So what is a Сlean UI? In a nutshell, it's less about visuals and more about how easy to achieve specific end-user goals. In general, Clean UI describes everything in it that does not slow down, but on the contrary, "pushes" people to take action when interacting with it. Such a user interface is based mainly on interactivity and minimalism.

However, these are not all its characteristics. We decided to conduct detailed research and, based on the material of the wonderful book “Refactoring UI” by Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger, considered the most successful examples of the problems with the implementation of Hierarchy and Balance, touched upon in this book.

#1. Emphasize Users on the Right Things

Although in the world of fashion, no one adheres to any rules for a long time, in the case of digital design, there must still be rules, especially when it comes to keeping the interface “clean”. Therefore, instead of focusing on “both lips and eyes”, think about what should be highlighted in your UI in the first place. Usually, accents accompany priority features that provide end users with access to the basic functionality of a digital product.

Example of Accents in the interface design

#2. Use the Power of Color

Instead of collecting a selection of well-matched colors, try to make the interface in the same color scheme, “playing” with the intensity of the shades. Sometimes, it makes it clearer to the end user the priority of a particular feature than changing the font size. This approach will keep the interface simple to read, and, at the same time, you won’t have to “tweak” microscopic letters to indicate less important elements.

Example of color hierarchy in the user interface design

#3. Think About How to Loosen Accents

If you run into the problem that you have no idea how to highlight the main elements of the interface, perhaps you should just go the other way and reduce the emphasis on the secondary ones.  Just remember that you don't have to put seven spoons of sugar in your tea to make it sweet – it’s enough to put a couple of spoons of sugar in it and serve it with diabetic cookies.

Designed by Significa

#4. Don't Use the "Label: Value" Format Where You Can Do Without It

The work of a designer is not always freedom. For example, when you demonstrate content to the end user, you may run into the problem of displaying them in the “label: value” format, which makes it much more difficult to create any kind of hierarchy (because in this case, all elements will be equal). That’s why sometimes it makes sense to abandon this way of viewing content, so as not to limit yourself in your actions.

Task management app interface

#5. Draw Attention to Main Content, Not Headings

Sometimes designers mistakenly focus on headings, and what is under them is given secondary importance. This is the wrong approach in the context of creating a Clean UI, as the visual hierarchy is broken – after all, it’s important for everyone to get a tasty and not just a beautiful candy.


#6. Reduce Contrast

You may have noticed that icons often take up quite a lot of space and look “heavy”, especially if they are located next to the text. Therefore, to make the interface look well-balanced, try lowering the contrast for such elements. Such low-resource actions will help you transform your design in a positive way.

Designed by Slick

#7. Lower the Binding to Semantics

If your users need to perform several actions within the same screen at once, you shouldn’t be tied solely to semantics. It’s much better to think about the hierarchical sequence in which the elements that allow users to perform these actions will be located. In this way, you will provide an intuitive interface without overloading it with unnecessary details.

an example of the correct hierarchical approach to developing actions on a page

#8. Get the Most Out of Whitespace

If you want to go the simplest way, just remember that a Clean UI is first of all about the sufficient use of whitespace. Don’t make UI elements “difficult to breathe” – even with a scrupulously built hierarchy, you risk losing that feeling of “cleanness”. Just use this trick and you will be surprised by the result: in particular, Apple's branded designs continue to confirm this rule from year to year.


#9. Create Your System of Spacing and Sizes

If you create a spacing and sizing system for your project before you start to work on your project, you won't run into many of the interface design problems that the vast majority of designers face. This is especially true for those who are used to working with browser tools.

example of Installing a system of intervals and sizes

#10. Don't Get Attached to the Grid System

The grid system allows the elements to have an optimal ratio between their sizes based on percentages. This approach is “working” in many cases, but in the context of Clean UI, it cannot be considered a holy grail. The fact is that there are situations when it’s better for specific elements to leave a fixed size, so you should get rid of these “bindings” for the benefit of the results of your work.

Designed by Nguyen Le

Final Thoughts

We hope that we helped you understand the specifics of creating a Clean UI using simple and understandable examples, and now you can use them to stimulate your inspiration in your projects. Be sure that our selection will help you effortlessly get positive feedback from your project’s stakeholders, and most importantly, your target audience.