User experience (UX) design and user-interface (UI) design are two distinct, yet interconnected aspects of design. Both are important, must complement each other, and play crucial roles in the development of mobile applications, including virtual private networks (VPNs).
A VPN provides a means of protecting the user’s privacy online by establishing a secure network connection—even on an unsafe, public Wi-Fi network. It encrypts online traffic and keep the user’s virtual location hidden.
In this article, I’ll discuss some current design trends that apply to the design of VPNs, as well as some common design mistakes.
5 Relevant Design Trends in 2023
You have two options: create your own VPN or use an existing product. Once the user sets up the VPN, it provides secure, controlled access to data. When creating your own VPN, you must think about UX and UI design issues. Let’s consider five design trends that are especially relevant to the design of a VPN.
1. Device Synchronization
This trend holds particular significance for the design of a VPN because it indirectly shapes all the other trends that I’ll discuss in this article. The desire to create accessible applications rather than just high-quality applications is driven by user demand. There is a plethora of VPN products available on the market—ranging from the affordable and basic to fully equipped VPNs that have extensive functionalities. The real challenge lies in ensuring the seamless synchronization of settings and content across personal computers, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other devices that are connected to the Web. This capability is relevant not only to businessmen but also to ordinary people. The ability to effortlessly browse the Web and personalize the experience by providing seamless access across all devices is the epitome of usability in 2023 and beyond.
2. ID Authentication
There are numerous ways of confirming one’s identity such as fingerprint and retina scans, as well as traditional passwords. Each method presents its own set of challenges. For instance, how should you display a log-in dialog when someone might be looking over the user’s shoulder? What should you communicate if Face ID fails to recognize the face of a person who is wearing a face mask? What about passport scans? Should you display a symbolic cover or the user’s real ID and photograph?
Although many of these concerns have already been addressed in recent years, some questions still remain. Privacy is a significant consideration. Differentiation from other apps on the market is vital—as is demonstrating the true security of the system. Furthermore, how can all of this information contribute to and align with the overall visual identity and branding of the application? Lastly, how can we express something old in a new and innovative way? Determining which of the latest design trends to follow is indubitably one of the most challenging aspects of design.
Successfully transmitting information to other people requires an intriguing message, in a format that the audience can appreciate and find engaging over the long term. Scrolling can be tedious. Nobody wants to scroll down endlessly through boring sections of a page in search of relevant information. That’s where scrollytelling comes in. This approach can invigorate users and help them see a page in a whole new light. Imagine scrolling and being greeted by captivating animations that are seamlessly integrated with the page’s text or discovering informative graphics that provide further explanation. Scrollytelling is all about offering additional context, supplementary explainers, and enriching content with dynamic elements that captivate users through movement, color, and contextualization.
4. Mobile-First Design
A logical outcome of the previous point involves the diverse ways in which people utilize their mobile devices. Whether the user is booking a flight, conversing with friends, attending an online meeting, engaging in online window shopping, and making actual purchases, mobile devices cater to a multitude of needs. With convenience the primary consideration, applications should embrace a design language that is user friendly yet scalable and adaptable to every device, ultimately converting visitors into paying customers.
5. The Metaverse
Many of us struggle in trying to understand the true essence of Zuckerberg’s Meta. The concept of playing chess in a park while being physically distant from a friend seems like a dream, but could very well become a reality someday. Particularly for those who are perpetually attached to their screens, this dream holds great potential. However, we don’t need extravagant scenarios to imagine a meta-future. All we require is a reliable virtual-reality (VR) headset and Facebook’s VR remote work application, which could become a feasible option for the future of work and collaboration, where agile teams from around the globe communicate not through Skype or Zoom but within an immersive virtual-reality setting. Naturally, creating this future will necessitate meticulous planning and design.
Although we shouldn’t expect these changes to take place overnight, it is logical to visualize entire teams of designers dominating VR platforms shortly after Zuckerberg has unveiled the shift toward Meta. Virtual user-experience and user-interface design require specialized expertise, but this transition is bound to occur sooner rather than later. In fact, 2023 might mark a significant milestone on the path to an increasingly virtual future.
5 Common Design Mistakes
Now, let’s look at some common design mistakes that could negatively impact the design of a VPN.
1. Including Unresponsive Design Elements
In the past, one common mistake in responsive design was prioritizing desktop computers over mobile devices. However, nowadays, the majority of UX designers recognize the significance of mobile-friendly design. So there is an emerging issue of designers focusing solely on mobile design. Although mobile traffic represents around 50% of Web traffic, the remaining 50% comes from other sources such as desktop computers and tablets. Often, design elements for mobile do not translate well onto larger screens. Consider Instagram on a desktop computer, for example. The user-interface design’s excessive whitespace, lack of balance, and minuscule icons indicate that it was not designed with larger screens in mind.
2. Providing Too Much Information
If you’re part of a product-development team, it’s crucial that you understand your product and develop a true passion for its design. It can be tempting to inundate users with an excessive amount of product information right from the start. This overload of data can quickly confuse users if they don’t have time to process the information and understand it properly. The initial page or app frame that users encounter should not be overwhelming. If it appears cluttered with an abundance of different elements, users will struggle to grasp where to begin and might abandon the page without gaining any knowledge of the app’s purpose. To avoid making this design mistake, prioritize essential information and be mindful of the amount of content that you present at once. When users can seamlessly navigate a new product without requiring excessive learning at the beginning, exceptional user experiences occur.
3. Overlooking the In-Between States
Creating a unique experience is crucial in a world where things rarely go according to plan. Exceptional UX design not only considers ideal scenarios but also anticipates unexpected circumstances. When designing your product, take into account the entire user experience from start to finish, including the in-between states. Imagine a user signing up for a free trial on your Web site. In a perfect scenario, the user would encounter two key states: the initial sign-up page and the success page.
4. Hopping on Every Design Trend
Just like fashion, music, and hairstyles, the design space is brimming with trends that ebb and flow. While it is crucial to stay abreast of design trends, there is no need to succumb to every passing fad simply because it is popular. For instance, in the early 2010s, flat design gained prominence as a design trend. Flat design, an offshoot of minimalism, is characterized by the absence of 3D visual elements. However, it has fallen out of favor because of the user-experiences challenges it poses—such as user confusion regarding clickable elements.
5. Bombarding Visitors with Pop-ups
Nothing deters visitors from becoming customers quite like being bombarded with a variety of pop-ups as soon as they visit your home page. Instead of accessing the information they want, they’re forced to wrestle with closing or navigating away from multiple pop-up windows before they can even begin their product or Web journey. Although not all pop-ups result in a negative experience, it is crucial to be mindful of poorly positioned and badly designed pop-ups, as well as those that the user cannot easily close. To ensure user-friendly pop-up design, take into account their quantity, timing, strategic placement, and maintaining their relevance. It is best to have no more than one pop-up per page, and ensure that it does not disrupt the user experience by occupying the entire screen. Plus, pop-ups must be easy to close, preferably requiring just one click.
VPN development is, in fact, very similar to that of other applications in terms of UX and UI design. If your team knows how to create attractive, well-thought-out designs, they’ll be able to handle VPN design as well. By considering the latest trends in the marketplace and being guided by the advice I’ve provided in this article, you’ll be able to create a successful VPN application.
Linda has been a professional UX designer for seven years. During this time, she has participated in VPN design and development projects twice. Throughout her experience, she has seen many VPNs that have ignored important design trends and made similar design mistakes. Read More