Mobile App Design: Things to Know Before You Launch

Mobile App Design: Things to Know Before You Launch

The number of mobile users has been growing continuously.

According to Statista, there have been 6.8 billion mobile users worldwide in 2019, while this number is expected to reach 7.1 billion by 2021. 

Given these figures, it’s not surprising that the app industry has been thriving over the past few years. For example, did you know that 2.8 million apps are available in Google Play Store? No matter if you want to transfer money securely, play games, chat with friends, find a date, or lose weight, there is an app that will meet your needs.  

So, if you’ve decided to launch a killer app, that’s great. But, you should keep in mind that the competition is fierce. To succeed, you need to approach your app design strategically.

Here are a few things to know about mobile app design.

Facilitating User Experiences Is Crucial

Users expect simple and smooth user experiences. If your app throws too much information at them, they will probably stop using it. 

Here are a few steps to take:

  • Declutter the interface. Eliminate unnecessary elements. Keep text and interface elements to a minimum. Leave lots of white space and provide only the options and information users need.
  • Reduce user input. One such example is lengthy checkout forms for ecommerce apps. Create step-by-step checkouts that won’t overwhelm a user. You should also keep the form concise and ditch any unnecessary fields. Autocomplete features may also boost user experiences.
  • Use standard interfaces. As users are familiar with them, they won’t get confused or need any additional explanations on how to use your app.
  • Use simple language and avoid industry jargon. Your app should be easy-to-use by anyone who downloads it.
  • Highlight the most important element on the page by using visuals. Let’s take the example of Lyft’s huge, pink “Request Lyft” CTA button that will certainly catch users’ eyes.

Invest in Design Consistency

In design, consistency is crucial. It increases brand awareness and builds trust with users. Now, in app design, consistency means several things. 

First, understand and follow mobile OS guidelines for interface design, such as Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. Stick to them and don’t use the UI elements from other platforms. The reason is simple – people get used to a certain interaction pattern of the operating system they use and anything that doesn’t match these patterns will cause frustration.

Second, there should be visual consistency within the app. The font sizes, typefaces, colors, buttons, and labels should remain the same across the app.  

Third, the way the app functions should be consistent. All parts of your app should work similarly.

Finally, there is the overall brand consistency. Your brand design should remain consistent across all channels you use, be it your website, print materials, social networks, or your app. Inconsistency might harm your brand image and confuse your audiences. 

Therefore, create a brand style guide and send it to app designers. Talk to them about how your brand missions and values are reflected through your design. They should know what your brand stands for, as well as what your main brand’s visual assets are, such as colors, typography, logos, and so forth.

MENU is a perfect example of a brand that has built a solid presence across all channels. Namely, they worked with Infostarters on designing brochures as part of trade show promotion for their mobile app. Using different promotion materials they made the brand more cohesive, irrespective of the channel and device they use. 

Simplify Navigation

Navigation is another critical user experience element. Just having killer app features or visual design is not enough. People want to explore your app effortlessly. So, if they cannot find the desired content/feature or if they need to invest lots of effort to find what they’re looking for, chances are they will uninstall the app immediately.  

So, what to do?

  • Use recognizable navigation patterns, such as full-screen navigation, a navigation drawer for Android or a tab bar for iOS. Users are already familiar with these standard navigation components, so it will be easier for them to browse through your app. Above all, when you choose a navigation pattern, use it consistently across the app.
  • Make navigation elements visible all the time. Don’t let users get lost. When a user explores your app and asks “Where am I,” your app should immediately show their location. One such example is Apple’s Health App, which shows the name of the current section, as well as lets you get back to the previous one.

Boost your App’s Responsiveness

Just because someone downloaded your app doesn’t mean they will use it, too. If the app doesn’t meet their needs, they will ditch it. One of the most crucial UX factors to consider is certainly your app’s responsiveness and speed. Statistics say that pages that load between 1-3 seconds can increase your bounce rate by 30%. 

Now, there are some crucial steps developers will take to boost your app speed, such as data compression or using an application load balancer. However, you should also consider the problems caused by your customers’ poor internet speed or slow devices. 

In this case, you cannot make their browsing experiences faster, but you can certainly make them more pleasant. For starters, focus on loading content that is currently on the screen. As a user continues to scroll down your app, the rest of the page will load. You should also let users know that the app is loading. The worst mistake you could make is leaving a blank screen, as it may indicate that the screen is frozen. That’s where you should consider using a loading spinner, similar to popular apps like Facebook or Twitter.

Provide Targeted User Experiences

An app lets you connect with your customers on a more personal level and build relationships with them. That’s why you should provide your customers with highly personalized user experiences. There are numerous tactics you could implement here, such as providing targeted content based on your users’ location, their browsing history, or their past purchases. 

Starbucks is taking its mobile app experiences to the next level. Its app tracks customers’ purchasing habits. Based on the data it collects, the app provides customers with future product recommendations, suggests what food might go well with the order, and tell them where they can pick it up. Using geolocation, the app detects where a customer is. It tells them where their nearest Starbucks store is, informs them about the menu at each location, and can even place an order.

Over to You

Building an app that stands out is not easy, but it’s possible. The idea is to create a responsive, elegant, and gorgeous app design that will boost user experiences and inspire them to keep using your app. Sure, these are just some basic factors you should consider. 

To boost the functionality of your app design, talk to your app designers and developers about the additional UX factors, like optimizing content for mobile devices, providing omnichannel user experiences, or optimizing push notifications. 

Above all, test your app’s performance after the launch continuously. You should also encourage user reviews and seek feedback to understand how people feel about your new app. 

Hope this helps!

 

Posted by Nate Vickery

Nate Vickery

Nate Vickery is a business consultant focused mostly on SMB marketing and management. Nate is the editor-in-chief at one business blog - Bizzmarkblog.com. You can follow Nate @NateMVickery

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