10 Key Design Tips For Great Mobile Apps



Author : Web Master


Overview


A mobile app design is the part of an application that shows the users how to use it. It’s what they see, feel, and interact with. An excellent mobile app design provides a great user experience. It guides the user through the app and makes interacting with it a breeze. Here are 10 tips for designing excellent mobile app designs.

Designing a mobile app is more than just creating an app for a mobile device. It’s also developing the user experience of that app, which means you’re designing how your users interact with your product as well.

Tons of apps are available in the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, and other mobile app marketplaces. Unfortunately, this widespread availability of mobile apps makes it highly competitive to get your app noticed and downloaded by users. So even with a great app idea, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd with a stunning app design if you want it to be successful.

Here are 10 key design tips for great mobile apps:

1. Know Your User

Design for specific verticals and demographics, with universal features that work across platforms. Why is this important? It’s because you’re designing for a particular user. This person has a certain amount of time to complete the task, and you have to help them get through your mobile app quickly and easily. So the design needs to be tailored towards these users, or at least make it simple enough that anyone can use it.

For example, if you’re designing an app for children, you might want to utilize fun colours and character images. On the other hand, if your app is an exercise tracker or health log, the design would benefit from being simple, with large text that’s easy to read.

App accessibility is also crucial so that everyone can use it. 

App owners should design for people with disabilities. So whether it’s a visual, physical, or auditory disability, you need to make sure that anyone can use your app.

2. Simplicity wins!

Simplicity gives clarity, which makes information easier to read and understand. Your app should be easy to navigate and explain without being bogged down by unnecessary details or complex information. No one wants to read through lengthy descriptions or instructions when all they want is the quick answer—so keep things as straightforward as possible. The user’s most common tasks should be prominent, visible, and easy to access/complete—and even more important is that they are front-and-centre above everything else on your app.

Keep It Consistent

Be mindful of design consistency throughout the application so the experience feels cohesive. When the design is consistent, it’s easier for users to understand how everything works together. Be sure to maintain consistency in visual style (e.g., navigation elements), user interface lingo (e.g., buttons/actions), and even the placement of features within your mobile app’s layout – aspects like these need to be consistent. Hence, the app feels familiar, functional, and enjoyable.

3. Declutter Your Layout

This is a biggie… Don’t forget! If your app is cluttered with unneeded information, it will be far too challenging for the user to find what they want. It’s important to keep each section/feature simple and only include the most relevant and useful content for your user. The mobile screen is smaller than a laptop or desktop, so many users may have little tolerance for a long scroll through a cluttered layout.

Take Advantage of the Power of White Space

White space is your friend.  White space improves the user experience for your users. In addition to creating a clean and simple appearance, adding large chunks of blank or negative space makes any content stand out more. 

Other things to consider…

  • Seek a simple design to improve and simplify user interaction.
  • Try to concentrate on one or two activities per screen.
  • Avoid irrelevant information on your app.
  • Headlines and text should be easy to understand.
  • Icons should be simple.

4. App Navigation should be intuitive

Intuitive means the user should be able to figure out how to get around the app and what they need without any unnecessary effort. You don’t want users to have to learn a whole new way of navigating, so keep it simple and familiar – but also uncluttered.

Choose standard design elements for navigation (e.g., buttons, text links) and stick to a familiar layout that makes sense to your users. When possible, include a menu icon or prominent back button (for easier navigation between screens).

If you’re creating an iOS app, you’ll need to use a tab bar for navigation purposes and a Navigation Drawer for Android.

No matter which platform you are designing for, your app’s navigation should never be hidden.

Consider using gestures for user navigation

Gestures are becoming more commonplace in mobile apps, and they allow your app to do things that wouldn’t be possible with just taps and swipes alone. In addition, gesture-based navigation makes multi-tasking and moving quickly around apps much more intuitive.

For example, beyond just tapping on links, swiping your finger across a link will open it immediately. Or using two fingers to expand something that’s initially too small to see is just as simple as pinching outwards to zoom into something too large.

5. Ensure that tap targets are finger-friendly

In designing the UI of a mobile app, you need to ensure that each touchable element is large enough for the user’s finger. The larger your UI elements, the easier it will be for a user to tap (don’t forget: fat fingers and small screens don’t mix well). Conversely, if you make everything too small, the app could become difficult and frustrating for users to navigate or interact with.

