Why Real-life visual clues in UI matter + The case of license plates at Snapp, Iranian ride-sharing app.

Mobile Apps are getting involved with our daily life more than ever. A good example of this is ride-sharing services in which making a seamless digital and real-life experience is essential. Users are not just ordering something online and waiting for the service to do the hard work, they are actually involved physically in the process which makes controlling user experience much more challenging.

In such services there are multiple digital and physical brand touch-points involved and to create a seamless experience, service designer should pay attention to each one in order to prevent inconsistency. Consistent visual clues can speed-up and improve reliability of interface communication and create an intuitive experience especially for non-professional (or not local) users.

Apple Pay

As an example, Apple Pay illustrates images of actual debit cards in the interface while it was easier to just write “American Express” in a large (& probably Thin!) typography. In this case, there’s also importance of reflecting brand recognition and visual identity of the banks which makes it an easy trade off.


As a ride-sharing service, at Snapp product we have various challenges in creating a smooth user experience. From assigning nearest (and highest rated) Snapp, to identifying the correct car in the street by Snappers.

Iranian cars licence plates
Snapp, Assigned Screen

Identifying requested Snapp is an easy job in a no-so-crowded place, but in a busy street there is licence plate and knowing the car model to rely on in a long distance. (a UX Idea for this)

Licence plates are designed to be easily recognizable and readable in long distances and different perspectives. The typography differs from the style we use in the app, But as a visual clue it had to represent it’s real-life look to works best as a communicative visual clue.

So we added the font and background image for the numbers to do just that. Of course, it should remain the same in all UI languages since it’s even a more critical element to rely on for non-Iranian users who can identify the plate by the shape of the letters and numbers (the app offers English and French languages besides Persian).