Rachel Smith

4 best practice tips for designing interactive mobile advertisements: Insights from Adludio UK’s Interaction Designers

During the London Design Festival, we sat down with the designers from our London team at Adludio, Ekaterina, Andrey and Ira. 

Ekaterina is a Digital Interactive Designer with a BA in Graphic Design from Kingston University. She also has an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art where she researched emerging technologies and their implications and impact on society. In addition to this, she has worked as a graphic design freelancer and had her work commissioned for charities and galleries. 

Andrey has a wealth of experience in web design, UI and UX. He studied Environmental Design at The Baltic International Academy in Riga where he specialised in web-design.

Ira is a Digital Interaction Designer with a background in Product and Speculative Design. Her work includes user-centred design methodologies, interactive technologies and future narratives. She has presented her projects at conferences and exhibitions across Europe and the USA. Ira holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, a Product Design diploma from Central Saint Martins and a BA in Product Design from Middlesex University. 

As experts in user interaction design, our designers have produced hundreds of stunning ad units for big household names such as Adidas, Nike, LEGO, BMW, Estee Lauder, and M&S, just to name a few. We asked them to share their insights on the main elements they consider when designing interactive mobile advertisements. Here are the four key takeaway points they had to offer... 

“What are the main elements to consider in the best practice of designing interactive mobile advertisements?”


1) Ads must be intuitive

“The user experience is perfect when the journey is seamless and the user doesn’t have to think at all.”  

It’s absolutely vital that interactive and sensory ads, which require user-initiation, are intuitive so that users instinctively understand what to do, without conscious thought. You must provide a friction-free experience and avoid confusion, as your users will spend very little time assessing whether an ad warrants their attention. As designers, we have a responsibility to minimise users’ cognitive processes so that they can evaluate their role and the actions required from them instantaneously. 

To ensure that the user can react intuitively, we put ourselves in the user's shoes to experience the ads objectively and to identify any points of uncertainty. The majority of intuitiveness is derived from the user's experience and their cultural context and so we try to incorporate language, icons and gestures that are recognisable and consistent with society. As we are a global business, we always ensure that each element is relevant and appropriate for the context and country. 


2) Ads should be story-telling units 

“Interactive ads are responsible for translating static brand and marketing collateral into rich and engaging user experiences.”

We believe that ads must be created bespoke for each brand and should act as an extension of the product or service. Four great ads we love which do this really well include:

This BMW which facilitates user involvement to portray the exciting reverse function of the car.

This Hep2O creative which is great at portraying how easy it is for the user to assemble the pipes, linking really well to the overall message.

And the Vitality Blast and Criton creative’s which both provide really fun and relevant interactions for the user to participate in.

We oppose the idea that interactivity is synonymous with gimmicky, and believe it’s the most exciting and comprehensive way to convey the nature of a product or service. With interactivity comes great versatility, whereby each vertical can be expressed in new and exciting ways.

Using interactivity for storytelling is great for both direct response purposes, but also brilliant for building brand awareness. For this reason, another ad we love is this Grundig creative. Initiative came to us with this idea for an exploratory ad unit which cleverly allows the user to visualise themselves in the kitchen and feel a sense of ownership through the advertisement. We love how it came to fruition. 

3) Ads should be optimised with data insights

“The design process should be iterative and use data insights to inform the creative and contextual factors of human engagement.”

The perfect formula for optimised creative can be attributed to a seamless marriage of consumer-engagement data and creative tech. With each campaign served, you should extract and analyse the data at a granular level to understand which aspects of the creative are most and least effective. This is particularly important to understand across industries, to understand which audiences respond best to which type of creative. 

4) Remember the practicalities of mobile ads 

“When designing an interactive mobile ad, it is essential to go back to basics, do your research and consider all of the practicalities for serving an ad on mobile.”

In particular, this involves understanding how users hold their phones and interact with their screen. Research by Hoober shows that 75% of user interactions on a phone are thumb-driven¹. The ‘thumb zone’ maps out the areas on screen which are most accessible to the majority of users² and therefore provides a great template of where the key interactive information (CTA’s and gestures) should be positioned. 

Of course, the ‘thumb zone’ changes depending on which hand the user is using to hold their phone. Despite 90% of users being right-handed, Hoober’s research shows that only 67% of users hold their phone with their right hand³. This may be because users sometimes switch hands to use their dominant hand for other activities, therefore it’s important to place information in a location that is accessible for both hands, such as the zone proposed here by Ingram². This figure clearly illustrates that the most universal approach is to ensure user interactivity is limited to the centre bottom 40% of the screen.

It is also important to note that inside this accessible space, each touchpoint should be at least 7-10mm to fit the average fingertip width⁴ so that ‘fat thumb syndrome’ is avoided and users can interact effectively on the first attempt. 

Something else to note on this is that in the future, we hope to be able to use more vertical videos in our ads as these assets look much better on a mobile device. 


Finally, we asked our designers “What do you love most about your role at Adludio?”

Andrey: When I’m not designing, I’m a user too, and experience lots of ads myself. I understand that some ads can be annoying, so by working at Adludio I hope that I can use the opportunity to create ads that are much more engaging, exciting and welcomed by users. 

Ekaterina: Adludio has very inspiring founders and a great story behind it. I love working here because I feel like I’m not just producing online banners to feed the never-ending pool of internet spam. I like being a part of the evolution of online advertising, where brands engage people's senses and let the customers interact with their products in new ways.

Ira: I am working closely with a small team of creatives, technologists and data specialists trying to redefine the new digital advertising mobile experience. I feel part of a revolutionary change in the industry, with a high daily challenge to push the limits using new technologies to create something bespoke! 

If you’re interested in seeing what our amazing team can create bespoke for your brand, get in touch with us at hello@adludio.com


 1 https://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2017/05/design-for-fingers-touch-and-people-part-2.php


2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2016/09/the-thumb-zone-designing-for-mobile-users/


3 https://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2013/02/how-do-users-really-hold-mobile-devices.php


4 https://www.toptal.com/designers/ux/mobile-ux-design-best-practices