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Slippy UX and the evolution to Post App thinking

Mobile is meant to help users do things more easily than they can elsewhere, so creating experiences that are smarter and slippy, as opposed to necessarily being sticky, has been something that has become increasingly important in the design of some app experiences.

The days of designing apps around sticky experiences, designed to keep people in apps, where success was measured only on time spent in-app, are coming to an end. Interactive notifications, Bluetooth Beacons, wearables, continuity and omni-device working means that certain app experiences need to be designed for minimal interaction. Mobile is meant to help users do things more easily than they can elsewhere, so creating experiences that are smarter and slippy, as opposed to necessarily being sticky, has been something that has become increasingly important in the design of some app experiences.

Slippy UX is found across the web and apps, especially for services or tools where it’s important to quickly enable users do what they need to. Apps and websites like CityMapper or Google are prime examples of this, where time is put into creating experiences which require the fewest steps to complete an action, or time to access relevant information.

Another premise of Slippy UX is the ability to move from one device to another, without interrupting workflows. This was first introduced with iOS 8 and OS X, with Continuity and HandOff, enabling users to start an email or look at a website on one of their devices and then easily pick up from the next device.This is key when looking at experiences across a variety of devices, from a wearable to mobile device, mobile to mobile, or mobile to desktop.

Slippy UX also opens up to what Gartner calls the ‘post app era’. This builds upon contextual design, or ambient user experience, where functionality or interaction is provided outside of the core app experience. Apps like Swarm and its sister app Foursquare are examples of a post app experience. With these apps, information is triggered based on where users are, using geo-location, background monitoring and interactive notifications to provide the user with the ability to check-into locations or get tips, without launching into the apps.

Ultimately, this type of experience is best found with Google Now, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, where apps play a secondary function to the smartphone experience. This isn’t to say that apps are going to stop being important; if anything apps become more important with the post app, slippy experience.

Apps, by their very nature — and specifically native apps — are more tightly integrated with phones and the services phones deliver. As a result, apps will be essential for enabling some of the post app services.

For more on Slippy UX and mobile design trends, download Mubaloo’s White Paper on UX Trends over the past few years and the Evolution of Slippy UX here.

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