App Design is one of the most important factors that define the possible success or failure of your mobile product. Stay up to date with all the design trends as well as mobile app designing tips and tricks.
What trends will change the way we perceive mobile and web apps in 2018? Check out our predictions, tips, and tricks.
Who doesn’t like nicely designed things? Despite the fact that all people have different tastes and preferences, there are times when you can’t help but admire the sleekness or convenience of the product (or service) you’re using.
Considering the fact that life is moving at a faster pace these days than it used to for our parents and grandparents, user experience and user interface gain even more importance. Add to that competition on the market and the design might actually be the deciding factor for your users whether to download your app or use your competitor’s product.
What is UI/UX Design and What’s the Difference
Let’s start with defining the terms so everyone’s on the same page. For simplicity, let’s take dinner at a restaurant as an example.
Content. Basically, this is the data you have for your project – whether it’s video content or articles, or e-commerce products. These are all the ingredients that make up your product.
UI – User Interface. This is what the users see and this is what most people think of when they hear of design. In restaurant terms, it’s your ingredients of a perfect dish arranged on a plate so it looks good.
UX – User Experience. This is one of the most misunderstood, yet critical, element of a product’s design. User Experience designers research user behaviors, delve a bit into psychology, and ensure that the user’s interaction with the product would be convenient and pleasant. Think of a dining experience at a restaurant. Your food might look wonderful and the ingredients are fresh, but if your waiter was rude to you or you had to wait for an hour for your dessert, then chances are that you’re not going to come to that restaurant ever again.
Why Is UX Design Important
As we already mentioned, the user experience is a vital element in deciding whether your client will continue using your product or will start searching for an alternative, more convenient way.
If your user interface design is nice and clean, the users might come to admire it. However, if your product is just pretty to look at and is not user-friendly, you simply won’t have a lot of clients.
UI/UX Design as the Start of Project Development
If you are a new business (or if you have started a new business apart from your main one) and the budgets aren’t very high at the beginning, starting with the UI/UX design part as well as Technical Documentation is a good idea.
Timewise, designs and documentation don’t take months to create (unless you have a very complicated project, but even then it shouldn’t take months.)
As a result of investing in these two initial steps, you get a tech spec you can use to find developers for your project (we’ve got good ones, just sayin’) and you get prototypes and wireframes to present to your investors in case they want to click and see what your product does (before you even have a product).
If you are considering presenting your product at events like WebSummit or Collision, then a prototype is a perfect solution for you in case you can’t invest a lot in actual development at the moment.
Trends to follow in UI/UX Designs for 2018
In case you’re considering ordering UI/UX web or mobile app design in 2018, here are a few trends to follow (or at least consider).
Content-focused experiences. Give your content enough room and don’t be scared of those white areas. Let it breathe so that your website visitors or mobile app users would actually get the information they came to you for.
Digital experiences, humanized. While Siri, Alexa, and other AIs are still gaining their more human behaviors, people are looking for humanized digital experiences already. Seek to simplify your processes on the user-side, so that navigating your app would be as easy as asking a friend for a favor.
Voice interfaces. Hello again, Siri, Alexa, and OK Google. With their SDKs available for developers, don’t neglect the ability to help your customers use your products when they can’t (or don’t feel like) type in the requests.
Augmented reality. One of the pioneers in this area was well-known Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm and users have found out the benefits of augmented reality. By now, there are a lot of examples of how AR can be implemented in various fields – from gaming to surgery procedures to translation (thanks, Google).
Fonts, colors, and personalization. Finally, seek ways to personalize your product for particular users. For example, it can be that for older people, your website would offer a slightly larger font or buttons.
The list doesn’t stop here, but for each industry, the combination will probably change. Above all, seek to simplify life for your users and help them get the desired results when they use your web product or mobile app.
Good e-commerce user experience is the key to success of an online shop. Besides good design, your store should be convenient for the users. Let’s talk about it.
Ever since The Internet became a thing, there was an urge to make a profit out of it. The most obvious way was to establish digital versions of the general-purpose and niche-specific stores. The logic behind is simple: if it a thing in the real world, why shouldn’t it be a thing in the digital realm?
At the very start, it was a gamble on every turn. The whole thing was an undiscovered country with no established conventions or winning formulas. But soon enough it became obvious that people love buying things online. More and more online shops appeared. And thus started the great industry known as eCommerce.
But for every eBay, Amazon, and OLX success story, there are numerous smaller e-commerce marketplaces that didn’t make it, even though the market segment was chosen aptly, the demand was high and the ambition was in the right place.
Why so? Part of the blame is definitely on the business strategy. But the other half definitely lies in the way those marketplaces were designed, the way their interfaces and user experience were composed. There was something missing in the design scheme that was putting off the potential customers at one point or another.
Considering that the competition in the eCommerce industry is intense and not exactly known for letting such things slip – it is usually utterly destructive to the nascent business project.
Let’s explain why it is so.
The Role of E-commerce User Experience
The design is reigning over our lives. Even if we are not really paying attention to it. Everything is divided into a grid of patterns that make our daily activities absolutely effortless and unnoticeably easygoing.
For example, the way you push buttons on your phone to get this or that result has a pattern. It is thoroughly thought-through, tried, and tested to be as smooth and seamless as possible. The same thing, even to a bigger extent, applied to web surfing in general, and eCommerce in particular.
Because we like when things are comfortable when every element of the page is conveniently placed and you don’t even need to think for a second to understand where is what and how to use it.
That is the way how human psychology works. And you can’t really go against it. You just need to embrace it. Even if it sounds like a darn truism. Because the opposite approach is… let’s say you definitely have yourself to blame for customers not purchasing products from your marketplace because they can’t understand how to do it.
We consider such things as marketplaces to be convenient by default. It is obvious, they are interested in customers making purchases and not thinking about how to get to the cart and finalize the deal. Customers like their service to be invisible and efficient. They don’t like to put any effort into things that are supposed to be smooth and seamless by default.
