The world of mobile usage has seen unprecedented growth over the past couple of years.
In 2016, internet usage on mobile phones officially took over from desktop computers and tablets, and Google is now reporting that more than half of all the queries on their website come from smartphones.
If you’ve decided to build your first ever mobile application, you’ve already taken the first step in engaging what is an exponentially growing audience.
According to Statista, the number of mobile app downloads is expected to cross 350 billion by the year 2021. Think back only 10 years when the new iPhone 3G had just come out and you’ll realize how quickly mobiles have taken over our lives.
If you believe you have an idea for an app that not only stands out from the crowd, but it also provides supreme functionality and ease-of-use, you’re almost guaranteed to find success. If such a simple idea like Flappy Bird can become such a global phenomenon, then any well-designed application has a chance to make it.
However, before you get to the work on creating a killer app that blows away the competition, there are a few design tips and tricks you should know.
All of the points mentioned in this article come from experts in the industry, so you know they won’t lead you astray.
With that out of the way, let’s jump right into it. Here are 6 do’s and don’ts every amateur should know about mobile apps designing.
1. Plan with the user in mind
You’ll be surprised to hear how many people say they know step, but never actually get around to it.
Always keep in mind that you’re designing the app for a target audience, and their needs and wants are the only things that matter. You might not like a certain trend or practice that others are following, but if it helps engage users better, you’ll need to incorporate the idea into your own app as well.
Of course, you can always choose to add your own unique touch to certain trends to make sure your app isn’t generic.
2. Keep a consistent layout
If all of the text appeared as a pop up at the bottom of the screen on one slide, then it should repeat like that for all other slides as well.
Consistency is extremely important in digital design of any kind, but it takes on a higher importance for mobile apps simply because all the content is crowded into a smaller-sized screen, where things become more noticeable.
3. Design for the basic user first
Unless you’re targeting highly skilled technical staff or scientists, you’ll need to design the app in a way that anyone can learn to use it easily.
Put yourself in the shoes of a layman and start designing from this perspective. You’ll also need to cater for people of different ages and backgrounds. The older generations naturally have a harder time adjusting to new ideas, so make it easier for them to use your product.
1. Prioritize looks over usability
Do not get us wrong; it’s essential to have an app that looks pretty. But, it’s even more important to make sure that its usability comes first.
A great example of this is the Flappy Bird game we mentioned earlier in the post. The game’s graphics looked like they would come straight out of a 90’s arcade, but it was the app’s ease-of-use and simplicity that won users over.
A similar concept should apply in your design, especially when you’re making an initial prototype. You can add all the flashy animations and colors once you’re sure that everything works as it should.
2. Forget to a do a few trial runs
One of the biggest mistakes we see many amateur designers make is that they release their new applications on the respective app stores without fixing all the bugs.
As a user, there’s nothing more annoying than finding out that an app which seemed so promising at first turns out to be buggy and slow once you start using it a little.
Show the initial trial version of the app to a few of your friends and colleagues, and ask them to test it for you similar to how a general user would. They’ll find bugs and problems that you weren’t even aware of.
3. Use the same design on all operating systems
If you’ve used the same application on an Android phone and iPhone, you’ll have noticed that there are significant differences between both designs, even though they accomplish the same thing. Have you ever wondered why this is so?
It’s because each OS has its distinctive style and feel, and mobile apps are designed with those respective users in mind.
If you’re unfamiliar with any of the major mobile OS platforms (Android, iOS, Windows), we’d highly recommend that you use it extensively for a couple of weeks before beginning your design so that you have a clearer idea of how it functions and feels.