This article is part of Inc42 Plus’ upcoming conference — The Makers Summit India’s largest product conference scheduled for 12th-14th March, supported by Netcore, Amplitude and HPE. Click here to know more.
The success of a product largely depends on how strong its backend is. But, it’s the front-end of the product that defines how users feel about using it. While the backend of the development is where the actual heavy-lifting takes place, the front-end is what makes it stand out and shine through its simplicity, uniqueness and a smooth visual experience which gets a customer hooked on the product. In many ways, it would be correct to say that the front-end or the UI is the personality of a product.
In the cut-throat market of startups where everyone is fighting for the smallest margins to expand and dominate, the right UI can give a product that extra edge which takes it from being a competing to a leading and inspiring brand.
In the search of the perfect UI, we asked the top product leaders and founders about their favourite ones in a virtual conference in the run-up to The Makers Summit 2021. These veterans of the product world would also be present at the TMS event, a virtual conference at the intersection of product, design and marketing, hosted by Inc42 from March 12-14th.
Here is the list of products with the best UI, according to industry stalwarts.
Since its inception, CRED has been in the news. And one of the main reasons for that is its stunning UI. The man behind the design framework of CRED is Harish Sivaramakrishnan. Rock Carnatic musician by passion, chemical engineer by education, and designer by profession, his design of the platform can be summed up as the representation of his experimentational persona. CRED is an app that rewards its members for paying their credit card bills on time.
To understand the secret behind its design success, there are two words that resonate over and over again — optimised flow.
CRED’s UI has managed to turn one of the most boring parts of any app — the onboarding screen — into a system that flows easily. By optimising the steps taken to complete the process and giving it the right amount of interventions, the app creates an onboarding experience that leaves the user wanting to interact more with the platform.
Further, the app utilises gamification with smooth visualisation to keep users engaged on the platform. Adding coin based games to the platform, where you earn the coins by using the app and spend the coins earned on the games on the same platform, CRED has managed to create a circle which is designed for high retention.
The platform recently changed its design framework to ‘Copper Synth’ framework with a neumorphism theme which adds to the aesthetic value of the app. Neomorphism is a relatively new design trend which is characterised by minimalist aesthetic and hyper-realistic look. Our product leaders concur with the choice as both Saptarshi Prakash, head of design at Swiggy and Dinesh Varadharajan, VP product management at Kissflow, are in awe of the design of the platform.
In today’s times, ordering food has become synonymous with Swiggy. And a big reason for that is the design of its UI which works on the principles of simplicity and ease of usage to cater to a wide range of population across the country. The platform uses iconography almost everywhere which makes understanding different windows of the platform easy, even if the language becomes a barrier. The captions to the labels are also written in everyday language to simplify the message.
Two use cases where the platform really shines, however, are app recognition and user control. The app remembers most of the data that users enter, be it their location or the previous order. It gives users the option to reorder food and the suggestion mode in the search bar assists them to find their favourite cuisine faster. It takes away the need to recollect data from users putting them at ease.
On the user control side, the app lets them have the freedom to manage the cart without directly going to the screen. In case of a misplaced order, the user can simply delete it from the bottom on the screen. The platform offers multiple options to filter food. For example, the user can sort menus according to type of cuisine,vegetarian/non-vegetarian, and a top picks suggestion option. The addition of extensive filters helps the user in accessing control of the platform and makes it more user friendly.
With so many features added with a minimalist design and seamless movement from one screen to another, Swiggy is also one of the most voted for choices among our panelists. Vikrama Dhiman, product head at Gojek and Ramneek Khurana, VP product management at Lenskart picked Swiggy app in the category of best UI.
Razorpay entered the Unicorn Club recently. Its payment gateway platform with multiple wallet options, has been receiving a lot of praise from users. But, it’s the design of its payment gateway and ease of use of merchant products that steal the limelight when you seek the opinion of product heads in the country.
The platform prioritises functionality over aesthetics and integrates a minimalistic design which doesn’t interfere with the usage. In a way, Razorpay creates a design experience that instead of standing out, blends in with the use case to provide the most efficient way of transacting finances.
Razorpay states that the guiding principles behind their design are six words — Understand, Study, Engage, Reconstruct, Ship and Study. These, according to Razorpay, are the pillars their UI is dependent on. For example, to develop its payments screen, they conduct research to understand the contextual data, competitor’s approach and stakeholder’s feedback. Then, they engage with the product to see which design fits their platform the best.
Further, the design team collects data from the users to understand the problems and then the UI is reconstructed to take care of the edge cases and usability of the design.
Basing every element of the UI on a constant feedback mechanism which is incorporated after multiple iterations, Razorpay creates a user experience that even caters to people with the slowest of network connections.
