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Are You Stuck With Dull, Empty States? Here Are 21 Blank Slate Examples For UI Design

A well-crafted user interface (UI) makes a world of difference in the realm of digital experience.

Success hinges on not just appealing aesthetics, but also on thoughtfully designed ’empty states’ that guide and captivate users.

These strategic blank slates, far from being dull and unproductive, can enrich user experience, encourage interaction, and elevate website aesthetics.

This guide will delve into 21 exemplary blank slate instances in UI design, offering innovative ways to transform those ostensibly ’empty’ moments into valuable opportunities for user interaction and engagement.

Unleash the potential of your UI design by optimizing these critical, yet often overlooked, elements. ✨💻💡

Blank Slate UI: What’s that

Blank slates, or empty states, are screens that users see when they interact with a UI with no data or information to display. This often happens when users are using an application for the first time, have cleared data or are encountering an error.

blank slate examples

  1. First-Time Use: When a user is new to an application, the blank slate screens serve as an introduction to features and capabilities. For example, a project management app might display a blank canvas with a message like “Start your first project” and a brief guide on how to initiate it. 🚀
  2. User Cleared Data: Users may also encounter blank slates after they’ve deleted content or cleared a list. In such cases, a thoughtfully designed empty state can motivate the user to start filling the space again. An email app might display a message like “Inbox Zero: Well done! You’ve read all your emails.” 📥
  3. Error State: Finally, blank slates can also appear when there’s an error such as a lost internet connection. A good practice is to provide clear and friendly guidance to help the user address the issue, like “Oops, it looks like you’re offline.” 🌐

The goal with blank slate UI is to turn moments of potential confusion or disappointment into opportunities for engagement and education. By carefully crafting these screens, you can guide user behavior, make the interface feel more personal and friendly, and subtly communicate the application’s purpose and potential. 😊

What to include on a blank slate to avoid empty screens?

To avoid presenting your users with a stark and unhelpful empty screen, there are several essential elements you can include on a blank slate.

blank slate examples

  1. Instructional Text: Guide the user to their next action. An app like Pinterest, for instance, presents a blank slate with the text “Create a new board” to invite users to start curating their collections.
  2. Engaging Visuals: A picture can speak volumes. Visuals can make the empty screen less daunting and more inviting. For example, Slack uses an empty slate with a friendly and colorful graphic when there are no messages to display.
  3. Quick-start Actions: Provide buttons or links that help users begin engaging with the platform. Imagine a project management tool that presents a blank slate with a “Create your first task” button.
  4. Context-Sensitive Help: Offer links to FAQs, video demos or tutorials for users who need more guidance. For instance, a photo editing app might have a “See how to edit a photo” link on its blank slate.
  5. Redefining ‘Empty’: Leverage the empty space to highlight milestones or positive behaviors. Remember the email app that celebrates “Inbox Zero”! ✨
  6. Error-Specific Assistance: In case of error states, provide actionable help to solve the issue. For a lost internet connection, a screen might say, “Check your network settings or try refreshing the page.” 🔄

By integrating these elements into your design, you can ensure your blank slate screens are not only helpful but also engaging and reflective of your brand’s personality. They transform from simple placeholders to interactive components that enhance the user experience. 🚀

How much a good UI design enhance user onboarindg expirence in saas

A well-executed UI design significantly enhances the user onboarding experience in SaaS (Software as a Service) products. As the first impression that new users have of your software, it directly influences user activation and retention rates. Let’s delve into how a good UI design can make for an exceptional onboarding experience:

blank slate examples

  1. Ease of Navigation: Users are more likely to stay and explore a software that is easy to navigate. For example, Dropbox uses a clean and intuitive UI design, which makes it effortless for users to understand where to upload files, how to create folders, or share links.
  2. 📚 Guided Tutorials: Good UI design can include walkthroughs or tooltips guiding users through the software’s features. A standout example of this is Mailchimp which uses a combination of tooltips and progress bars to guide users through the process of creating their first email campaign.
  3. 🎉 Usage Reinforcement: Good UI design can reinforce usage through positive feedback. Slack, for example, uses delightful animations and congratulatory messages when users complete a task.
  4. 🧠 Reducing Cognitive Load: By presenting only the necessary information and avoiding clutter, good UI design can reduce cognitive load, making the software easier to use.

