In the world of apps, there are many details to take care of. Developing the app itself, designing the interface, coming up with a marketing strategy, copywriting, and a bunch of other small tasks. Among those small tasks, there are splash screens. So what are splash screens?
While a splash screen is probably not a vital element, you’ll be surprised to learn that they are quite common in most of the mobile apps you’re using.
But if you’re not very familiar with what splash screens are exactly, that’s why we’re here! In this post, we will talk about the reasons why a splash screen can make a difference and the essentials of creating one for your software or app.
We will also guide you through some of the best design tools that will come in handy if you want to build the perfect splash screen on your own.
📚 Table of contents:
💡 What are splash screens?
I’m sure everyone reading this post has dealt with all sorts of web and mobile apps by now and got familiar with how a typical user interface looks. While running such programs, you probably noticed that some do not enter directly into what is the core functionality of the app but first they load a simple page that lasts for a few seconds, and only afterward you get to see the main screen.
That page that you see for only a second is a splash page. Splash screens are minimalist and very simple when it comes to design. They usually contain the app’s logo and name, but sometimes you’ll also see the brand that created it and/or a motto.
All these elements are put over a background (a single color or an image) and provide various animated effects. So, basically, splash screens are subtle introductions to the respective software or brand.
Numerous big brands in the tech realm use splash screens in their apps, so let’s see a few examples for inspiration. You’ll notice the utter simplicity they chose to launch their apps with.
🤔 Why use splash screens
If you plan on building an app, you should take into consideration adding a splash screen to introduce the concept to the viewer.
It’s not mandatory, and not all developers use them. Still, here are a few reasons why creating a catchy splash screen for your app might turn out to be beneficial:
- It gives your operating system or app code the time to load
- While the splash screen is displaying, your app can safely load in the background and get data from the server. These few seconds will prepare the main elements of the app to show up and work properly by the time the user starts using it.
- It offers credibility
- It’s a sign of professionalism when you welcome users with your logo and brand. It shows that you care about the little details in how you present your creation to the user.
- It makes your logo easy to remember
- Re-introducing your logo every time a user enters the app will make it more memorable, which is a marketing bonus.
- It masks the time it takes to load the app
- This is preferable to seeing a blank page that takes seconds to load. We don’t like to wait unless we are given something to focus on, which will make the wait feel shorter. It’s about making a good impression right from the start. Most users won’t notice what the splash screen is doing.
🔨 How to create a splash screen
Okay, now that we know what are splash screens and why they can be beneficial, let’s briefly go through some tips on how to create a splash screen that works.
- Pick a UI design tool that will provide you with all the resources. Don’t worry, we did the research for you and we’ll talk about some great prototyping tools a bit later.
- Do not try to impress with your design skills when making a splash page. You have to keep it as simple as you possibly can.
- Add a solid or gradient background. You can even use an image, as long as it doesn’t contain many colors and elements.
- Add subtle animation effects to the page elements. But nothing too fancy or eccentric.
- Don’t use more than two or three different colors.
- It’s essential to NOT let the splash screen display for more than three seconds.
- Load the minimum amount of data from the server to make sure the app will run smoothly at launch.
- Integrate potential errors within the splash screen page. For instance, when a user doesn’t have an internet connection – which prevents the app from proceeding to the main screen – add a friendly message via the splash page telling them the reason why the app can’t launch.
- When an error occurs, you can also consider including a button that users can tap to refresh the page. Or you can simply add an automatic refresh of the page, which will run the app the moment internet connection is detected. Usually, splash screens do not involve user interaction, they just show up for a few seconds and their job ends there.
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To give you a practical way of applying this entire spectrum of tips about splash screens, let’s have a look at some great design tools that will provide you with all the necessary resources to create splash screens on your own.
These tools are suitable for all users, so you don’t need to be a designer to make the most out of them.
This is a great tool that lets you upload images or sync with your Sketch and Photoshop files. You can use the files that you import to play with layouts and put them in different contexts.
The tool has a free version, so you can just sign up and get to work right away.
InVision has a modern interface with intuitive steps and a team mode. Each team member can edit and comment directly on the respective template. You can see the designs on different devices and add interactive actions for the user.
In the Cloud version of the tool, you can only prototype and add effects on ready-made screens. If you download InVision Studio, you can make good-looking designs with vector-based drawings, animate them, and get feedback from your team for each element you build.
Justinmind is another great tool for prototyping that works offline. You can download it for free and use it locally. After you install it, you’ll notice the interface that resembles Photoshop a bit.
With this software, you can design your screens from scratch and turn them into interactive prototypes by adding various web interactions and mobile gestures (rotate, swipe, tap, scroll).
You have the freedom to choose the style, layout, and size of your elements and control the overall customization.
Justinmind is an all-in-one tool that will let you build your splash screens all the way from the design phase to actually seeing how they look on a mobile phone screen. It has drag-and-drop elements and icons and it is easy to grasp.
Moqups is another intuitive design and prototyping tool that’s great for teams working together on the same projects. It’s easy to switch between design mode and prototyping mode, and basically customize everything from one single interface. With this tool, you can create wireframes for web and mobile applications.
Your teammates can comment directly on the design you’re building and leave suggestions for the elements you’re using.
You can also communicate with the team via a live chat at the bottom of the screen. The tool lets you create your own templates by combining more objects for future usage.
Scrolling through Moqups, you’ll find many UI components of all sorts that you can add across your splash screens. The tool is premium and you can buy it for $16 per month.
Mockplus is an awesome drag-and-drop software similar to page builders for websites that’s easy to manage and figure out. It comes with all types of elements that you usually find on a regular splash page, to which you can apply various styles and options.
You need to sign up and download the software on your computer to be able to work on your new projects, but once you install it, you’ll see how intuitive the interface is.
You can choose to go solo or opt for a collaboration feature, where more members can join and check the work in progress.
This tool is user-friendly as well as designer-friendly. You can choose to use the basic options or go in front-end development mode where you’ll have even more settings. After you created the design, you can test it in the eight preview methods available.
This tool has a modern interface and it’s pretty intuitive for casual users. It has lots of pre-made templates so building a new design from scratch is not mandatory. If you find a template that fits your splash screen idea, go with it.
The software has a great collection of UI elements, effects, transitions, interactions, and other features that you can add to your page.
You can easily create sliders and connect all the screens with one another. Everything can be done via drag-and-drop options.
If you want to do your work quickly, Proto.io has all the elements ready for you. Apart from building designs, you can gather feedback from how users interact with them. This tool works both online and offline and doesn’t require installation.
You can test Proto.io for 15 days, but after the period ends, you need to pay for the product. The pricing starts at $29 per month.
Last but not least, Balsamiq is a minimalist online tool that creates wireframes for the web and mobile apps. It comes with a simple interface and easy to grasp functionality. It’s actually the most straightforward tool, perfect to create a minimalist project like a splash screen.
It comes with many elements that you can customize to your liking, allows reviews and comments from your team members, and lets you create alternative versions for each design.
You can use the tool either as a web app or install it on your computer. Pricing starts at $9 per month and allows for a free trial of 30 days.
I hope we cleared things up for you about what are splash screens and what they’re good for.
If you’re planning to create a splash screen for your app in the near future, let us know how it worked out. We’re genuinely curious to see your templates, so feel free to share them with us via the comments section. 😃
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