Great discussion over on Branch about “unnecessary” but “delightful” elements in UI and UX design.

Most of the examples talked about in the Branch thread are of websites, but I couldn’t help but think about some iOS apps. Such as the oversized blue cursor in iA Writer, the hatching egg and flying Ollie animation on pull-to-refresh in Twitteriffic, the link to 1Password on the login screen of Riposte, and the iPhone’s bouncing Lock screen when you tap the camera icon. These are little things which aren’t necessarily needed for the app to serve its primary function. But I think the role of delight in design is vital because, when done well, it does the opposite of what friction does — delight “greases the skids,” so to say.

If it’s true that we use something more when we enjoy using it, then it’s also fair to say that a little bit of delight can go a long way in increasing usability.

January 23, 2013