That where double-headed fella UI/UX comes around.
Do you know how Amazon and the likes make you buy things? It makes it easy to do and absolutely unnoticeable. That’s how it works. Ta-dah! And there is a method to this madness.
The way customers interact with the elements on the page is informed by certain patterns that make the process of consideration and eventual purchase engaging, satisfying, and ultimately fruitful for every involved party.
User Interface AKA UI is the key element in making everything fitting like a glove and ticking like clock. It is what the user sees on the screen when he’s doing things. It is what he can do on a particular page.
The perception of UI and its effectiveness is defined by User Experience AKA UX. These two terms go hand in hand. They represent two sides of the coin. Well-made UI makes UX so effective it is essentially a performance by the notes – exactly as it should be.
User experience is the hardest thing to pull off in any project. You never know how certain elements can be reacted upon. It also comes through tries and fails before the right combination is reached. Interface itself can be nice, but at the same time, it can impenetrable and confusing, which adds needless irritation to the mix and cuts off a considerable part of potential customers. It all brings us to the fact that continuous e-commerce UX audit is critically important because some things might work and some might not, and you need to know what works.
The thing is – the whole journey from landing on a marketplace page, starting looking at things, considering something, and an eventual purchase is divided into several points, each of them specifically designed from one into another – step by step. It is a narrative of sorts. And it needs to be easy to follow in order to effective.
Key Elements of Effective UI/UX in eCommerce Marketplace
While the whole process of figuring out the right composition of User Interface and sequencing of User Experience is highly dependent on a variety of factors and requires a considerable amount of testing, there are certain elements that require special attention. Below are the e-commerce UX principles you should pay attention to.
Landing Page Impression
That’s the place where the user journey starts. Your mission is to ensure that it will continue without missing a beat. In order to pull this off, you need to make a nice first impression.
Keep in mind, that the term “landing page” is not strictly about the homepage. It can be any other page – from the product page to a catalog listing. Because of that – everything should top-notch.
You need to make sure that potential customers will understand how’s, what’s and why’s of the page instantly. In order to test out the efficiency of UI, you can play out this scenario:
You are the user, you are looking for some product. For example, You land on a product page. What do you see? Do you understand what is this place? Do you understand how to operate it? How to move forward with the purchase or go back to the catalog listing? Do you understand the way the product page is organized?
Navigation is the thing that does not require a reinventing of the wheel. Even if you try, that will be an utterly pointless waste of time. Because you can’t beat the habit and years of homogenized navigation patterns. You just can’t. It is the way it is because it works.
But there is a catch. Navigation can be clumsy or confusing at times.
Here are several general points:
Every step must be justified – there must be a reason to do this or that;
Navigation logic should be obvious and easy to perform;
Every element should be easily identifiable;
Short and reasonable paths from one destination to another guarantee uninterrupted consideration of the purchase.
Familiar names of actions and destinations secure smooth and seamless movement from one step to the next. This means that you should refrain from using phrases like “Thou shalt buy this plate” or other Old English. Just let your BUY button say “Buy.”
As a continuation of navigation, it is important to differentiate simple navigation controls from a variety of call to action buttons. Why? Call to action works when it is clear and present. If it is not, you end with no effect.
It also helps when the call to action buttons are clearly defined, well-positioned, instantly recognizable. In fact, if it is so, chances are they are going to be used properly.
Keep in mind that there must be a strict hierarchy of elements. If the CTA button is connected with the purchase – it must look one way. If it presents some additional information – it must look different. If it is a special offer of sorts – there must be yet another design. Customers must instantly differentiate where is what and how urgent it may be.
If done right, CTA will serve as a shorthand for the customer. It will map out the customer experience and thus raise the conversion rates significantly.
There is a reason why search bars look like white bars with a looking glass in the corner and situated at the prominent spot of the top center of the page. They are easier to spot that way. And you are interested in people being able to search for specific kinds of products on your eCommerce Marketplace.
Why so? It is obvious if a person looks for something specific, it means that person has an intention to buy it. And you can’t deny this opportunity.
Aside from a prominent position on the page, the search bar needs to recognizable as such. Aesthetic-wise, it means it should be contrasting with the rest of the page.
Also, don’t forget to add customization for the search request. That might help to narrow the scope of the search results thus make the process of spotting the right product easier.
The Checkout Screen
The checkout page is the nexus point of the entire site. It is where all the action happens and because of that, it is important to make it as effective and possible. How? By turning it into an engaging, instantly accessible, and streamlined process.
There are two options – fit everything into one page or break it down into a journey over several pages.
Let’s look at the pros and cons for both.
A major advantage of one-page checkout is that everything is here at once. It is faster to load that way. That’s about it with the advantages.
One of the biggest problems with one-page checkouts is the sheer amount of information you need to jam-pack into one page. Not only it is challenging to fit in a coherent manner, there is also a very legitimate threat that the customer will skip some element or make some mistakes. And that can be detrimental to the experience and ultimately harmful to your business.
Multi-page checkouts are trickier but there is more room for maneuvers. It is an all-around safer bet. Yet, it doesn’t mean you can stretch it out into a Moby-Dick. Keep it limited to essential two-three screens.
Division of the e-commerce checkout UX process into several steps can minimize the probability of the customer skipping something or making a mistake.
Here’s how it may be:
Shipping (may be combined with payment page)
The downside is that some customers can be irritated by sprawling checkouts which may result in them dropping off at some point.
Feature-wise, there are several elements that need to be present:
Simplified login – separate registration to the marketplace is a thing of old. It is a needless complication. Today it is far safer and much more comfortable to log in via email or social networks. In addition, keep registration is a foolproof thing, not every customer likes to do it due to a variety of factors, one of which is privacy.