7 Blank Slate Examples for UX Design that prompt User Action

Let’s explore seven compelling blank slate examples of blank slate UX design that effectively encourage user action:

  1. Airbnb: When searching for accommodations in a location with no available listings, Airbnb presents a blank slate with alternative suggestions. Phrases like “Explore nearby stays” and “Try adjusting your search” not only help maintain user engagement but also offer immediate solutions to the issue at hand. 👍
  2. Instagram: For new users with an empty feed, Instagram uses a blank slate that suggests popular accounts to follow. Their approach is direct and engaging: “When you follow people, you’ll see their photos here.” 📸
  3. Spotify: Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” feature presents a blank slate with the text “Your weekly mixtape of fresh music. Enjoy new discoveries and deep cuts chosen just for you. Updates every Monday,” creating a sense of anticipation and encouraging user interaction. 🎶
  4. Asana: This project management tool uses its blank state to guide users into creating a new task. The text reads “Start by adding a task,” paired with an eye-catching plus button, they create a clear call to action. ✅
  5. Google Drive: On an empty folder, Google Drive displays a message that says “No items to show”, alongside a button offering the option to “New” a file or folder. This simple yet effective design encourages user action while simultaneously providing guidance. 📂
  6. Trello: In Trello, an empty board comes with a prompt: “Add a list to get started”. This creates a clear path for users to follow, ensuring they understand the first step in interacting with the app. 📝
  7. Duolingo: On reaching an empty state after completing a language lesson, Duolingo shows a celebratory message, creating a positive reinforcement. The blank slate reads “Lesson Complete!”, followed by a button suggesting the next step, “Start next lesson.” 🎉

These examples demonstrate how effective blank slate UX design can turn empty states into opportunities for user engagement, guidance, and education. They subtly communicate the application’s purpose and potential, making the user interface feel personal and friendly. 💡

7 Blank Slate Examples for UX Design that Showcase the Product

Let’s delve into seven unique blank slate examples of how UX design utilizes blank slates to effectively showcase their products:

blank slate examples

  1. Medium: Medium, the popular blogging platform, uses an inviting blank slate to nudge beginners towards writing their first story. The space is filled with the inspiring phrase, “Tell your story”, making users feel welcomed and motivated. 📝✨
  2. Evernote: Evernote showcases its note-taking capacity by presenting a blank note with the simple prompt, “Start writing”. The note’s simplicity gives users a clear sense of the product’s purpose and function. ✍️🗒️
  3. Pinterest: For new users, Pinterest demonstrates its pinboard concept using a blank slate. The message, “Create your first Board”, clearly communicates the functionality and encourages users to dive in. 📌🖼️
  4. Google Docs: Upon opening a new document, users are greeted with a blank page and a blinking cursor. The minimalist design places the product’s main function—writing—at the forefront. ✏️📄
  5. Adobe Photoshop: For first-time users, Photoshop offers a blank canvas. Alongside this canvas, Photoshop displays a range of tools that users can use to begin their design journey, efficiently showcasing its product features. 🎨🖌️
  6. Canva: Canva, a design tool, uses its blank slate to spotlight its various functionalities. In an intuitive layout, users can choose templates, upload images, or start a design from scratch. 🎉🖼️
  7. LinkedIn: LinkedIn utilizes its blank slate to demonstrate the platform’s networking and professional capabilities. New users are guided to “Add a new connection” or “Post an update”, effectively showcasing its key features. 👥💼

Through these examples, we see that a strategically designed blank slate is not just an empty space. It serves as an effective tool to showcase the product, guide user interaction, and induce user onboarding, thereby enhancing the overall user experience. ✨🚀

7 H2 Blank Slate Examples for UX Design that use Quick Tutorials

Let’s further explore the realm of UX design by highlighting seven exceptional examples of blank slate designs that incorporate quick tutorials to guide users: 🚀

blank slate examples

  1. MailChimp: MailChimp, a marketing automation platform, demonstrates its user-friendliness with a quick tutorial for new users. The tutorial leads users through the process of creating an email campaign, with clear instructions overlaying the interface to provide a step-by-step guide. 📧
  2. Grammarly: Grammarly, the writing assistant, presents a blank slate with a quick tour of how to use its features. It walks users through the process of uploading a document, choosing writing goals, and understanding the insights it provides. ✍️
  3. Slack: First-time users of Slack, the communication platform, are guided by a quick tutorial. The tutorial highlights key features and shows users how to create channels, send messages, and customize their notifications. 💬
  4. Zoom: Zoom, the video conferencing tool, uses a quick tutorial to guide users on how to schedule, join, or host a meeting. The tutorial is simple yet comprehensive, putting users at ease with the software. 📹
  5. Mint: Mint, a finance tracking tool, uses a blank slate for new users, coupled with a quick tutorial. The tutorial explains how to link accounts, set budgets, and track expenses, easing users into the application’s functionalities. 💰
  6. Dropbox: Dropbox takes advantage of a blank slate to introduce users to its key features through a quick tutorial. Users are taught how to upload files, share folders, and sync data across devices. 📂
  7. Salesforce: Salesforce, the customer relationship management platform, utilizes a blank slate with a quick tutorial guiding users through the process of adding contacts, tracking sales, and analyzing data. 📊

