ToDo Task Management App

App prototype created for purposes of researching design aspects of new trends and their impact on accessibility.

Areas

UX/UI, Design Research

Tools

Figma

Platforms

Android

Background

Neumorphism as a style received a surge of popularity starting in late 2019. A style that was a medium between skeuomorphism and flat design quickly started appearing on websites that showcase creative works.

However, something that was missing was from most of them was any kind of user feedback. Neumorphism as a style strays away a fair amount from established style guides given by Google and Apple.

An app prototype was made to explore the positive and negative sides of neumorphism.

Approach

A lot of the neumorphic concepts seen on Behance or Dribbble are visually pleasing, but from the point of UX seem complicated and have a steep learning curve.

Considering we're upending the experience and knowledge people have, such style should first be tested in familiar app environments so users can get accustomed to it.

That's why for this app prototype a task management app was chosen.

Design

Neumorphism has element that appear to portrude from or dent into the background rather than float on top of it like in flat design.

It is by nature minimalistic, using few soft pastel colors and relying on shadows and highlights to distinguish interactive elements from the background.

User testing

10 users from various backgrounds and age groups were chosen for user testing.

The app had two versions, one styled with regular flat design and one styled with neumorphism. Half of the group first tested the flat version then the neumorphism version, and the other half the opposite.

The users were given tasks to accomplish and then observed. All feedback was acquired only after the testing was completed, to not influence the results or sway user's opinions.

Results

Neumorphism measured high levels of enjoyment during the usage of the app. That was concluded both through observing user's facial expressions as well as the feedback they gave afterwards in interviews.

Flat design measured lower levels of enjoyment, but higher levels of usability. Task completion time was significantly lower and user feedback said that the flat design seemed more familiar.

Accessibility-wise, neumorphism already had issues in indoor conditions, and outdoor conditions rendered the app almost unusable, with users squinting, turning up brightness and relying on muscle memory to complete tasks.

Takeaways

Neumorphism does not feel like a natural evolution of current design styles considering its issues with implementation, low contrast and accessibility.

However, the fact that many designers love styling their designs in such way and that despite having worse accessibility, people still enjoyed the emulation of real life buttons, means that neumorphism should not be discarded completely.

A possible alternative is styling only several key elements instead of whole UIs.