What the display of Bezel-less phones means for the future of UI design

When you’re a UI designer, you always see the rectangular shape of any screen as your canvas. Or rather, as a barrier.. That’s why you start your design by selecting what device you’ll be designing for. But all that’s about to change. Here’s why we should start ignoring devices and start by designing content instead…

The screen is not the limit, the content is

The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone X have both taken a step towards creating experiences where people using the phone don’t feel limited by a rectangular screen. Today, the goal has become for users to feel that the content they see is independent from hardware, like it’s floating in the air. Here are some examples:

See that the dock on the left screen reaches all the way to the edge? (Which is totally fine, by the way.) Now look at the new iPhone X screen on the right: it’s like the dock is living its own life, with no regards to the rectangular shape of the screen. When I look at it, I get the feeling that it’s the content inside that decides where the dock starts and ends.

See? Again, the start and end of the menu dial are both independent from the screen.

And it’s not just iPhones. Here’s another case where Apple tries to merge the rectangular shape of its screen to the black colour of the hardware itself. This creates the illusion that the screen has no limits at all; that all the content is just floating about in the air, and could easily be moved anywhere.

So the question that follows all this is:

Will this change the way we think of responsive design?

In many ways, I’d say yes. When you start using this method and defining where your content starts and ends visually, you’ll see that you can set simple rules for just how the content will adapt to screen size. As a result, you’ll be able to adapt your design just as easily to TV screens or even VR/AR with only some minor rules. (I’ll go into this and show some examples in another post.)

Why is UI design going towards this direction?

To answer this, just take a step back and look at the global digital design landscape today. This design method (along with others) is an inevitable step towards augmented reality. In any AR interface, you won’t be limited by a rectangular shape. You’ll have a 360° view where you can place your design anywhere you want.

Consider this: ever wondered why Apple hasn’t released a TV screen yet? Because they think that, at some point in the near future, you’ll replace your TV screen with an AR TV app you’ll buy from them — in the “App Store” or something similar. Ever wondered how that UI will look like?

It’s interesting to see how AR is already shaping the future of UI design. These are just some insights I wanted to share with you. Hope you found it inspiring — and don’t forget to get in touch with any comments or questions!

/ Husein Aziz

See more: huseinaziz.com