Effective Tips: Enhancing User Interface of Canvas Apps
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Power Apps
Sep 29, 2023 5:44 AM

Effective Tips: Enhancing User Interface of Canvas Apps

by HubSite 365 about Timo Pertilä (Forward Forever) [MVP]

Power Platform Consultant, Microsoft Business Applications MVP

Citizen DeveloperPower AppsM365 Hot News

Discover 5 straight-forward methods to upgrade your Microsoft Canvas App UI design as a citizen designer!

About the Main Topic: Improving Canvas App UI Design

The blog post authored by Timo Pertilä (Forward Forever) [MVP], throws light on user interface (UI) design improvements for canvas apps with 5 useful tips. These tips emphasize on the importance of UI design, offering citizen developers or designers - with or without formal training, strategies to optimize app efficiency, user-friendliness, and aesthetics. The author also underscores the role of UI principles in app design, the significance of user-centered design, prioritizing white space, semantic color usage, button differentiation, and designing effective forms within the apps.

The blog begins by addressing the plight of citizen developers who, despite having necessary technical skills, often fall short on design skills. This lack of design expertise resonates in the apps they build, making the apps difficult to use or visually unappealing.

Pertilä introduces the concept of a citizen designer: a person with minimal to no formal training but possessing design proficiencies accrued through self-study and practice. He highlights the importance of good UI – the factor that impacts ease and enjoyment of app usage.

Learning the principles of UI design serves as the outset of this journey. The principles are derived from UI design research and best practices, exemplified by simplicity, consistency, visual hierarchy, and usability.

The first design tip emphasizes on user-centered design over data-focused design. Design should be tailor-made to meet user needs and involve them in the design process from start to finish. Recognizing user relevance and interests leads to the creation of better, more efficient user interfaces. Involve users in the testing process for continuous improvements.

The second tip pertains to the usage of white space - the empty areas surrounding design elements. White space is instrumental in enhancing readability, establishing visual hierarchy, emphasizing crucial elements, and refining the overall aesthetic of the app. The author advises maintaining consistency in white spaces among all margins and paddings for a cohesive look and feel.

The third tip highlights the significance of semantic colors to convey meaning and form a visual language. Colors contextually set the mood and lend easier understanding of information to the users. The proper use of colors, such as blue for links, red for alarms/errors, etc., can assist users in easy navigation and understanding of the app interface.

The forth advice is about differentiating primary and secondary actions using buttons. Primary actions are pivotal and secondary actions provide alternate options. Thus, it is advised to use a prominent color for primary actions keeping in mind semantic colors. Button size and placement consistency is noted to be crucial.

The final design tip covers forms. Here, Pertilä recommends adjusting input fields based on the data users are expected to fill in, organizing forms into logical sections as well as grouping related fields together.

By putting these principles into practice, anyone starting their journey in UI design can lay a strong foundation and gradually perfect their skills through continuous learning, practice, and improvements.

The text ends by welcoming the readers to join Forward Forever News for more insights and articles on Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI. However, the link has been removed as per the guidelines.

Read the full article 5 easy ways to improve your canvas app UI design

Power Apps - Effective Tips: Enhancing User Interface of Canvas Apps

Learn about 5 easy ways to improve your canvas app UI design

Improving the aesthetic and functional aspect of your canvas app UI design can seem rather intimidating without proper guidance, but there's a simple approach to this - becoming a citizen designer, someone who develops design skills through self-study and practice, instead of formal training. With a little time and determination, anyone can elevate their canvas apps from simply functional to visually engaging and user-friendly.

Understanding the Importance of Good UI

Good User Interface (UI) makes the use of your canvas app enjoyable and easy. When a UI is well-designed, it enhances the user's experience by reducing errors and frustration, and swiftly achieving their aim. As a newbie in UI design, various resources - books, online tutorials and forums, and courses - are available to help you begin your journey.

Mastering the UI Principles

UI principles are guidelines that help you create usable and effective user interfaces for your canvas apps. These principles, born from research and best UI design practices, include consistency, visual hierarchy, simplicity, and usability. To get you started, we have collated 5 UI design tips, specifically for Microsoft's tool for developing lightweight apps.

UI Design Tips

The following tips can tremendously elevate your design process:

  • Design For The User, Not For The Data: Imagine your user's needs and integrate them into the design process, from the ideation stage to testing. This approach makes it easier to emphasize content and prompt actions that are essential to them.
  • White Space: Deploy empty spaces strategically around design elements to enhance readability, create visual hierarchy, emphasize vital elements, and enhance app aesthetics.
  • Semantic Colors: Colors are powerful tools to communicate meaning and create a visual language. Use the right colors in the right context to facilitate user understanding.
  • Buttons: It's crucial to visually distinguish between primary and secondary actions. The user should understand which actions are more important.
  • Forms: Often, this tool for creating lightweight apps is employed to update or collect data. Good forms are essential! Always organize your form into logical sections and group related fields together

Having understood basic UI principles, the next essential step is to apply the principles in your apps! Nonetheless, as UI design is a skill set that requires practice and time, don’t be discouraged if you don't achieve perfect designs instantly – keep practicing, learning, and improving!

For more design tips, see our series of blog posts on improving canvas apps design and adding company branding to your app.

If you're interested in reading our latest updates and insights into Power Platform canvas apps, Power BI, Power Automate, and Power Platform, subscribe to our email newsletter, Forward Forever News. Delivered once monthly, this curated email has the latest articles and insights into Power Platform.

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