5 Tips for Designing Mobile Apps

Each Platforms Uniqueness

With smartphones’ popularity ever rising, more companies consider creating a mobile app. Apps represent a business as a quick, more easily accessible option or supplementary feature to a website.

Creating an app benefits both the company and their customer with instant, hands-on access and notification possibilities; however, the benefits hinge on the app’s design quality. Here’s five tips to follow when designing your app:

1. Start With a Plan

Start With a PlanImage via Flickr by Janitors

Before even dipping into the screen wireframe and design process, start with a flowmap plan. No matter how basic or complex, a thorough, highly vetted flowmap guides designers and leads to less malfunctions throughout the creation process.

Since apps often require numerous levels, make sure during this process to keep key screens at the top. Without the flowmap, you’re asking for a confused app and an even more confused user.

2. Play Up Mobile v. App Capabilities

While condensing information to a mobile platform might seem more constrictive than applying information to a PC, in reality, apps provide multiple feature opportunities simply unavailable on a PC.

For example, the location application on mobile apps allows users to narrow searches and find more relevant information while on-the-go (Think Yelp or Fandango). Also, utilize a phone’s camera for social media uploads, payments or signatures, as apps like Instagram or bank and insurance companies allow. Don’t neglect notification features, either, as they keep users constantly in tune to your app.

3. Design with Accessibility in Mind

Often, designers tend to design for a younger audience, especially if that’s the target audience. However, tight layouts and small fonts discourage a 35+ audience, alienating potential consumers. When designing your app, go for an adaptive design that reads text size preferences and adjusts the app’s layout accordingly.

Whatever age, it’s annoying when you must squint to read text or can’t tap a specific item. Resist the urge to clutter a high PPI (pixel per inch) interface. Even if it seems like there’s plenty of room to add more, preview all design steps or updates on an actual device. This gives user perspective to understand your app’s navigability ease and make sure certain design elements have not disappeared completely.

Lastly, create color themes that provide enough contrast. Visually impaired users need to distinguish colors in order to decipher content, especially in graphs, maps, and any graphics.

4. Choose a Developer Wisely

Choosing a developer is an essential part of the process, because your must make sure that your app works across as many smartphone platforms as possible. Land on a suitable budget for the app project and determine who best fits the role for the app’s design.

Sometimes, creating the app yourself actually proves best, as you may hold the clearest vision of what you want the app to do. Delegating the task within your company or trying your hand at the app’s design certainly helps those on a limited budget. Plus, multiple app builders exist to affordably ease your way into the process.

5. Remember Each Platform’s Uniqueness

Each Platforms UniquenessImage via Flickr by jfingas

Users want their apps to match their smartphone’s operating system, whether Android, iPhone, or Windows 7. Besides, most smartphone platforms differ in their capabilities. As such, when an app’s needs do not translate across all apps, consider creating a related app for each.

While it’s not necessary to make an app the exact operating system’s match, do make sure it doesn’t look too foreign. In addition, for corporate or larger businesses, still ensure that the same app features cross over to all devices and platforms.

Small-time or big-time, make sure the user interface on all smartphones includes all of the basic accesses and interactions of your original app model. You do not want a lengthy learning curve between difference interfaces.

The best designed apps prioritize the user, making design decisions that provide the user a simple, clean, and easy to navigate platform. Anyone can create an app; it’s making a good app that proves harder. With these tips in mind, entrepreneurs and businesses land their mobile apps on the home screen.

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