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UIUX Case Studies: Unpacking Singapore’s Most Popular Apps from the Pandemic (Part 1: The Good)

Apps like Zoom, Netflix and foodpanda have become more popular both due to convenience and the pandemic’s hold over Singapore. They’re all apps we use on a regular basis, and with good reason. But some of these apps could still be tweaked to be better. Read on to see how these 6 apps’ UI/UX design performs based on our checklist for great UI/UX online.

This is the second article in a three-part series on the design of online applications. If you’re interested, learn how you can identify good UI/UX online, and what contributes to the success of a design.

We frequently come into contact with products or programs where User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) design is crucial to their development. In this article, we’ll zoom in on how we encounter UI and UX online; in particular, with apps we’ve embraced with the arrival of COVID-19. If you’re interested in learning about UI/UX but have no prior knowledge, fear not! Read on to see our list of UI/UX examples — you’ll come to realise that UI/UX is actually all around us. With this knowledge, we hope it lowers any perceived barriers you may have in pursuing these high-growth fields. It isn’t as daunting as it seems.

Great UI/UX Designs during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Case Study 1: Zoom

Hatch Hybrid Demo Day Zoom
Hatch held its first-ever Demo Day on Zoom for July 2021 Customised Immersive Batch!

Zoom is a program for video calling and online chatting, which enjoyed a surge in popularity due to the pandemic in 2020. Companies big and small embraced it as working from home became the “new normal”. Its greatest perk is how it can be used for various purposes, such as meetings, interviews and even webinars. Statistics have shown that from January to March of 2020, Zoom went from below half a million downloads to 2.13 million downloads daily. And within the span of 5 months, it soared from 10 million users a day to over 300 million users. Their mission is to make “video communications frictionless and secure”, and you’ll see just how this is done.

User Control & Freedom (Usability Heuristic #3)

Zoom users are largely in control, from being able to rename themselves anytime, to customising their profile picture and background. Beyond visuals, they can toggle the mute and camera functions. This helps facilitate the conversation and reduce distractions when needed.

Additionally, users can choose between direct messaging specific participants privately or sharing their message to everyone involved.

Zoom direct message function
You can chat with participants individually

Hosts can create smaller breakout rooms for group discussion, and everyone can alternate between them and the main room conveniently. This avoids the need to create another call specifically for group work. Lastly, users are able to share their screen with others, which is incredibly handy for collaborative work.

Clarity in Simple Design

Zoom’s interface is illustrated clearly, and additional words are used below visual icon cues (Mute, Share Video, Chat) to prevent misinterpretation. Users aren’t bombarded by content, since the information available is just right. The clear and simple interface design also reduces the cognitive load on users. Joining a call through clicking a link or entering the meeting ID reinforces how simple it is to launch the application.

Prompt, Meaningful and Clear Feedback upon User Action

When navigating through the interface, there’s clear feedback: hovering over icons reveals a rectangle around it that’s coloured differently. There is also a tooltip providing information about the hovered option.

Zoom buttons hover over pop out descriptions
Your interactions are guided on Zoom

Upon clicking, the icon and the tooltip change instantly; all these small details show us the program is guiding us as we interact with it.

Attempting to leave the meeting room or close an ongoing call prompts you again along with an option to “Cancel”. This serves as confirmation, to ensure this is the action you want to take. It helps with error prevention as well, in case users accidentally click on it.

Button visual hierarchy
Using a bright red button colour as a signal

Design Consistency and Standards (Usability Heuristic #4)

Consistency comes through the location and appearance of symbols. Across computers, tablets and smartphones, buttons are situated at the bottom of the interface. The icons used are also the same throughout. Lastly, it’s also inclusive and accessible as a software. Zoom is supported on many types of devices with equal quality. Though it can’t currently provide signing for those who are hard of hearing, recording a call produces a transcript for easy reference. To cater to the visually impaired, hosts can opt to include closed captions. The software has shortcuts for action keys as well.

Case Study 2: Netflix

During the lockdown in 2020, Netflix saw significant increase in traffic (a 40% rise!), given how remote work makes using the streaming site more convenient too. But even before that, Netflix has been the most popular subscription video on demand (SVoD) service here in Singapore. Aside from having a vast array of titles to choose from, there’s also many UI/UX related reasons for this!

On Netflix, you can personalize