There are so many ideas out there which designers trying to get out into the public. Many of the biggest sites and services are constantly growing and evolving in order to stay relevant, and widgets are a new hot tool. Whether they are solutions regarding helping people, providing feedback, or implementing new features, widgets are the new way to go.
So, what exactly is a widget? Some people have heard about widgets because they are on most smartphones, while others have widgets installed on their websites. While there can be many different and elaborate explanations as to what a widget truly is, most will say that a widget is a self-contained application that was designed to work within a certain framework. These frameworks can be linked to website databases or application software like Android or WordPress. Widgets are very easy to use, yet provide the owners with a wealth of potential as to what they are capable of doing. Some of these changes can be rather minor, while others can drastically alter how a program looks or operates.
Given how helpful widgets can be, however, there are some pitfalls that can be attributed to them. For starters, they can be quite distracting to someone who is using the software or visiting a site. These widgets can be too large, flashy, or have sound effects that take away from the overall experience, which can be a negative thing. They can also prevent the software from functioning properly if they are not coded in the right manner. This can lead to drastic slowdown in performance or crash the system in extreme cases. Nevertheless, there are some things that all developers need to be aware of.
The following three tips were created to help guide developers and creators so that they not only get what they need to accomplished, but get the most recognition for the ease of use. A true widget should seamlessly blend into the background, almost so naturally that people don’t even know it’s a separate application. By following the listed guidelines, developers can rest assured that their widgets will be praised and used frequently, which is the ultimate dream of any designer.
Think of the User
When you develop a widget, there is a specific reason why you are creating it. Maybe you are trying to add a function that wasn’t available before or you want to streamline the process and make it easier. No matter what you are trying to accomplish, never forget who you are designing it for. Who is the target audience? Are they familiar with technology or are they just starting out? What you may consider easy to use can be very different when you think about your audience. Is the font large enough to read clearly if placed on a phone? Are the buttons simple enough to use that you don’t need to prompt them to press them at a certain time?
While you may think that you have designed the best widget ever, where it is being placed and how it is being used must be taken into consideration. There are far too many examples of widgets that look great on paper and test runs, but are later deemed too bulky or hard to utilize by the general public. Don’t make the same mistake by taking the time to think like your customers and get a firm grasp on what you would want to see and how things should work. This shift in perspective could give you a new perspective on a situation and let you see issues before they are published.
Sometimes, developers like to put in different animations for their widget. Some of these might be stylish while others are cute, but having too many of them or putting them in at the wrong time can actually irritate users. Some people simply want to start the widget and get on with what they were doing, not sit around while an animation plays.
If you feel that you absolutely must use an animation for your widget, make sure that it plays after a certain function has been selected. Let it happen after they have scrolled, clicked, resized, or hovered in the widget. Don’t ever have a widget animate without any action from the user; it’s distracting and can upset them if they are trying to read or watch something else.
Hiding Your Widget
This probably sounds backwards for most people. Why would they want their hard work to be invisible or vanish? When you run a website, having too many widgets is distracting, but some are necessary for the site to function efficiently. There’s no denying the fact that the less stuff is going on at once, the easier it is to focus. So, if you can give your widget the option to be hidden or sit idly, people will appreciate the fact that you are not troubling them in any way.
In the end, be sure that you are always thinking about your customers and what they want in a widget. Maybe they are things that you have heard people ask for, or you know of a solution to a problem that nobody has actually expressed yet. Make sure that your widget is the best it can be and that it will be used by everyone without distracting or troubling them.