If you are a designer, the good news about the mobile app space is : design is everything. Whether you’re building a utility or a game, appearance has a great impact on both popularity and usability. Cluttered or disorganized apps are difficult to understand and hard to use. This isn’t to say that a “serious tool” should be embellished with an overdone GUI. A great app design is one that will balance appearance with function
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”
– Steve Jobs
Some of the many benefits that UX design leverage to your business:
- A better Mobile app UX design Enhances the usability of the system and hence making it more ideal for customers
- Ability to compete on a new level
- User experience optimization results in significant reduction in number of user errors
- Gain consensus from stakeholders and end-users
- Improves the ease of use and learning for your customers
- It increases your audience size and number of return visitors
- Enhances user satisfaction, trust in the system, and also improves referrals for your business
- Reduces development costs, maintenance costs, redesign costs, diminishes support costs, and documentation costs
- It Increases transactions and product sales
What are the most common UX pitfalls in mobile app design?
This is a very open ended question, and the usefulness of the answers will vary for every individual. Nevertheless, on a base level, I feel some of the most common pitfalls are:
Reusing ‘web era paradigms’. Many commonly used paradigms such as signup “forms” especially after install, multi-screen signups, email verification, etc. don’t work on mobile.
Trying to adopt/scale-down web and desktop designs: In an effort to preserve “branding” and minimize expenses, I often find app designers trying to maintain the appearance of their app on the web or desktop. Not only does this present an unfamiliar UX for the user, but it serves to do more harm than good for the “brand”.
Screen vs Page. A mobile screen is not a web page, yet many apps continue to have ‘noisy’ screens with lots of text. Imagine the user using the app while standing on a line at Starbucks, do you think they’ll pay attention?
Applying cross-platform design language: There’s nothing more annoying to the user than finding an Android app designed to be an exact duplicate of its iOS counterpart (I’m looking at you, Instagram). I imagine every platform user must feel the same way when they see a non-native appearing app. Avoid this at all costs.
Responsiveness, responsiveness, responsiveness! If they tap or drag, your interface better be moving immediately.
Over Explaining things to New Users. It is a well known fact that information without context is hard to digest, and very easy to forget. If the user experience requires explanation, prompt the user when he/she is using the feature in question. Never flood new users with a detailed tutorial about everything your app can do on the very first launch, or else many will be using the app for the last time.
What will be the biggest mobile app design trends in future?
In fact, a study conducted by app analytics company, Flurry reveals that the average time that people spend on smartphones and tablets each day is 158 minutes. Out of these 158 minutes, 127 minutes are spend browsing mobile apps and only 31 minutes are spent browsing or visiting websites. Businesses that don’t provide their consumers with a pleasing mobile app experience are losing out as consumers demand more each passing day.
Other one report on Global Web Index reveals that 8 in 10 internet users now have a smartphone and 1 in every 10 people own a wearable device. Given that mobile usage is set to outpace desktop usage in the next few years, it could mean that, soon, custom user experience would be the norm, rather than the exception. It has long been a staple for website designs. In fact, an article published on Justcreative.com explains that UX is important for businesses, marketers and designers to distinguish themselves in the market.
It is very important to be updated with the latest mobile app design trends. Some of the trends that will dominate the smartphone application design in 2016 are :
- Simple User Interface – Clear and simple User Interface is more important to ease the overall functionality of mobile apps
- Use of Hidden Menus – As mobile phones have smaller screens then the desktop or tablets, it is good to hide the menu’s and buttons until it is required
- Animation – UI with Scrolling, swiping and exclusive animation makes the app to look different from the similar app available in the market.
Here are the latest trends in mobile design that a UX team should follow to build a good app
This may be a controversial answer, but here’s my $0.02 after working with Fortune 1000 companies. Don’t focus too much on trends– focus on listening to your users and what they need. An app isn’t functional unless it seamlessly meets users’ needs. Users will abandon even the most beautiful of apps if the functions are not intuitive. But few of the common trends designers should follow:
- Single task: Design for a single, idiot simple experience that does one thing and thing only only very well. If your app can’t be explained with one line in 30 seconds, it’s probably hard to get attention.
- More play and animation: I bet you have noticed some apps to have game elements. If to consider simple weather forecast app, you can now find drops dancing, umbrella changing its colours etc. All that bring fresh impression of something up-to-date.
- Flat design: Apps that have skeumorphic elements are old news, the new design “style” is Flat. Not to say that skeumporhism doesn’t have it’s place – you just need to do it right.
- Instant gratification: Show value instantly – within few seconds after the user installs the app. Try to avoid signup or any other friction in the first time user experience. Focus very hard on the first 30 seconds after install — if the user doesn’t see value, you probably lost them.
- Syncing: Lots of apps are now syncing and saving data to access when the user is “off-line.”
- Use push notifications wisely: Think hard about why the user would find a notification valuable; when is a good time to send it; and how often. Don’t send notifications “for the sake of engaging them”. Send them if and only if you think they are valuable to the user.
- Simple screens: Design each screen for one thing and one thing only, with no more than 1 call-to-action. Simplify as much as you can.
- Drag down refresh: Being the first smartphone of this era, Apple’s pull down to refresh has stuck with designers, and while nearly all successful apps use some form of this function, they all put their own spin..er drag on this feature.
- Clean UI: Keep the UI as “invisible” as you can – focus on the content.
- Clever Animations: Use animations carefully. Use them to make something obvious, not fancy.
- Illustrate: Design trends are mostly about grabbing the user’s attention and holding it. Via the use of detailed illustrations you too can pull the user in. It could be something as simple as a layout or an infographic. While a larger screen is preferred, illustrations can be made to look good on any screen.
- Show that you care: Good UI must be friendly and kind to end-users. If we create it with love and care, it will show.
Why is UI design necessary for a mobile app?
Beauty of design is much deeper than just providing a simple appearance. It increases the amount of trust in your app. In fact, the user interface design affects every bit of moment a user spends in your app.
UI or User Interface design is not only about creating elegant application interfaces but also supporting individual components of UX or User Experience. UI comes into picture when UX is broken down completely into its individual components. So, first, what you should know is, UI/UX.
Good UI/UX design is one of the key elements that form the success formula to any popular mobile application at the app store. Analyses have disclosed that most successful and very popular mobile application have incredibly stunning graphical content with rich visual controls, seamlessly guiding users as to how they need to act with the application.
About the Author:
Deepak is marketer, developer, designer, storyteller, thinker, founder, CEO, at iMOBDEV Technologies, a leading web & mobile app development company. A dedicated team of 100+ professional designers and developers with over 7 years of experience and thrive on the idea that design makes a difference.