Say “NO!” to Emojis in UI

I spontaneously burst into flames when I see emojis being used in UIs. I understand that they are expressive and also easy to use since they’re Unicode. But to me it shows a lack of effort on the UI front. Use and excessive use of emojis may also be interpreted as being a clickbait, being dishonest or trying to force a connection with the user. 

If you’re an older person trying to attract a younger audience to your app or website, the emojis give an impression of being a wannabe. You know how parents will try to use some slangs and try to be cool? It’s similar. Emojis are also popular with MLMs. Let’s look at a sample text that one may receive from an MLM friend*- 

An MLM message with lots of emojis

See what I mean? It’s tasteless. And since it’s possible to associate emojis with MLM texts, they may invoke an emotion of distrust. Maybe that’s your aim, but likely not. So, what are the alternatives? SVGs. There are plenty and you can get them for free (or for a minimum licensing cost). Yes, they may cost you another line of code but that’s ok because you’re building an app.

My most recent experience with an interface filled with emojis was Clubhouse. I was livid at the interface and it just left a bad impression. Emojis scream for attention and have detailing that generally don’t go well with the app interface. If the app is going for a minimalistic feel, the emoji graphics are just the opposite of that. Fig.1 is an example that one might find in interfaces using emojis. Fig. 2 in my opinion is a better alternative. 

UI buttons- one with emoji and the other with a vector graphic

The emotions an app invoke play an important part in the adaptation of the website or app. If an interface invokes cringe or hatred, users are less likely to even open it. On the other hand, if the interface is pleasant then the users may even ignore its other shortcomings. 

*(On LinkedIn, however, there is an excessive use of words such as “potential, “leadership” and “opportunity”)

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