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“Complexity Elimination”: A Mobile UI Design Trend Left Unseen by Most

Today, what you are seeing around is a world of minimal design, wherein apps have become simpler with only relevant content for display. Wondering, what’s next?

If you look around the innovators of the Internet such as Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, and more, you will realize how minimal design has gone one-step ahead. We have named this trend “Complexity Elimination” in mobile design, although there is no name as such. Let us try to analyze these apps, and know what it is all about.

Bringing ‘simplicity’ to the forefront

Not heard of Complexity Elimination anywhere anytime? Well, no worries, as this is what we have named specifically for our discussion, making things simpler to understand. Make no mistake about it, confusing it with the likes of traditional minimal design, responsive design, or flat design trends.

It might appear to be just an advanced stage of minimal design. However, it has its own uniqueness, when scanned on various parameters. Let us see some defining characteristics, letting it to be different from the conventional approach.

• Headlines come out bigger and bolder
• Simple icons universal for all
• Color extraction by sticking to basics

We are not saying this for the sake of saying it. We do have solid proofs to prove our point, by checking out some topmost apps, referred earlier in the discussion.


The Instagram app saw a tremendous transformation from 2015 to 2016. All thanks to Facebook, for removing the gray and blue color, flooding the app screen bottom and top sections. Bringing down everything to just black and white has brought amazing clarity related to content and features clarity, making the interface less cluttered.


Airbnb app redesigning launched sometime later, right after Instagram. It already had a black and white interface in place in the previous design. However, removal of unnecessary images and related color turned out to be the difference maker. This helped in improved universal icons, depicting functionalities and content clearly.

Apple Music

Apple Music app is the latest development to embrace this trend. Earlier in this year, during Apple’s WWDC event, redesign of Apple Music caught the attention of millions out there, in addition to soon to be launched iOS 10. What really grabs our eyeballs is an interface having bigger and bolder fonts, compared to previous nominally sized fonts. Moreover, now you have large images displaying playlists, recently played songs, artists, albums. Adoption of a card-based interface is a great boost to this app.

Did you sort out familiar things from all three apps? They are clearly large headlines, black and white UI, as well as universal icons.

Are they really enough, or more in store?

To have an award-winning app, your app needs to be perfect. It does not mean to include all the functionalities for impressing users. Just follow all the below Complexity Elimination designing principles, and your app will become the talk of the town within days.

• Keeping everything in black and white will let your app components and elements stand out, providing a clear -view to the users. Ensure that only the content be made somewhat colorful in this case.

• Using 20-30 pixels bigger and bold headlines will represent the text with a heavy image, conveying the message more effectively.

• Having recognizable icons everywhere will deliver a universally simplistic appeal, and make your app familiar to grasp.

• Insert as much whitespace as possible differentiating every single section, even if that means a single button, label, word, or anything else. However, ensure that the interrelated elements or components placed with minimal whitespaces. Allow them to breathe and have an independent identity of their own.

• App icons appearing brighter will lure visitors or users to click, whether relevant to the context or not.

• Contrasting effect created using light and dark colors, small and large text, too many elements and single elements, will elaborate the entire design largely.

• A grid-based layout all over the place will make things highly systematic. Using old school tactics of rectangles and lines enable the design to be harmonious and organized.

• Make use of only 2-3 colors rather than using colors everywhere. This will let your app look sophisticated and classy, especially when using black or white in those selected colors.

• Do not let visuals dominate over your content. Visuals always work on extreme ends. They might appear fantastic, or completely lame depending on the level of relevance they carry. Do keep images or videos, only if highly necessary and adding value to the entire design.

• Typography plays an important role when deciding font related factors such as type, color, size, and style. It is always wise to go for a typeface with clear, simple, and clean line based strokes. Keeping it bold or normal will depend on where they are placed, and what message they convey. Herein, you can add a contrasting effect, by letting stylish typeface blend easily with normal ones.

Taking ‘complexity’ to back front

Minimalism is quite certainly an evergreen UI design trend, having no signs of getting old sooner enough. Simplicity is what users look for when using an app because it gives a feeling of compact and portable use. Moreover, simple designs are relatively easier to understand and use. They look classy and perform even classier. It does not have a lasting impact only on the mobile users, but even save users from using clumsy and content heavy apps.

Cute + Broke is another classic example of complexity elimination design based website, wherein unlike conventional eCommerce storefronts, you will not see too many products or services bombarded at once. Though it is a website, you can always take lessons, and know how a single product displayed exclusively to have user’s clear idea regarding the clothing, size, and style. A model represents the product, giving you a fair idea of the detailing, accompanied by a CTA, so that if convinced, users can move to the checkout right away, without being interfered by more products. If not, then they can check out more products in an exclusive way, and keep seeing more such products until they get their final clothing choice.

Written By

Jennifer Brown is a software developer at Digital Infoware Pvt. Ltd., an IT company with expertise in mobile application development services, delivering high-end user friendly apps development solutions. She feels glad to share her experience through informative and enlightening articles.

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