Material Design guidelines in 2016. Since then the team successfully worked on continuous improvements to the Android app, but we saw the opportunity to improve Todoist on Android on a more holistic level.

We set out to clean up instances of older UI components, colors, and text styles and update them with the latest Material Design components. We observed that some interactions and navigational patterns had become inconsistent with what users were expecting on newer Android devices and were eager to modernize this experience. With new hardware and software changes in mind, we set out to make the experience on larger phones and tablets even better, so Todoist could take full advantage of the latest generation of devices. Material 2 and 3 provided an incredible new framework to rethink the current app experience. With this in mind, we set out to challenge what a modern Android app should look like and innovate on top of the default user experience.

Solution

The team set itself the goal of redesigning our Todoist Android app and aspiring to make it the best-designed productivity app on Android. The project was ambitious and scheduled to take several months to complete. We set ourselves the following targets while working on the project:

  • Review the current implementation and older design specs.
  • Study the latest Material Design Guidelines and assess what is relevant for our project.
  • Research great Material Design apps and case studies and learn from their execution.
  • Define the new Todoist Android app design language and document the changes.
  • Design and development work together to assess the proposed solution and implementation.
  • Test an early version of the new app internally to gather feedback and make adjustments.
  • Invite beta testers to the new app to gather feedback and make adjustments.
  • Refine the app and address core issues before launching to the public.

Review

The project was kicked off by reviewing the current Todoist Android app implementation, noting down what areas needed to be fixed and what was up to date. While reviewing, we took screenshots of the app implementation for reference. This way we could easily see the current state of the app and compare it to the new design proposals that would be created. Once the review process was finalized, we had a comprehensive overview of the current state of the app and the layout, component, and styling changes we wanted to make.

Study

We continued the project by studying the latest Material Design Guidelines, assessing the components and practices that were most relevant to Todoist.

When the project kicked off in February 2021, Material 2 was the most recent version of their design system. Since Material 2 had already been released for quite some time, we anticipated that design changes to Material would be announced soon at the Google I/O event in May 2021. Rather than wait, because we expected the changes to be iterative, we pushed ahead with our work.

We identified 25 components and UI patterns that we wanted to change across the app. The changes included buttons, forms, menus, sheets, navigation drawer, app bar, system bars, text and color styles, and more. We started by creating a table view in a Dropbox Paper document with the component changes and references links to Google’s Material Design Guidelines.

This components list was a starting point for discussion to plan the scope and complexity of the changes. Close async discussions between the design and development team in Twist and Dropbox Paper comments helped us make decisions about scope and complexity early on and set a solid foundation for the project.

Research

In the initial Material Design study, we also researched inspiring Material Design apps, Material studies, Play Store apps, and Google Workspace apps to learn from their execution.

We started out by studying the Material Design Award Winners 2020 and tested out the products that were showcased. The showcased winners struck a good balance between implementing the Material Design Guidelines while maintaining their own product’s brand within the system. This balance between Google’s guidelines and the Todoist brand was also key for us to get right and so we strived to find this mix across the work we created and implemented in the project.

Along with the MDA winners, we researched the Material Studies that Google produced to showcase what apps could look like with branding and Material Design guidelines applied. It was a great reference to see how far components could be customized while maintaining the core platform principles. The Reply case study in particular offered valuable insight to us as its content type and layout came closest to Todoist. It showcased how components like the app bar, navigation drawer, and large screen layouts worked while being customized.

We continued our research by searching the Google Play store for inspiring app examples. Google Tasks, Press, Periodic Table, and Kayak stood out to us as the level of polish and quality of the apps were on par with the experience we were aspiring to create.

Sometime later in the project when Material You was released (more on that later), we stumbled upon the Google Workspace apps blog post which previewed Material 3 changes that Google was introducing to their own products. It offered a great glimpse at what was to come before the Material 3 Design Guidelines were officially released. This post sparked new internal discussions and further design explorations that we considered for future Todoist Android updates.

