Intend to design a mobile app with killer design features?
Need to know the nitty-gritty’s of designing a perfect mobile application delivering bang on as per your inspiration and vision? Wait there! Do not rush with your thoughts. A careful, thoughtful, planned and well evaluated step for every feature is a must. Let’s tell you why!
Mobile apps account for 52% of the total time spent on digital media. Mobile app industry is estimated to cross a whopping 77 billion dollars of revenue by 2017 worldwide with close to 90% of the mobile media time being spent on these apps. With growing popularity of mobile apps over mobile websites (85% preference comparatively), one needs to understand each and every factor that is important for driving the mobile app sales, be it the design, the platform or the marketing efforts.
Whether you wish to plan a fitness regime, play games, listen to music, boost your business, plan your work schedule, do budgeting, shop online, download content or do ANYTHING, there is a mobile app for every need. But, not every mobile app succeeds. Wanting to have an app and designing it rightly are two different things altogether. But, let’s help you to make your dream a reality. Follow each step and concentrate and consider these factors for designing mobile applications.
1. Do You Really Need a Mobile App?
Before planning a design for the app, ask yourself the need for a mobile app. Know whether you need a mobile website or an app or both. A mobile optimized website can cater to various platforms and not just mobile phones, while a mobile app is meant to target only for mobile customers be it for android or iPhone.
Standalone mobile apps make sense, if you are sure of where you want to reach and what audience you wish to focus on. Again, that not all! Also consider whether you wish to design an online app or offline mobile application and what features you wish to integrate in the app.
2. Do Your “Mobile App Usage” Homework to Determine the Features
Before designing a mobile application, it is imperative to know what kind of people would use it, where would it mostly be used and what your target market is. The design of the app will largely depend on what the users expect. For example, if an app to find restaurants on the go is what you aim at, a GPS feature becomes inevitable while designing it. Similarly, if you design an app for ticket booking and tours, a comparing option is important.
Likewise, an online shopping app needs a shopping cart feature. That said; you must also be aware of customer profiling and user engagement to know your reach. For example, there are more than 224 million active app users in the United States monthly and social media mobile engagement has grown by 55% in 2014. This makes it clear for you to know what your mobile app features should be and where you app needs to be present for better visibility. All these aspects need to be known at the pre-design stage itself, so do enough research before you build one.
3. Be Clear with Each Aspect of Mobile App Designing Basics
a. Purpose: Know the purpose of your app. This can also help you select the right platform. For example, Apple has “games” as the most popular mobile app category, while most mobile app developers prefer iPhone to develop their apps. Not just that, statistics backs that it is wise to choose an android platform, if you aim money making; on the other hand, iOS is the right platform, if you wish to attract funding.
b. Grid: Understand the grid that exists on each mobile surface. Consider this grid your canvas and determine spacing for each element carefully be it a dot, a line or a word. Be consistent with the spacing i.e. width and height both.
c. Colors: Understand the value of colors and shades to create hierarchy. A lighter shade of the same color can be used to show “less important” button/option, while the darker shade can indicate the “more important” option.Choice of colors can be tricky. How your target customers connect to your app could have a great impact from your color choices. For example, “red” is sign for “stop/warning/alert” for US audience. Understand color conventions and association of colors in different geographies and cultures. It would be a mistake to undermine the importance of this and associate color choice with your liking; rather connect it to your brand and app usage. An effective color may not necessarily be the one that you like personally.
d. Fonts: Knowledge about the use of fonts is essential. Roboto is a standard Android font, while Avenir Next is a standard iPhone font. Arial is neat to read and Helvetica is easy, so most used font. Not many users can differentiate between many fonts, so, if your choice is clean and tidy, you’ve done the job well.
e. Styles: Maintain consistency with use of styles, colors and shapes. Suppose, one “next” option is colored green with an oval shape design, have all the “next” buttons have the same shade of green and shape. When you use all caps, shadow, contrast, underline etc. for styling, it should reflect professionalism and uniformity across the mobile application.
f. Mobile Display Specs: Know that mobiles have different resolutions, pixel density and screen sizes that your app needs to work on. Consistency in look and feel of the app, scalability of graphics, and responsive user interface across different platforms, resolutions and screen sizes for screen independence needs to be considered during mobile application designing.
g. UI Conventions: Know conventions and guidelines for user interface and application design be it for iOS, Windows, Android, Symbian, BlackBerry etc. Following consistent methods for data display on a specific interface for widgets, task, icons, menu, activity etc. need to be understood well before implementation.
h. The Touch Aspect: Visualize the holding part of different phones. When you design an app, consider how different people can hold different phones. Accordingly determine the placement of clickable area and the layout. It is a good idea to incorporate visual cues to show whether an option is already being touched or is yet to be touched (just like it happens in iPhone). Your app usability can increase with using generally preferred options like swiping forward and backward to move the screen, pinching inward to zoom and reduce the size etc.
i. Logo: Not all mobile apps require a logo. The selection or rejection of the need for a logo largely depends on the kind of app you design. Say for example, a fashion related app can do well with a logo, but having a logo for a jobs finding application may not be necessary.
j. Titles: Concentrate on the title. Let it be crisp, to-the-point and more importantly ‘conveying the right meaning’. Instead of being stylish here, it is better to be logically stepping in the shoes of a user and then creating the title for every option or a drop down menu in your mobile application.
k. Current Trend: Be trendy. That’s the “mantra” for success. Do not adopt any style that is out-dated. Know what is “in” for the design, shape, look and feel aspects of every part of the mobile app. Your app should not look out of fashion. Take enough feedback and make all the necessary changes before launching it. Giving an interesting experience is very important for high user engagement.
l. Layout: Decide on the layout by researching from some of the best mobile application design libraries online.
m. Speed: Concentrate on interaction and response. Speed and response time is a very important element. However, as an application designer or a developer, you would be aware that not all interactions would be faster in response. But, users do not like to wait. Resolve this issue, by showing a waiting bar, so that the customer feels he is important and has to wait very little. Your design should show that the response to an action is just about to appear.
n. Look and Feel: Lastly, nothing blur, hazy or cluttered will ever work. Design to make an impact! Get the testing feedback help you improve the design before your final launch.
As a final word, address all the important aspects of mobile app designing i.e. the first uncluttered impression, uniqueness, usability, goal-driven design, consistency, user-friendly interface and navigation with functionality, familiarity of patterns/styles with the users, compatibility, response time and most importantly social media integration.