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The era of mobile apps: best design tips to keep your customers happy

11 Feb 2020 Developer News
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App design
App design

It’s been more than a decade since the beginning of the mobile app ecosystem, and right now, it encapsulates millions and millions of apps used every day. So, like it or not, the competition is tough out there in the mobile app landscape. Mobile apps make the world go round these days. Everybody uses them to shop, read, play, listen to music, communicate, order food, meditate, find answers to their questions, you name it. And, with all these things that can be accomplished through apps, it’s no surprise that the over 2.7 billion smartphone users spend 90% of mobile time in apps. In 2019, over 204 billion mobile apps have been downloaded by consumers to their connected devices. And, according to data from Statista, by 2023, it is expected that mobile apps will make more than $953 billion in revenues only through paid downloads and in-app advertising. So, if your business’s mobile app has any intention of remaining competitive in today’s busy mobile app landscape, it better have a design that will surefire keep your customers happy. Creating a good mobile app design isn’t easy. It must have a clear focus and clarity and provide users with an outstanding experience. Here are the best tips to help you create a user-centered app design:

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Choose a minimal design

First things first, if you want the UI design clear and user-friendly, you may want to understand that sometimes less is more. Minimal designs have been trendy for quite some time now. Why? For many reasons including:


  • Today’s smartphone users have shorter attention spans and their main focus is on completion of the task 
  • Minimal designs are more suitable for all type of screens, including the small screens of wearables
  • They take away much of the difficulty in the usability of the app

Mobile is different from desktop from a design point of view meaning that mobile screens have a less real estate. And, that’s why a minimal design is the best choice if you want to provide users with a usable and accessible app. Minimal design will allow the user to focus on the message delivered by the app making it easier for them to find what they came looking for. How to create a minimal design? Use white space for more structure and a sense of cleanness, avoid filling the screen with irrelevant content, be it visual or text, and don’t use colors that can confuse the user.


Keep app navigation intuitive and friendly

If you want users to actually move around the app instead of wondering how to do it, you may want to keep app navigation user-friendly. App navigation is essential for mobile app design. It is that part of your app that will tell your customers where and what they can find. Therefore, it needs to be intuitive and friendly to provide users with an experience that will make them want to return to your app. First things first, navigation should always be visible and easy to find. You should choose locations that are familiar for users to find user interface elements such as the menu. Why? Because they will expect to find the menu in the same place they have seen it when using other apps. Next, it should include buttons that actually label correctly what and where users can find.  And, you may also want to make that buttons look interactive. What does that mean? It means that the buttons should look tappable so that the users will for sure realize that it’s a menu.


Pay attention to readability

Once again, you must remember that compared to desktops, mobile screens are significantly smaller. Therefore, fitting as much content in a smaller mobile user interface as you would fit on a desktop screen becomes a real challenge. Sure, you can fill the screen with a lot of information and content. However, will that help the user to understand the message you are delivering? Absolutely not!


Now, let us tell you a secret: users don’t read every word of your content. Instead, they pick out the keywords and phrases they are the most interested in. Thus, you can be short and concise in your message which will also help you avoid filling the screen and affecting its readability.


Next, good readability is influenced by the background color of the UI. A wrong color scheme can lead to poor readability, which, obviously, affects the user experience as well. Also, readability is influenced by typography. From font size, width, color, and text structure, each particular element can make a difference in terms of readability.  


Create finger-friendly tap targets

The best way to understand the importance of finger-friendly tap targets is to associate it with hitting the bullseye in archery. Simply put, the smaller the area is on the board, the more difficult it is to hit the target. The same goes for mobile interface design. Pressing a button sound like the easiest task, right? Well, depends on how small that button is. Research shows that the average human finger pad is 10x14 mm. therefore, a touch target that is at least 10x10 mm should be ideal for the users to easily tap on the button. Also, you need to make sure that there is enough distance between 2 or more tap targets. This way you make sure that the user doesn’t accidentally tap on the wrong target which may lead to poor user experience.


Be visual

Last but not least, you need to make sure that you take advantage of visuals. It’s no surprise that visual content is the most preferred way by consumers to learn new information. Research shows that the human brain can process and retain information 60.000x times faster if it is in visual form compared to written content. Therefore, you can embrace visual art in your mobile app design and add a variety of colors, textures, and composition tricks to make it appealing to the eyes of the users. As for what types of visuals are recommended for an interactive experience, 2020 design trends include 3D elements, hand-drawn illustrations, and photography and graphics blended together.

At the end of the day, an app should provide a seamless user experience without the user scratching their heads to figure out how the app works.  The more usable, accessible, and valuable an app is, the happier your customers will be about the user experience they get.

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