As mobile development industry blooms much and much further, every day more developers face the problem of making their apps more attractive for users. There are many ways of doing so; one of them is, as many of us would probably guess, app design. Surely, it is one of the most important influencers that determine the feeling of the app, its soul, and make it sensible for users. Here, it should be mentioned, first impression plays a great role. That it why the topic of this article concerns the question of what is a splash screen and how to create a great splash screen for your app.
What Is a Splash Screen?
Splash screen (or launch, or boot screen, as it is regularly called in other sources) is an application loading screen, which is displayed when it is loading or booting. It should not be mixed with a splash page, which provides users with some additional information about the news or maybe some special propositions in the app. Splash screen is purely cosmetic in nature. It usually includes a logo of the app on a background, sometimes with company (or application) name and more rarely with its motto.
Each app splash screen has such main functions, as follows:
1. Brand strengthening,
2. Setting off app loading process.
Done. No more practical use. No wonder, such posture of affairs arises a question: is it necessary, indeed? Really, the claims of many experts differ. They can be divided into three camps, each having completely different point of view. Read this of a developer, a UX-designer and a brand maker further.
Functional side. From the point of view of functionality, it is a useless feature, leastways the app really needs sufficient time for launching, such as Google Earth, for instance. In most app they can be not only needless, but also rather annoying, especially in cases when a particular app is loaded and unloaded for many times a day. However, it only reminds us, that there is no use of adding a splash screen when it is obviously unnecessary. It will do only harm to your business.
In such instance, how to answer the question do you need a splash screen or not? The answer is rather straightforward: do apply a splash screen if your app’s launch takes a sufficient time. And what about the don’ts, read next considerations.
Branding. Ever imagined a life without Coca-Cola Christmas advertising? In what way did you get to know, what Rovio is? This is the main argument on the brand makers’ side: a repetitive brand symbols on splashes develop brand loyalty. Is not it a sufficient warranty for adding a splash screen? Probably, it is. Brand loyalty is good for business, in any way, it encourages the development of young companies, popularizes the product itself, it turns a brand into a household name, as we can see in the example of Rovio. The popularity of Angry Birds now contributes to the popularity of the other Rovio products just because of everyone has seen this splash screen with the company’s name. For small companies it is even more essential to become recognizable.
Nevertheless, here is the hidden rock. In chase of popularity, companies often forget about the first rule of functionality, adding some 1-2 second delay just in order to expose their names one more time. Such an obtrusiveness usually even repels users and reminds us in a way that too much water drowned the miller.
UX observations. According to the research used in regular user experience practices, the system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time. It is the text of a system status visibility principle, recommended by Android itself. The Nebraska-Lincoln University conducted a study on how long people would wait for a website to launch. The first group of participants saw a progress bar indicating that a website was loading, the second group saw nothing of the kind. Despite the website never loaded either, people from group one waited three times longer just because of their confidence that the process was still ongoing. Remember, how often you start tapping all the buttons when the app seems to be frozen? It conveys the suggestion that the user’s loyalty derives not from the launch screen itself, but from the user’s feeling they hold sway.
Read also: Mobile App UX Design for Startups
As we found out it necessary, let us discover how to make a splash screen that will impress the savviest users.
How to Make a Splash Screen Perfect
All mentioned before was just a regular considerations, taken into account when making a launch screen. There is when we finally will get the idea, what makes the app splash screen literary perfect.
Tip 1: Keep it simple, but never ordinary
Many sources appeal not to use too gimmicky splashes and hold up as an example numerous logo-in-center launch screens. Well, this probably seemed shifty long time ago, when the number of app in mobile marketplaces was not as huge, but not now. Try to find something new and different to the ordinary practice; add some wit to catch users attention. This concerns not only to the logo, but to the background too: try to make it more interesting than just a color gradient.
Tip 2: Screen adaptation
A good splash screen should be at least fit to the screen resolution. As there are huge number of such, right splashes also should be provided for all of them. To manage this problem experts suppose using a gradient and a logo of three sizes – small, medium and large – for different screen resolutions. In case one need more sophisticated solution, so should be the way of its implementation as well.
Tip 3: Keep users out of anxiety
There is no need to strive a lot to annoy the user. Much more difficult is to avoid such a reaction on your product.
• Display the progress of the launch to keep your users from anxiety and irritation.
• No advertising ever. Remember what was mentioned about splash pages – they are the right place for your ads. As for splash screens, you are to make an impression of a respectable and trustworthy company, but not to expose your commercial orientedness.
• No multiple screens. Good splash screen is shown for a couple of moments; it does not assume the long concentration of attention and reading long texts. The less time the user will wait, the better.
The importance of short waiting time is colorfully explained by Google research. They found that even 400 milliseconds delay (a time of a blink) in loading search results causes people search less. In 2012, UMass Amherst researchers examined the habits of 6.7 mln users and found out, that most of them wait only 2 seconds for video to load before start abandoning.
Tip 4: Show your company’s awesomeness
It stands to reason that the image displayed in splash screen should identify your company clearly. Do not try to copy the solutions of build up companies, because there is a danger to vanish against them.
Traditionally, small companies are advised to add the name of the company and even their motto to the splash screens. Oh, please, no! It is the most boring and lame idea. Moreover, the motto is not constant in many young companies. Let us think of something better. The idea is that the air of a company can be conveyed not only in words. Thus, try and find your own way to reflect the company’s spirit and awesomeness.
Tip 5: Entertain users
Imagine your app launches really long due to its complexity, for example, some kind of a game. Every time their farms and buildings are launching to the memory, users are forced to look at your moveless logo or read an encouraging slogan. Nothing really bad, indeed, but it is not a kind of a perfect splash screen. Only something special can keep it from a full disaster.
To get the idea, consider such a mobile app splash image design: while the app is launching, offer the user another lightweight game: a push puzzle, a scrabble, a snake, or a pacman (of course, adapted to the design of your own app), etc. It can be even not a game, but some other interactive entertainment.
It is a novel idea, which allows you to:
• see about the user’s entertainment,
• give users confidence, that the app is not frozen, that it is still work,
• embrace your wit, your spirit and ingenuity,
• attract the user’s attention,
• differentiate your app and company from others.
It is the example of how to band all the tips into an incredible splash screen. Despite it passes not to the all projects, the idea is conveyed; use your own imagination and break the borders of commonness.
Read also: How Much Does it Cost to Design an App?
In the end, it is necessary to say that splash screens have their own pros and cons. Nevertheless, when made smart use of, they are able to do magic. Follow the tips to make your app splash screen bright and authentic.