Top 11 Mobile App Design Best Practices That Businesses Should Be Aware Of
Businesses are increasingly using mobile apps to reach customers, whether through using their own app or providing support and information through other third-party apps. Mobile app design has matured greatly over the past several years, with many companies learning best practices that lead to more user engagement, higher customer satisfaction and a better overall return on investment.
A great app design can make all the difference in the success of your mobile business. On the other hand, poor design can deter customers from even downloading the app, and many people will delete an app if they don’t like how it looks or works. We’ve taken the time to research the top 11 mobile app design best practices and we’re sharing them with you so you can get ahead of the curve, reduce costs and have an awesome app that your customers will love!
Before proceeding let’s find out different types of mobile activities done by mobile users of the UK:
1. Differentiate Your App with Branded Colors
When a new mobile app is created, there are certain things that must be established in order to maximize exposure for your product. One of these things is color. Colors can attract consumers and also appeal to their senses. Find a way to stand out from competitors by branding your colors for your mobile app design.
This will allow users to distinguish between yours and competitors products which in turn gives you an advantage over them. Most apps now are quite similar with minimal variance of differentiating factors; however having a branded color scheme on your app will instantly help make it stand out above others.
There are many ways to utilize color when designing your mobile app, whether it be through gradients or flat solid colors, they all add something unique to your brand. It is important to keep in mind that if you use too many bright contrasting colors together then it could give off a very childish feel rather than a business-like or professional-like vibe.
Another thing to consider when choosing colors for your app is contrast. What do I mean by contrast? Well think about it, if you have dark blue text against a light blue background how easy would it be to read? Contrast can help eliminate issues such as this so take into consideration how your customers will interact with your app. If they need to look at small text then ensure that the background contrasts enough so that users aren’t straining their eyes trying to read.
2. Blend Useful and Intuitive Experiences
Putting a mobile app into a user’s hands is one thing, getting them to interact with it over and over again is another challenge entirely. To keep customers coming back for more you’ll want to build an app that provides real value or entertainment to users.
The first step in achieving these goals is creating a useful and intuitive user experience (UX). This entails planning out what tasks people will need to perform on your app, designing how they should be completed, testing different variations of those designs and implementing them on your end product.
Often mobile app developers overlook the importance of user experience (UX) and use them merely as a way to pitch their product, rather than designing an intuitive, easy-to-use product. But without providing a seamless UX, your customers will be more likely to bounce from your app.
Mobile users are always on-the-go and value usability over features in their mobile apps. Your experience should feel like an extension of their own lives and do more than just help them get information — it should be useful and insightful.
3. Reduce Visual Noise
Overloading your app’s user with too much information at once can make your app seem unappealing and clunky. People spend most of their time looking at things rather than reading text, so your app’s visual elements are a prime spot to get your message across. Reduce extraneous or visual noise in your design — anything that draws attention away from what matters.
Imagine if when you turned on a light in a dark room, it was just as bright as daylight. It would be overwhelming, wouldn’t it? Using Visual Hierarchy helps reduce visual noise by making sure your users know what is most important at any given time.
The easiest way to do so is by providing an anchor element: an image or color that helps guide users through content with less effort. If you want to learn more about Visual Hierarchy and how you can implement it into your app design process.
4. App Navigation Should be Simple, Yet Discoverable
Navigation should be simple, yet discoverable — there’s a difference. Simple means removing unnecessary options and getting straight to where people need to go. Discoverable is how you provide that option, whether it’s through an app icon, website link or find us on mobile text. When you choose an Android app development company, make sute their developers can create simple yet discoverable navigation.
According to Google research , 58% of people want easy access to contact information, while 53% want specific hours of operation and 50% want a direct link to an FAQ page. Make all of these things as accessible as possible for your users, so that you can drive up sales and boost brand loyalty.
You can use a hamburger menu with an app icon in the corner, or if there is not enough space, use buttons at the bottom of the screen and hide everything else under overflow. Avoid menus at top of screen; they are never used and it doesn’t follow Fitts’ Law.
5. Thoughtful, Timely Notifications are Crucial
Notifications are a great tool for helping users to feel in control of their experience and stay up-to-date on relevant information, provided that they don’t go overboard. If used thoughtfully, time notifications can help improve engagement and keep your users coming back for more. What kinds of updates are they likely to want and how would you like to receive them?
In order to help your customers keep up with their favorite businesses, consider adding push notifications. Push notifications let you send out-of-app reminders or helpful alerts directly to a user’s device — so they get important info without ever having to open your app.
You can use them for messaging, marketing campaigns and more. One note of caution though: Because push notification messages can interrupt whatever else someone is doing on their device, it’s important not to be too intrusive.
