5 Epic Design Tips for Creating a Killer Mobile App
December 28, 2016
Design of any kind can be a huge concept to grasp. As we move from desktop to mobile, the complexity and questions we have to ask ourselves about design grow exponentially. Mobile users have a very different mindset compared to those who are at home by their computers. How do we design an experience for them and their devices? That’s the big question.
We have five design tips that will help you build an incredible mobile app. Approaching your design from these perspectives will help you discover and implement the best design choices possible for your success.
5 Tips for Creating an Incredible Mobile Web App
Mobile users are on the go, and they’re typically in a hurry. They want fast, simple, and effective solutions. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but today’s tips are aimed at helping designers find that perfect balance between these things.
While it’s true that mobile design is a different beast than what most are used to, it is the way of the future, and it’s time we prepared, today.
1. Plan For the Future
If you’ve been in the web app development industry for some time, you’ll know that mobile hardware moves at an incredible pace when compared to other electronics. As software grows and evolves, it outpaces the current hardware just as the next iteration of the iPhone or the Galaxy is released.
If you start developing with the specifications of a current phone in mind, by the time you go to market, you’ll already be outdated. Worse, someone could beat you to the punch. How do you avoid this? It all starts with a forward-thinking approach that focuses on tomorrow, not today.
Don’t be afraid to dream big and invest into the future. Mobile app development takes time, so odds are the technology will catch up with your needs by the time you release it. It’s important, too, that you look at the trends in your industry and what your competitors are doing.
This will help you make an informed prediction and service as the milestone for your development. Whether it’s your concept, your design, or your timetable, always think about the future and prepare for it today.
2. Focus on User Experience
Everything that businesses do online these days ties back to user experience. Design, as you can imagine, is no different. When you look at the facts, there’s probably another app that does something similar to what yours does. How do you differentiate yourself? You do what they do, only better and more efficiently.
This is where there’s something to be said about keeping things simple. Consider Robinhood, the winner of the Apple Design Awards in 2015. It won not because it was groundbreaking, but because it had a great typography and a clean design that put the content front and center.
When it comes to UI designs, the best options are the ones you never see. In his post called “Great Designs Should Be Experienced and Not Seen,” Jared M. Spool made an excellent comparison:
“The better the design, the more invisible it becomes. It’s like an air conditioner in a conference room. Nobody ever interrupts our meetings to tell us how comfortable the temperature is. They don’t even notice. We only notice the conference room temperature when it is too cold or too hot.”
Instead of over-complicating the experience, it’s important to keep things simple, while also providing a high-quality design. That’s why color choice and typography are such integral parts of web design and most certainly a part of mobile app design. They constitute the usability of the program and provide the foundation for a great user experience.
3. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Optimization is extremely important for web design, but it’s even more important for your mobile efforts. People want speed and efficiency, and with data plans, you need to make sure your app isn’t pulling too much data or using too much battery power when it runs.
Not only will data- and power-hungry design elements affect user experience, but they are also grounds for your app to be ranked down in the app stores. You should make it your goal to use as little of your customer’s data and battery life as possible. This way, they will be more inclined to use your app consistently.
4. Know Your Colors (and What They Mean)
While not an exact science, color psychology is an important part of choosing your mobile app’s design. You want colors that promote readability, but you also want them to promote proper emotions.
Some examples to help you decide which colors are right for your design are:
- Yellow: Clarity and warmth
- Orange: Cheerful, confident, positive
- Red: Bold, excited, energetic
- Purple: Wisdom, creativity, imagination
- Blue: Trustworthy, strong, reliable
- Green: Healthy, growth, life
- White: Balance, calm, neutrality
It’s also important to choose your colors with contrast in mind and promote readability through colors that work well together. This depends on the situation. In some cases, you’ll want one element to stand out from the others. Contrast can help you create this effect.
You should also utilize this type of thinking with major functions of your app and with your call-to-actions.
5. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
The best way to understand your customers is to observe them and listen to their needs. If you have a question about design, who can answer it better than the ones it’s designed for? Try putting yourself in their shoes for everything you do. Ask yourself what they will be using the app for, what will be going on around them, and what they expect from it immediately.
Taking minute details, such as their environment, into consideration will help you decide on things like colors and functionality. Since users will most likely be on the move, you can use those insights to make the app more appealing and easy to use.
Designing for mobile users is a challenge, but it’s not impossible when you know how to approach your choices. Take these tips into consideration when creating your next mobile app, and you’ll find that the answers to your design questions come easier than ever.
How do you design your mobile experiences for maximum efficiency and usability? Let us know in the comments!