It’s no secret that people are becoming more and more addicted to technology. In 2017, the average adult spent nearly 6 hours per day engaged with digital media. Mobile usage, in particular, has skyrocketed in recent years, with an increase from .3 hours to 3.3 hours per day in the last decade.
Some may find this trend troubling, but there’s no denying that it offers lucrative business opportunities to those either already in or looking to breach into the mobile app design market. After all, most of that time spent on mobile devices is going to be either with apps or on the web. As user expectations for apps climb ever higher, delivering a stand-out good experience is key for a successful app. The following are some of the most important areas where an app designer should make sure they’re delivering.
It should go without saying that an effective app should be easy to install and use. You’ll also want to avoid bombarding the user with too much information at once when they launch the app. Perceived difficulty can be one of the biggest barriers between your app and potential users.
One way you can do this is by keeping your app free of clutter. People will go to great lengths to eliminate clutter on their home screens and folders on their phones, so imagine how annoyed they’ll be if your app is cluttered. Make sure you’re keeping your interface simple, and try not to show more information than is necessary at any given time.
You can simplify tasks in your apps in addition to visual designs, as well. For example, dividing longer tasks into bite-sized “chunks” is one of the most important principles in creating an app with easy use. If an interaction requires the user to enter large amounts of information instead of asking for it all on one screen, ease them into it with multiple smaller screens that guide them through the process. It may not sound like much, but something this simple can determine whether a user considers your app worth the effort.
Unique but consistent design
It’s naturally important that your app stand out from the crowd, and its visuals are a way you can make this happen. Whether it’s the colour scheme, icons, or the way information is presented, look for ways to improve on similar apps. Just remember essential guidelines like making sure the most important information takes up the most prominent space on screen. If you’re designing multiple apps, make their functionality consistent across the board so users can apply previous knowledge to new products. This can be made simple by following the OS guidelines for whatever platform your app will be on.
Avoid pestering the user whenever possible
This one should be common sense, but there are still apps that have sign-in walls forcing users to log into an account to use the app. This is one of the best ways to turn users away from your app altogether. The same is true of asking for setup information and permissions as soon as the user launches the app. Design your app so that the user can at least take a tour of the features before they have to enter information. If they can get an impression of the app first, they’ll be less likely to be frustrated later.
Make it fast
Users expect their content faster than ever now, so it’s important that you optimize your apps for mobile use. They’ll be expected to launch quickly, perform quickly, and have convenient share options. If your app has to include load times, make them obvious with an interesting animation. Users will become bored and frustrated if they think the app has frozen. An animation will also decrease the odds of a user thinking the load time is too long. Even if your app isn’t actually as fast as you wanted to get it, try to convey that there’s still always something going on.
Of course, designing mobile apps is a complex process, and these are just a few essential examples of what can go into making a successful app. Stay up to speed in which apps are doing well at any given time and what users are saying they want from their apps. Adjust accordingly.