Multiple payment options – modern times mean a multitude of choice options. In terms of payment, it means there must be as many payment gateway options as possible. You need to provide every possibility to the customer. It is important to keep the logos of all available payment gateways on a visible spot so that customers will instantly see them.
Security seals – online shopping is a very sensitive thing. Because of that, it is reasonable to provide every possible sign that your service is taking care of it.
Money-back guarantee / free refund – when it comes to money, anything can happen. That means you need to count on the bad stuff and as a countermeasure, such things as the money-back guarantee and free refund. It is always a sign of care for the customers.
“Save to cart” option – this one is mandatory. Just like the “Watch Later” playlist, “Save to Cart” allows sending the product to the cart without proceeding with the purchase from the get-go. This little feature allows uninterrupted user flow in the catalog and may result in bigger purchases.
Information needs to be presented in order to be perceived. Otherwise, it may go unnoticed and that may result in some sort of unfortunate situation, such as dropping off-site or not making a purchase.
Since the very way the pages are laid out affects the perception and subsequent actions of the customer – it is reasonable to keep it to the point without even the slightest chance of the user getting perplexed at any stage.
What does it mean for various types of the page?
For catalog and search result pages it means balancing out textual and visual elements. Sure, the picture must be big enough to be recognizable without an effort but the text also should be depicted in full so that there will be no mistake over the products. Also, if there is some sort of information (the product is sold out, out of stock, discount and so on) that must be addressed – it must be instantly visible and not hidden somewhere instead.
Product pages are trickier to handle as you need to find a way of putting the product images and list their technical specification in close proximity. The challenge is in keeping it readable while not taking over too much space. The product description is also often problematic as there is too much information that is often ignored even if it is something critical about the product.
Overall, there are several guidelines to keep in mind.
Important information goes to the front.
Each segment of the product page must be titled accordingly: title, size, technical specification, date of release and so on.
Each segment must be visually distinctive and not blend into one mess.
If there is some information in the product description that needs to be additionally stressed – use bold text. Instantly gets into attention.
In order to better understand how certain pages are viewed, it is better to study the patterns.
The last principle Page Reading Patterns
There are several patterns in which people read and browse certain pages. And that is something that can be used for the benefit of the website. The thing is – these patterns are fine shorthand in composing a layout for every page. They exemplify certain tendencies of page reading and show what can be done to counter it. For example, users are usually viewing left part of the page more often than the right. It makes sense to put there the information that matters.
Basically, what matters are the first lines of the texts, titles, subtitles. They receive the most attention and they usually play a decisive factor in users staying or leaving the page.
The most common is an F-shaped pattern. In the context of eCommerce marketplaces, it most commonly occurs on the catalog and search result pages. Here’s how it works:
Horizontal movement 1 – covers the upper part of the page, often includes navigation buttons and early parts of the content, including Title, lead-in paragraph;
Horizontal movement 2 – after that user moves down the page a little and reads across. The area is usually smaller than in HM1 but it is usually aimed at the “IT-factor” of the page that will decide whether the user will bounce off the page;
Vertical Movement – after quick run-throughs user more or less settles down and starts more thoroughly scanning the entirety of the page. Sometimes the movement can be cyclical with one round being fast and the other being significantly slower.
The problem with the F-shaped pattern is that it is unfocused and users mostly skip large chunks of information even if they are looking for it. Its meandering nature means you need actively disrupt it by inventive page layout.
Here are several page reading patterns that often occur on the product and checkout pages:
Layer-cake pattern. The user scans titles and subtitles and ignores the regular text (except for the visually distinctive elements). It is called like that due to a similarity of a heat map to the alternating layering of the cake and frosting.
Spotted pattern. This pattern is very tricky. It consists of jumping over chunks of text and scanning for something specific (for example, certain words, linked content, etc). Can be controlled by inventive layout and accentuation of certain bits of the text.
Marking pattern. This pattern involves keeping the eyes focused in one place as the scroll occurs. It is mostly a mobile phenomenon, so if you’re creating an app for a store – mobile e-commerce UX should be your guiding light.
Bypassing pattern. Instead of a thorough reading of the text users deliberately jumps to the thick of the text in search of valuable information. It is also a very common thing with the lists with many repetitive speech figures.
Commitment pattern AKA holy grail of reading patterns. It happens if you have managed to engage the user with the content to the point he is interested in methodical digesting of every single bit of it. Requires good content and adequate layout.
Knowing and countering these patterns is half the battle for a better user experience won.
Want to Learn More About The APP Solutions Approaches In Project Development?
Despite not being directly connected with the business side of things, UI / UX design is one of the defining factors in the successful development of an eCommerce marketplace.
It shapes the way the platform is used on every stage – from initial overviews to the purchase process. And as such, e-commerce UI / UX must be taken seriously, as their refinement or neglection can result in the marketplace’s subsequent growth or demise.
UI / UX done right is a fine foundation for growth and development while done badly it is a death sentence even for the most perspective idea.
It is not intuitive. It is really chaotic when you are pitching your application in front of the public and say something like “imagine how the toolbar is now swooshing in front the top of the screen” while desperately waving your hands and trying to imitate the gestures of a touch.
When we were high school students, such presentations were funny. However, now you probably want to strive for something a bit higher and find the best app prototyping tools.
Fortunately, there are prototyping tools for mobile app that allow an easy way of creating app prototype. In this article, we will consider the best prototyping tools and their main features.
Making a prototype app with Proto.io
Proto.io is a platform designed for app prototyping. It was developed by the Labs Division of SNQ Digital and launched in 2011. Initially designed for mobile device prototyping, Proto.io has extended to provide prototype applications for every item with a screen interface like digital camera interfaces, Smart TV’s, airplanes, cars, and gaming consoles. This service does not require coding and utilizes a convenient user interface.
For several years, Proto.io has been creating tools for prototyping mobile apps and solutions. Recently they have introduced a new item that enables to view prototypes for iOS and Android apps in a more realistic way.