Immersing the UI with functionality to create a fast and easy to use platform makes Razorpay find a place on our list. Saptarshi Prakash, head of design at Swiggy and Senhal Thakkar, director of product management & product marketing at BrowserStack pick it as their favorite UI experience.
The first thing that catches the eye when you use the platform of Bankbazaar, an online marketplace for loans and credit cards, is its generous use of different colors. Today, when many apps are moving towards a minimalist appearance with dark backgrounds and fainted bright colored texts and icons, Bankbazaar stands out. However, it works in their favour.
The platform makes the intimidating and complex world of financing and credit simpler. For example, the categories on gold/silver rates, fuel prices, EMI calculation have been colour coded in bright red, green and yellow. The different financial options presented are color coded differently to associate the user with different categories.
The platform also makes functionality friendlier by displaying all the information in a simplified form. It displays all the services on the main screen and one can enter those through one-click access which makes it easier for the user to navigate the product.
The product recommendation comes from Gunjan Suyal, product head of JustDial, and the achievement of giving a financial services app a fun and appealing persona makes Bankbazaar one of the top UI platforms.
With a cranberry red base that displays the platform’s brand name and logo, Zomato plays on the word ‘tomato’. The company explains that the choice of the name was based on the decision that their brand should be centred around food and stick to a colour that works against both black and white backgrounds. The intention was to keep the brand colour noticeable. And from the moment you reach Zomato’s landing page, it’s apparent. They use a white background and large logos of the restaurant and food options as a suggestion list. Pictures play a huge role in the design as an attempt to attract the user towards their preferred choice of satiation.
Zomato also excels in thinking for the user. The platform remembers everything you do, from food orders, the type of cuisines you usually prefer, the most frequented restaurants as well as the mode of payment. However, the hand-holding approach doesn’t take away the user control as the food delivery platform offers the highest filter choices among all other food delivery platforms functioning in India, including an option to filter restaurants by pricing, which is definitely a bonus for people on a budget.
Sairee Chahal, CEO and founder of Sheroes agrees and votes for Zomato as her favorite UI.
An ecommerce payments system and wallet, Paytm arrived in the ecosystem when digital payments were still a niche in India. It has played a huge role in turning a significant portion of the population towards digitisation.
The app neatly provides all its services categorised in a single home screen spread across four sub-sections. The landing page is kept at the minimal possible point in terms of iconography in order to try and fit everything in one part of the screen. The app uses simple captions for the user to understand the functionality and every page comes with detailed instructions to explain the purpose and how to use it. The platform creates a flow where the user is redirected to relevant pages with simple instructions. In a way, the app achieves both the seamless transitions as well as educating new users about the platform.
The registration part, which is the most struggling bit for any payments wallet platform, has been simplified into three steps; all of them automated as long as the user has given the required permissions. The ease of registration on the platform has been one of the reasons why the app has achieved high conversion rates.
For making UI an educational experience is why Sourav Sarkar, head of design at Airtel picks Paytm as his favorite UI experience.
Using tech and design in one cohesive manner, Zeta’s platform manages to bring simplicity of design to the banking experience. It maintains a crisp look and a lithe aesthetic with small icons and texts allowing a lot of empty space in between.
But the empty spaces don’t hinder the user experience. Instead, the UX is enhanced by allowing the user to breathe between information and not get confused by details overflowing in one place.
With just four buttons at the bottom of the main screen, the product keeps minimalism its priority. The main screen for payments is the only area which takes up the maximum screen space and it helps the user identify the importance of the space. This screen also places the text in a larger font and keeps it at the centre in order to make sure the user doesn’t make a mistake.
This smooth appearance of the platform is the reason why Vikrama Dhiman from Gojek chose it as his favourite UI experience.
Myntra has created a large user base which is partly accredited to the platform’s large collection of apparels and partly to their easy to use platform. India has a large number of online apparel platforms and most of them suffer from the same problem of cluttered outlines which makes it hard for a user to find what they’re looking for and makes it harder for them to move from one screen to another.
Myntra has got the use case right. The platform’s UI is kept minimal and app navigation is direct and responsive. The detailed cataloguing of products and a large set of filters help the user curate their preferred product without being bombarded with the things they are not interested in.
The payment gateway has also been kept simple and users can choose to have the platform save the payment details for faster processing the next time. The platform also uses large pictures to display the outfits clearly and gives the option to see it worn by a model. Further, the platform also adds notification under products if they are low in number in order to prompt the user to make a quick purchase.
The Myntra app is filled with elements which aim at providing the user complete control of the product. Arun Pattabhiraman, chief growth officer at Freshworks, impressed by the efficiency of the platform, picked it as his favorite in UI experience.