Best Practices For A Successful Mobile App Design

, Best Practices For A Successful Mobile App Design

Are you excited to design your app and get it ready to hit the market? There are countless tips and information out there related to this process, but here are some of the best practices put into a successful app.

You want to make sure your UX stands out from the crowd by its ease and usability. It’s a lot harder to convince people that your app is their best choice when they can’t immediately figure out how to navigate and use it.

You should also put a lot of thought into your UI so it remains consistent and as aesthetic as possible. Potential users are turned off by a cheap and poor looking UI. In fact, bad UI makes your entire app look less professional and have a lower perceived quality than an app with stellar UI.

There are also several things you can do to make handing off the process to the development team go smoothly as well.

1. UX Design - Make It Easy

This is a critical element in successful app design and can’t be overstated. A lack of planning and putting together a solid strategy can leave you with a huge amount of wasted time and resources.

If your app isn’t intuitive and user-friendly, it will fail on the app store. Period. There’s so much competition now that nobody is going to waste a few minutes trying to figure out how to navigate in your app. Just look at the apps available three years before the app store was launched compared to the ones available now, in 2019. It takes a lot more effort today to get someone to use your app more than just once or twice.

To get your user hooked onto your app, they need to feel like they already belong there, like they already know exactly what to do, from the moment they open your app up. Where to click next, where to go, how to jump around, etc.

If they get stuck, they’ll click off and find another app that’s easier to use and understand. To help you lay down the foundation of your app’s UX (user experience), make a list of the features you want in your app and sketch out what needs to be shown in your app (and where it needs to be placed). This process is called IA (Information Architecture).

What this creates is your user journey. This is the journey your user experiences when they jump into your app. You’ll then use your list of features and rough sketches to start building out your wireframes.

2. UI Design - Make It Pretty

First impressions count. A lot. 94% of an app’s first impressions are based off of its design. Even if you have the best performing app on the market, if the design looks poor and unprofessional, people will view it as being of far less quality than it really is.

While UX is centered around making in-app use and navigation a smooth and easy experience, UI is all about the aesthetics. UI is the next step to take after you’ve crafted your wireframes from the list and sketches we talked about earlier.

Start your UI process by creating a style guide. This is a document where you list everything to include (and not include) in your design. It should include your fonts, colors, elements, icons, font sizings, and anything else related to your aesthetics.

This is something you can refer to years down the line so everything stays consistent. Keep in mind it’s also a living document you’ll need to update/change as your app changes and develops.

Once you’ve got your style guide in hand, you’ll now create a “rendered design.” This is where you plug everything from your style guide into your wireframes so you can a solid idea of how your app will look and feel.

Now go back to your prototype and click through it as if you are a first-time user. This can save you a LOT of money before you hand it off to the development team. Otherwise, you may end up shocked at the price they give you because you overlooked an important element that needs to be included.

This also keeps your app’s development from being slowed way down because of an unexpected bump in the road. A bump you could’ve avoided by clearly laying out the UX and UI of the app ahead of time.

3. Development Hand-off - Keep It Simple

Handing off your work to your development team can be a stressful and difficult experience – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to keep it simple, streamlined, and always moving forward.

  • Organize your screens, layers, and artboards. Give your screens meaningful names that reflect what their purpose is. Don’t try to come up with something cute, funny, or clever.
  • If you’re using Photoshop, use smart objects. They scale really well and will make your developers job much easier.
  • Highlight all interactive components like click states and hover states with color coding.
  • Write down the goals of your app and share with them your developers. This helps them understand exactly what the end goal is and be able to translate that into the software.
  • Share your style guide with them to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Always share your prototype with them. This helps eliminate unnecessary confusion and back-and-forth communication. It makes everything nice and clear for your developers and helps them understand the big picture.

Wrapping It Up

Creating a successful app that has been designed well can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. However, if you design your UX to be an easy experience for your users, your UI to be as aesthetic as possible, and follow the tips above when handing off the work to the development team, the entire design process will be much smoother.

You’ll end up with a smart and beautiful app that stands out in the oversaturated app market, be able to fill a gap other apps aren’t filling, and have happy and satisfied users.

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