These examples distinctly illustrate how quick tutorials can be coupled with blank slate designs to create a user-friendly and intuitive UX design, enhancing user engagement and retention. 👍

7 Blank Slate Examples for UX Design that Use Demo Data

Let’s delve into seven unique examples of how UX design utilizes demo data within blank slates to effectively guide their users:

blank slate examples

  1. Twitter: When a user first creates an account on Twitter, the site populates the user’s feed with demo tweets from popular accounts, thereby offering a tangible sense of what the platform has to offer, and how one can engage with it. 🐦
  2. Shopify: Shopify, an e-commerce platform, uses demo data effectively. When you first set up a shop, it populates your dashboard with mock orders, products, and customers, providing a hands-on feel for managing an online business. 🛍️
  3. Airbnb: Airbnb, the home rental platform, offers a demo data-filled blank slate for first-time hosts. It displays a mock listing complete with photos, descriptions, and reviews, enabling new hosts to understand how to maximize their own listings. 🏠
  4. Google Analytics: For new users, Google Analytics showcases a demo account filled with data. This helps users understand how to interpret website traffic patterns, user behavior, and other vital metrics, before they start collecting their own data. 📊
  5. GitHub: For beginners, GitHub populates a demo repository with issues, pull requests, and code changes. This helps new users understand the collaborative aspects of the platform and encourages them to start collaborating on projects. 💻
  6. QuickBooks: QuickBooks, an accounting software, uses a demo company file for new users. This data-filled blank slate, complete with transactions, reports, and a chart of accounts, helps users understand how to use the software for their own businesses. 💼
  7. Asana: Asana, a project management tool, creates a demo project for new users. The project contains tasks, subtasks, and deadlines, thereby helping users understand how to structure and manage their own projects. 📅

These examples underscore the importance of demo data in blank slate UX design. By giving users a concrete idea of what to expect from the product, demo data can streamline onboarding, clarify product functionality, and ultimately enhance overall user experience. ✨

Best Practises for Creating the Best Blank Slate UI Design

Creating an exceptional blank slate UI design requires careful planning and strategic thinking. Here are some best practices:

blank slate examples

  1. Clear Guidance: Ensure that your blank slate design guides new users intuitively. An effective blank slate provides clear instructions on the next steps a user needs to take. For example, Dropbox’s blank slate guides users to upload files, share folders, and sync data across devices.
  2. 🌟 Showcase Key Features: Use your blank slate to highlight your platform’s unique features. Much like LinkedIn’s blank slate, which encourages new users to “Add a new connection” or “Post an update”, your blank slate should showcase what your product has to offer.
  3. 📚 Provide Quick Tutorials: Enhance your user’s experience by incorporating quick tutorials into your blank slate design. A great example is Grammarly, which offers a brief tour, walking users through the process of uploading a document, choosing writing goals, and understanding the insights it provides.
  4. 📊 Implement Demo Data: Make use of demo data to give users a tangible sense of what to expect. Twitter, for instance, populates new users’ feeds with demo tweets from popular accounts, thus providing an immediate sense of engagement with the platform.
  5. 🎨 Maintain Simplicity: The design should be simple and uncluttered. Overloading the blank slate with too much information or too many options can confuse and overwhelm users.
  6. 📢 Include a Call to Action: A well-placed call to action can guide users to the next step and encourage them to engage with your product. Dropbox does this well by encouraging users to “Start by uploading a file.”
  7. 🎵 Personalize When Possible: Providing personalized instructions or suggestions can enhance user engagement. For instance, a music app can suggest playlists based on the user’s previously listened genres or artists.

blank slate examples

With these practices, a blank slate can be transformed from a plain, empty space into an effective onboarding tool. It can enhance the user experience, increase user engagement, and contribute to the overall success of your product. 🚀


Blank slates are a crucial element of UX design, capable of profoundly influencing a user’s experience with a product. They serve as a canvas for clear guidance, highlighting key features, and utilizing demo data. By following best practices, blank slates can expertly steer new users through the onboarding process, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the product’s functionalities. 🎨✨

So, the next time you encounter a blank slate in your favorite app or website, take a moment to marvel at the thought and effort invested in crafting an intuitive and user-friendly experience. And if you’re a designer, don’t forget to incorporate these best practices to create a remarkable blank slate UI design. Happy designing! 🚀🎉

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