The average human finger pad is 10mm x 14mm, and the typical fingertip is 8-10mm broad. Therefore, based on research, a 10x10mm touch target appears to be a sensible minimum requirement.

Additionally, keep enough distance between two or more tap targets, and be sure to make interactive areas big enough for easy and accurate touch target placement.

6. Ensure user inputs are at a minimum

It’s a good design principle to “get out of the users’ way”, especially in mobile app design. Instead, you want to do everything possible to make it easy for users to complete a task or interact with your app.

How many taps does it take to navigate from the home screen to a functionality of your app? For instance, is it an easy task for the user to purchase from within the app? Are there any confusing steps involved?

There is no need to make things more complicated than necessary. Take a hard look at your app and reduce the number of user inputs as best you can.

So:

  • Keep forms as short as possible.
  • Allow users to purchase with one tap/click.
  • Use autofill to help users to enter data faster.
  • Remove extra steps whenever you can.

7. Stick to respective OS design guidelines

When designing a mobile app, you should stay true to the look and feel set by your platform. Being aware of standards and industry conventions is especially important for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows app design.

By following the rules – or best practices – of your platform, you make it easy for users to navigate your app and work with its features. You want them to feel comfortable from the moment they download your app, and sticking with design standards allows you to accomplish that goal. It will also help simplify support issues once your app goes live.

8. Design for multiple device screens sizes and resolution

A mobile app doesn’t live in a vacuum – it needs to work on as many different devices as possible. So even if you design and develop your app, there is always the chance it will be downloaded somewhere where the screen size falls outside what you’ve planned.

As such, it’s essential to design for multiple screen sizes and resolutions. It means creating assets that can be easily resized to accommodate different screens in the initial release of your app and, over time, as new devices come on the market.

While responsive design can help your mobile app look good on all devices, there are still specific resolutions that may stand out more than others – especially if you’re creating apps for different brands/platforms (e.g., iOS vs Android). The best way to ensure your app looks great on all devices is to design and develop for the lowest common denominator.

9. Add Social, Animation, and Gamification Features

Today, people are socially connected everywhere they go. From the workplace to the grocery store, social media integration is an opportunity to improve engagement with your mobile app.

At home, users want products and services that can be shared on Facebook or tweeted about on Twitter – even if it’s just to brag about getting a new app. For this reason, it’s vital to include social sharing capabilities – and more – in your mobile app.

Many animation features can make a user’s experience with an app come alive. It could be as simple as visual cues telling them they’ve completed key tasks (e.g., checkmarks appearing on buttons). At the same time, animation features can also be used to guide the user throughout an app subtly.

Finally, consider adding gamification elements to your mobile app. For example, you could give users points for logging in or sharing information with friends – or even have them compete against each other. The key is to use these tools to build a community and encourage engagement.

While you don’t need to integrate all of these design elements into your app, using just one or two could help you better connect with users.

10. Test Your Prototype With Real People

At this stage, you may be eager to show off your app and get feedback. While that’s a good instinct to have, it’s best to resist the urge until after testing your prototype.

You don’t want to build something that doesn’t work .Not only will you waste time, but it will also make your company look bad.

Instead, take the extra time to test your app with real people. They can give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t while pointing out flaws or issues that may have slipped through the cracks. Of course, it’s still up to you whether or not to incorporate their suggestions into your design, but you don’t want to risk building an app that won’t resonate with your future users.

Conclusion

No one can guarantee you that your next mobile application will be a smashing success, that congratulations will be waiting for you in your inbox, and phone calls from business magnates who will want to make you part of their team. But, based on our experience, we did our best to share with you some simple but effective tips on how to design mobile applications that are friendly to users and easy to use. Do not overdo it with functionality. Make your application clean and straightforward, be minimalistic with colours and fonts, make your application easy to navigate. Add animation only if it makes sense, avoid using animation just for fun, etc.

Just remember that they are suggestions based on both research across the industry as well as our own experience designing apps. They are not hard and fast rules, and there is no silver bullet when it comes to design – but I believe these 10 points can help get you off on the right footing.


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