Design Spec

As we started to define the new Todoist Android app design language and document the changes, we opted to create a design framework, focusing on creating components rather than designing every screen in the app. This allowed us to consistently apply the design system in the app. We did so by using the previously defined component list that we created during the review and study process.

Core screens from different areas of the app were chosen to demonstrate how the components could be applied. We chose to mock up the Todoist project view, navigation drawer menu, project view edit screen, settings, and project detail view, among others. These screens gave us a good overview of how buttons, forms, drawers, lists, and other components would work together and in different states; selected, pressed, disabled, etc.

During the project, we were transitioning our Doist design system to Figma and started creating our first components in the new Doist Product Android Library. We started by using some components from the Material Design UI kit – Components library from the official Google Figma resource file and added them to our Doist design system. We then continued to build up the Product Android Library file with our Todoist-specific components such as task list & board views, detail views, sheets, colors, typography, etc.

We continued by documenting color and typography changes that were based on the Material Design guidelines. The design team opted to implement a new Design Token framework that would share the same values between our design system and the development implementation. The development team would output the values they had in the current implementation and the design team would analyze which values were needed and which could be merged, changed, or deleted. This informed the new Design Token color and typography system which we then documented and discussed with the team to implement. Later in the project, we were happy to see a similar token system introduced by Material 3 in the latest guidelines which validated our thinking and principles behind the new design system.

The design documentation expanded to hold other edge-case mockups that could sit alongside the design system. We documented different responsive screen experiences between phones and tablets against the previous implementation. Additional sections were created to document the motion that should be used for certain components and screens by referencing existing Material Design guidelines examples or prototyping custom motion in Principle and After Effects. The design spec also touched on haptic feedback that should appear on touch targets, how dark mode should work across the new components, documenting Todoist themes within the new design language, and more.

Design Implementation

At Doist, the benefit of the squad is that cross-team collaboration is built into the make-up of the team. Designers, developers, support, and product managers work together in a squad to deliver the project. This close collaboration from the start is key to bridging the gap between scope, estimations, design, development, and delivery. The squad discussed their findings on a daily basis and came up with the best plan of action together.

Designers started by creating components in Figma and shared them with developers in Dropbox Paper. We used screenshots to document the current implementation next to the new designs and linked to the default Google Material Design components. This allowed the team to compare all references in one place. Developers shared their feedback, adjustments would be brainstormed together as the designs were iterated.

Designers on the project would share their work in progress on a weekly basis with the rest of the design team in a design review Twist thread. Here details about the designs were discussed, alternatives mocked up and bigger picture plans made. Design reviews brought up topics like FAB (Floating Action Button) placement, theme options, accent color usage on components, consistency with other platforms, navigation options, and shadow elevation. After thorough discussions and alternative mockups were presented, the design team aimed to find the right balance between Material Design and Todoist brand guidelines. The development team, also part of the design reviews, gave their feedback on the solution and raised technical complexities early on.

Eventually, the design was stabilized and consistencies updated across components and mockups. The design spec was kept up to date so the development team could always review the latest designs in Figma.

Testing

As soon as the development process started, the Android team provided early screenshots and videos in Twist threads while they were implementing the design spec. This practice allowed us to review the app implementation early and often. Designers could review the development work and share feedback in Twist, which resulted in getting the implementation to a high quality. Alongside Twist discussions, the team set up a Todoist project to track ongoing issues and fix bugs. Designers logged new issues, developers would solve them and share the new implementation for designers to review.

When the team had the first stable version of the Android app, we shared it internally at Doist to get more insight and feedback. Other Doisters could access the redesign via a feature flag that could be turned on in the app settings and test the new version for however long they wanted. The feature flag system allowed people to give us early feedback on the design decisions we made and report bugs. Feedback was submitted by the wider team through a dedicated Twist thread and designers and developers could discuss how best to address the feedback during the active project implementation.

After we refined the app implementation further and addressed early feedback we opened up the app update to our beta users. Here users had access to the new Android redesign and were able to give us feedback. Our support team gathered feedback and shared it with us in a dedicated Twist thread. The squad aimed to analyze every comment and looked for patterns where we could make tweaks and improvements to the user experience.

