The drawing board with these applications design tips.
This strong quote points to the significance of a good user experience and user interface. It will literally make or break your application. Even though some of seem obvious, there are plenty of bad applications out there that prove the opposite. Stand out with an application that is both gorgeous on the inside and out.
1. Apply the rules of interaction design
Even though the screen is a lot smaller the rules of great interaction design still apply. Interaction design is an important component within the giant umbrella of professional user (UX) design. According to Design Mode, “Interaction design is a process in which designers focus on build to engaging website interfaces with logical and thought out behaviors and actions. Successful interactive design uses technology and principles of good communication to build desired user experiences.” So when you start building your application keep the Five Pillars of Interaction Design in mind:
• Goal-driven design: User research like interviews and surveys helps you design for the right user. Uncover personas and user scenarios to build a complete picture of the experience with your application, as it will allow you to tailor your applications workflow to suit user’s needs.
• Usability: If anything, your application needs to be easy to use. “Usability makes a product useful which is the first step in being desirable” says the next website.
• Affordance & signifiers: The affordance is the function; the signifier hints at the affordance. For instance, blue, underlined text (signifier) indicates that it is “clickable” and will take you to a linked page (affordance). Signifiers need to be user correctly, so users don’t need to think about what each UI element does.
• Learnability: Users should be able to intuitively navigate your application. Using familiar mobile patterns will help (latest) users acclimate to a (latest) application -- more on this later in the article.
• Feedback & response time: Feedback lets a user know if an action was completed, whether through sound, image or text. This feedback needs to happen in a timely manner, as well as be user-friendly.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Besides following basic design rules, do not try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your applications interface. There is a reason why many (successful) applications look similar, they create off of established mobile patterns that users are familiar with. Users shouldn’t be required to learn a latest pattern every time they open a various application. This would cause instant abandonment of the application. Therefore, use patterns that you see in popular applications, including the colors, icons and gestures. For instance, use red for errors and an envelope icon for your email feature. Furthermore touch devices are defined by gestures, including swipe, double-tap, zoom and pinch.
According to TNW, you should use common UI patterns as a baseline for usability then layer on your own creativity. In doing so, you’ll ensure that your application design matches user expectations without feeling boring.
3. Remember accessibility
We’ve all experienced the frustration of accidentally hitting the wrong button on our phone, and ending up on a random screen. Fingers are a lot bigger than precise mouse cursors so make sure you create a ‘finger-friendly’ design. Allow enough space for users to tap with their fingertip to minimize annoyance as much as possible. Fingers are about 45-57 pixels wide, which is bigger than most design guidelines state for hit targets. Apple’s recommendations (44×44 pixels), for example, are actually too small.
Also consider that people hold their phones in various ways: one thumb/one hand, two hands/one finger or two hands/two thumbs. Keep this thumb and finger placement in mind when adding important touch buttons.
4. Know your colors
Various colors convey various meanings and emotions, so it is crucial to pick the right ones for your application. As the guide shows, blue can convey trust and strength whereas orange can signify cheerfulness and confidence. The color palette should, of course, also match your current organization colors.
According to Envato “we have seen a shift in trends from heavy use of colors throughout mobile application elements, to more minimal use of color, with much more focused palettes being used. As well as this, there has been a move towards using more white space alongside high contrast experimental colors.” Most importantly, you need to use color contrasts that facilitate a better reading experience.
5. Context is king
Text and design go hand in hand, so make sure not to skimp on this element. Some even argue that words are the most important part of interaction design. Crucial is that your copy is easy to understand. “The first step to any writing endeavor is to know both your audience (your target users) and your medium (web page content, sidebar, pop-up, etc.), says Fast Company. In other words the writing needs to be tailored to who will be reading it, when they will be reading it, what they need to complete their goal and so on. Here are some tips for writing compelling application copy:
• Phrase labels positively to make users feel in control. Users are coming to your site to do something to achieve their goals, so build copy that encourages interaction.
• Use the most important words first. Mobile users are especially impatient, so make sure the point comes across as fast as possible.
• Use consistent wording across all screen. Besides being a stand-alone product, the application should be an extension of your organizations brand.