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Everything You Should Know About Mobile App Design

Useful things app designers should follow when designing a mobile app

By Mehul RajputPublished 2 years ago 7 min read

The design plays a pivotal role in the success and failure of a mobile application.

It is not the same as designing for magazines or posters. The app design allows a user to navigate across your portal. Your entire investment goes down the drain if it is clumsy and cluttered.

App Annie forecasts that by 2022, annual mobile app downloads will reach 258 billion.

That's a whopping 48 percent increase from 178 billion downloads in 2017. This figure indicates intense competition to arise in the digital landscape. App designers must stay on their toes to deliver a kickass user experience to their audience.

The 2017-2022 App Economy Forecast

The data architecture must make a striking combo with the design guidelines. It is fundamental to go by human nature. Our mind is naturally inclined towards colors and appeasing ambiance. Alongside this, every app feature should support the idea and keep the audience engaged.

Things to Consider When Designing a Mobile App

So, as the title says itself, here are the basic design components to acknowledge before taking a plunge in this landscape:

Solve a problem

It takes something genuinely distinct to grab users' attention. You need to scrutinize the issues being faced by a large segment of the market and redirect your efforts towards it.

As Drew Houston, the co-founder of Dropbox, says:

"The happiest and most successful people I know don't just love what they do; they're obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them."

Two critical questions you should ask are: Are you offering a solution? What are the odds of winning against potential rivals?

Ensure you gather data that can prove that people are ready and willing to use your new product. You can also focus on the frustration of the people when they use current products. Or talk to professionals in industries you want to serve, note their answers, and look for patterns to work on.

Gartner's study reveals that the commercial success of mobile apps for the year 2018 was 00.01 percent. This is just one successful app out of 10,000 apps. This fraction is certainly a cause of worry for the app development sphere.

Pro-tip: Keeping your idea malleable and altering for as long as possible is healthier and leads to better results.

Minimize cognitive burden

The human brain begins to slow down or abandon the task at hand if it receives more information than it can handle. Generally, the cause of cognitive load comes from the following three factors:

  • Too many choices
  • Lack of clarity
  • Too much thought required

App users, these days, are usually on-the-go. Designers should strive to eliminate extraneous cognitive load to retain the users. Below, we provide a few more tips to reduce the mental burden:

Avoid unnecessary elements: Less is more. Any aspect that compels a user to juggle their working memory can get irritating for them. Avoiding excessive colors, imagery, or layouts that don't add value is crucial.

Deploy common design patterns: When you use standard design patterns, it gives familiarity to the users. They have little learning to do and reach their goals quickly.

Cut off unnecessary tasks: Anywhere an app requires the user to read content, remember information, or make decisions causes a cognitive load. Find out how you can shift these tasks and make it easier for them to focus.

Reduce choices: If there are too many choices, the cognitive load may increase due to decision paralysis. You must minimize the options available for a user at any given moment.

Enhance readability: The typography should be aesthetically pleasing. Fonts and colors must suit the content and easy to read.

It has been found that 71% of the users uninstall an app due to annoying notifications, irrelevant content, or in-app messages. By following the principles above, you can drastically reduce the user's cognitive load and avoid distractions.

Maintain the visual consistency

Consistency is an indispensable molecule of the design DNA. Usability and learning of users go up a notch when similar elements have a consistent look and function the same way. Fonts, buttons, CTAs, labels, and similar must be uniform across the app to maintain visual consistency.

Let's check out the benefits of having a visually consistent user interface:

Increases usability: Visual consistency allows to arrange and publish content in a structured manner.

Evokes a strong emotional response: A well-maintained visual consistency conveys emotions and makes a quick connection with the users.

Ensures flawless communication: Achieving visual consistency across the app allows you to deliver messages in a clear and concise manner.

Lack of visual consistency can make an app look messy, chaotic, and confusing. As you work on it, define a strong visual hierarchy. The critical things should be bigger than the less important ones. You have to use the same color palette across the product. Padding and margins should be constant in all elements (cards, buttons, etc.)

Everything should align on a grid of your choice that allows the sequence of pleasant and aesthetic components. It is vital to make alterations as per the users' requirements continually. Before you opt for an external agency to handle the hassle, we suggest you study a little about app maintenance costs. It will help you to gain some perspective and negotiate better with the teams.

Make the app fast

Loading time is crucial for the success of an app. The user today is more impatient than ever. 47% of them expect a page to load within 2 seconds or less. Bounce rates are directly correlated with long page delays.

Making the app appear faster aids to minimize the delay. For example, Instagram allows users to add tags to the picture as the picture uploads in the background. By the time the user is ready to share, the upload is complete, and the image is prepared to go online.

One method of infusing this strategy is to use skeleton screens. They can help to optimize the delays associated with certain app factors. A few other ways to increase the loading time include:

  • Cut down less essential features
  • Resize, cache, and compress images to reduce load time
  • Reuse data templates to help the app load faster
  • Load data as you need it by split up assemblies or pre-fetching data
  • Create an offline mode in case the connection drops

Developing a feature-rich app is just one part of the job. It is crucial to optimize the server performance to ensure that the app runs uninterrupted and delivers quick responses. Monitoring in real-time helps you to understand these issues, fix them, and take measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Simple navigation is the key

All the cool features and content of your app don't matter if the users cannot find it. Ensure that users can explore the app intuitively and complete all primary tasks without detailed explanations.

Work on the framework provided below to design simple navigation across your mobile app:

Use standard navigation components: Standard navigation patterns like tab bar for iOS and navigation drawer for Android bring better results.

Don't mix navigation patterns: The chosen primary navigation pattern should run across the entire application.

Make navigation visible: Ensure that CTAs and mandatory options are easy-to-discover on the screen.

Use functional animation to clarify navigation: Animation is the best tool to describe the transitions required to move around a mobile app.

Prioritize navigation options: Assign different priority levels to everyday user tasks. Give prominence to the high-priority functions to take a minimum number of swipes, taps, and clicks.

Good navigation makes the whole process swift and easy. A study found that 50 percent of potential sales go down the drain because the users can't find the right information. Therefore, keep your users hooked by making navigation simpler.

Concluding Remarks

An effective design is a perfect combination of beauty and functionality. Try implementing the given instructions when designing a mobile app. In the meantime, explore more virtual avenues for generating design ideas. You can't expect to succeed without working on continual upgrades. Only then will you be able to provide an optimal user experience and increase engagement on your application.

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About the Creator

Mehul Rajput

Mehul Rajput is a CEO of MindInventory, a web and mobile application development company. His role involves heading the operations related to business and delivery with strategic planning and defining road-map for the future.

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