Thought Leader Series: Turn Empty States in Your Mobile App Design into Bold Brand Experiences

2 min read
Aug 23, 2017

Lucas Sellyn is a personable problem-solver with a background in agency project and account management. To learn more about him, visit his blog at

You’ve designed your mobile application with your brand in mind, checking off all the standard boxes:

• Core colours are represented. Check.
• Logo is featured prominently and ubiquitously. Check.
• Key messaging has been integrated. Check.

But you’re worried the overall experience still feels generic and lacks distinction from your competitors. You’re looking for opportunities in your design that can further the brand relationship.

How else can you build brand into your mobile app’s design and improve the user experience?

State of Opportunity

TechCrunch has called Empty States “the most overlooked aspect of UX design.” Empty States are listing, inventory, or presentation screens in your mobile app that are empty or unpopulated. Any time there is no data to display on the screen, that’s an Empty State. First-time users will almost always see this type of screen before they’ve begun adding photos, files or posts.

Bold branding can turn boring empty states into memorable user experiences.

A standard Empty State may contain a blank background and a message that reads “No Posts.” This basic approach has a few downsides:

• It halts or breaks user flow
• It presents ambiguity for the user in terms of next actions
• It lacks brand identity

There is also an opportunity offered by Empty States. By applying creative branded elements or additional content to standard Empty States, you can create delightful user experiences that build rapport while clarifying actions and affordances.

Creating Engaging Empty States

Users who arrives on this screen have reached an abrupt halt in their flow. They are not offered instructions or affordances for adding notes, and are forced to navigate back to the previous screen. For the user, this experience is likely confusing or frustrating and may cause app abandonment.

The following example is an Empty State screen from the Expensify app.

This screen demonstrates some of the branding and usability best practices for engaging Empty States. Using colour, imagery, and clear messaging, this Empty State design offers instructions and affordances that guide user actions.

With these examples in mind, ask yourself a few questions:

• What user actions do I went to promote or highlight?
• Are there any personalised statements or suggestions I can present for the user?
• How can my brand identity or voice be communicated, visually or through text?
• How can I make this step fun?

The answers will help you turn a dead space in your flow into a delightful branded experience that offers contextual information to support usability.

Empty State Inspiration

Empty is a website dedicated to showcasing interesting and creative approaches to basic empty screens. The best examples incorporate a mix of the following elements into the standard Empty State:

• Brand messaging
• Icons and imagery
• Personalisation
• Instructional text
• Visual affordances for actions

A mobile app development company that understands the importance of brand implementation can help you realise your design inspirations. We at Glance offer quality app development services that reflect well on your brand. 

Bold branding can turn boring empty states into memorable user experiences.Click To Tweet

Due to their cons, Empty States are often looked at as hindrances rather than what they are – opportunities to extend your brand and make the user’s experience even better.

To learn more about branded development possibilities for your native mobile app, contact us

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