Do you want to use your phone with one hand? Try Samsung’s One UI

If you’re having trouble using that big, beautiful Samsung phone you just got, you’re not alone. The size of today’s smartphones makes it increasingly difficult to use them with one hand. Recognizing this, Samsung has developed One UI, a user interface that overlays the Android operating system – called a skin – designed to make its smartphones easier to use. The One UI interface replaces the previous version, called the Samsung Experience .

As phones get bigger, and phablets become the standard size for the most successful smartphone designs, using them becomes more difficult. Not only is the operating system more complicated than it’s ever been, but the actual physical form factor of the phone introduces obstacles that make using the phone more difficult than ever.

How Samsung One UI improves usability

At a Samsung developer conference in November 2018, Samsung announced the One UI interface for its smartphones. The skin, which was headed to beta testing in November 2018, was scheduled to be released to the general public on some devices in January 2019.

According to a company spokesperson, the new user interface was created because “hardware and software need to work together.” To make that happen, Samsung created One UI to be easier to use with one hand, redesigning the way apps and features are displayed on the phone.

First of all, the interface is much cleaner than in previous versions. Clutter on the screen has been reduced to make it easier for users to find what they need, and the way those features and the app display will also change.

The biggest change is that the screen of a Samsung device will be virtually divided into two sections: the viewing area and the interaction area.

A publicity photo of the Samsung One UI display area and interaction area. Courtesy of Samsung

  • The Display Area : The upper half of the screen will be reserved primarily for displaying data and information. The screen will be cleaner, sharper and more visible, making it easier for users to focus on the task at hand.
  • The Interaction Area : The interaction area, which will be in the bottom half of the screen, is where users will do most of the tapping and swiping required to access and use the device’s menu and features.

Taken together, these improvements mean no more stretching until you twist your thumb to get to a feature in the top right corner of the screen. Users of one user interface will also not need to use two hands. It will be easier and more intuitive one-handed operation, much like the experience users had before touch screens became commonplace.

A user interface focuses your attention

In addition to the physical enhancements required to make Samsung phones accessible with one hand, the One UI also improves usability by making the entire experience of using the device less distracting. In what the company called a “smooth” way, the features have been grouped so that the most used features are shown first, and anything that isn’t being used fades out of view.

An advertising image of Focus Block on the interface of Samsung One. Courtesy of Samsung

What remains is Focus Blocks , which bring the most important content needed to focus on the task at hand, and presumably the content you want to see, front and center. The whole experience is enhanced by the use of more rounded corners and a higher proportion of white space around those focus blocks.

As a final bonus, Samsung is also adding a dark mode to the One UI, designed to help reduce eye strain when using a Galaxy device in the dark. This feature has been requested by users for a long time, and as a complement to the usability of One UI, it is very welcome.

The final result? Samsung’s One UI is just what your phone and fingers have been asking for.