As part of these tweaks, we made changes to how the bottom bar and navigation drawer worked. Some users reported frustrations with the way the new bottom navigation and menu drawer worked. In its first implementation, the drawer was half raised when opened and had to be swiped up to be raised again to see the full content list. This was an issue for some users as it was slower to get to the content below the list. So we decided to fully raise the drawer by default when opening. We also made it easier to open the navigation drawer by sliding up from the bottom app bar. This was a small shortcut but it enabled users to get to their content faster.

Material You

While we were in the testing phase and about to wrap up the project, Google unveiled Material You, and sometime later the Material 3 Guidelines were published. With the newly announced resources, we went back to study the latest guidelines and references we could find to see where the Todoist Android app redesign fits in and which adjustments we might need to make now or in the future.

Dynamic Color was a big new feature that was announced as part of the Material You update. As Todoist supports many different themes the Material You Dynamic Color feature seemed like a good fit for our product. We decided to prioritize this feature and implement Dynamic Color light and dark themes as part of our Todoist theme settings options.

To implement Dynamic Color, the development team started off by creating a demo prototype that utilized the Dynamic Color system and showcased how we could select from a range of color choices that the system defined based on the wallpaper choice. From there, we tried to incorporate system behavior in our design mockups. We designed a range of different color mockups and components to see which ones could fit with which components. We then came up with a color system that worked for the Todoist app and the new themes. These new Dynamic Color themes would sit alongside our current theme options in the Todoist app settings. From here users could choose between Dynamic Color Light and Dark themes.

Along with Dynamic Color, the team also created a customizable bottom app bar, allowing users to set up the app in a way that’s most convenient to their workflow. The location of the Dynamic Add Button can be changed to the center, left, or right corner of the screen. The order of the Menu, Search, and Notification buttons can be rearranged to best fit the ergonomics of the user’s dominant (left or right) hand and optimize their navigation patterns.

Launch

As critical beta feedback was addressed and stability tweaks were made, the squad felt ready to release the new Todoist Android app to the public. The team logged the issues that could not immediately be addressed for future reviews and updates.

The design and marketing team readied the launch by creating What’s New banner artwork and copy that are displayed within the app when launching the update. The Doist marketing team also created release notes and shared the app update announcements on our social channels. The brand and product design team worked together to create custom image assets and copy that summarised the project work in a simple and beautiful way.

What’s Next: Material 3

After a successful launch of the redesigned Todoist for Android app, Google contacted Doist to announce that Todoist was selected as the Material Design Award 2021 winner in the Large Screen category. The team was excited to be recognized for their hard work and it felt like we achieved the goal we had set out to accomplish.

Internally, designers and developers continued to study and discuss the Material 3 updates. The design team started exploring mockups and design changes inspired by Material 3 and Google’s Workspace app updates. Some of our current Todoist explorations include changing the FAB styling, updating the app bar, further removing elevation shadows, and more. Here is a preview of what a future Todoist update could look like.

We hope these insights into Doist’s design process and collaboration practices have sparked your interest. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for future design updates!

Takeaways

  • Study the Material guidelines, Material Design winners, Material studies, and Google Workspace apps to make informed design decisions when designing your next product or app update.
  • Evaluate which Material Design components and practices are right for you and implement them into your product.
  • Carefully balance the Material Design guidelines with your brand guidelines to create a unique and consistent experience between your product and the platform it lives on.
  • Collaborate with your Android developers early and often to ship app updates efficiently and increase the design implementation quality.
  • Use design components and build a design system along with practical mockups to create an efficient design spec.
  • Consider how the latest Android features fit into your product and which have the most impact on your users before deciding to implement them.
  • Test and review builds with your internal team and external beta users to get valuable feedback and make adjustments before releasing them to the public.
  • Create announcement artwork to showcase your latest app or feature update along with a clear description to share in-app and on social media.

Source

The post Case Study: Redesigning Todoist for Android first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

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