Proto.io player allows users to test application prototypes for iOS and Android. It is a helpful tool that can improve the way you present an application.
For an average user, it means that they have an opportunity to edit a prototype quickly and view it as a mobile app. Other similar tools allow doing this on a mobile browser only.
The other great thing about Proto is that its tools are easy to use. Even if you are not a Photoshop designer, you will be able to create nice prototypes with it. The elements could be easily dragged and dropped onto the screen. You can add images, buttons, and text, as well as links to the other screens.
If this is not enough for you and you want to have your design under a full control, you can customize your mobile app prototype. You can start with a blank template or project and create your way to a final version of a prototype.
Interface is rather simple and intuitive. In fact, you can easily learn it by just fiddling around than following tutorials. Take some time to explore interface, the rest will depend on your ideas and creativity.
Creating a mobile prototype with Fluid UI
Fluid UI is another alternative for creating prototype mobile apps. It is a browser-based prototyping and wireframing tool created by Fluid Software. It is used to craft easy and fast design of mobile touch interfaces. Fluid UI can be used for dynamic mobile application prototypes for iOS and Android. Fluid UI has prestigious clients like Samsung, Google, eBay and NASA and offers great features that differentiate these services from others.
The fluid is a great HTML5 interface prototyping service that allows users to create prototypes rapidly by using pre-built widgets and arranging them into a drag-and-drop editor. The first great thing about it is that it enables collaboration and iteration between the members of the team. This service allows building multi-screen prototypes connected to each other. It helps to export the screen flows, share, and collaborate with the other people.
Fluid UI is an editor that allows you construct the elements and mix them the way you like. It seems a little bit more “unfinished” than Proto.io. However, it is not a bad thing because most applications don’t need any overloaded and overdone features at the stage of prototyping.
It allows you to create screens at the first onset. Its features for prototyping apps are pretty comfortable, and it has more drag and drop functions than any other tool.
There are many interface elements available with Fluid UI. With this service, you will easily create your Android, W8 or iOS prototype.
InVision – another tool to create a mobile app prototype
InVision is considered to be the most popular tool for prototyping interactive user interfaces in the world.
We like InVision the most for its management feature of project feedback. This feature allows customers and design teams to work together leaving their comments directly on the prototype. It helps not lose the track of feedback.
InVision has separate project management page, so you can communicate the project’s status and feel certain that you don’t lose the track of feedback.
The product evolves constantly providing designers with new features. Sometimes it seems that InVision’s feature list is never-ending. It opens the vast range of opportunities for designers, providing them with essential and expanded UX prototyping tools as well.
import design files from Sketch or Photoshop
animate design assets
link pages to simulate real-life app
preview prototypes on mobile devices
The access to unlimited free user testing and unlimited history is another strong argument for this interactive prototype tool.
Also, InVision provides integrations with apps like Slack, Dropbox, Box, and many more. Due to synchronization with Google Drive, your prototypes update themselves every time you edit source files.
It works like this:
upload your projects in PSD or png format
add hotspots to transform static screens into clickable, interactive prototypes
InVision is always announcing new features and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
This helps it remains a game-changer among prototyping tools for UI/UX designers.
InVision allows you to work on one prototype for free. If you want to manage more projects, the price starts from $15/month for 3 projects.
Justinmind – offline mobile app prototyping software
Justinmind is another great prototyping tool that was created in 2008.
It can be downloaded to your computer, thus you are able to work offline without having to worry about whether you have an Internet connection or not.
The application lets you design everything from simple app screens to advanced administration panel interfaces.
Justinmind possesses a vast range of UI prototyping tools providing you with items from its UI libraries.
Also, you are able to share mobile prototypes with your team and test them on any smartphone. Justinmind is very simple to use depending on the device you are given certain preference options you can tweak based on your project needs.
Justinmind offers many features and tools starting from $19 per month. At the same time, you can test a Pro version for free for 30 days.
The right way of prototyping: summing it up
Fluid UI and Proto.io have different approaches to providing prototyping services. Noticeably, the main difference is in the UX mobile design.
We cannot say that one is better than another because their approaches and philosophies are different.
In fact, each of the tools we’ve observed in the article is worth your consideration. We made the chart below to help you make a choice.
But to tell the truth, the best decision is to try the one and the other to determine which one is the most relevant to your specific needs. If you know any other helpful services that suit to the topic, let us know and leave your comment below.
The iPhone app design is an integral part of the application’s success in the market. Apple has set the usability and design bar incredibly high, so the platform requires a lot of attention to the design. The users on iOS are used to having an intuitive interface so they have some pretty high expectations as to the design of the third-party apps.
When you design an app for iPhone you need to ask yourself a few questions before proceeding to photoshop or sketch. Start with the basic questions like what is the main focus of the application, what functionality requires the most of the user’s attention, think if he/she needs any tips to understand what the application is all about.
Then, eventually proceed to more complicated questions and solutions like the placement of the elements on the screen, their sizes, and other similar things.
Benchmarking the iPhone design apps
Try analyzing the colors that are being used and try to find out how your app design can differentiate from the competition. Users love fresh design ideas as long as they are intuitive enough.
There is always a great aspiration to create something new in terms of UX mobile design, but the main problem is that you need to test if your design is convenient enough for your target users. It can be done by asking your friends or acquaintances to try out the app with your design and get feedback from them.
The details in applications for iPhone designs
These instructions are not obligatory but rather recommendatory. There is a lot you can learn from these instructions when you design an app for the iPhone. The placement of controls, the types of alerts, the highlights of certain elements, the color palette, color schemes, the usage of both systems, and custom UI elements.
Even if you are planning to use your own unique design – don’t hesitate to tread through the HIG’s because it was compiled by professional designers and that means there is always a great piece of advice that can be found there. Always design apps for iPhone with iOS users in mind. And always remember to try to make the design as intuitive as possible.
The App Solutions knows how to design iPhone apps that users love. We have huge experience in this field and are always willing to share our experience with our clients.
