For an independent developer whose sole product is a mobile app, it’s challenging indeed. And for someone who is employed as a UX/UI designer, it is even less of a joyride as the added pressure of client’s monetary investment is involved.
Further ordeals occur when the developer is dealing with payment apps where additional care has to be taken as one is tasked with designing for an acute interaction. Acute because they are dealing directly with the end user’s money. UI designing in this space requires utmost thoughtfulness because it requires a great level of attention to detail and consistency across technology touch points : from users’ as well as developer’s ends.
We create a roundup of ten simple tips, factors and aspects that every User experience/User interface designer must keep in mind before and while developing their mobile app.
Adhere to the OS guidelines for creating an exceptional app user interface
Sticking to multiple user guidelines belonging to target operating systems is a must when designing your app’s user interface. Exploring innovations with the navigation systems, touch gestures and interactions is highly recommended. This will not only enable you to achieve user interface design in an improved format but allow you to pick crucial features and reject the unnecessary ones.
Apps are analyzed rigidly before being launched on major app stores like Apple Store and Google Play. Therefore, before submitting their apps, developers must take some time out to analyse the type of apps that make it to these stores (in terms of UI/UX). They must read and follow the guidelines that have been put forth for creating the UI of an app for each OS.
Mobile app UI designs don't give much room to work with, As a developer has to design for smaller screens and much smaller attention span, the design must work in sync with the user’s speed of thought. An ideal interface is one which is simple for novices without making it too boring for experienced ones.
And lack of screen space does not negate the need for a good interaction design.
The prime aspects of good interactive design are :
1. It is goal driven
As a UI developer you have to design for the right user, therefore an extensive user research helps in creating a persona of those people who will be using the app. This gives you precise goals for them and tailor your app (and workflows) accordingly.
If they can’t easily use it, they will uninstall it. Usability goes a long way in making an app useful. And useful, is desirable.
Users must not have to think what each UI element does. You must use signifiers accordingly. Ex: blue underlined text means that upon clicking it, user will navigate to another page.
Users must know how to use an app interface in a short span of time, without training. It has to be instinctive. Familiar design patterns help users get accustomed to the app.
Users must know that their task was complete. It can be accomplished through a beep, a text prompt or something complex like a modal window. A developer must ensure that their response is beautiful and quick.
Flat design and full screen navigation
Sophisticated yet simple. Dynamic yet adaptable. A lot of app developers are adopting it owing to smooth user interfaces. Moreover, due to smaller file sizes, elements load faster. And this feature is very important for ecommerce mobile apps as too much time lapse can cause prospective visitors to leave their sites.
Being a trending design fashion, they give a clean structure to your mobile app. This optimizes User Experience on your app, increasing conversion. Flat user interface is the leading mobile design pattern of 2015, and it is strongly backed by Google’s design language called material design.
The mobile application development and design industry has witnessed the rise of Fullscreen navigation feature. Unlike the conventional apps and pages where a typical title-banner-content-ad format is seen, in full screen navigation user is presented with a big menu having multiple actions. The prime valuable feature is that it fits very well with flat design.
Owing to the small screen of mobiles, panoramic view isn’t possible. This gives rise the need for layered design interfaces. For that, ther widgets should be active in the front and passive at the back.
Speedy path to action
Social media integration and login
Social media plays a major role in mobile apps.Integration with social media networking platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter etc enhances the feature list of a mobile app. It works as a marketing means for gathering other audience and users as current users can ask their friends to try it out via various promotional means.
Social media login
As we explained earlier, a user’s path to action should be shortest. When you give the option for logging in/signing up with a social media account, users (who have short attention span and are time constrained due adding various activities in their daily schedule) give it much preference and a sigh of relief as compared to when they have to fill out huge forms for signing in. They may even uninstall the app simply because they are irritated.
Login via social media not only save them time but also the pain of remembering various login credentials of different apps.
While designing a mobile app, the designer must remember the 80/20 rule. According to this, 80% of app users use just 20% of it’s functionality. Therefore, the designers must first identify the functionalities that are used most within the app and trim down the app features as per those. If that crucial 20% of the functionality has been embodied in the app, then be assured that you have built a successful app as per UX/UI point of view.
Our fingers are getting fatter!!!
Yes we are getting fatter. So are our fingers. Mouse cursors are pixel precise. However, fingers are not. Thus app designs should have buttons, spaces etc that allow users to tap accurately. The design should be finger friendly.
Avoiding technical jargon
Remember that your users are not from IT background, so jargon is alien to them. Make the language and content in your app warm and familiar as per your target audience. Moreover, keep in mind that if something looks odd, your users will not trust it.
Instructions and FAQs
Your users will require some guidance through the first few uses. For first time use, have tutorial and guidance elements that are graphical in nature. Also create an inbuilt FAQ session if necessary.
Involve actual users while evaluation
It works. Trust us. Moreover, if you do this at an early stage of your mobile app development, you will get the fair practise of the 80/20 concept mentioned above. You will know which features are unnecessary. Also, re-working will be reduced.
A mobile app developer can intelligently come up with clutter free designs using the above principles and concepts to ensure that their apps are worthwhile and awesome from the UI/UX perspective.
About the Author:
This is Amanda Cline and am working as a senior developer with Xicom Technologies Ltd- a leading Android App Development Company. When not busy developing great iOS apps, I feel proud in blogging and rendering IT support to individuals and enterprises.