Robinhood's delightful haptic feature announcement

July 2, 2020
Mobile apps

What does it mean to delight your users? UX designers and product people (ourselves included) often describe products as delightful, when what they really mean to say is that these products are thoughtful, user-centric, and easy to use.

In reality, delight is a fleeting but powerful emotion. It's rare to sustain that feeling throughout an entire user experience. Instead, the products that achieve user delight typically do so via small, unexpected details (think: Asana's celebratory unicorns) that are, in fact, unnecessary for functionality.

We recently encountered another example of unexpectedly delightful UX in mobile investing app Robinhood, of all places. Robinhood used the following screen to tease the upcoming release of Fractional Shares, which lets users buy partial stock in companies of their choice.

robinhood fractional shares haptic design mobile app example

We signed up for the waitlist, and were treated to the same animation when the new feature release announcement went live.

robinhood fractional shares new feature announcement

So, what's so great about this experience?

Unfortunately, we can't actually show you what makes this message so delightful. That's because the secret ingredient was actually a haptic effect. As the funky little rocket takes off, our phone vibrated in sync with the animation.

It was so surprising and such an unexpected touch (literally) from an otherwise straight-laced fintech app—and that's exactly what made it so memorable.