The mobile app design is a critical factor when speaking about app success. Even if your app has a functionality that is really required by the market, your app is not likely to succeed unless it has a good User Experience and an intuitive interface.
In most cases, it is much better to have an app that intuitively does a few things, than have an application that is providing 10+ functions and has a complicated, non-intuitive interface.
The app design is a very complex process that requires quite a lot of the app designer’s time and resources. The mobile designer should be fully aware of the whole set of functions that the application delivering. His goal is to make all the user’s interactions with the app as flawless as possible.
Data-driven App Design that drives growth
The technology nowadays allows the mobile app developers and publishers to see how exactly the users interact with the application. The analysis is usually conducted based on a set of predefined metrics by the marketing team. The Marketers, who gather and analyze the app usage data can provide the mobile app designers some insights indicating if the user experience has any space for improvement. This is a proven way to design apps because the decisions are made based on the real user feedback, rather than the designer’s preferences.
There are various tools that help produce excellent mobile app designs. These tools include the mobile analytics platforms, as well as A/B testing tools that help test the app designer’s hypothesis as to the application’s UI, mobile UX. It is very important to leverage the wide toolset that can help in producing successful mobile designs.
How to Design an app like a pro
As mentioned before, designing a mobile application is a complicated task and you only start to understand it’s complexity and importance when you start working on the wireframes and the initial design of the application.
The successful app design starts with a brief with information about what the app does in the first place. Having a clear understanding of if the app’s functionality is absolutely crucial for producing a good design.
As soon as you get the idea of the app’s functionality, the first thing it is recommended to do is to go the App Store or Google Play and search for apps that do similar things, or at least are positioned in the same app category. Look for some solutions there, and see how your app can differentiate from the proposition that is available on the market.
Create a set of wireframes describing all the user workflow inside the app, including the specification on all app screens and the placement and functions of all possible controls.
Make a few mockups based on the prepared wireframes and immediately test them out on the device. You can do this by exporting a screen mockup from Photoshop or Sketch and upload it on the device. This is done in order to make sure that all objects are the right size for the small smartphone screen which is one of the most important factors to consider when you design mobile app.
Continue editing and producing mockups and don’t forget to ask people to take a look at the design and give their feedback.
Alternatively, you can order the app design work from a professional mobile app designer. Contact us today to see how we can help you design an app.
Before you actually get down to creating your app design, make sure you remember what interaction design is really after. Its core principles underlie any kind of design whether it is meant for small-screen devices or the web. Let’s go through some basic rules of interaction design:
Clear goal. Understanding the goal of your design is a key. If you know your target audience, chances are you will make an app design that matches your customers’ needs.
App usability. Ideally, your app should meet users’ expectations for workflow and layout. This is what app developers call usability. If it’s an –easy-to-use, nearly intuitive app, more people will want to download it.
Use affordance and signifiers. While affordances indicate what your app can do, signifiers show how affordances work. Suppose your app gives an opportunity to like content, which is affordance, whereas thumbs-up or heart-shaped icon you should press is a signifier.
Make your app familiar. Even if a user sees your app for the first time, he should have a feeling as if he has already used it. This is called recognizability. It’s somewhat close to muscle memory when you intuitively know what button to press or where to scroll, etc.
Ensure instant response. Response allows users to see whether they have completed some task successfully. These can be a short sound or some graphical element. Whatever you choose, it should appear within the shortest time possible.
These are basic for any interaction design.
Define your target audience
In most cases, the audience will define your mobile app design. And these steps will help you identify your target audience:
Think about who might be interested in using your app. These are not real users but rather their most common archetypes that allow you to predict users’ decisions concerning your app.
Try to predict users’ behavior. If you have some clear picture in mind, it will be easier for you to design a UI that matches the users’ expectations.
These are major usability tests that will help you see how people will react on your app in natural surroundings.
All the ideas in your app design are just vague images. Once you put them into a shape you will have a clear vision of the final product. Here, most app developers suggest that you start with an outline. This may not necessarily be some sophisticated design – simple sketch drawn on paper will be just perfect.
For this, you need to outline each page of your app. Draw the structure, layout and even minor elements to see the flow of different pages. Later when you have the full picture of your app pages in front of you, you can move to digital sketching.
All this is done to see how your content ideas will work.
Adopt common mobile design patterns to develop yours
All mobile app design patterns are dictated by the device itself and its specific characteristics like a home sensor or thumb button. However, there are lots of common design samples you can see nearly in every mobile app. These are swipe gestures or slide-out menu. You may use these patterns to enhance usability and later add some features that will make your UI design unique.
While it may sound like copying the design of others, it is actually a strategy that will help you get closer to the UX mobile design.
So where should you start? There are two major UI design pattern categories such as gestures and animations.
We live in a touch screen world and those who master gestures rule this world. However, choosing among swipe, slide, tap, press-and-hold moves, make sure that every gesture is appropriate.
Gestures combined with animations make user experience dynamic. But even with all benefits animation can give, one should be very careful using it. When there are too many motion effects, they can make users feel confused and disoriented. And similar to gestures, animations should consistently appear throughout your app and make sense.
Specific design for touch
Mobile touch screen directly influences UI design. People interact differently with their mobile phones and have different finger size. Therefore, it’s vital to consider these characteristics before designing your UI.
People may hold their phone with one hand and use one thumb to browse, or they may hold the device with two hands and use a thumb or pointer finger. People who hold a mobile phone with two hands and use two thumbs to tap the screen are also numerous.
Another important characteristic to consider is finger size for a touchscreen. Currently, it ranges from 47 to 57 pixels which is quite a wide space. However, if you design buttons too small or place them close to each other users will find it difficult to tap them.
Reduce the number of clicks
One of the web design rules holds that a user should make no more than three clicks to get the result if it takes him/her more moves, then such design isn’t effective.
