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UI design pattern tips: morphing controls

Once someone starts using your website or web application, they need to know where to go and how to get there at any point. If they can't navigate through your your application easily, you'll quickly lose them. Thus, designing effective navigation in your web application is crucial.

In this series for Creative Bloq, Chris Bank of UXPin, the UX design app, discusses the importance of navigation design patterns and details examples from some of the hottest websites and web apps today.

You can see previous posts in this series here. Meanwhile, for more examples of web design patterns, download UXPin's free e-book, Web UI Design Patterns 2014.

The problem

The user wants to perform different types of actions, but there's limited screen real estate to show all these controls.

The solution

UI design pattern tips: morphing controls

Pinterest uses the same button for 'like'...

Replace buttons and on-screen controls with alternative functionality. Depending on what the user is currently doing, the UI could entirely replace an element with another, e.g. 'do' and 'undo' or 'add' and 'delete'. This makes sense when the alternating actions are related in some way.

UI design pattern tips: morphing controls

... and 'unlike'

Pinterest and Facebook use the same button for 'like'/'unlike' to save space and also indicate the current state to the user. This UI design pattern saves real estate, makes undoing any action quick and clean, and is an overall playful solution.

Words: Chris Bank

Chris Bank is the growth lead at UXPin, a UX design app that creates responsive interactive wireframes and prototypes.