Looking to learn how to design a mobile app? Get started with this 12-step guide to mobile app design.
With so many options to choose from, users are increasingly looking for apps that not only meet their expectations but exceed them. So how do you make your app stand out from the rest? It all starts with understanding the user, simplifying the experience, and delivering content in the right format. Want to know how to design a mobile app? Read on for our 12-step guide for designing a mobile app.
Your team may want to design an app with all the bells and whistles, but your users may prefer simple products with limited features and functionality. At the end of the day, it’s your target audience that’s going to use the app – so understanding their needs and expectations is crucial.
According to Google, as page load time increases from one second to three seconds, the probability of a user bouncing increases by 32%. This means that if your app is slow to load, users are likely to find an alternative. Even when you prioritize speed in your app design and development, there will still be operations that will take some time to process.
Here’s how you can make the wait bearable for your user:
A great mobile design helps users navigate the app seamlessly, inspiring them to explore its content. There are some basic navigation rules you should follow in mobile app design:
Every icon, image, or button you add to your app can make it more complicated. Try to avoid clutter in your design process, and be mindful of what you add to the screen.
Here are two ways to avoid a cluttered app interface:
Imagine you were given the following two options to choose from:
Option 1: Checkout in 5 minutes.
Option 2: Checkout in 5 easy steps. Each will take less than a minute.
Even though both options are quite similar, most of us would choose the latter. Why? Because there’s a flow to it. You can avoid overwhelming your users by breaking down your checkout or subscription process into easy steps.
This is known as chunking — breaking a big task into subtasks.
As smartphone sizes continue to increase, designers must now design for touch. Designing for touch means being aware of where users’ fingers and thumbs come to rest on a device, and designing for the world of touch screens. Here’s some things to consider when designing for touch.
One of our favorite social media platforms, Instagram, has made use of bottom navigation where we can easily use our thumbs to navigate and even swipe.
If you’ve used Amazon’s mobile app to order products, you’ll know that the app saves your address details when you checkout. Saving customer details like names, emails, and addresses can streamline your users’ experience.
Other ways to decrease user effort include using autocomplete features, bookmarks or favorites, and inculcating field values to avoid mistakes.
Using familiar screens can help your users better navigate and understand your app. Screens like “Getting Started” or “Search” or “News Feed” have become common templates, and follow the existing standards for mobile design. Here are some of the most frequently used screens to include in your app.
A sequence of screens that allow users to swipe through and get to know what they can do with the app – such as this screen from budget tracking app, Wallet.
Search is an important function for any app. It’s important to make your search page as helpful as possible – for example, Google Drive also gives you a list of the available file types to search from. When designing your mobile app, make sure you include the user’s recent searches as well as the most frequent search queries.
Not all app elements are created equal. There may be certain elements you’d like the user to take more notice of, or features you’d like them to prioritize. You can harness visual weight to highlight these elements, by making use og larger font sizes, thicker lines, and different colors.
For example, Netflix’s mobile app displays certain titles in bold or larger text sizes, followed by a “Resume” button – a CTA that captures attention.
Something to keep in mind when designing mobile apps is that your target audience isn’t necessarily like you. They may be differently abled – such as being unable to see certain colors or unable to understand complex features. Here are some ways you can make your app’s interface more accessible.
28% of people uninstall apps due to receiving too many ads or notifications. We all hate unwanted notifications, but we also love notifications that add value. It could be reminders about our upcoming tasks and meetings, or recommendations for what to watch next. When it comes to push notifications, some good rules of thumb are to determine their value, and not overdo it.
Pro-tip: Don’t send notifications at strange hours (no, we don’t want reminders of tomorrow’s meetings at 2am).
Before launching your mobile app, testing your design and getting feedback is crucial. As written feedback can become easily convoluted, opt for visual feedback tools to eliminate tedious back-and-forth, or errors that could push back your launch.
The world of app design is growing bigger by the day – and user expectations with it. While there’s a lot to consider, we hope this guide has set you on the right path to build a simple, effective app for your audience. For more on mobile app design, learn about color trends in mobile app design, as well as how to make a mobile app with Envato Elements.
Harsh Vijay is the co-founder of ruttl, a modern visual feedback tool that allows users to reduce time required to collect digital feedback by 75%. He is also the CEO of Brucira, an award winning design agency based out of Mumbai. Harsh is passionate about building product design and loves to share his entrepreneurial knowledge.