6. Test Out New App Features Before Releasing Them
With mobile applications, it’s crucial to try out new features before releasing them. Even if you think they’re great, it’s a good idea to ask others what they think as well. Before releasing a new feature, you want to make sure it’s going to be smooth for your users. By testing out new features internally or with a small group of users before rolling it out for everyone, you can identify bugs, user confusion and other issues before releasing a product that could damage your brand.
Releasing something that isn’t perfect may make your customers wary of using your app in the future and will possibly turn some people away from trying out your products or services altogether. By doing research with potential customers and monitoring feedback on social media, you can test out new features and ensure that users love what you have created. Plus, testing makes creating apps much easier!
7. Incorporate Trustworthiness and Security at the Outset
We live in a time where digital security is more important than ever, and mobile app developers need to pay attention to their data architecture. There’s no reason why businesses can’t protect customer data at the onset, and not as an afterthought.
For instance, ensure that your app uses end-to-end encryption to maintain private information on both the client and server side. This is especially important for ecommerce apps, which deal with payments regularly.
One of the easiest ways to do so is by building authentication into your application from the ground up. When designing a new app, take advantage of multi-factor authentication wherever possible, and consider employing services like Google Cloud Messaging that will let you update your app in real time.
Many apps will require some sort of login at some point in their lifecycle. However, by ensuring that login is as seamless as possible for users — and coming up with a design that doesn’t distract them from the task at hand — you can create a much more successful mobile experience overall.
8. Use Mobile-Specific Icons
Mobile devices and Android app developers should create apps that are optimized for mobile screens (and saving customers from an awkward experience). Icons are often used to communicate actions and ideas within a mobile app, so they need to be designed in such a way that they can be recognized easily by your customer — even on tiny screens. It’s tempting to rely on traditional web-design symbols or even use logos or actual photos, but these don’t look as good on smaller screens as icons do.
Not every icon will translate well from computer screen to mobile screen, so it’s important to have mobile-specific icons in mind. For example, an arrow might look like a series of lines on a computer screen but could look like an uppercase I on a small device. In that case, you might choose to use an upward-pointing arrow instead of your regular go here image. If you keep your Icons simple and adhere to general rules (e.g., don’t go over 3×3), they should look great no matter what size or platform they are viewed on.
9. Keep in Mind the Phones Orientation Needs When Using Camera/GPS Features
In order to provide a user-friendly interface for your mobile application, you should consider the different orientation states when utilizing camera and GPS features in your app. There are three different orientations that can be set for an application: portrait, landscape and locked. Orientation awareness is extremely important in creating a well-designed, easy to use app.
For example, if the user begins taking a picture in their smartphone while in the app’s portrait orientation and then switches over to its landscape orientation without changing the screen of their phone, it could cause confusion or difficulty when trying to snap that perfect photo. Also keep in mind how you want people using GPS inside of your app.
10. Run A/B Tests for Layout Alterations
Before putting your design to code, it’s best to run a few A/B tests on different layout iterations. If you have Photoshop or Sketch, you can easily create simple wireframes for each option, then use them in a landing page and Google Optimize to split test variations against each other.
This is an incredibly useful tool for validating assumptions on design changes as well as helping you optimize UX for conversions (aka sales). The goal with these tests is not necessarily to figure out which version wins but rather to get valuable insights into what you should be changing and where. One of my favorite examples of how important even small details are in mobile app UX comes from Snapchat’s Bitmoji characters.
11. Delight Users with Micro-interactions and Animations
Animation and micro-interactions are what make an app truly delightful to use. If done right, these additions will feel so intuitive and natural that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. As users grow accustomed to these effects, they’ll begin expecting them in other apps.
The more UX designers that include animations and micro-interactions, the less there will be left for others to discover. And since mobile app users have become accustomed to their favorite apps’ animations (such as Apple’s scrolling effect), expect competitors and imitators to take a shot at stealing your thunder with their own versions of subtle visual enhancements.
Think about it — when you walk up to an elevator that has a big PRESS PHONE button and a little person comes out on screen to do it for you, who do you think is more likely to use that elevator again? Delight with animations! Delight with micro-interactions! They may seem like unnecessary or frivolous design flourishes, but they actually go a long way toward creating stickiness in your app.
While creating a mobile app is a great way to engage customers, any business that releases an app needs to make sure they are doing everything they can to ensure success. A well-designed app has all of its key elements working together in harmony and if businesses don’t do it right, their mobile app will fall short of customer expectations.
It will be outdated, clunky and annoying — and that’s a recipe for failure. Take these ten best practices into consideration when developing your own mobile apps to ensure you aren’t making some avoidable mistakes.
To create an app that users love, you have to make it simple, usable and fun. When we create mobile apps for clients, we focus on designing a product that is functional and pleasurable to use. When looking for a mobile app development agency in the UK to help with your next project, ensure they focus on these best practices. If you’re interested in bringing your idea to life, you should hire app developers from us! We’ll be happy to help.