16 May 2019

How To Design For Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are software programs that are developed for mobile devices and serve to provide users with similar services that can be accessed on computers. Apps are small individual software units that have limited function. The purpose of these apps can range from utility, navigation, fitness, to entertainment and sport.

What sets a good app and bad app apart is the quality of its user experience (UX). Users expect a lot from apps. They need to be easy to use and navigate, have a fast loading time and be enjoyable to interact with. If you want your app to be successful, consider the following when designing.

Lessen the cognitive load
Cognitive load refers to the amount of brain power that is required by us to use the app. Our brains only have so much processing power, so when too much information is provided it could overwhelm the user and cause them to abandon the app.

Decluttering
Mobile devices don’t provide designers with much space to design an interface. With its already limited real estate, one of the major practices that contributes to bad app designs is cluttering. An over cluttered interface overloads users with too much information and makes the interface more complicated than it needs to be. The app interface should only present users with what is absolutely necessary, and the design should be kept simple to make the user feel at ease.

Minimize user input
Users don’t want to be spending their time inputting data. Forms should be kept as short as possible and should only ask for the bare minimum. Provide users with input masks so that the text is automatically formatted once filled in. This helps users focus on the required data and to notice errors more easily. Customize the keyboard for the type of query that is required from the user. For example, a numeric keyboard is displayed when asking for a phone number and a qwerty keyboard with an @ sign is displayed when entering an email address.

Divide tasks into sections
If there are a lot of steps or actions, it is best to divide them into smaller sections. This way the user is not overwhelmed with tasks and the process is made as simple as possible for them. When a list of tasks is presented as a logical flow of steps, the user can easily proceed through it.

Consistent design
Maintaining an overall consistency throughout the app is essential and a fundamental principle of design. In app design you get visual, functional and external consistency. Visual consistency is the consistent use of typefaces, buttons, labels and other graphic elements in your design. Functional consistency is when interactive elements work similarly throughout the app. External consistency is when the design is consistent across multiple products.

Thumb zone
Consider the way users hold their devices when designing the interface. Certain areas of the screen are effortless territories for the user’s thumb and other areas require stretching or changing grip. Design in the areas that is comfortable for the user and won’t cause too much discomfort.

Navigation
Creating an app with easy navigation should be of high priority. Users should be able to explore intuitively and be able to complete all tasks without any explanation. It’s great to have cool features and content but if you can’t find them or it takes too long to navigate the app, then what is the point.

Its best to use standard navigation tools that users are familiar with such as the tab bar or side menu. As users are familiar with these tools, they will be able to intuitively get around your app. When you find a navigation that works for your users, use it consistently throughout the app.

Registration
Registering before using an app is often the cause of users abandoning apps. Delay registering or signing in until users have had a chance to experience the app and then gently remind them.

Optimize content
Make sure all content is clear, well-crafted and easy to digest. Text should be readable and legible. Images should be of high quality and always appear in the right aspect ratio so that images don’t look distorted. Video content should be optimized for both landscape and portrait mode.

Accessible interface
An accessible interface allows users of all abilities to successfully use your product. This includes users with vision loss, hearing loss and other disabilities.

 

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