Intuition is a funny thing. Have you ever been to somewhere and thought to yourself that something just isn’t right? By definition, intuition is your instinctive inclination towards a particular action or behaviour. Contrary to reason, intuition is the non-conscious part of your brain reaching out to you.
In the world of smartphone UI/UX design, intuitiveness is essential. When the industry moved away from physical numpads in favour of touch panels, phone interfaces were completely re-built. Gone were the days of linear menus where users had to pick items from a list by going down each item individually. Now, users can perform actions simply by touching or swiping on the screen. But not every element on the screen is meant to trigger a response. The task of subtly indicating which elements to touch, so that users would intuitively know how to navigate the UI, falls on the shoulders of UI designers.
For seven years, the engineers and designers in the EMUI team at Huawei have worked tirelessly to bring the best user experience to Huawei device users. From EMUI 3.0’s simple aesthetics to EMUI 9.0’s nature-inspired designs, the team has continuously refined the interface in pursuit of an intuitive experience. For the latest EMUI 10, the team has gone further, introducing a magazine-like layout to better present the various UI elements in a way that promotes readability. Under the new design, the title area has been enlarged, and the grid arrangement allows for more white spaces between each icon and object of interest. Together, these two make for a more comfortable user experience.
A new colour scheme is applied to the OS. Inspired by works of renowned Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, the new elegant, yet understated, theme is easy on the eyes while providing better contrast between various UI elements. These colours are given the spotlight in default apps including Contacts, Notepad and Tips.
Beyond tweaking the UI, Huawei has taken a few more steps to subtly improve the intuitiveness of the UI. Let’s take a look at a few of these tweaks.
In the pull-down notifications bar in EMUI 9, users can clear individual notifications by swiping either left or right. The idea behind this was that it would make managing notifications faster and easier. However, this also meant that users could more easily make errors – an important notification could be swiped away as easily as any other. Addressing this issue, the EMUI team decided to add a simple barrier. To remove a notification on EMUI 10, users have to swipe left and then confirm the removal by tapping on the bin icon. This not only gives users a chance to reconsider, but also standardizes the control mechanism of the notification centre to be more consistent with the rest of the OS, allowing for a more intuitive experience.
Icon design refresh
EMUI 10 introduces new arrow icons to replace the top-left three-line menu icon in default apps such as Calendar and Email. For instance, in the Email app, the icon is set next to “Inbox.” By default, the arrows are pointed upwards, indicating the existence of a collapsed menu. Tapping the arrow expands the menu, and the arrow itself will point downwards to reflect the status change. The tweak may be trivial from a user’s perspective, but from a UI design standpoint, the removal of the three-line icon saves precious screen real estate, allowing for useful information to be shown in a more prominent fashion – all while ensuring that the UI stays consistent and intuitive.
Huawei has taken another page out of the skeuomorphic design guide to revamp the camera app. Aside from a range of refreshed visual elements that are more responsive than ever, the app now comes with new sound effects that resemble real film cameras. As before, the focus of the design is the user experience. Compared to its predecessor, the new app UI combines the zoom and slide bars into one integrated slider. Larger font sizes are also used on the labels, which provide better clarity. All these changes are made so that the users would know exactly what buttons to tap to perform the actions they intend to take.
Settings and shortcuts
Over the years, smartphones have evolved into a kind of all-purpose tool we use for everything. But of course, we don’t need to use all the features, all the time. This is where Quick Settings come into play. While the Settings menu has also been revamped for better categorization, Quick Settings presents a range of commonly used feature toggles and shortcuts on a single pane for quick access. This customisable smorgasbord of settings is accessible by swiping downwards from the top right corner of the Home screen. Previously in EMUI 9, these settings populated the top half of the screen, making one-hand navigation difficult for those with larger devices or smaller hands. EMUI 10 optimises this by lowering the position of the menu and allowing Quick Settings shortcuts to take up more of the screen space. A small tweak – but this move greatly enhances the accessibility of these shortcuts.
Universal dark mode
Dark mode has been one of the most requested features for a good few years. In response to the demand, Huawei’s human-centered design lab has conducted tests on user reading efficiency, and the subjective reading experience under four common daily lighting conditions, in order to determine the best possible color contrast range for text and icons, for heightened readability.
Making use of this research, EMUI 10 achieves the optimal contrast between foreground text and the dark background. For the same color, the visual perception of luminance and saturation differs substantially between light and dark backgrounds. Huawei has also optimized the color of EMUI text and system icons, to ensure consistency, as well as premium comfort, and readability in both Dark and Light modes.
These are just a few of the many enhancements that EMUI 10 introduces to deliver an even better, more consistent, and most importantly, more intuitive user experience.
In Lebanon, HUAWEI P30, HUAWEI P30 Pro, HUAWEI Mate 20, HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro, PORSCHE DESIGN HUAWEI Mate 20 RS, P20 pro, Y9Prime 2019 are now eligible for the EMUI10 update through HiCare application. The update will be available to more Huawei and devices at a later date.