10 tips to keep in mind when designing a mobile app
If you’re looking to design a mobile app, there are probably a lot of things going through your mind. “Where do I start? What is the process? What are all the things I need to do?” Don’t stress out. Over and above the technicalities like choosing the right framework and language, coding, bug testing etc, most apps fail to meet the requirements simply because it falls short on a few basic principles. So before you jump in, let’s take a step back, and go over 10 tips to keep in mind when designing a mobile app.
Kodework is a global leader in web and app development, based in Norway with offshore development studios in India. Our designers use these tips on a regular basis to deliver stunning apps that are intuitive, engaging, and functional. This short article is a part of the broader concept of mobile app development that you can find in our Comprehensive Guide To Mobile App Design.
1. Understand the user
It’s important to be clear about who the app is for, and what it hopes to achieve. This process requires research, or if you’re designing this app for a client, it’s important that you clear all doubts in a detailed walkthrough meeting
2. App features
Always remember that the app must be a useful tool instead of an application that promises but doesn’t deliver. Keeping this in mind, design a feature set that is clear, useful, and intuitive. Also, identify USPs that differentiate it from other similar apps.
3. Identify your target user base
In all probability, you will be designing for Android and iOS – or both. If in case you are designing for only one platform, research your user base to find out if the operating system you are designing for meets the majority of your target audience.
4. Aim to deliver a strong design
The competition is fierce for any product app. Ensure the UI is user-friendly, responsive and intuitive, by following the developer guidelines of the platform you are working with. You want to ensure that your app works well with the intended audience and their devices.
5. Utilise complete screen space
Make sure the app takes advantage of the complete screen space. Keep in mind user navigation and utilise only relevant elements. You may want to consult with various QA testers to gauge hand size, screen size, or if the app is comfortable to use for left and right-handed users.
6. Clean design
Make sure you take in to account usability and readability when deciding on colours, styles, icons, buttons, and fonts. Do the fonts render correctly over different resolutions? Keep colours contrasting to differentiate one element from another. But most importantly, less is more.
7. Opt for standard controls
You may have developed a different system of navigation, but unless the aim of your app is to change the way people navigate their devices, then opt for standard controls so as not to alienate your users. A good example would be to follow Android’s Material Design protocols.
8. Provide simple instructions
You should ideally be providing content that is user-focused and clear. However, If an element is not intuitive, provide simple instructions. You can do this by integrating a help section within the app.
9. Information security
This is something that is becoming increasingly important since a lot of apps require specific permissions and also require to collect user data. What steps are being taken to safeguard the user’s data? How will the app address security issues such as authorization and authentication? To address this, you may want to Turn to virtual private networks, TLS and SSL encryption, to ensure security mechanisms are in place.
10. Data management
It is required for apps these days to connect to the internet for various purposes. That being said, you will need to foresee how the app will connect to WiFi, or how it will react to a lack of connectivity etc.
Bonus Tip: Collect and scrutinise user feedback
Before and after your app goes live, you need to gather as much user feedback as possible. This will allow you to get real-world reviews so that you can work towards continuous improvements.