If you are planning on building a social application or the next great social media application, there are several extremely important UI features that need to be included in the development of your social networking/communication out. Developing an application that is ready for the future and that will capture a large market share is important to making sure it will be well adopted. A large number of social media applications, and go and without the right UI refinements it can be very difficult for them to get off the ground in the first place. Here are some of the top UI features needed in building any type of social application:
A simple navigation interface:
A social application on a mobile device needs to be very easy to navigate. Ideally the entire user interface can be moved through with just one hand or a thumb. Most of the top social media websites they use relatively straightforward graphics, color schemes and icons. The same can be said about the mobile versions of these sites. A really detailed visual design isn’t going to be useful on a communication application or a social application. The main goal is to create an easy platform for content to be shared and for communication to take place. With a streamlined and well branded visual design is possible for users to have more focus on the content that’s on the page and the conversations that they’re going to share. As social communication apps are mostly focused on the context of messages, the interface options need to be designed in a simple way to share and repost the content. Twitter’s mobile app does this masterfully with minimal distractions to the user and easy sharing/posting/communication options.
Intuitive search functions:
Social media sites need to have search functions in order for users to seek out other users, for users to seek out subjects that interest them and more. With the help of intuitive search features it’s possible to add in filters for users as well as include trending data across the social network. Fine tuning search data can help users with the process of getting the most of the application and it can eventually even help advertisers to seek a popular content on the network.
Subtle call to action:
A subtle call to action to share, like repost or communicate with new users can be helpful to improving the network and the communication between users. Social networking sites often employee the use of these buttons in their interface to make sure that more people will continue to use the features over time. Without these regular calls to action it can be difficult to make sure that the software sees its intended use over and over again. Usually the call to action buttons are placed very subtlety into the design but they do improve the overall quality of the app and its usability.
The blocks of content on the page need to be regularly separated to improve functionality. The visual separation of content bars needs to be done with very thin borders. The facebook application does this with fairly neutral lines in light colors. In social media applications and with several blocks of content, these element separation elements can help to provide some support to guide the user visually between content. This type of subtle divide between content sections has been used in applications like Reddit, twitter, Facebook and more.
Focus on forms:
You are going to need forms in order to get users to sign up for your application. THe problem with many applications that are developed for mobile and desktop is that the developers never consider the forms that users need to fill out. Making sure that forms are optimized for use on smart phones and mobile devices is very important. Considering activation through other types of verification such as google sign in can really speed up the process of signing up for an account. Reducing the chance for captcha or password confirmation can also work to speed the process of signup so that your users can join the network much faster.
Develop navigation pathways:
This UI touch may require some ongoing testing but when you can start to develop a clearly defined path for users through signup, posting, communication and more, this can give you a much better indication of how people are going to use the network and the best pathway that they can take to communicate with others or share their posts. Building an application that has a clearly defined path for users will help you to slowly build a simpler and more graphics based user interface.
Keep some of these top UI elements in mind for any type of social application.