Widgets are mini-programs that perform one specific function. They are used in applications as graphical elements that can be interacted with or on mobile devices as the embodiments of apps.
On a daily basis, users use the functionality of several programs simultaneously. On websites and social media platforms, they can like, leave a comment, and bookmark a photo or text. On their devices, they can check the battery power, see the date, and connect to Wi-Fi without going into the app itself.
All of this is available thanks to nifty little icons that are intuitive to operate.
Widgets work differently depending on the type and where they are used.
Basic types of widgets:
Informational. These carry data, analyze their change over time, and display them on the screen. Examples include programs for tracking sports results, and the clock or calendar feature on a website or device. The user can interact with these functions directly, and clicking on the icon will open the application itself or a new page on the website.
Collections. Aimed at displaying grouped elements. For example, images from a device’s photo gallery or several news articles on a site. These can also be interacted with by tapping, swiping, or moving.
Control Widgets. These are like a remote control for an application. Without opening the app itself, the user can have access to a specific function. For example, turning the lights off and on in a Smart Home system.
There are also hybrid widgets that perform the functions of two or three of the above types at once. These universal widgets are used the most today.
The purpose of widgets is to make it easier to interact with apps and websites. This is where their functionality differs.
Widgets can enhance applications by providing quick access to information. For example, to find out the date and day of the week, you no longer have to open the Calendar app itself.
On websites, they allow for the collection of data about users’ opinions, contact information, etc. Many people don’t like user windows, but this feature helps to better interact with the CRM system, which subsequently increases conversion and promotes the site.
Widgets grab users’ attention and enhance the user experience.
On mobile devices and computers, widgets can help you:
There are entire lines of widgets available on mobile devices and desktops. They can be found on the left side of the menu by swiping down on Android or up and down on iOS. Users can change the brightness, connect to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, turn on airplane mode, take a screenshot, and check the calendar, timer, clock, remaining storage, etc.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of widgets:
Online calculator. A convenient tool for calculating the cost of services in real time. In a matter of seconds, the user can calculate the final amount due on an order, without manually calculating or running through a long price list.
Chatbot. These popular online consultants answer users’ questions or encourage interaction with the site. For example, they ask you to make a call or leave your contact details for feedback.
Pop-up window. This contains a call to action or information. It usually appears at the top of the page within a few seconds or minutes after the user has opened the website.
Countdown timer. Designed to count down the remaining time for a promotion or special offer. It usually carries advertising text in the description and is set for several hours or days.
An application is a complete program that can perform many functions, while a widget is a mini-program that can perform just one task. It simplifies interaction with an app’s functionality, and can be used on various platforms.
Additionally, apps are developed separately, only work when they are activated, and immediately go into sleep mode once a session has ended. Apps show up as icons on the desktop and must be downloaded from an online app store to be used.
Widgets are part of an application, mobile device, or the computer itself. They operate autonomously in real-time in the background and never stop working.
Both terms are interrelated. Widgets can make it easier to work with applications. For example, without opening an app, users can view and analyze the data they’re looking for.
Learn more about app icon.