Mobile application development technology is evolving at a faster pace than ever before. But if your mobile app is confusing or frustrating to users, they’re likely uninstall or abandon it. In a market where app quality and performance always comes before brand loyalty, creating a positive user experience with a high quality design is key to the success of any mobile app development project.
Why do you think mobile app design is so important?
JH: Mobile app design needs to be poignant. An app needs to have a purpose, and that purpose needs to be clear. As an app designer, you need to make sure you’re clear with what you want your app to do, and your design needs to be a clear reflection of that.
MU: When you’re thinking about someone using a mobile app, it’s not much different than using a website. You want to give people the information they want as soon as possible. A lot of apps serve a single purpose, so you want people to go in and be able to do what they want as soon as possible.
JB: I agree. Mobile apps have come a long way since companies have started developing them. Companies used to want to put a website on a mobile app. Now you don’t even need a logo anymore – you know what app you’re in once you’re in it.
Why does user experience matter when it comes to mobile apps?
MU: When you’re designing a mobile app, you’re designing both a user interface and a user experience. You can design a beautiful user interface, but the user experience might be terrible (or vice versa). The user experience is what’s going to bring someone back to use the app again, while the user interface makes it pretty. Everything from font size, colors and more will affect the user experience. And if you do it right, it’s going to make the user want to come back and use it again.
JB: You don’t want the design to get in the way of the user experience. If you have an app and you frustrate your users, they won’t come back.
JH: Using standard controls are good. It’s important to use controls, inputs, and layouts that are familiar to a user. Creating a new way of doing something is great, but it’s pretty pointless if a user can’t figure out how to use your app. Apple and Google have their own interface guidelines. As long as you’re within the bounds of those guidelines, your app should be intuitive, and a person should be able to know what they’re doing.
What’s the first thing you should do before you get started designing a mobile app?
JB: The first thing you need to ask yourself is what purpose does it serve? And why do you need the app you’re creating?
JH: Exactly. Start out with a discussion about what the problem you’re trying to solve is. There’s always a problem you’re trying to solve with an app. Then move into wire frames and figure out the basic flow of the app. Once you’re able to build off the wire frames and flow, you can get into the design aspect.
MU: I agree. Figure out your use cases. Storyboard it out, roughly. Once you have that set, start working on your wireframes. Wireframes shouldn’t have any design aspects – wire frames have everything to do with the user experience. Once that’s set, you can get creative with the design. People always want to see the pretty stuff first, but they need to see the black and white wireframe, since that’s the most important part. You have to dive into the wireframing to have the most success with users.
What kinds of things should you keep in mind for developers when you’re designing your app and why?
MU: From my perspective as a designer, I need to use standard controls and try not to create fancy things like custom on and off switches. That way, everything is built in and your developers don’t have to make things from scratch. It may not be as pretty as you want it to be right away, but if you start by using the most basic controls, you can turn it over faster and the developer will be able to dive in and get the project done. First, make your app work and make it intuitive. You can add polish and fancy visuals in later releases.
JB: You have to be laser focused on only including exactly what’s needed to achieve a properly functioning app. The performance and speed of a mobile app are just as important as UI (user interface) and UX (user experience).
JH: Layouts matter, too. Both Apple and Google have different layout options, and it’s important to make sure you’re using the standard layouts and controls appropriately. From a development standpoint, it’s a lot easier when the layouts are standardized.
What are the best functions to include in your app?
MU: You have to ask yourself if there are things that can be solved using the hardware on the phone. For example, would adding push notifications or using the GPS or camera feature on your phone add any value to your app? If not, don’t try to add something in just for the cool factor. That’s going to frustrate people.
JH: It all goes back to the problem you’re trying to solve. Don’t include things people aren’t going to use. You want to spend your time and energy on things that are going to make a difference and that people are going to use.
Create a Positive Experience
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