More Visuals, Less “UI”

Why don’t more web apps do this?

Today, I saw what I found to be a really sweet bit of UI – the Yelp iPad app. And it got me to thinking, why don’t more “normal” websites do this? Particularly, increase visuals/immersion and stop bombarding me with “features”.

Yelp iPad App

Now that I have most of the core content-websites I use in iOS app form, when I need to, say, book a dinner reservation, look up the hours for the restaurant and check out the menu, I just use my iPhone.

I get all the info I need quickly, with just a few taps of the thumb. And I don’t need to wait for a mess of twitter feeds and ad servers to load up to begin finding content. This would work equally well with a mouse or trackpad.

For me, this Yelp iPad app is perfect. Just the necessary info, with big, satisfying pictures to immerse me in the experience. I wish the web-based Yelp was the same.

Yeah yeah, I know what you’re going to say…

I agree that packing ads on the screen makes a lot of businesses a lot of money, and that users often won’t scroll down the screen or find something hidden behind a button.

However, the successes of iOS and Android suggest that, if designed correctly, simple, great-looking apps with limited feature sets can make users very happy…and still make money.

web apps that keep it simple and look good doing it

Adam Waaramaa About MeAnother recent example of a website that just feels good is

They’ve captured all of the UI they need, and made it beautiful. Any of the bells and whistles they need (peeks at social networking personalities or blog posts) are hidden behind very obvious icons.

When I want to learn about someone, I just want:

  • A brief blurb about who they are
  • A picture / feeling of the person
  • Links to social media personalities
  • Other relevant links provides all of this info perfectly. (Also, 400K users and a sale to AOL 4 days after launch suggests to me that people are happy with the user interface design.)

Who could use a change

Huffington Post Web DesignThough there are arguments to the contrary, as a user, I would love to see a news site like Huffington Post shift a bit toward its iOS counterpart. Occasionally, I enjoy reading extremely biased political trash, but the websites of The Huffington Post and The Drudge Report just hurt my eyes.

However…the Huffington Post iPhone app is just so easy to use! Very simple, I can flick through stories and categories effortlessly, and all of the features I really need (save, email, search) are neatly hidden away.

Huffington Post iPhone App

FOR ME, there is no need for any more real-estate. I understand that research has been done suggesting that “out of sight, out of mind” holds true, and Huffington Post gets more headlines on the screen, raising the chances users will find something they like, etc…

But personally, I would love to see all this beautiful mobile design, whether mobile phone- or tablet-sized, brought into more “standard” web design.

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