UI Fundamentals for Mobile App Design
Everyone who launches an app wants it to succeed – that’s a given. It all starts with an idea – hopefully something that has never been done or something that needs to be optimized – more than a pretty face – a true a problem solver. For the elements to come together to create an mobile app that will take off – several implementations must be in place. A great idea, enthusiastic innovators, a solid development team, and a great UI design.
It may seem simple to gather these elements, however, the result is only as good as the sum of the parts. Each factor in play must be strong enough to stand on it’s own, yet smart enough to pass the baton to the next. A team of stakeholders, ideally, should ideate and collaborate as an entire from concept to launch in order to deliver the most optimal user experience possible.
With that first-of-its-kind idea in place, the design is the next most important factor at hand. There is a time and a place for innovation, but mobile app design is not always one of them. Sticking to a set of user-centered design guidelines can help to ensure a design will be used successfully and propel the app to a a high rate of usage and download.
Keeping a consistent layout from screen to screen will allow for a seamless flow for the user. Once the user becomes familiar with the interface, a consistent design will allow them to adopt new interactions throughout the experience. A user can become frustrated or even drop out if a an unexpected feature emerges.
Industry Best Practices
At first glance, best practices can seem like a ‘been there done that’ approach, when designing for UI, it is possibly the smartest route to begin with. Applying tried and tested implementations to a design that users are familiar with, particularly within the industry being targeted to, can allow the design to become more fluid, allowing for a greater level of ease throughout the process.
When designing a mobile app UI and determining the needed screens and functionality, be aggressive in paring down to the essentials. Bells and whistles might be great for future versions, but if a user is bombarded with more than what they need to get the job done, it’s just unnecessary bells and whistles. Focus on core branding, color and the path to conversion first, then add the bits and bobs later – the user will appreciate them more when they can understand how to use them.
In order to convert a user, it is critical to engage them to interact very early in the experience. Interaction helps to instill trust in the user, anticipating a developing relationship and ongoing interactions. Effective interaction elements are generally helpful tools such as search features, chat, quick responsiveness, location services and confirmations.
Incorporating platform flexibility from the beginning will create a more agile product that appeals to a wider range of users. To meet the daily expanding capabilities of various platforms (iOS, Web, Android, etc), consider different app versions or a design that conforms to all platforms. If designing an interface that is conforming, its important to ensure that the design is consistent enough across all devices to remain seamless to the user.1