While this rule may not be common for UI design, you still should consider it when developing your mobile app. Obviously, users appreciate apps that are time-saving and aren’t cluttered with unnecessary moves.
So think whether your app is crammed with tasks that users have to complete to get the result. If so, take a time to redesign your app. Perhaps you don’t need a good deal of pages that your app currently contains. If you users spend a little time thinking about what they should do, your app is likely to rank high.
Imaginative mobile apps are those that are a mix of imagination, innovation, purpose, work, and money. When developing a mobile app the developer will definitely need to consider the latest mobile design trends, as an understanding of such trends ensures the app will have all of the coveted bells and whistles other apps in the same category possess.
This year is witnessing a number of trends in the department of mobile app design. Some app design trends shared here are already in existence and growing momentum. More are still in the birthing process so to speak, yet to be formed and released for the public to experience.
Background Images with Diffuse Elements
With a diffuse background, there’s the likelihood that the elements that come to the forefront of an image are far easier to see. The diffuse background creates a distinction between the background and foreground, which is definitely a benefit one can enjoy when viewing things on a mobile device, which typically features a smaller viewing screen. What’s more, if you’ve got a call to action and you want your consumer to react, the way to do that is to ensure the button for acting on your call to action is very easy to see.
With faster ways of accessing the Internet, the popularity of big images remains popular this year too. Large images have greater visual appeal, more impressive color, and when in good quality resolution, leave a lasting visual impression on the viewer.
Minimize the Use of Icons
Too many icons in mobile design serve to make visual noise and to confuse the app user. The icons that are incorporated in a mobile app should be minimal, easy to use, and essential: This keeps the navigation simple. A year ago long shadows were all the rage, but this year basic icons and simple line art is what’s hot in terms of app trends.
Simplified App Navigation
Users of mobile apps want to have an easy experience, one that does not prove to be irritating because it is so complicated to navigate. One of the fastest methods for getting an app downloaded, installed, and deleted is to make the mobile app less than user friendly when it comes to navigation. The mobile app needs to feature clear typography, a clean menu, and visually pleasing images as part of its essential design elements.
Developers tend to make use of things like favicons and easy drop-down sub-menus or menus that slide out from the side of the screen. Essentially, you want the mobile app to make it easy for the user to get to the content they seek and to act on what they seek when they find it. The end result is that you want the app to offer up a smooth, uninterrupted, relaxing, and friendly end-user experience (mobile ux design).
Visually Beautiful Lettering
In the days of web-only content, the best fonts one could use were of course Times Roman, Arial, and Verdana. This year it looks like there’s a growing trend for beautiful fonts. The fonts allow for improvements in the hierarchy of visual elements. Oh, and when all CAPS were considered yelling, they are now in style. Everything from logo marks to lettering from hand-lettered fonts to watercolors, lettering is now artistic and expressive in mobile app design.
Straightforward User Interfaces
Last year a mobile app was bound to sport shadows, embossed elements, 3D features, gradients, and other visually attractive, eye-catching components. This year however the trend is really about creating something visually pleasing while leaving all the ostentatious elements behind. Developers are striving for a clutter-free design.
A Gentle Color Mix
A subtle blend of colors is what’s in this year for mobile design trends. Neon greens and reds are a thing of the past. Today’s preferred mixes include a mix of gray and mauve of beige and blue are in colors this year. Additional colors that will be cropping up in the apps developed in 2015 include Strawberry Ice, Aquamarine, Toasted Almond, Custard Yellow, Scuba Blue, Tangerine Orange, Lucite Green, and Glacier Gray.
Bringing together elements of the imagination with the elements of the real-world: It’s a trend that technology supports, and one that will continue throughout 2015 in mobile app designs. One look at the work of Magic Leap, whose mission is to bring a bit of magic back into the world, and it’s easy to see how the imagination/fantasy and realism can be united.
The Return of Skeuomorphism
Skeuomorphism is appearing in more apps and allows the developer to bring an extra level of realism to an otherwise two-dimensional product. With Skeuomorphism 2D and 3D effects are entirely possible, thereby making apps more engaging and visually enticing.
Don’t Forget the Social Media Elements
Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ integration is a given when it comes to a mobile app; that’s if the developer wants the app to be remotely successful. With social media integration, users can sign in using their favorite social media outlet. Users of apps appreciate the ease of app sign up when social media buttons are present.
The birth of the Apple Watch will undoubtedly have other designers looking to create apps suitable for the smartwatch as well as other devices that will appear on the market in terms of a competitive device. It’s imperative the mobile app developer remain in touch with the latest industry trends so that design practices can be modified to meet the demands of the industry.
The above-mentioned trends in terms of mobile app design are just a few of the many changes in the mobile app development industry. If a developer integrates the hottest, coveted trends, there will be little difficulty in ensuring the longevity of any app created. Just remember that 2015 is the year of easy colors, simple navigation, social media integration, and beautiful lettering with a diffuse background, and you’re bound to develop a visually pleasing app that will earn you plenty of hits and downloads.
Original app design does not present developers with that many options to work with. Usually, when one is designed for shorter notice intervals and minimal screens, it is crucial for your UI design to work fast.
Preferably, you wish to design a system that is simple enough for first-time users without making the more experienced users lose interest. Here are a few tips to guide you through generating awesome app design.
1. Always apply the rules of interaction design
Having limited screen space should not be used as an excuse to do away with good interaction design rules. The first rule to interaction design is to design for the intended user, and this you can only know by conducting user research for example conducting interviews and surveys. This will allow you to generate personas for your prospective app users, as well as enable you to set distinct goals for your users and modify your app’s operations to meet their requirements.
Usability is also crucial to your app and it has to be simple enough for users’ to easily use. Also, remember to incorporate signifiers and affordance correctly. Another rule to interaction design is learnability whereby users instinctively know how to manage an interface. This is achievable through the use of patterns in your design. The final rule is response time and feedback, which notifies the users whether or not a task was accomplished. It can simply be a beep or a modal window, which is more complex.
