Design is one space where there are always new trends. User behaviour and technology keep evolving and this mandates designers to rethink their approach all the time.
A new and trendy design trend becomes stale and derivative in a matter of weeks. A combination of factors like increase in app usage, continual design innovation, and new tech trends make it hard for a regular designer to keep up.
In a sea of constant change and innovation, mobile app design rests on a few key fundamentals. Anyone using a free Android online app maker to design an app must know these tenets.
In the following sections, we will cover three main mobile app design fundamentals that guide designers at every point.
#1 - Facilitating sound user experience
The general expectation people have from mobile app designers is creating aesthetically powerful and phenomenal visuals within an app. In simple words, people expect designers to ‘wow’ them.
This is a flawed expectation and often harms designers who’re still only beginning their professional career.
The goal of every mobile app design is to facilitate smooth user experience. Happy users at the end of the day are the best thing an app can hope for.
Investment in app user experience is also not a blind bet. Reports show every dollar invested in user experience returns a thousand dollars to the company. That’s almost a 1000% ROI.
A mobile app designer is judged by the quality of user experience an app provides. Anyone using an online app creator to design apps must understand this basic principle.
Let’s take mobile navigation as an example. The general rule of thumb is that a typical user must be able to arrive at the desired page within three steps. The hamburger menu helps ensure the same and is thus used extensively across various mobile apps.
However, a designer does not’ need to follow convention if there’s a way to offer better user experience. If an app has only a few menus, using the hamburger menu is not necessary. Simply adding static buttons on the dashboard ensures faster navigation.
#2 - Optimize user action areas
App users generally don’t like typing when using a mobile app. This is generally because they need to use both hands to type on a smartphone effectively.
Consider a popular app like Twitter.
10% of Twitter users create 80% of all the content on the platform according to a Pew study. This only underlines how passive people are when it comes to creating something even on one of the world’s most popular platforms.
This hesitation to perform an action is a challenge for app designers. Certain design tweaks can always simply user action and even make the entire process fulfilling.
Let’s take an ecommerce app you made using a mobile app builder for WooCommerce as an example. There are a number of things designers can do to ease the experience of a typical visitor. These include -
Updating keyboard for different fields. For instance, users see a number pad keyboard while entering their contact info or an OTP.
When entering the email ID, they use a keyboard with the characters ‘@’ and ‘.com’ accessible with one click. Furthermore, they get direct access to characters to comma, hyphen, and numbers when entering the address.
Adding field labels on top of the field instead of placing them on the side. The former helps users keep their eyes on one part of the screen instead of moving them sideways and increasing overall visual fixations.
Showing progress bar to show users the number of steps left
An optimal confirmation page that is both satisfying and not too bold about the total bill (to avoid buyer’s guilt and order cancellation)
#3 - App dashboard optimization
The dashboard is an app’s most premier location. It is the place where users arrive every time they open the app. A bad app dashboard can easily cause user experience to falter and churn rate to grow.
Designing a good dashboard is about striking a balance. It is important to make some areas of the app directly accessible from the dashboard. Thus, adding some static buttons can help.
Furthermore, the dashboard can be used to direct users to certain parts of the app. These are typically high conversion sections where users are likely to spend money or perform an action the marketing team wants them to.
More than anything, an app dashboard must be clear and fast. This is even more important than adding important features. Apps that do not have a responsive dashboard also have a high churn rate.
Being a designer means having an open mind and learning with the times. Yet, there are a few key tenets that always remain relevant and provide direction to app designs.
This piece provides three fundamentals of mobile app design. The topics covered here are not exhaustive from a mobile design standpoint. Yet, they talk about some core fundamentals essential to the domain.