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How to Design UX/UI for Frameless Smartphones

merrickherbert profile image Herbert Merrick Updated on ・4 min read

In 2019, everybody started to talk about frameless smartphones. But what are they? How is the professional UX/UI design for them different compared to other screens? In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about frameless mobile screens and their interfaces.

What Is a Frameless Smartphone?

Frameless smartphones are smartphones with a screen that rises above the edges of the case, has smoothly curved corners, and the area of ​​their screens relative to the surface of the matter is more significant than in smartphones with a “normal” display. At the same time, such smartphones do not become wider; only their screen becomes “thicker” in a sense. They appeared on the market a few years ago; however, in 2020, we are expecting a boom in their popularity and the number of manufacturers that make such devices.
The main advantage of a frameless device is the increased screen area, which sometimes occupies more than 90% of the body area. However, it does challenge UX/UI design agencies to build adaptive designs for new screen sizes and unique features.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Frameless Screens

Why is everybody so obsessed with frameless smartphones? There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Surfing the internet, watching videos and photos on such a screen is much more pleasant due to the larger screen;
  • Because the creators have placed a fingerprint scanner directly beneath the screen, there is a more seamless user experience.

However, there are also some cons:

  • The main problem with frameless screens is called “false press”. It occurs when a finger touches the bend of the screen. The obsolescence of such devices happens quicker.
  • The front camera, which can be at the bottom of the phone, is also inconvenient: you have to turn the phone over to use it.

Who Are the Market Leaders in the Niche?

Almost every well-known manufacturer of mobile phones already has a frameless smartphone. But here, as elsewhere, there are leaders and trendsetters. The most prominent manufacturers in this segment include Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei.
Apple has a jubilee iPhone X, which cannot be ignored. The highlight of this device is the Face ID function, which allows one to use it in place of the fingerprint scanner. It is possible thanks to the 6-core Apple A11 Bionic processor that uses AI.
Samsung has repeatedly pleased its fans with various frameless models. Here and Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 8, and for 2018 the release of Galaxy Note 9 is also frameless.
Frameless smartphones are gaining more and more popularity - this is a fact. Otherwise, Apple would not have made it’s new iPhone frameless. As for prices, then the scatter is the same as for the “frame” smartphones, everyone can find the right one.

UX/UI for Frameless Phones

Now let us talk about some principles that you need to keep in mind when doing UX/UI design for frameless smartphones.

Frameless Screens

Both Android and iOS frameless phones have been released. As usual, both counterparties are trying to add something that makes them unique in the design of their phones. So, whether you are designing an application for an Android or Apple device, you need to be familiar with their developer’s guidelines and requirements.
However, what is generally true is that the edges of frameless mobile devices are now more rounded. They have a higher definition and have more screen space.

Personalized User Experience

Whether you design interface for a frameless device or a more old-fashioned kind of gadget, keep User Experience at the top of your priorities. Monitoring user behavior and analyzing it is the best way to understand what works for your target audience and provide them with the best solution. For example, include an Artificial Intelligence algorithm in your video player that will suggest to the user more videos and movies based on their previous activity. That’s what Netflix does, and its users demonstrate customer loyalty that is beyond comparison.
Other personalized features that greatly influence user experience positively are access to instant assistance, better login memory for quicker app entry, promotions based on recent or past in-app purchases or location, and more.

Time-Saving Features

Another evergreen trend for the new decade is to provide the user with the shortest possible route to achieve their goals. High cognitive load and short attention spans are two factors not to forget about when creating UX/UI. Your goal is to design a clear interface with concise microcopy and straight-forward instructions. Intuitively adjusting navigation is what saves time for users. They shouldn’t spend minutes trying to figure out what they should do to put an item in the cart or send a message.
Using the principle of linearity can make the user’s app journey quick and simple. This concept implies a linear flow; in other words, achieving a goal one step at a time, quickly and efficiently. This design element helps the user to move from one activity to another.
The designer can also use other instruments like pop-up notifications to give users tips on shortcuts when performing certain functions. It might be of better use than buttons considering that now you have a bigger space to work with. Anyway, the key is not to overwhelm the user and keep the interface simple and minimalistic.

Conclusion

Frameless smartphones are gradually becoming more and more popular. While they have some unique features to look out for, the majority of important UX/UI principles stay the same: keep it clear, intuitive, and user-friendly.

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