Just ensure that your feedback is human, friendly, and is received within the set timing guidelines. Before starting any interaction design work, make sure you focus on the five rules that apply to the entire design process regardless of whether it is intended for an original app or not.
2. Recognize your users
Other than screen size, users are also considered as the main restriction in mobile design. The three primary strategies for comprehending your users include user scenarios, personas, and experience maps. Personas help you predict the behavior or your selected users in terms of what will steer their choices and so on. Scenarios on the other hand offer a depiction of how a persona will behave.
From this, you will be able to generate a UI that is best suited for them and the objectives they want to achieve. Experience maps allow you to scout all the feasible states for one interaction. Experience maps outline every step the persona is likely to make when using an app. It also helps you comprehend all the emotions and positions that surround those steps.
Undertaking this from the get-go will save you unrest down the line.
3. Plan out your content and user flow
Research and design work go hand-in-hand. First, you draft your user flow. Before sticking to a certain channel, you generate a simple prototype using paper, just to understand the users will flow between actions and content.
The outlining technique will provide you with a better understanding and a clear view of your build-up of app ideas for every page of your app. Before even embarking on prototyping, first outline your idea in written form to help you investigate the most significant section of your app, which is basically the content. Establishing flow around the content offers you a much more precise evaluation of the total page number needed for your app.
The next step after this would be to create sketches for every single page, then repeating the sketches on paper and cutting them out for the generation of a paper prototype. Sketches help bring out the flow into life-like with more detail to structure and layout. A quick mobile app prototype will allow you to test all those ideas with a user.
4. Boost usability with familiar mobile patterns
Posture, orientation, and thumb positioning are some of the specified device nuances, which mobile design is centered on. Look at the renowned interfaces while paying attention to the common mobile patterns for example slide-out navigation. These patterns enable you to generate a UI that is homely and inviting. Utilize the most commonly used UI patterns as the basis of your usability and also incorporate your own creativity into it. Doing so will certainly ensure that your app design meets your user expectations without feeling monotonous.
The two groups of interaction design patterns that every designer has to master in order to design a good mobile app. They include animations and gestures. Gestures are commonly utilized on touch devices- swipe, touch, zoom, pinch, and double-tap have become a usual norm to users. As for animations, motion keeps users rooted in the UI.
When you combine both gestures and animations, you generate a whole new level of experience.
Mobile interaction patterns help decide the layout of familiar interface elements such as navigation buttons placed at the bottom of the screen, which is simpler for users to tap with their thumb, as opposed to one that is positioned at the top of the screen. When it comes to the text, ensure the copy is easy to comprehend.
5. Minimize clutter
You might want to rethink debunking the 3-click rule in mobile ux design and the reason for this is because it helped one contemplate whether they were in dire need of all the screens. Basically, users should be able to execute tasks fast in very few steps as possible. Marissa, Yahoo CEO even recommends a two-tap rule whereby it takes two taps to achieve anything you want to. If it is more than two taps then you need to rethink your design.
A good example to refer to is the Yahoo Flickr app that uses the two-tap rule; from unlocking your screen to surfing your screen, taking photos, checking out groups, navigating albums, setting alerts and so much more. Therefore, you should aim at having minimal taps in order for your app to achieve success with your users.
Creating an awesome app design takes a lot of dedication and expertise, as well as understanding your users. With the above guidelines, you are closer to achieving success with your app.
A good UX design can make a significant difference that brings more downloads of the app. However, with the ever-changing world of technology and the niche of Mobile User Experience respectively, making effective mobile design gets harder each year.
Surely, keeping up with developments in the field is important to create an app that stands out and wins customers. However, still there are some unchanged basic concepts that can bring you unbeaten results even on such a competitive mobile market as we are having now.
These guidelines will also be useful for those who have little or no experience in designing mobile UX or even for those whose mobile UX has gone wrong. Below there are nine tips for designing exceptional mobile UX that refers both to the apps and mobile websites.
1. Mobile UX designed from scratch
It may seem obvious, but not everybody understands that mobile UX is quite different from the web though some similarities existing between them can’t be denied. Still, the way customers see and use mobile apps is a brand new experience, and this factor should be considered when designing a mobile app.
Among a rich variety of different features, screen design is the first that must undergo changes. Aimed to create a successful mobile app, you should first design UI taking into account such elements as minimal screen space and virtual keyboard. Undoubtedly, web UX may be very helpful but you should be ready to shift from it and create a unique mobile design.
2. Design mobile UX keeping the targeted audience in mind
Who is your mobile design targeted at? If you don’t know the end-users of your product, it’s likely to fail your expectations of success. But once you learn what customers need and what they expect to get from a mobile app, lots of design decisions will come easily. Still, how to figure out your users’ needs?
That’s quite easy. Even with such diverse factors as age, gender, education level, and language all mobile users are either result-oriented and want to get a quick solution to their problem or simply enjoy the process. However, focusing on some particular users’ demands might be even more beneficial for your future app than pleasing all customer categories.
3. Simplify functionality
Lots of functions that work great on desktops may not work on mobile devices at all. That’s why mobile functionality should be optimized and simplified. Where should you start? Redefine the menu bar first, making it more intuitive and accessible.
Then simplify the navigation process. Don’t make users go through the multi-level procedure to find a feature they need. Focus on minimalistic design and keep core messages laconic and simple.
4. Minimize content
People want small mobile screens to render the same amount and quality of content that they used to get through television and computer monitors. This where you should put your design skills into action. The main principle you should be ruled by is minimalism. However, mind that the core message of the content must be preserved.
Even if you can’t reduce the information that much makes it easier for users to navigate. For this, create additional features like arrows, a convenient scroll-bar, or whatever makes users’ experience simple and productive.
