5 min read

What to focus on when you design a mobile app

More people are using their mobile phones than ever. From shopping online on their favourite shopping app to banking online via their mobile phones, they use their phones for almost everything. Which is why almost every company is focusing on mobile app design and creating an app that their users actually enjoy using. They know that to engage their customer, building an app is of the utmost importance. Mobile apps are a necessity for any modern business. 

What differentiates an app is the mobile app UI design. A good user interface can be the single most factor that differentiates a good mobile app from a bad one. 

There are many things to consider when designing mobile apps. We have created this helpful guide to understand the most important things to focus on when designing a mobile app. Good mobile UX design is what separates successful apps from unsuccessful ones. Users have become extremely accustomed to using apps on their phone, and there are quite a few things that mobile users have come to expect from apps. Fast loading time, ease of use and customer delight are essential to a good user experience. 

From the mobile app UI design to the app design methodology, there are many things to consider while designing a mobile app. Here are some practical recommendations that you can implement to your app design for a great user experience.

Design mobile app

Minimize the Cognitive Load

Cognitive load refers the amount of brain power needed by a user while using an app. You want your app to be as simple to use as possible for a great user experience. If an app attempts to provide too much information at once, it would most likely overwhelm the user and in some extreme cases even cause them to abandon the task they were trying to perform.

Creating a simple mobile app flow design can solve for this problem. A flow design indicates what happens when users perform an action.

Cognitive load

Declutter

Too many components or clutter is one of the biggest things that can hamper good design. When you overload users with too much information on a tiny mobile screen, it can make performing a task that much more complicated. Anything additional whether that is an added button, image or icon will make the screen more complicated.

Since we don’t have as much real estate on mobile devices compared to laptops, it is absolutely important to remove anything in a mobile design that isn’t absolutely necessary. Reducing clutter will make it easier for users to comprehend the app and perform a task.

An app design methodology known as functional minimalism can help solve for the problem of a cluttered UI. 

This technique states that designers should keep the content to a minimum, thus presenting the user with only what they need to know, and no additional information. It also states that designers should keep interface elements to a minimum. A simpler design will help users feel at ease when they use the mobile app design.

A technique known as progressive disclosure that reveals more options after interaction can be used to show more options can help keep your app minimal.

Declutter

Offload Tasks

When you create your mobile app wireframe, look out for any features in the design that require extra effort on part of the user. This could be any action such as entering some data, making a decision, etc. and finding alternatives. For example instead of asking users to re-enter data that they have already entered, find ways to reuse previously entered data.

Mobile app wireframe

Break Tasks into Smaller Chunks

If a task contains a number of steps and actions that the user needs to complete to perform a task, the designer should break up these tasks into subtasks. This will help in reducing the amount of complexity for the user. A good example of this is the step-by-step checkout flow on e-commerce apps. Here the complex task of completing the purchase and making a payment is broken into smaller tasks that each require action on the part of the user.

Another benefit of breaking down a complex task into smaller chunks, is that it helps to connect two separate activities such as browsing and purchasing. When the mobile app flow design is presented as a number of steps logically connected to each other, it makes it easier for the user to understand and they can proceed through the steps a lot more easily.

Complexity

Use Screens that are Familiar to the User

Some screens are instantly recognizable to users. Screens like ‘getting started’, ‘what’s new’ and ‘search results’ are used so commonly on mobile apps that they have become the common standard for mobile apps. They don’t require additional explanation on the part of the designer because users are already familiar with them. Users can use their prior experience to interact with the app, with no learning curve.

User interface

Minimize User Input

Mobile screens don’t have a lot of space and typing on them isn’t the most comfortable experience. Users may make a lot of errors while typing out long answers. Filling out forms is the most common process that requires user input. So consider keeping forms as short as possible. Remove any unnecessary fields, so that users find it easier to type out the form.

Use a technique known as field masking. This helps users format inputted text. A mask appears once a user focuses on a field and it formats the text automatically as the field is being filled out. This makes it easier for users to notice any mistakes that they might have made. 

Designers can also use smart features such as autocomplete for fields that require more text such as the address.

user input

Conclusion

Whether you develop an android app, or you are designing an app for IOS, you want the app to have a strong foundation. Understand the purpose of your app and apply an app design methodology that works best for the app you are trying to create. This way you can avoid any foreseeable challenges and create an app that is simple and uncomplicated for the user to use. Using the best practices outlined above will help you get consistent proven results.

Sidharth Kumar