5. Avoid extra images
Undoubtedly, adding images to the text helps users grasp the main idea of the content. Not only images reinforce the productivity of your mobile app or website they also keep customers interested and make them use your app longer. However, images shouldn’t incorporate the whole space in your design.
Remember the rule of minimalism mentioned in the previous guideline, it works here as well. Don’t try to put images where they look inappropriate or replace text. If you want to achieve some special effects, you’d better choose fonts.
6. Reduce interruptions
Most of the interruptions that distract people from their activities come from mobile phones. Calls, emails, instant messages break Internet sessions, don’t let us focus on important work, or keep us awake at 2 am. If you design a simple mobile app with a minimalistic set of features, you will help your users avoid additional interruptions that can be very irritating at times.
It will also help you retain more customers since they won’t leave your app every time some interruption appears.
7. Get acquainted with users
Once your mobile app is ready with your designing skills, knowledge, and the best practices invested, think of the first encounter with a would-be user. Can you be sure that a mobile product you have designed will bring your customers an unforgettable UX? Can you guarantee that a user will easily understand how your app should be used and won’t quit it once some unknown feature appears?
If no, then you should think of a way to get acquainted with the customer and simplify their first acquaintance with your product as much as possible. This is where small tutorials or instructions that show how to navigate your app will be very useful.
Since these guidelines are also a part of mobile UX design, make them laconic and appropriate.
8. Be ready to preview your app and make changes
It seems to you that you have approached the mobile design process with utmost creativity and fresh ideas, but somehow they have failed to deliver an expected result. That’s ok. As the mobile market develops, mobile design requirements grow as well. Maybe your revolutionized ideas don’t match present demands.
Even so, don’t hurry to throw them away. You may simply adjust them to current requirements and users’ expectations, and this will help you improve both your app and UX.
9. Implement the best tips and experience
There are definitely those who have successfully designed mobile UX and now ready to share their best practices. Never stop learning. Use someone’s positive experience and your own skills and knowledge to choose the right track that will lead you to an exceptional mobile product.
First of all, what is the user experience design? This is the process of creating a better and more fruitful interaction between users and products. Improving how easily the product can be used, accessed, and how enjoyable it is are all parts of this.
The user experience design (UDX or UED) process depends on quite a few factors. The project itself, the budget, and client and the deadlines are all part of making this process successful. This process analysis is a way of analyzing everything user experiences and thinks about a product. Everything about this process is done with the end result in mind of improving the product and the experience for the user.
This process is based on what users enjoy using, looking at, tasting, holding, etc. Due to this, the philosophy behind the UDX Process is something that revolves completely around the user and making general improvements. When the user enjoys more aspects of the product, it is more likely to be successful. In this process, it is also important to consider how the product itself will work for the customer. They need to enjoy every aspect of their experience in order for the product to launch with success.
The human elements of analyzing a product’s success is difficult to gauge, which is why there are programs and designers out there helping those that aren’t savvy with the process to achieve things in business. In today’s market, having a product is no longer enough, everything about it needs to create a positive experience for the user, but how is this achieved?
Applying The Process
Creating the best product that encompasses all of the things users want can be done by applying the following steps to ensure all of the principles are being analyzed.
Strategy – In this step, those developing their products need to ensure they have everything in order, from the brand to the philosophy of their company and long-term goals. The developer needs to recognize what they would like to achieve from the process and how they will determine their efficiency throughout. They also need to determine how important the role of the user-experience will play in their product and development.
Research – This step is about discovering what will help to make for the best experience when using the product. This can be done through interviews, observations, or surveys. Developers and companies need to understand everything possible about their customers in order to provide them with a product they will love.
Analysis – Once the data has been collected, it is time to analyze it. This stage and the research stage are two of the most crucial. Having insight into the users is something that companies need in order to hit their target users and audiences better, also keep in mind current app trends. This means analyzing the people, the scenarios, and how it all works together. Organizing the information collected makes it easier to use and implement. This analysis will help the designers understand if the product they have developed is appealing in the final stages as well.
Design – The design phase involves creating a workflow, wireframes, and prototypes. The process involves many different experts coming together and using their best ideas in the final design. This is also a process that allows for the design to be tested and ideas to be confirmed and validated. This phase makes that possible by allowing users to access the product and then give their thoughts. From there the designers can either confirm that their work was effective or that they need to polish their ideas before testing again. They can test these designs by using wireframes of their ideas or incomplete prototypes. This allows the users that are participating in the process to evaluate the product without the graphic designs that would be added
Production – Once a design has been refined, it is put into this production phase to produce the version of the product that would be seen by users in the marketplace. Further testing sessions take place with shareholders and high-end testers. This phase produces and tests what would be the product that is launched. The visual design, the technical testing, and the final development are all parts of this phase.
Beta Launch – A soft launch of sorts will be carried out once the product has been through all of the previous steps. The idea behind this stage is that test users have already interacted with the product on its own and then with all of the graphics etc. applied as well. When a company has noticed enough positive feedback and has developed something that a customer would enjoy, a beta launch is the best way to assess this on a larger scale without releasing to the entire marketplace.
Evaluation – An evaluation is part of every step but after a beta launch, it needs to be decided if the product met all of the usability, accessibility, and pleasure needs of the users to graduate to the stage of being fully launched. This evaluation could result in the final launch, or it could result in going back to the drawing board based on the evaluation of success as determined by the company in the strategy stage.
Working Out The Kinks – Designers and developers need to assess what the major problems are and then resolve them. In order to do this, they will need to re-evaluate some of the steps in the mobile user experience.
Repeat Steps When Needed – Repeating some or even all of the steps is all part of making the product something that is incredibly appealing to users. Going through the process completely and then needing to do it all again only means the company has learned more and more about their clients and what would make the product enjoyable to them.
Final Launch – Once users have been analyzed, and the products have been made to their satisfaction, it is time for the final launch of the product. Having gone through the user experience design process, there is a much higher chance for success rate on a larger scale.